Limited options motivates Mets to get deal done with Carlos Correa

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NEW YORK — The Mets and Carlos Correa still do not have a resolution after two weeks, but the good news is that it seems as though one might be on the horizon.

Ken Rosenthal, speaking on “The Athletic Baseball Show” podcast, said he expects the two parties to complete a deal this week. Rosenthal also said he expects the contract to be different than what was initially agreed on — a 12-year, $315 million deal.

None of this is a surprise. If the club is concerned about the long-term ramifications of his surgically-repaired ankle then they have a few options, like including a clause in the contract about missing games because of the ankle and/or leg or reducing the number of years. The options probably are not appealing to Correa, but it’s probably better than trying his luck on the open market again.

Mets’ owner Steve Cohen clearly wanted Correa and other teams have been told that Correa only wants to negotiate with the Mets right now. All signs point to Correa, which is good because if the club were to pivot in another direction, the options would be limited.

Eduardo Escobar is likely to be traded once the Correa deal is complete, but should something fall through, the Mets can still use him. That might create an uncomfortable situation given the fact that the club did try to replace him with Correa, but he’s still under contract through 2023 with an option for 2024.

All of the elite free-agent hitters have signed with other teams, leaving only depth options on the market. Eric Hosmer could have been a decent option to bring a veteran presence and use as a DH or to spell Pete Alonso at first base, but the Mets aren’t exactly lacking in World Series winners with Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander anchoring the rotation. However, Hosmer is reportedly headed to the Chicago Cubs. Brandon Belt, another left-handed hitting first baseman, would fit that same category as Hosmer.

Khalil Lee will get a chance to compete for the fifth outfield spot — assuming the Mets will still use Jeff McNeil in the outfield next season — but if the Mets want outfield depth they could sign AJ Pollock or Adam Duvall. Both are veterans in their mid-30s so they would be signed to one- or two-year contracts at most, but if the club deems it necessary to bolster the outfield through free agency, then they could be options.

It’s no secret the lineup could use a few more home runs so they could take a flier on 42-year-old Nelson Cruz, who has hit 459 of them throughout his 18-year career and is only two years removed from hitting 32 as a 40-year-old All-Star. However, last season he hit just 10 of them for the Nationals.

If the Mets are willing to go the trade route, outfielder Bryan Reynolds asked for a trade out of Pittsburgh earlier this winter. But the Pirates have little motivation to deal a player of Reynolds’ caliber and the Mets have been hesitant to go the trade route without a well-stocked farm. They do have a blue-chip prospect in Ronny Mauricio that they could use in a trade since he’s blocked at shortstop at the big-league level.

As for trying to trade for someone like Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels are not expected to trade him this season. It’s far more likely the Mets wait until he’s a free agent next season to try and use the best resource they have to convince him to come to Queens: money.

But maybe with the exception of Reynolds, none of these options provide the Mets with the type of franchise cornerstone they are looking for. It seems like it’s Correa or bust, meaning there is significant motivation to get a deal done soon.