John Shipley: Why didn’t Carlos Correa’s ankle spook the Twins?
Correa had two mammoth deals fall apart because of an MRI on his right ankle.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As he often does for his clients, Scott Boras showed up at Target Field on Wednesday for the homecoming of Carlos Correa, who had just agreed to return to Minnesota on a six-year, $200 guaranteed contract with vesting options for another four seasons.
There’s no doubt Boras wanted to bask in what was the happiest possible ending to a serpentine and very public process that featured all-but-done deals with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets before Correa made a surprise return to Minnesota. But Boras clearly had something to get off his chest.
Specifically, Boras doesn’t like it when doctors with little to no experience with his clients are helping teams make business decisions about his clients.
“The frustration,” Boras said, “(is) that there is a medical community that is closest to the athletes — similarly trained, similarly gifted in their abilities to practice in the specialized area of foot and ankle — (yet) there’s just this reliance on something that’s so distant, an MRI, rather than the functionality and clinical exam on a day-to-day basis.”
Boras, of course, has a stake in these decisions. Correa had two mammoth deals fall apart because of an MRI on his right ankle, a 13-year $350 million agreement with the Giants, and a 12-year, $315 million agreement with the Mets. Both teams looked at images of Correa’s ankle, surgically repaired in 2014, and decided they didn’t bode well for a long-term deal. At least not at those prices.
Why didn’t they spook the Twins, who had put Correa through a physical before he joined the team last March and have seen the same MRIs? The short answer is Minnesota feels better about the risks, in large part because the Twins and their orthopedic specialist, Dr. Christopher Camp of the Mayo Clinic, worked with Correa all last season.
“I would say that Carlos is ready to go,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “(Camp) walked out of the exam yesterday (and) said he feels as good as he’s ever felt about where (Correa) is at with the hands-on physical and otherwise.”
And yet the deal Correa signed has four fewer guaranteed years than the Twins’ initial offer, $285 million for 10 years. And the Mets weren’t scared off of Correa, just from a 12-year guaranteed contract worth $315 million. New York didn’t officially bow out until Wednesday.
As they say in the gangster pictures, it’s just business.
“We’ve built the structure (of the contract) in a way that manages a little bit of the long-term risk associated with this,” Falvey said. “But we feel excellent about how he’s rolling into 2023.”
The Twins didn’t give Correa another MRI this week, and have no concerns that the ankle issue — a metal plate was put into his right fibula when he was playing Class A ball in 2014 — will inevitably require another procedure.
“Our view of there is not that there is some impending clock or moment,” Falvey said. “I’ll compare it to something like, if you had an (elbow) injury, and you see some tearing and you’re not sure and you don’t know how fast that’s going to come. It’s not like that. This is a different type of situation.”
Within an hour of the Giants deal falling apart, Boras said Wednesday, the Mets called and hammered out their offer.
“Guess who the Mets called for an opinion about Carlos’ ankle? The very doctor that the Giants had called,” he said. “So, consequently, two teams, same doctor, and yet the owner of the Mets didn’t know that.”
Boras said he provided differing opinions from four other doctors, including Camp and Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache of Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, “but the teams would not accept those judgments, and here we go.”
According to Boras, the Mets floated a deal that included full physicals after each season of the contract so that “their doctors subjectively say whether or not he could continue after the sixth year.”
“I said, ‘You’ve now eradicated guaranteed contracts,’ ” Boras said.
The Twins used their leverage to broker a better deal, but nothing so draconian. In fact, the $33.3 million annually the Twins have guaranteed Correa over the next six seasons is about $7 million more than the average annual payouts of the Giants and Mets deals.
The Twins were aggressive in pursuing Correa and still lowered their offer.
“It’s a competitive world, right?” Falvey said.
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