EXPLAINER: Carlos Correa’s free agent saga ends with the Twins

NEW YORK – Forget about RBI and OPS. Carlos Correa free agent destination MRI decided.

At the end of the most confusing and high-profile free agent talks in baseball history, the small-market Minnesota Twins ended up shortstop for the All-Star Game — not the San Francisco Giants or the New York Mets — because of the comfort of their doctors. . with Correa’s surgically reconstructed right leg.

San Francisco refused to complete $350 million, 13-year contract with a 28-year-old and then the Mets hesitated to close $315 million, 12-year contractboth, after scanning Correa’s tibia, alarmed their doctors.

As it turns out, these concerns cost Correa more than $100 million in guaranteed money.

Correa, best known as a shortstop for the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros, spent 2022 in Minnesota. The team’s medical staff, after examining the two-time All-Star several times over the past year, felt more comfortable with his ankle, which was repaired in 2014.

So the Gemini moved on. $200 million, six-year deal it was completed on Wednesday – 29 days after Correa agreed with the Giants and 21 days after he made a deal with the Mets.

Right where he started. Here’s how he got there:


Correa injured his right leg in 2014 while playing Class A Lancaster JetHawks and doctors inserted a metal plate during surgery to repair it. The horror is centered on whether the ankle has healed in a way that could hamper Correa as he ages.

Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, says it’s just a matter of “pain tolerance.”

“It’s not about functionality,” Boras said Wednesday at Correa’s introductory press conference in Minnesota. “It’s about how long you endure pain to play and he never had a complaint. Will he have claims in the future? And the answer is that he has had no complaints after eight years in the big leagues, and functional fitness orthopedists say he is unlikely to continue.”

Boras cited a split between podiatrists and surgeons, arguing that podiatrists believe in “an almost Darwinian concept that you actually become a formation of your ability to compete and perform.”

The Giants and the Mets relied on the same specialist, Dr. Robert Anderson, the Green Bay Packers junior doctor who operated on Derek Jeter’s broken left ankle in 2012, Boras said. Boras said Giants orthopedic Dr. Ken Akizuki consulted directly with Anderson, while the Mets team at the Hospital for Special Surgery relied on foot and ankle specialist Dr. Mark Drakos, who also consulted with Anderson.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Dodgers chief medical officer Dr. Neal ElAttrah, a renowned orthopedist, examined Correa before his release last offseason. Correa was also looked at before signing with the Minnesota last March and again at the end of last season by Dr. Christopher Camp, the Twins’ medical director and director of high performance, and an orthopedist at the Mayo Clinic.

“Doctor. ElAttrache (was) told me that the ankle is great, it’s in great shape. Dr. Camp tells me that I am in great shape, even better than last year,” Correa said.

“One thing I learned throughout the process was that doctors disagree,” he added. “Many doctors told me that I was fine. I was shocked because since I had the operation, I have never missed a single game. I have never received treatment for my ankle.”

Correa’s ankle bothered him at least once as he slowly got back up after a sharp slide to second base during a September 20 game.

“He just hit me on the plate,” Correa told reporters at the time. “I had an operation and he got into it. It’s just kind of numb. Vibration. So I just waited for him to calm down. It was a little scary, but when I moved, I realized that everything was fine with me. ”

After that slip, Correa hit .319 in the final 12 games of the 2022 season.


Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey continued to call Boras throughout the free agent process, even after the deals with the Giants and Mets were made. New York City owner Steve Cohen aggressively pursued Correa after the agreement with San Francisco stalled, which Boras said hindered negotiations with the Twins.

After Correa’s medical for the Mets, New York offered to halve their guarantee to $157.5 million.

“Sometimes in baseball, as in life, and everywhere, fate and destiny come together and an opportunity comes along that you don’t always expect,” Fulvey said. Travel is not always straightforward. Sometimes they are bypass.

Correa made $35.1 million from the Twins last season before forgoing the remainder of a three-year, $105.3 million contract. The Twins offered Correa $285 million for 10 seasons earlier this offseason. In the end, Correa agreed to a four-year option deal that could increase its value to $270 million over ten years if he plays regularly.

Boras received a call from Fulvey just after Christmas and was told by an agent that Minnesota might have an opportunity. Boras called Fulvey back last week.

“We have to start talking about a very serious dynamic about how to do this,” Boras recalled. “I was contacted by five or six teams, and I told him: “I only talk to you.”

Boras said he spoke to Camp five times and sent him all the MRIs provided by the Mets.

“We are not here to blame external doctors and their opinions, but I will say that medicine, especially in sports, orthopedic functionality and daily clinical examination is much more important than MRI,” he said. “Orthopedists operate on function, saying that if they don’t have evidence of a degenerative nature, then it’s all speculation.”

Boras alleged that the Mets, led by general counsel Cathy Pottier, were trying to loosen the wording of the guarantee.

“There was an agenda that was far from making a deal,” he said. “There was an agenda where they felt they could move the talks elsewhere.”

Boras said he sent Cohen a message either Sunday or Monday saying that Correa would not accept the Mets’ proposed language and was reaching out to other teams.

The Mets issued a brief statement on Wednesday, shortly before Correa was revealed as a twin.

“We were unable to reach an agreement,” the team said. “We wish Carlos all the best.”


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