How Giants, Mets, Twins have fared in Carlos Correa saga aftermath

How all sides have fared months after Correa shocker originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The reality of the MLB offseason is incongruous with how it's actually covered by the media and talked about by fans.

It can take years to know if a team made the right move, but in the social media age, most decisions are digested and analyzed within minutes. That's just what teams are dealing with now, as the Giants were reminded in December.

It doesn't matter to a lot of fans that Aaron Judge was always headed back to the New York Yankees. For seven minutes at the winter meetings, the organization had hope that Judge -- or Arson Judge -- would decide to come home, and some still view that process as a failure for the front office.

It will never matter to a lot of Giants fans that the New York Mets balked at Carlos Correa's medical file a few days after the Giants did. There's a segment that will always view it as a mistake to pull out of the 13-year, $350 million pact.

The Giants felt confident in their shocking decision when they made it, and they still feel that way months later. But they won't truly know if they were right until Correa is nearly finished with his six-year, $200 million contract with the Minnesota Twins. The Giants felt that was about when his ankle would start becoming a real issue. Correa disagreed, and the Twins were willing to take the risk.

On Monday, the Giants will get their first look at Correa since he was taken to the airport shortly after he was supposed to be introduced with a glitzy press conference at Oracle Park. It's too early to know if they were right to cancel it, but five months later, everyone has had a bit more time to breathe and figure out next steps. Here's how all sides are faring in the aftermath of the most infamous failed physical in the sport's history:

The Giants

Weeks before agreeing with Correa on what would have been the biggest contract in franchise history, the Giants offered a similar sum to Judge, a player they viewed as a much better fit, and not just because of his historic production at the plate and connection to Northern California.

Judge told the Giants he wanted to play center field at Oracle Park, which would have pushed Mike Yastrzemski to right, where he's a potential Gold Glove Award winner, and Mitch Haniger to left. The Correa deal came with the awkwardness of moving the best shortstop in franchise history -- Brandon Crawford -- to third base for his final year or years as a Giant.

Months later, the Giants again seem to have Crawford's ultimate replacement, but it's a much cleaner fit, with Crawford now serving as a mentor for a rookie.

Casey Schmitt's arrival has been the most exciting by a Giants prospect in years, and it's not hard to connect the dots to Correa. Would Schmitt be in the big leagues right now if Correa had ended up in San Francisco? It's not likely.

That addition would have changed everything, so who knows what the Opening Day roster would have looked like had Correa signed, but the end result of the deal falling apart was the Giants keeping Crawford at short and installing David Villar as their third baseman.

Villar's struggles, combined with Schmitt's hot start in Triple-A, allowed for an early swap of young players. Because of their lack of depth at short, the Giants had Schmitt play there all spring, and they called him up specifically to shore up the defense at shortstop when Crawford was hurt. Had Correa signed, the Giants likely wouldn't have moved Schmitt around as much, leaving him to wait in Triple-A until help was needed at third base.

For as good as Schmitt has been -- he’s already about equal to Correa in WAR this season -- accomplishing even half of what Correa has in the big leagues would be a tremendous outcome for the Giants. But at the moment, you won't find many who mind that the result of all the shuffling the last six months was the opportunity to throw Schmitt into the mix at shortstop.

There's another on-field element to all this. The uncertainty at third allowed J.D. Davis to grab the job in April, and he has a .859 OPS and eight homers while playing the best defense of his career. Davis is not as much of a long-term fit as Correa would have been, but he's only a year and a half older and comes at a fraction of the cost.

Of course, the offseason wasn't just about winning on the field.

The Giants are averaging just under 28,000 fans per game, which ranks 16th in the majors. There's a lack of buzz around the organization and outright displeasure from many who once were regulars at Oracle. Correa isn't a Judge-like star who would have sold thousands of season tickets on his own, but he would have helped, and the Giants will continue to face valid questions about their ability to lure stars to San Francisco.

Correa And The Twins

The shortstop was booed at Dodger Stadium earlier this month, because the fans there have not forgotten the Houston Astros' cheating scandal. But his first visit to Oracle Park, likely to come next season, shouldn't be controversial.

It's worth noting Correa handled himself well throughout. In an unprecedented situation, he said just about all the right things, and you never can blame a player or his agent for chasing the biggest contract or fighting back when there are so many reports about how his leg might be permanently damaged.

The Giants felt Correa conducted himself with class, and when he was taken to the airport a couple of days after a wild turn in the story -- one that cost him a tremendous amount of money -- Correa thanked team officials for their work during the process and for all they did behind the scenes to make him comfortable during his short time in San Francisco.

Correa said all the right things when he ended up back in Minnesota, too, although it has been a rocky reunion at times. Earlier this month, after his average dropped to .185, he heard some boos.

"I'd boo myself, too, with the amount of money I'm making if I'm playing like that and I'm in the stands," he said, per The Athletic. "Obviously, it's acceptable. It's part of the game, part of sports. Fans want production and fans want a team that's going to compete out there and win games. It's to be expected when you play poorly. But at the same time, the work doesn't stop.

"I'm going to keep working and keep focusing on the things I can control, and the results will come."

The pace hasn’t picked up too much since that day. Correa enters the Giants series with a .206/.298/.388 slash line and six homers. His OPS is the lowest of his career, although he is playing his usual strong defense.

RELATED: Schmitt's record-setting throws bring back college memories

The Twins hoped for quite a bit more overall, but they have time to figure it out, and they picked a good year to make their big move. They play in the worst division in baseball and have a 3 1/2 game lead in the Central despite being 25-22.

The Mets

A late entry into the sweepstakes, Mets owner Steve Cohen briefly was the main character. For as surprising as the canceled press conference in San Francisco was, it wasn't until the Mets agreed to their own $315 million deal with Correa that the heat really got turned up to an uncomfortable level for Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and Co.

That deal fell apart for the same reason, and the Mets have responded in a similar fashion as the Giants. Most of their starts at third have gone to former first-round pick Brett Baty, who has a .776 OPS and four homers. The 23-year-old is a former top 50 prospect and, like Schmitt, is hoping to use the opportunity to lock down a long-term job on the left side of the infield.

The Mets are only 24-23, but their biggest problems have been on the pitching side, particularly with a star-studded rotation that might be getting old in a hurry.

A nine-figure deal is a rounding error for Cohen, but ultimately, the Mets probably won't mind the additional financial flexibility. MLB home run leader Pete Alonso is less than two years from free agency, and the Mets are widely viewed as one of the favorites to sign Shohei Ohtani, who could cost close to twice what Correa would have.

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