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Team Puerto Rico now plays for the Mets

By signing Carlos Correa away from the San Francisco Giants, the Mets have assembled the best Puerto Rican talent to play in Queens.

The best Puerto Rican baseball players in the world will be heading to Miami in March to compete in the World Baseball Classic. Three weeks later, the entire team will be heading 100 miles north to Port St. Lucie to join the New York Mets for Spring Training.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. Last night, the New York Mets signed free agent shortstop Carlos Correa away from the San Francisco Giants, who wanted to renegotiate their franchise-high 13-year, $350 million deal they offered to Correa last week. That story is crazy enough in itself, but there’s a bigger narrative playing out in Queens.

The city with the largest Puerto Rican population in the United States now has a baseball team to match for the first time since the late-90s Bronx Bombers. And much like that Yankees dynasty, the Mets are now the best team in baseball thanks to their Puerto Rican stars.

The Mets’ Boricua core

The Mets signed closer Edwin Diaz to a $100 million+ contract this past offseason two years after signing franchise player Francisco Lindor to a $341 million contract in late 2020. Having the best Puerto Rican player plus the most electric Puerto Rican pitcher in the world already made them the Boricua team of choice in MLB. Having the Quarterican Seth Lugo in the bullpen only added to the team’s PR credibility, as did having catcher and defensive specialist Tomas Nido.

Lugo left in free agency this offseason, leaving an opening for another player. Nothing forced the Mets to find another Puerto Rican free agent to their roster, until the Giants got cold feet at a mysterious physical from their newest signing. In swooped the Mets.

Correa, a lifetime shortstop, will slide over to third base in the transaction to keep Lindor at shortstop. But that is a small price to pay to play for the Puerto Rican Avengers, as the Mets have comprised a left side of the infield New York hasn’t seen since the days of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

The Mets have tried this before

This isn’t the first time the Mets have acquired a member of the 2017 Puerto Rican infield to bolster the lineup. Just last year, the Mets made a midseason trade for Javy Báez that slid the former Cubs shortstop to second base to make room for Lindor. Báez played very well in his few months in Queens, but the Mets failed to reach the playoffs and then failed to re-sign their man. No reunion would happen.

But this makes up for that lost opportunity. Correa is arguably the best shortstop in baseball, but he and Lindor are so tight that he’s agreeing to play third base for the rest of his career. They’ll probably stand back-to-back in the middle of the lineup, as well, forming the core of the most dangerous lineup in MLB. It’s an experiment that any team would be happy to try, and Mets fans should be excitedly counting the minutes to Opening Day.

The three coldest Puerto Rican players are on the Mets. The Mets are now the team to beat in baseball. Wepa! What a time for the city.