OPINION: Where Carlos Correa’s short stop in San Francisco leaves the Giants

The infielder signs with the New York Mets after Giants fail physical


Chris Woodard

After a failed medical physical ends Carlos Correa’s stint as a San Francisco Giant ended before it ever began. Graphic created in Canva by Chris Woodard. Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Dylan McNeill

The San Francisco Giants went big-game fishing once again, and somehow it was worse than if they never got one pull. They had slugger Aaron Judge on their line for a few minutes, then infielder Carlos Correa for a week. But in the end, once again, the Giants left with nothing.

They’ve needed a star since 2018 when the now-retired Buster Posey’s wear-and-tear began to show. The team definitely needed one once Posey left the scene last offseason.

The Giants haven’t had a batter hit 30 home runs in a season since 2004. 

It looked as if the Giants finally got their franchise player, or fish, if we’re sticking to the analogy. Only to find themselves right back to where they were before —fishless. 

On Tuesday, Correa was getting ready to be introduced as the Giants’ new star at an introductory press conference after reportedly agreeing to a 13 year, $350 million contract — a deal that yielded both the longest amount of years and largest collective salary in club history.

By the end of the day, Correa was a New York Met. 

The Giants postponed the press conference without an explanation on Tuesday and before midnight struck, Correa had agreed to a 12 year, $315 million contract with New York. 

San Francisco had an issue with part of Correa’s physical and wanted more time to look over his medical reports, according to Correa’s agent Scott Boras, who also claimed in a Sports Illustrated article that the Giants were given a 1 p.m. deadline to make a decision.

“While we are prohibited from disclosing confidential medical information, as Scott Boras stated publicly, there was a difference of opinion over the results of Carlos’ physical examination. We wish Carlos the best,” Farhan Zaidi, the Giants President of Baseball Operations stated Wednesday in a release.

The Giants informed Boras they weren’t interested in the contract terms and 12 hours later, Correa had a new, cheaper deal in New York according to Jon Heyman, Giants’ fans favorite baseball reporter.

I had already updated my “MLB The Show” video game rosters to enjoy Correa on the team, the Giants were posting ticket advertisements featuring Correa and social media sites were posting the Correa jersey swap. It seemed like it was a done deal.

Correa’s surprise departure was just the cherry on top to an offseason that felt like it was all going fine enough until Tuesday.

The Giants signed American League MVP Aaron Judge for about six minutes before he decided to also go to New York, this time returning to his previous team — the Yankees. 

This year’s misses felt particularly close, but the Giants have been falling just short for a while now.

Giancarlo Stanton refused to waive his no-trade clause, Bryce Harper declined the Giants’ 12-year offer, even Shohei Ohtani kept the Giants in consideration before signing with the Angels — all within recent years.

While stars can only win so many games, they do bring fans to the stadium. 

Last season, the Giants had their lowest non-pandemic attendance since 1999, while also sporting the team’s lowest payroll in a decade.

If you put out Oakland Athletics-type line-ups, soon enough you’ll get Oakland Athletics-type attendance. 

Last year’s team leader in wins above replacement for the Giants was Carlos Rodon, who left in free agency to the Yankees for a six-year, $162 million contract. It wasn’t all too surprising as the Giants were never particularly interested in paying Rodon long-term and we fans were under the impression they just had spent a third of a billion dollars on Correa. 

As for the shortstop position, the Giants turn back to a familiar face in Brandon Crawford, who’s been the Giants starting shortstop since he was called up in 2011.

Crawford was informed by the Giants last week that Correa would take over at short and he would have to learn a new position. 

That’s no longer the case, as the Giants longest-tenured and only recognizable player returns to his old position before ever leaving. 

The Giants’ glaring weakness is their subpar defense.

The team finished with -32 outs above average, which was the third worst in MLB.

Now with Correa, a former platinum glove winner, gone to the Mets, the only position player they’ve added this offseason is signing a 32-year-old Mitch Haniger who played just 35% of games last year nursing a high-ankle sprain.

The Giants also re-signed Joc Pederson who was worth a team-low -15 defensive runs saved. 

“From a financial standpoint there’s nobody out of our capability,” Zaidi said earlier this month to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.

Thus far, the Giants have spent $93.5M on Haniger and starting pitchers Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea.

The Giants are 14th in MLB payroll currently after the Correa correction, according to FanGraphs.

Now that Correa seems settled, all of the big players in free agency are gone and the Giants will try again next year to catch their prize-winning fish.

Pirates All Star outfielder Bryan Reynolds is viewed as attainable via trade, but would cost top prospects. Reynolds is only in Pittsburgh because the Giants traded him there in 2018 for 130 games of Andrew McCutchen.

Ohtani, the game’s biggest player, becomes a free agent after next season. The rival Dodgers are already saving money for the two-way star, so the Giants have as good a chance at locking down Ohtani, as I do with Ice Spice (fingers crossed, though).

Since Zaidi took over after the 2018 season, the Giants have made the postseason once and missed it three times.

In Zaidi’s defense, he took over an old and bad Giants club and when they did make the playoffs, they won a franchise record 107 games before losing in the first round to the Dodgers.

When Zaidi was hired he was tasked with forming a team that could compete with the juggernaut of a franchise that is the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Now, four years removed from Zaidi’s hire, there’s definitely a second juggernaut in California and it’s the San Diego Padres. The Giants find themselves left in the dust of an arms race  in their own division.

Zaidi and the Giants’ front office have built this club by finding hidden value and scrummaging through waived players rather than investing in franchise cornerstones, and perhaps these star players aren’t too interested in introducing themself to new teammates every day.

With injuries and age, there was always a chance the Correa contract would age badly, and by the end they could be looking at $25M invested in a player that doesn’t add value to them. 

Speaking of, the Giants’ duo of Tommy La Stella and Anthony DeSclafani was worth -1.5 WAR appearing in 65 total games between the two. They’re due $23.5 million next year.

While the Giants celebrate their successes in the not-so-distant past, they can still fill out the ballpark with Posey and Pence jerseys on warm, summer weekends but in regard to championship aspirations and much like the garlic fries in Oracle Park, the team is getting stale.