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Mets are the only game in town for Carlos Correa, And who pitches the 8th inning in 2023?
Another day with no definitive news on the Mets prospective new third baseman, and how will the bullpen line up next season?
The latest on the Mets and Carlos Correa… 🍎
Last week, the Mets and Carlos Correa agreed to a 12-year, $315 million contract. However, after undergoing a physical on Thursday and Friday, the Mets raised similar concerns to that of the San Francisco Giants over Correa’s leg, who originally agreed with Correa on a 13-year, $350 million contract the week before.
In 2014, Correa broke his fibula and sustained ligament damage close to his ankle, requiring surgery to remedy. Correa has never missed any time due to the injury in the major leagues. Correa has missed only 42 of a possible 384 games since the start of the 2020 season, much of which came in 2022 after being placed on the COVID-19 injured list midyear.
Both Mets owner and CEO Steve Cohen and Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, are on record discussing the contract, with both instances taking place before Correa took a physical with the Mets.
Should the deal be completed, Correa will join the Mets as their new regular third baseman.
Mets owner and CEO Steve Cohen is upset with the leak about the team being concerned with Correa’s physical, and has made sure there’s only a small circle in the know about what’s currently happening
Other teams are being told that for now, it’s, “only a Mets game” with Correa. “I’d be surprised if he’s not [a Met],” one person said.
Both the Mets and Giants likely see post-traumatic arthritis in Correa’s ankle
There are no other teams currently involved in Correa’s free agency (MLB Hot Stove said on-air by Jon Morosi)
The deal is seen at 51-49 at getting done
The issue with Correa’s leg won’t necessarily impact him over the next 3-5 years, rather towards the second half of the contract
The injury/surgery on Correa’s leg is at risk of becoming arthritic with time
That Correa hasn’t had any problems at all with his surgically repaired leg/ligament - aside from minor impact last season - suggests his leg is holding up well
December 27 - SNY
The Mets and representatives for Correa were working again on Tuesday to come to a revised agreement, but no details on progress have been offered to the public at this time
December 26 - New York Post
Correa is committed to finalizing this deal with the Mets, although he isn’t open to restructuring the length and financial terms of the contract
It is unclear whether or not discussions have resumed following a break on Christmas
There is a, “55 percent” chance a deal will be completed between Correa and the Mets
The Mets were well aware of the findings from the Giants’ doctors after he took his physical with the Giants
Correa’s agent, Scott Boras, and the Mets could try to work language into the contract which would protect the club financially if Correa were to miss an extended period of time due to an injury specific to his fibula
December 25 - New York Post
The two sides are trying to work through the issues found on Correa’s medicals
The Mets and Correa’s camp remain optimistic a deal can be completed
The two sides were discussing the MRI results compared to the functionality of the joint along with Correa’s recent history of dependability
Other teams have checked in on Correa since his deal with the Mets hit a snag, but both sides are, “motivated” to work through the issues
December 21 - Mets and Carlos Correa agree to 12-year, $315 contract
Stories to read 🔗
How should the Mets assign bullpen roles in 2023? ✍🏻
We take a break from your regularly scheduled Carlos Correa medical inquiries to discuss a different part of the Mets roster, one which will be of great import over the course of 162 games, and beyond.
Last year’s Mets’ bullpen was generally a strength. The unit was obviously buoyed by a historic season from closer Edwin Díaz, but he was far from alone in giving New York strong production in relief. Adam Ottavino was terrific all season and quickly ascended into the eighth inning role. Seth Lugo was generally reliable, particularly in the second half of the season, although was inconsistent at times from start to finish. Drew Smith was excellent early in the year and despite another stint on the injured list, gave the Mets a strong middle relief option for most of the summer. And let’s not forget what a life saver Trevor Williams and David Peterson were in a long relief role.
Heading into 2023 though, as is often the case with big league bullpens, this Mets’ relief corps has undergone quite the turnover. Diaz, Ottavino, and Smith are all still here. But Lugo and Williams have headed to San Diego and D.C. respectively in search of a chance to start, and Trevor May and Joely Rodriguez also have new employers.
Prior to Steve Cohen taking ownership control of the Mets, the club would almost certainly have shopped in the bargain bin for replacements. We all remember Mets bullpens being built on the backs of names like LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Lyon, and Scott Rice.
In the world we now live in, however, the names coming in the door are a little more accomplished. Righty David Robertson has 157 saves and 152 holds on his Major League resume. He just delivered a 2.40 ERA across 63.2 frames last season while striking out 11.45 batters/nine innings and holding opponents to a .173 batting average.
The Mets also upgraded their left handed relief by trading for Brooks Raley, a veteran who has resurrected his career in his mid-thirties. With the Rays a year ago, Raley worked to a 2.68 ERA with a 0.97 WHIP, while most importantly holding left handed hitters to a .155 batting average. They could use another one, for sure.
New York also has two potential lottery tickets under contract for 2023 in righties Stephen Ridings and John Curtiss.
So how will manager Buck Showalter choose to deploy all of these arms?
Obviously, Díaz is the star of the show here, and the ninth inning—and potentially parts of the eighth at times—will again belong to him.
Provided he can match how he just performed in Tampa, Raley is a significant upgrade over Rodriguez, and in a division with the likes of Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and Matt Olson, he should be on call to face these guys in every big spot late.
Did I mention they should sign another left-handed reliever?
Smith was good for the Mets last season but he seemed to be more consistent when he wasn’t asked to pitch in late-game, high-leverage situations. This makes him a perfect candidate to be the first one out of the bullpen in the sixth or seventh in games the Mets have a lead.
The biggest question Showalter will have to answer is who sets up for Díaz. Ottavino is the incumbent here who just did that job incredibly amicably. Bumping him down to the seventh would feel like an unwarranted demotion, even for someone with a resume like Robertson. Maybe it will be a mix-and-match situation for Showalter, as it’s worth mentioning Robertson excels against left-handed hitters, whereas Ottavino has the ability to neutralize right-handed hitters.
This will be something New York’s brain trust has probably already talked about, but it will become a bigger topic of discussion once we get to spring training. For now though, let’s just take comfort in the fact that the Mets have —at least on paper—a plethora of reliable bullpen options, something that hasn’t always been the case here.
Okay, now back to Correa.
Hot Stove 🔥
The Dodgers designated former Met RHP Jake Reed for assignment to make room for on their 40-man roster for DH J.D. Martínez (official release)
The Marlins reportedly plan to play new infielder Jean Segura at third base (Miami Herald)
The Cubs have designated catcher P.J. Higgins for assignment to clear a roster spot for Tucker Barnhart (official release)
The Yankees signed RHP Tyler Danish to a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp (WFAN)
The Padres are open to trading Trent Grisham and Ha-Seong Kim (Athletic)