Zaidi addresses 'frustrating' Correa saga
Ten days after the Giants’ 13-year, $350 million deal with star shortstop Carlos Correa fell apart over medical concerns, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi publicly addressed the situation for the first time, calling the free-agent saga “frustrating” and “disappointing” during a Zoom call with reporters on Friday.
The Giants were expecting to introduce Correa during a media conference at Oracle Park on Dec. 20, but the event was called off three hours before it was scheduled to take place. According to multiple reports, the Giants expressed concerns about Correa’s surgically-repaired lower right leg, prompting agent Scott Boras to quickly pivot and strike a 12-year, $315 million agreement with the Mets.
Correa’s deal with the Mets is not yet official -- New York reportedly found a similar issue during the 28-year-old’s physical -- but Zaidi said he doesn’t expect the Giants to jump back into the fray this offseason.
“We’ve had some conversations since then, but our understanding is they’re focused on a deal elsewhere at this point,” Zaidi said. “So I think the chances of a deal with us at this point are pretty unlikely based on their position.”
Due to the “sensitivity of the subject matter,” the Giants had previously limited their comments to a two-sentence press release attributed to Zaidi, who confirmed the megadeal collapsed due to “a difference of opinion” over the results of Correa’s physical.
While teams have access to a free agent’s medical records, the clubs don’t get a full picture of the player’s health until bringing him in for an in-person physical exam, which includes a visit with a team doctor and a series of X-rays, MRIs and other scans.
Correa underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a fractured right fibula as a 19-year-old prospect in the Astros' organization in 2014, though Zaidi suggested the Giants uncovered new information that wasn’t on his older files.
“We would never come to an agreement with a player and then bring up concerns pertaining to something in the electronic medical record,” Zaidi said. “By that point, we’ve far cleared that hurdle. Anything that comes up would be based on new information that has arisen through the process.”
Zaidi said the Giants promptly communicated their concerns to Boras, with the two sides speaking on the phone as soon as Boras’ plane landed in San Francisco at 5 p.m. PT on Dec. 19, which was the day of Correa’s physical.
“Any suggestion that this was an 11th-hour thing is just not accurate,” Zaidi said. “As soon as we had information, we shared it.”
Zaidi emphasized that the entire Giants organization, from ownership to baseball operations, was in “complete alignment” throughout every step of the process, including the decision to ultimately walk away from what would have been the fourth-largest contract in Major League history.
“I genuinely believe there was a good faith effort, not just by us, but by Scott and Carlos to get a deal done,” Zaidi said. “Some of the innuendo that maybe [Correa] preferred to be somewhere else -- I think while we were engaged with them, we never got any indication or suggestion that he was anything other than 100 percent in on the idea of joining our organization.
"We’re grateful for that. It’s disappointing, but we’re also turning the page and excited about the players we have and the players we’ll continue to add. That’s got to be our focus now as the calendar turns to 2023.”
Despite the “frustrating” developments, Zaidi said he believes the Giants will be in position to compete next season, particularly following the free-agent additions of Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, Taylor Rogers, Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling.
Without Correa, the Giants still lack a true centerpiece, though Zaidi said he’s working on making more roster upgrades this offseason, particularly to the bullpen.
“It’s always a little jarring when you open up your Twitter app just to see what’s happening in the world and your name is trending,” Zaidi said. “That’s generally not a good thing, but at the end of the day, I understand it comes with the territory. We have fans that really care and really are invested in this team. At the end of the day, our job is to put a compelling, fun team to watch out on the field.
"I really think that’s what we’re working towards. When the bell rings, we expect to be a really competitive team that’s fun to watch. I really hope our fans stick with us as we kind of work through some of what’s happened this offseason and continue to work for the next couple of months.”