February 9, 2023

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Rosenthal: The culprit in Carlos Correa’s free agent contract? His ankle is more than his agent

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from Carlos Correa and Scott Porras and additional information.

We’ll look at Carlos Correa differently now. We’ll wonder if a major injury is waiting to happen. We’ll fantasize about a fancy crimson “A” on his surgically repaired right ankle for the rest of his career.

question, following Korea’s six-year, $200 million deal with twins – his third free agent deal of the offseason, each one short of the last – is whether his agent, Scott Boras, could better protect his client. Better to protect him financially. Better to protect it publicly. Better protect him from the mayhem over the past month that has forever changed our view of one of the game’s biggest stars.

A number of competing agents, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly criticize a peer, say Porras should have better anticipated the problems that arose in the materiality of Korea, then acted to minimize the damage to his market. Porras disputes this point, saying that a number of doctors have cleared Correa, and other clients suggest that he was in a difficult position.

“Porras did nothing wrong,” said one customer. “His client had a major injury and he did what he could to salvage his value.”

The fact that any clients sympathize with Boras is noteworthy, given that many envy him and/or detest his snobbish manner. At the very least, the public nature of Correa’s negotiations made it clear why many agents and clubs were reluctant to disclose the terms of the contract until the players’ physicals were completed. Most of the time, the physical is a formality. But when it isn’t, pay attention.

Correa, 28, will live just fine. He went through a physical with the twins and was introduced by the team at a press conference on Wednesday. His new annual average value of $33.33 million is 12th highest in major league history. However, consider the damage his surgically repaired right ankle caused on his free agency:

Seven-year, $150 million guaranteed loss, compared to his original 13-year agreement of $350 million giants.

• a Discounted offer from Mets That was exactly half of his original 12-year, $315 million deal with Team Cohen.

• The final agreement with the Twins was four years and $85 million less than the team’s initial 10-year offer, $285 million.

Even if all four options years in the Twins deal are exercised, either through vesting provisions or club decisions, Correa will receive no more than $270 million — $15 million less than what the Twins first offered. Corea, before changing agents from WME’s John Rosen to Boras during the lockout, reportedly turned down a 10-year, $275 million deal from tigers. His total guarantee with the Twins, including last year’s salary of $35.1 million, is still less than that amount. But if he earned the full $270 million, his total would surpass it, coming to $305.1 million over the course of 11 years.

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“Doctors differ in opinions,” Correa said Wednesday. “A lot of doctors told me I was fine. I have some doctors that said it wasn’t quite right.”

The latest group’s findings seem to be reverberating throughout the industry. red socks crook Trevor’s story He had elbow surgery Monday, but the Sox didn’t seem to be jumping into the Korea Lottery, even at a low price. the Dodgers They lack a proven shortstop and generally jump in when star players are available on shorter deals, but they also, obviously, haven’t put on a bid to the Twins’ level. So, just as they did in the post-lockdown environment last season, the Twins took advantage of an opening up in the market to grab Correa, the kind of star that typically lands big-market teams.

If the commotion around Korea could have been avoided, it would have been closer to the start of the operation, before anyone knew how serious his ankle problem was. To ease concerns about Korea back in the latest season, Boras visited him Dr. Robert Watkins, leading spine surgeon. Correa was also cleared by two specialists from the Kerlan-Jobe Institute — Dr. Neil Alattrash, chief physician for the Dodgers and NFL Rams, Boras said. and Dr. Kenneth Jung, a foot and ankle specialist. Correa injured his ankle in 2014 when he was 19 years old Astros. In eight major league seasons, he did not go on the injured list due to a right leg problem.

Boras said that Correa underwent a physical examination with the Twins team doctor, Christopher Camp, when he signed with the team last March, and that he asked Camp to perform a full physical on the player at the end of the season, before he became a free agent. But the Twins’ exit test, according to the team source, is often limited to areas of concern that have arisen during regular season player visits to the coach’s room. Correa never visited the coach’s room because of his ankle, even after a hard slide to second base on September 20 in Kansas City—a slide that led him to report to reporters that night about the metal plate inserted into his right leg while he was driving. Surgery 2014.

In any case, Porras said the familiarity the camp has gained with Korea throughout the 2022 season has proven to be a key element in the Twins completing a player agreement after the Giants and mets No. Referring to Twins baseball president Derek Valve, Boras said, “I think having this base gave Derek and me a very solid foundation to work from and gave us a clarity that most organizations didn’t enjoy. They didn’t have the information and depth of understanding who Carlos was and what his true medical condition was.” We’re not here to fault outside doctors and their opinions. But I will say that medicine, especially in sports, orthopedic jobs and clinical exams on a daily basis is far more important than an MRI.”

