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Mets rumors: Where to now after Carlos Correa fallout?

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Manny Machado Mets rumors
Manny Machado (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

It’s impossible to say that the New York Mets and owner Steve Cohen spent with restraint this offseason after spending $801.6 million over a six-week stretch between November and December — but there is something to be said about how the Carlos Correa situation was handled. 

Rather than increase the 28-year-old All-Star’s average annual salary to lure him away from the Minnesota Twins, the Mets held firm. 

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The 12-year, $315 million deal they agreed to on Dec. 22 was worth $26.25 million per season. The six-year, $157.5 million re-negotiated proposal that the Mets reportedly floated to Correa and Boras was also worth that same amount. 

And so Correa and Boras walked.

It’s common practice to see shorter-term deals get higher annual values, but Cohen and the Mets were obviously unwilling to match the $33.3 million per year offer the Twins tabled over six guaranteed seasons. Call it responsible spending or just pulling the reins on an offseason that has been nothing short of a frenzied shopping spree, but now the Mets are devoid of that “one more thing,” as Cohen described it.

“This was important,” he told the New York Post after agreeing with Correa and his agent, Scott Boras, on Dec. 21. “This puts us over the top. This is a good team. I hope it’s a good team!”

Carlos Correa Mets
Carlos Correa (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

A big bat is the last glaring thing that is on the Mets’ checklist to provide more of a thump in the middle of the lineup that struggled for consistent production behind Pete Alonso batting clean-up — most notably from the designated hitter spot.

With Correa now out of the picture, Eduardo Escobar is a necessity to man third base next to Francisco Lindor rather than be utilized as a DH option if he wasn’t traded away. 

The remaining free agent pool is obviously thin given the time of year, especially for a team looking for a power bat. Trey Mancini hit 18 home runs with the Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros while Adam Duvall — who hit 38 home runs with 113 RBI in 2021 — hit 12 in 86 games last season before undergoing season-ending wrist surgery. 

Those are potential stop-gap options for 2023 — but there certainly appear to be larger targets to consider next winter. 

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado is expected to opt out of his contract following 2023 and is a player the Mets apparently discussed while negotiations with Correa broke up, per Fantrax’s Michael Marino.

There is also the allure of going after Shohei Ohtani, who will be a free agent next winter and is a transcendental talent who excels on both the pitcher’s mound and the batter’s box. The Mets and general manager Billy Eppler have already checked in over the past six months on the Angels star’s status. 

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