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Carlos Correa’s Wild Offseason: A Retrospective

From the Bay Area to the Big Apple to the Twin Cities, Carlos Correa has had a whirlwind of a free agency experience since the conclusion of last season. Boardroom breaks it down.

During an offseason in which MLB teams have splurged a record $3.6 billion, one $200 million deal came in a wild, wacky, and confusing way for one of the best shortstops in all of baseball — Carlos Correa.

Consider him the 2023 MLB vagabond — a Giant, a Met, and a Twin again. All in the span of eight weeks.

Correa opted out of a three-year, $105.3 million he signed with the Twins during the 2022 offseason. He agreed to a deal with the San Francisco Giants for 13 years, $350 million, which fell through due to a failed physical. One week later, Correa agreed to a 12-year, $315 million deal with the New York Mets. He failed that physical, too. Finally, after weeks of uncertainty and leaks, he ended up back with Minnesota, signing a six-year, $200 million deal. The contract has a maximum value of $270 million.

Sooo, that’s a lot. Let’s break it down.

Timeline of Events

Nov. 7: Correa opts out of his three-year contract with the Twins, becoming a free agent just in time for the 2023 Winter Meetings.

Dec. 13: Correa agrees to a 13-year, $350 million deal with the Giants — the fourth-largest contract in guaranteed value. Pending a physical.

Dec. 20: The Giants walked away from the deal, days after they set up a press conference to welcome their newest superstar. Reports came out that San Francisco was concerned about signing him to a long-term deal due to an injury he sustained to his right leg in 2014. Scott Boras told Ken Rosenthal that he gave the Giants “reasonable time” to finalize the deal before he decided to reopen negotiations with other teams.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi then issued a statement wishing “Carlos the best.”

Dec. 21: In the very wee hours of the night (2:38 a.m. ET) to be exact — Carlos Correa is headed to the Mets on a 12-year, $315 million. WHAT?!

A move like this reshaped the baseball landscape. The Mets — at the time — were expected to have a $500 million payroll in 2023 while opposing owners believed Steve Cohen would face consequences. Mets fans rejoiced. The team lost Jacob deGrom but replaced him with reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. They brought in a ton of other pieces to help bring Queens its first World Series since 1986. And now, they were adding a star shortstop … pending a physical.

Dec. 24: The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes that the Mets, like the Giants earlier in the week, were concerned about Correa’s surgically repaired lower right leg, “potentially jeopardizing their 12-year, $315 million agreement with the star shortstop.”

Uh oh.

Jan. 6: It was a weird couple of weeks with some interesting leaks in the days leading up to it. Andy Martino of SNY, the Mets’ host network, reported that the Mets were “very frustrated” during talks.

…. UH ….

Jan. 9: The media leverage battle continued. Once again in the wee hours, this time 6:28 a.m. ET, The NY Post’s Jon Heyman reported that there was a divide between the Mets and Correa and that the Twins were “gaining momentum.”

Jan. 10: Noon hits. Deal strikes. And Heyman is all over it: Correa signs a six-year, $200 million ($270M max) with the Twins. Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but Correa already turned down Minnesota’s offer of 10 years, $285 million at the beginning of the offseason.

Less than 24 hours later…

It’s an oddity in sports. A player of Correa’s magnitude doesn’t come around often and hardly do we ever see a physical get in the way. But it certainly isn’t the only time this has happened in sports history.

Who else, you ask?

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Similar Instances

You’d be hard-pressed to find any instance like this one, particularly because of how good Correa is and how large his contract is. It’s uncommon, but not foreign.

Tyson Chandler (NBA)

Back in February 2009, star center Tyson Chandler was traded from the New Orleans Hornets to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Prior to the trade, Chandler had missed 12 games with a sprained left ankle, but that supposedly had nothing to do with his failed physical. Under the guidance of the team physician, Dr. Carlan Yates, OKC sent him back to the Hornets and cited issues with his left big toe.

“This is absolutely crazy,” Chandler said at the time. “I’m super shocked. This is nuts.”

Julian Edelman (NFL)

In April 2021, Patriots star WR was released from the team after a failed physical designation, forcing him to announce his retirement. Edelman was battling chronic knee injuries for more than two years and was expected to miss the entire 2021 season. In this case, it wasn’t a trade that was rescinded — it was a forced retirement due to a failed physical.

“It was a hard decision, but the right decision for me and my family. And I’m honored and so proud to be retiring a Patriot,” he said at the time.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim (NBA)

In August 2005, the New Jersey Nets agreed to a six-year deal with Abdur-Rahim, who was acquired from the Trail Blazers for a first-round pick and trade exception in a sign-and-trade. The Nets, who made the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, hoped to regain its luster by bringing in the 28-year-old star averaging 16.8 points per game.

Then came the physical. Abdur-Rahim missed 22 games with Portland in the season prior due to right elbow surgery. Nets GM Rod Thorn said the Nets tried negotiating a different deal with Abdur-Rahim, but he didn’t agree to the changes. The sign-and-trade was rescinded and the Trail Blazers traded him to the Kings three days later.

“After consulting with several noted specialists, we felt that rescinding the trade was our best course of action,” said Thorn. “Obviously, we weren’t aware of it and… I don’t think (Abdur-Rahim) was aware there was any problem.”

He retired two years later.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.