The Mets are showing interest in star free-agent Carlos Correa

By Ken Rosenthal, Dan Hayes and Andy McCullough

A surprising new team has emerged in the Carlos Correa sweepstakes – or perhaps not surprising given the amount of money. New York The Mets have already had this offseason.

Yes, Steve Cohen might be back.

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

“I would say there’s a little smoke,” one Mets person said. “I don’t know how big the fire is, though.”

Mets general manager Billy Eppler declined comment.

Given the size of Correa’s expected payday and the already generous spending spree by the Mets this winter, pursuing Correa outright might feel like a stretch.

Steve Cohen (Jim McKissock/Getty Images)

Correa’s acquisition would represent another stunning addition for Cohen, whose team has already signed the pitcher. Justin VerlanderCenter fielder Brandon Nimmo And three free agents this offseason, pushing its luxury-tax payroll to nearly $350 million, according to Fangraphs. With the fine, the Mets’ total payroll would be approximately $421 million, the most in major-league history.

Despite all Cohen has invested, people familiar with his thinking say the owner still believes the Mets need more offense, prompting the team to explore not only the Korea market, but also players like JD Martinez and Michael Conforto.

Correa, a remaining free agent, could cost more than $30 million more per season or less on an average annual basis if he signs a deal longer than 10 years — according to sources. Two other free-agent shortstops, Tree Turner And Xander BogaertsSigned 11-year deals worth $300 million and $280 million, respectively.

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The Mets won’t be alone in their pursuit of Correa. The Minnesota Twins See him as their primary target San Francisco Giants Also believed to be in the mix. After missing Yankees Lazy Aaron JudgeThe Giants face significant pressure to find a franchise pillar to build around.

At the start of the season, many executives viewed Correa as the most attractive player on the market, given his extreme talent, relatively young age and ability to stick at an important defensive position like shortstop. As the winter meetings wrapped up last week — after Turner, Bogarts and Judge made seismic deals — Correa was the top player in the market. A trip by the Mets to meet the demands of Correa and his agent, Scott Boras, would encourage clubs like Minnesota or San Francisco.

A two-time All-Star, Correa failed to find a long-term commitment that met his expectations last winter. He signed a three-year, $105.3 million contract with the Twins, then opted out after hitting 22 home runs with an .834 OPS. Although improved defensive metrics dinged him in 2022, Correa won the Platinum Glove as the game’s best defender. Houston In 2021.

At some point, the Mets are expected to take steps to reduce their payroll. catcher James McCann and right hand Carlos Carrasco They are tradable players and third basemen Eduardo Escobar You can even move if you join the Korea Club. Interest in top prospects like the Mets should be explored Brett’s grandmother And Mark Vientos.

AthleticWin Will Sammon contributed to this report.

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(Photo: Mike Stobb / Getty Images)

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