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Why Carlos Correa's free agency was a mess of incomplete deals, guesswork owners and old wounds

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Although more than two weeks have passed since the star infielder Carlos Correa reached an agreement with the New York food on a 12-year deal worth $315 million, the two parties have yet to finalize the arrangement. The heist is believed to stem from Mets concerns over Correa’s right leg.

Mets and Correa agent Scott Boras continued to negotiate revised terms Thursday, but this news was accompanied by a report from the New York Post that Boras had “reconnected with at least one or two other interested teams”.At this point, it’s unclear which is more likely: Correa and the Mets finding a solution, or Boras finding more favorable terms from another club.

If, like a well-rounded human being, you’ve spent the past three plus weeks dealing with family matters as part of the holiday season, then you might know all about what happened with Correa. At CBS Sports, we’re hardly well adjusted, so we thought we’d provide a handy explainer that would answer six questions you might have about this situation.

Let’s go.

1. Correa has not already signed with the giants?

We might as well start here. Yes Correa technically reached a deal with the San Francisco Giants in the form of a 13-year contract worth $350 million. The Giants held a press conference to introduce Correa, and he and his family even went house hunting in the San Francisco area. Alas, the press conference was canceled just hours before it was supposed to take place. Before a full day had passed, Correa had agreed terms with the Mets on that contract.

2. What happened to the deal with the Giants?

This may sound familiar. The Giants raised concerns about the long-term condition of Correa’s lower right leg during a physical. From there, well, let’s just defer to Boras’ public explanation of what happened from there.

“We reached an agreement. We had a letter of agreement. We gave them a deadline to execute it”, Boras told The Athletic. They told us that they still had questions, that they still wanted to talk to other people, other doctors, to go through that.

“I said, ‘Look, I gave you a reasonable time. We need to move forward on this. Give me a deadline. If you’re not going to perform, I have to go talk to other teams. “”

Boras has indeed spoken to other teams which has resulted in the current situation.

3. Why are teams worried about Correa’s leg?

Correa suffered a nasty right leg injury while a minor league player in the Houston Astros system. He had to undergo surgery as a result, and part of that process included fitting a plate near his ankle. Correa hasn’t needed to be injured because of his leg since, but physical exams often have predictive value rather than prescriptive value, i.e. doctors look forward, step backwards.

It stands to reason that two things could be true: Doctors might be justified in pointing out Correa’s leg as an area of ​​concern, but Correa might remain relatively healthy regardless of the plate. Of course, this is a case where the public and the media don’t have enough information to weigh one way or the other.

4. What could a revised Correa agreement include?

In theory, the Mets and Correa could insert compensatory language that would protect the club in case Correa’s leg becomes a problem. Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal explained how it would work. (Tap with gloves on NBC Sports Bay Area for the transcript of the podcast.)

“The way to do it in a situation like this is to put something in the contract called an ‘exclusion clause’ which basically says if a player goes X days on the injured list with that specific injury, the specific injury to that part of his leg, then you can void future years or you can reduce the warranty, there’s all sorts of ways to do that,” Rosenthal said. “Now obviously if you’re Correa and Boras, you don’t want that kind of language because it diminishes the value of the contract and creates that uncertainty. Obviously, he doesn’t have the same.”

It’s unclear whether the two parties being discussed have an exclusion clause, or whether Boras and Correa are even open to the possibility of installing such a clause in the deal.

They could also add more generic team options to the deal that would allow the Mets to bail out if Correa’s health becomes an issue down the road.

5. Are there any other considerations at play for the Mets?

Indeed, the Mets’ situation with Correa is more delicate than that of the Giants. Indeed, owner Steve Cohen may have opened his team to a grievance from the Major League Baseball Players Association if the Mets backed out of their arrangement by making public comments about Correa.

“We needed one more thing, and that’s it.” Cohen told the New York Post after the initial deal with Correa was announced.. “It was important… It puts us above it. It’s a good team. I hope it’s a good team!”

There’s a reason executives never comment on players or deals until they’re official. You can understand why Cohen was excited, but his overzealous nature could end up costing him here if he can’t make a deal with Boras.

6. Is Correa worth the candle?

Yes. He’s a two-time 28-year-old star who has posted 128 OPS+ over the past three seasons while playing good shortstop defense. CBS Sports ranked him as the No. 3 free agent entering the winterbehind only Judge Aaron and Jacob of Grom. Correa is an elite player, in so many words. It would be regrettable if the events of this winter ended up obscuring this fact.

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