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If the Twins were so confident in Correa’s long-term prognosis, they wouldn’t sign him to a deal for $85 million less than they proposed earlier this season. They first became aware of Correa’s ankle problem in the physical condition leading up to the three-year, $105.3 million free agent contract they awarded him last March. However, the risk assessment was different. The Twins fully expected Korea to drop out after one season. And even if he did serve the full three years, the stability of his ankle was seen as a long-term concern, less likely to become an issue during his time at Minnesota.

The Giants, after agreeing to a contract longer than four times as long with Korea, had to consider a different calculation. their deal news With Korea it broke on December 13th. While the source is not identified, deals involving Boras clients often quickly become public. Many agents resist releasing such information, fearing that if a player actually cancels the agreement, their standing in the open market will suffer. Then again, once the news is out, pressure increases on the club to complete the deal, which is a potential advantage for the agent and player.

The Giants’ postponement of Correa’s pre-match press conference in San Francisco was the first sign that something was amiss. An extended delay might have raised suspicion and led to the same outcome, but players often fail physical exams without anyone knowing. In an ideal world, Boras might have worked out a restructuring deal with the Giants, rather than going back to the open market. If he had agreed to say, $250 million with options to go up to $350 million, he would have ended up with Korea in a better place than he did with the Twins.

Such an analysis, however, assumes that the Giants were willing to bargain down. This does not appear to be the case. The Giants said they want more time to examine Corea’s medical records. Boras dismissed their concerns as “speculative dynamics”. Besides, he had another option, the richest landlord in the game, someone who had previously offered Korea 12 years and $288 million and longed to Back to Korea Bid.

That would be Steve Cohen.

Boras pivoted quickly. He said he informed Cohen and Mets of the difference in medical opinion with the Giants, and advised them to talk to ElAttrache and Jung. It is not known whether or not these conversations took place. About 12 hours after Correa’s scheduled submission in San Francisco, Correa reached an agreement with the Mets.

So excited was Cohen that he confirmed the deal before Correa took his body, telling the New York Post, “We needed something else, and this was it.” This comment laid the groundwork for potential trouble if the Mets backed out of the agreement. Clubs, too, are reluctant to reveal details of contracts before they become official. in 1999, Orioles News broke prematurely of their signing for reliever Xavier Hernandez and he was forced to Pay him $1.75 million to settle A complaint came after a physical revealed a partial tear in the pitcher’s right rotator cuff and prompted the team to cancel the deal.

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Cohen’s confirmation of the Korea deal could potentially cost the Mets much more, apparently increasing the team’s incentive to finalize the signing. But once reports surfaced about the Giants worrying about Corea’s right ankle, the Mets also had an incentive to take a deeper look at the ankle, especially since they were committing more than $300 million. Correa’s problem seems so obvious, the Mets’ doctors probably figured it out regardless. But one customer said that if news of the Giants deal had not been made public, the Mets would have been operating in the dark. Perhaps their physicians’ explanation of Korea’s case was less alarming than that of the giants. Perhaps Cohen would have pushed through the deal.

“If they want you, they’ll pass you,” the agent said, referring to the way teams physically view the players.

Porras talked to the Mets about building in protective language, something he’s done with many clients in the past—Ivan Rodriguez and Maglio Ordonez with the Tigers, and J.D. Drew and JD Martinez with the Red Sox. The way this language generally works is, if a player spends a certain amount of time on the injured list, the team can afford a lower guarantee. None of these players suffered the types of injuries needed for protective items to activate. They were all from clubs that had reached or won the World Championship.

Mets was not bitten. They were so concerned about Correa’s ankle, they let the Twins, a team with far fewer resources, outbid them at $42.5 million.

“We were unable to reach an agreement,” the Mets said in a statement on Wednesday. We wish Carlos all the best.

The twins treated Correa’s introductory press conference as a happy homecoming, but they would eventually face more difficult questions regarding his long-term health. Should they go easy on him at spring training? Stop him from competing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic? Remove him from the regular season games in which they make big leads late on?

By staying healthy, Correa could put himself on a Hall of Fame course — yes, even with his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. But now he will face an uncomfortable new form of scrutiny, all because of an old injury he may not have known was a problem. As tempting as it may be to blame Boras, the ankle caused Correa’s misfortune. It’s a $200 million gamble.

(Photo: David Berding/Getty Images)