New York– Unprecedented has been my description with this offseason spending that owners have granted players during this free agent signing bonanza. And there has been an unprecedented situation with the multi-million spending Mets.
So in the overnight hours, 4 am New York time, the Mets surely became a World Series team when Carlos Correa, assumed to be a San Francisco Giant, caught everyone off guard and headed to Citi Field with a 12-year, $315 million contract.
On a Wednesday morning when the cross-town Yankees, also with the money and resources, had their re-introductory press conference for the huge contract signing of Aaron Judge in the Bronx, at Yankee Stadium, Mets owner Steve Cohen, Carlos Correa, and the Mets got the headlines.
Judge, of course would have been the headline. AL Most Valuable Player, single season AL Home Run champion, face of baseball and the Yankees, was also anointed as the 16th team captain in franchise history.
Talk about a change of events in New York. The Mets and Correa, with Cohen, the richest owner in baseball, pulled a fast one. Unprecedented and a bat in the lineup that should propel the Mets to where they want to be in October.
Remember, three years ago. Then, Cohen purchased the Mets and assured the Mets would win a World Series in that time frame of three-to-five years.
What wasn’t envisioned, an infield of Francisco Lindor ($341 million) and Correa, perennial All-Stars and teammates on the Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic team, wearing the same uniform in New York.
But Steve Cohen made this happen when Correa, the shortstop who will move to third, and his 13-year, $350 million deal with the San Francisco Giants went out of San Francisco Bay. Quickly, a new deal for Correa next to Flushing Bay at Citi Field, pending of course on a physical that apparently was not an issue for the Mets.
Yes, a shocking development that had all types of conspiracy theories flowing early Wednesday morning. Though, I will reiterate, these are the Steve Cohen Mets that can acquire the player they need. So similar to those “Evil Empire” days of the Yankees and the late George Steinbrenner.
Then, during those Steinbrenner years, a luxury tax was imposed. Spending and revenue sharing were in those infancy stages but this is unprecedented, because Steve Cohen is going above and beyond to assure a first World Series title for the Mets since 1986.
This is not Javier Báez, a failure and friend of Lindor. Both proud of their Puerto Rico heritage and former teammates there. Báez could not deliver when he was acquired from the Cubs and came to New York at the trade deadline last year.
Reportedly, Cohen and Lindor, along with super player agent Scott Boras, were all in on Correa. Lindor, two years ago was the center of attention for Cohen and the long term and lucrative contract was signed.
More so, take a glimpse at the specifics here. Cohen informed the NY Post, credit Jon Heyman for scooping the baseball world, “We need one more thing, and this is it. This was important. This puts us over the top. This is a good team. I hope it’s a good team.”
The Steve Cohen and competitive balance tax threshold, a team payroll in 2003 of $380 million, over $100 million in luxury tax.
Correa ($315 M)
Brandon Nimmo ($162 M)
Edwin Díaz ($102 M)
Justin Verlander ($86.6 M)
Kodai Senga ($75 M)
José Quintana ($26 M)
Omar Narváez ($14.5M)
Adam Ottavino ($14.5 M)
David Robertson ($10M)
That accounts for $806.1 million in contracts. As one high ranking baseball official informed me Wednesday afternoon, hours after this Carlos Correa hysteria, “They (Mets) may not be done and have the ability to trade some pieces for more.”
That more could mean a pitch for another bullpen arm, a mainstay of the World champion Houston Astros that came into play during this past postseason. With Correa, when this all becomes official, and it will, the Mets have the ability to trade some of their prospects or one or more position players that will get less playing time with the addition of Correa to their infield.
Time will tell, but it is well known when Jacob deGrom went to Texas, and $40 million or more was available. Steve Cohen, with his mild and quiet manner went to work with GM Billy Eppler.
Carlos Correa almost assures the Mets, if they stay injury free and produce, as a top lineup in baseball. Correa, with his defense as a platinum player shortstop, at the corner with Lindor, along with a productive bat in the lineup, just about puts these Mets at the top.
They said then, the Yankees were the “Evil Empire.” On the contrary, Steve Cohen is a fan, and has kept a promise to his fan base. He reminds many of those free spending Yankees and Steinbrenner getting the player he wants.
Citi Field will have plenty of Puerto Rican pride, in a city of New York that has the largest Hispanic population.
Yes, this was unprecedented. An overnight move for the Mets that should pay off with dividends of a potential World Series appearance for the Mets in October.
Rich Mancuso is the senior writer @Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and co-host Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube
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