SAN FRANCISCO – Giants executive Farhan Zaidi said the club expressed concerns to Carlos Correa's representative immediately when an issue arose with the shortstop's physical exam that led to the deal collapsing.
Zaidi, San Francisco's president of baseball operations, spoke publicly Friday for the first time since the $350 million, 13-year contract for Correa fell through Dec. 20. An introductory news conference was called off about three hours before it was set to begin that day. Then Correa and agent Scott Boras struck a new deal with the Mets for $315 million over 12 years.
“I was on the phone with Scott Boras on the Monday that we did Carlos' physical right when his plane landed in San Francisco at 5 p.m. and those conversations continued from that point, so any suggestion that this was an 11th-hour thing is just not accurate,” Zaidi said on a video call with a small group of beat reporters. “As soon as we had information we shared it. We have a good working relationship with Scott Boras and his agency.”
Zaidi confirmed the Giants and Correa's camp had “a difference of opinion on the medical review."
The varying opinions were over a right ankle injury and surgery in 2014 when the star infielder was in Class-A ball, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of privacy rules. Correa's deal with the Mets is being held up by similar concerns.
Zaidi said it is important and standard practice of the front office “to show them the respect of communicating any concerns immediately and not waiting until the last possible second.” He expressed having a good relationship with Boras.
In fact, the Giants were close to finalizing a $36 million, two-year contract with outfielder Michael Conforto, another Boras client who already has undergone a successful physical.
Given that Correa's contract with New York still hasn't gone through, San Francisco has “had some conversations since then” with Boras, according to Zaidi, but “they're focused on a deal elsewhere at this point so I think chances of a deal with us at this point are pretty unlikely based on their position.”
In addition, Zaidi wanted to stress to the Giants' loyal fan base that every decision was made as a whole, not by one individual.
“One thing that I would want to be clear and I think it's really important for us as an organization that our fans hear it from me and hopefully believe it is our organization was totally unified every step of the way as this unfolded,” Zaidi said, “in the initial pursuit, in the negotiation and in unfortunately what happened subsequently.”
Zaidi has faced criticism this offseason after missing out on Aaron Judge and then Correa. While Zaidi called it a “frustrating situation” for everybody involved, he is trying to keep that all in perspective, noting: “This is baseball, I feel really fortunate to be in this job, I love it, I love the responsibility that comes with it. And part of my responsibility is when things don't go your way is to support and lift other people up and not dwell on the negatives.”
He is moving past the scrutiny and looking forward to continuing to improve the roster for 2023. A former assistant general manager with the Oakland Athletics, the 46-year-old Zaidi came to the Giants in November 2018 from his previous job as GM of the Dodgers.
“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, and that's generally not a good thing,” he said. “At the end of the day I understand it comes with the territory. We have fans that really care, really are invested in this team and at the end of the day our job is to just put a compelling, fun team to watch on the field."
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