It doesn’t sound like the New York Mets are losing sleep over not signing Carlos Correa.
Although the franchise’s deep-pocketed owner, Steve Cohen, told the New York Post after agreeing to a reported 12-year, $315 million contract with Correa that he believed the two-time All-Star put the Mets “over the top,” the deal later fell apart — just like Correa’s previous 13-year, $350 million agreement with the San Francisco Giants — due to medical concerns. And a new report suggests the Mets have been comfortable in turning the page on the entire free agency saga.
“Would it have been nice to have (Correa)? Yes,” a Mets employee told ESPN’s Buster Olney. “But we’ll be fine without him.”
Part of that confidence stems from the Mets’ already loaded roster and enviable resources to address whatever shortcomings emerge this season and beyond. For the Giants, signing a healthy Correa would have been a game-changer, especially after San Francisco lost out on Aaron Judge in free agency. For the Mets, it would’ve been a very expensive luxury.
Correa is an excellent player. And the Mets almost certainly would’ve been better off with him transitioning to third base in Queens alongside All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, provided Correa’s surgically repaired ankle didn’t become an issue. But there’s perhaps another “silver lining” to consider.
Here’s what Olney wrote in a piece published Monday on ESPN.com:
One silver lining, to some Mets staffers: Throughout the Correa talks, the team was in communication with the representative for third baseman Eduardo Escobar; if Correa had landed in New York at third base, Escobar might well have been traded.
But now it appears the Mets will retain Escobar, who finished last season strongly, winning the NL Player of the Month for September, posting a .982 OPS in his last 30 games. “And you’re not going to find a better clubhouse guy,” one staffer said. “I would’ve hated to see him leave our clubhouse.”
Let’s be clear: Escobar isn’t the same caliber player as Correa. That said, he’s no slouch. And we probably shouldn’t overlook the team chemistry element, especially since the Mets face a ton of pressure this season and Correa has a reputation as a polarizing presence.
Maybe, just maybe, New York is better off without Correa, who ultimately signed a six-year, $200 million contract to return to the Minnesota Twins.