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Carlos Correa Eloped With The Mets

7:53 AM EST on December 21, 2022

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 05: Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins looks on against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 05, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Carlos Correa's physical exam with the New York Mets' team physicians should be preserved for future medical students to commit to memory as a function of graduation and licensing, and given that it will take only a few seconds, it shouldn’t be a burden.

"No need to disrobe, Mr. Correa. Let me just ask you this: To your knowledge, are you now or have you ever been dead?

“I'll take that as a no. Please inform Mr. Cohen that you're cleared to go. Go and cavort among the other woodland creatures."

If you had the gall to go to bed last night, you probably thought Correa was on the way to being a San Francisco Giant, because he was. The Giants had offered him a 13-year, $350 million deal that Correa had agreed to, but their scheduled presser was postponed (well, canceled now, I suppose) when something allegedly turned up on his physical. Seemed pro forma at the time, because even though Correa has an injury history that looks like the Croatian national team jersey, he would have to have developed a prolapsed head and a compound fracture of the spleen not to sail through the probe.

But unless Correa actually fails the dead question, he will be a Met for 12 years and $315 million, a reduction in AAV of about $700K, or what Correa will come to call his tip jar.

The swiftness with which Correa uncoupled himself from the Giants calls into question the entire question of the wonky physical story, Frankly, it feels like the malady in question is actually frostbite of the feet, as either the Giants got skittish about an impulse buy or Correa got a last-second second offer from Steve Cohen, who has splashed north of $800 million in the free-agent market and whose tax figure for 2023 looks to be about $385 million. That computes to more than $100 million going to the Rob Manfred Benevolent And Staying Awake At The Ballpark Fund, the price Cohen is willing to pay to eradicate the memory of George Steinbrenner and shame Philadelphia's John Middleton and San Diego's Peter Seidler as half-hearted cheapjacks.

But let us instead focus on the poor mope in Florida, Charlie Johnson, who owns the Giants and just learned that after shoveling money down the sinkhole of Herschel Walker's Senate campaign, his dalliance with Correa will be the second-most embarrassing act of commerce he performs all year. He outbid himself to get Correa, got him, and then got got himself. His employees in San Francisco never confirmed or denied anything officially, but they are still going to have to explain how they bought the item, left the store with the receipt, and went to the loading dock to be handed Cohen's dropped trousers with a note pinned to the belt loop that read, "Lost In Transit, Morons."

That is, unless Johnson suddenly realized how much he was paying Correa to play until Charlie turned 102 and decided to yank the deal when it came time for stethoscope to meet torso. This is also a very real possibility because if we are prepared to suggest Cohen might have acted badly by stealing a fellow owner's potential goods, we have to consider Johnson more than capable of reneging on a promise right before it became official.

Either way, the effect is the same. Cohen now has an ironclad reputation as the guy who will spend anything to have anything, and Johnson is the hapless oaf whose money is no good no matter how high he piles it. The price for either man to do business now takes a dramatic leap, but only one of them is fine with that being the new price of doing business while the other is horrified at being made to look like an utter sap … again. Don't forget, after all, how they were played by Aaron Judge into baiting the hook that the Yankees bit on to keep Judge in pinstripes.

Maybe that's the Giants' grand plan then, for Johnson to bleed the New York teams dry one free-agent window at a time. I mean, it's a ridiculous notion given Hal Steinbrenner's ongoing earning power and Cohen's whale-thick wallet, but it might be the only way for Charlie to convince himself that this wasn't an absolutely awful winter for him in sport as well as politics. If he doesn't have the New York plan to fall back on, he has to consider the grim possibility that his money is Canadian in baseball terms—always 20 percent under market value even if the numbers read the same.

And that in its own way is hilarious, especially if you consider that the impoverished-by-design Oakland A's didn't get Correa either, and never even had to pick up a phone to not do so. It is surely gratifying to them that after all these years, they have the same purchasing power as their brutish Bay neighbors. So it's a good holiday season for someone, anyway, even if it is only the gift of schadenfreude.

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