The Mets have shown interest in star free agent Carlos Correa

Written by Ken Rosenthal, Dan Hayes, and Andy McCullough

A surprising new team debuted in the Carlos Correa lottery — or maybe not so surprising, considering how much money New York The Mets have already spent this off-season.

Yes, Steve Cohen might be back again.

Cohen’s Mets are showing interest in Korea, according to sources familiar with the team’s thinking. Correa, 28, will likely play third base for the Mets, along with fellow Puerto Rican shortstop Francisco Lindor.

“I would say there is some smoke,” said one of the Mets people. “I’m not sure how big the fire is, though.”

Mets general manager Billy Eppler declined to comment.

While the full pursuit of Corea might seem like a stretch, given the amount of Corea’s projected payday and the expenses already spent by the Mets this winter, Cohen has really expanded the parameters of what an owner can spend.

Steve Cohen (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The acquisition of Correa would be another amazing addition for Cohen, whose team has already signed the pitcher Justin Verlandercenter fielder Brandon Nemo and three more free agents this season, pushing his luxury tax paycheck to nearly $350 million, according to Fangraphs. With fines included, the Mets’ total salary would be approximately $421 million, the highest in major league history.

Despite all that Cohen has invested, people familiar with his thinking indicated that the owner still believed the Mets needed more offense, prompting the team to scout not only the Korea market, but also players like J.D. Martinez and Michael Conforto.

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Correa, the highest remaining free agent, will likely cost more than $30 million more per season, or possibly less on an annual basis if he signs a 10-plus year deal — a possibility, according to sources. Two more free agent stops, Tria Turner And the Xander Bogaertssigned 11-year deals worth $300 million and $280 million, respectively.

The Mets wouldn’t be alone in any pursuit of Corea. The Minnesota Twins seen as their primary goal, and San Francisco Giants It is also believed to be in the mix. after being lost Yankees slugger Aaron JudgeThe Giants are under great pressure to find a franchise pillar to build around.

At the start of the offseason, Correa was viewed by many executives as the most compelling player on the market, due to his huge talent, relatively young age and ability to remain in a crucial defensive position as shortstop. As the Winter Meetings wrapped up last week – after all the seismic signings of Turner, Bogaerts and Judge – Correa remained the best player in the market. The Mets’ foray may lead to revitalization of clubs such as Minnesota or San Francisco to meet the demands of Correa and his representative, Scott Porras.

A two-time All-Star, Correa failed to find a long-term commitment that lived up to his expectations last winter. He settled into a three-year, $105.3 million agreement with the Twins, then opted out after hitting 22 home runs with a 0.834 OPS. Although his advanced defensive metrics beat him in 2022, Correa won the Platinum Glove as the best defender in the sport with Houston in 2021.

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At some point, the Mets are expected to make moves to reduce their salaries. catcher James McCann and right hand Carlos Carrasco They are among the players they might trade, and a third baseman Eduardo Escobar He may also be on the move if Correa joins the club. The Mets may also have to explore interest in better prospects such as Brett Patti And the Mark Ventus.

the athleteWill Sammon contributed to this report.

(Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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