Carlos CorreaThe unprecedented free agent saga seems to be finally coming to an end, and it turns out he won’t even have to look for a new place to live. The former Rookie of the Year and Platinum Glove winner has reportedly agreed to a new six-year, $200 million deal with the Twins, which includes four additional acquisition options that could take the contract’s value up to $270 million. dollars over a decade. term. Boras Corporation’s customer has no opt-out in the contract, although it will receive a full no-trade clause. The deal is expected to be finalized on Wednesday.
Correa’s deal is still pending completion of a physical exam, although The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported that the ‘major part’ of that exam – including an ankle and leg exam de Correa – has already been completed. If the deal is finalized, Correa will receive an $8 million signing bonus (paid between 2023-2024) and annual salaries of $36 million in 2023-25, $31.5 million in 2026-30, $5 million in 2027 and $30 million in 2028. options are valued at $25 million (2029), $20 million (2030), $15 million (2031) and $10 million (2032) . Correa would acquire his 2029 option by reaching 575 board appearances the previous season; this number drops to 550 in 2029 (to vest his 2030 option), 525 in 2030 (to vest his 2031 option) and 502 in 2031 (to vest his 2032 option). The twins can still choose to choose one of the options if Correa does not meet the prior year’s vesting threshold.
The new deal between the Twins and Correa marks the final and likely final twist in perhaps the craziest free agent saga ever played out. Correa, a two-time All-Star, has agreed to terms with three different teams on three $200 million or more contracts this winter — the first two of which were scuttled by concerns over the aforementioned right leg/ankle. Originally, Correa agreed with the Giants on a 13-year, $350 million deal that blew the runners-up Twins out of the water. However, the Giants postponed Correa’s introductory press conference after raising eleventh-hour concerns about his physique. The Mets, who hadn’t previously been involved in Correa’s bid, rushed in and agreed to a new 12-year, $315 million deal with Correa days later, but New York raised similar concerns. on December 24, following their own physique.
The issue was about the stability of Correa’s right leg and its resilience for the duration of a long-term deal. Correa suffered a major fracture while sliding into third base as a 19-year-old prospect in the Astros’ system, which required surgery and the installation of a plate that is still in place to this day. Although Correa was never on the injured list due to the leg in the nine years since that injury, he did at least have a brief scare with it at the end of the 2022 season.
Correa was thrown on a hard slide into second base and remained in the field for several moments before heading off on his own. After the match, he told reporters that he was hit on the plate in the leg and felt a brief numbness and vibrations. Correa didn’t miss a moment after that incident, however, and he went on to bat .346/.393/.481 with one homer and four doubles in 56 plate appearances from the day of that scare until the end of the season.
How Correa’s leg and his hardware would hold up gave the Mets enough time to halve the length and full guarantee of their original offer. The Mets still offered Correa the chance to match the original 12 years and the $315 million they put on the table, but the back half of the contract was conditional and the team apparently wouldn’t change its position. On the question. Unsurprisingly, Correa took the largest guarantee and considerably greater average annual value presented by the Twins on what is now the biggest contract in franchise history.
The off-season leg drama surrounding Correa will do him a disservice when it comes to shedding the ‘injury-prone’ tag that followed him early in his career, but it’s worth pointing out that over the past three seasons, Correa has appeared at 89.1. % of possible matches of his teams. Eight of the competitions missed in that time came at the start of the 2022 season with the Twins, when he spent just over a week on the Covid-related injury list.
Nonetheless, all eyes will be on Correa’s leg for the foreseeable future. The uncertainty surrounding him was enough to drop Correa — a player the Twins adamantly maintained they never wanted to lose — back in Minnesota’s lap at a lesser pace than the $285 million bid on ten years that they had proposed barely a month ago, before he accepted on San Francisco’s terms. It’s a stunning turn of events and a major narrative shift for a Twins club that had been so focused on Correa at the start of the offseason that the majority of impact players were already out of the picture by the time it looked like they had been outbid. by San Francisco.
With Correa now likely set up not just for the 2023 season but for the next six years, at the very least, the Twins’ short and long-term prospects are drastically altered. Correa, who hit .291/.366/.467 with 22 homers as a Twin last season, will be reinstated in the top third of a lineup that suddenly looks a lot deeper than it did a while ago. just a few hours. He’ll follow the lead man and the defending AL batting champion Luis Arraezwith Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Joseph Miranda and signatory out of season Joey Gallo among the names behind him in order.
If the Correa agreement is actually finalized, the commercial acquisition Kyle Farmer will transition from the starting shortstop to the utility role the Twins originally envisioned upon his acquisition. Acquired from Cincinnati in November, Farmer is a former wide receiver who has seen time all over the infield in recent years. He can support each of Correa, Polanco and Miranda while providing Minnesota with a powerful bat against the left-handed pitch. Correa’s return allows Farmer to be used in more advantageous squad matchups, a year after the former Red reduced 0.309/0.380/0.568 against left-handers (but only 0.235/0.291/0.320 against right-handers).
Correa’s return to a long-term deal also calls into question where his fellow shortstop and former No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis could come into the equation once he is fully healthy. Lewis has been plagued by miserable health luck, tearing the ACL in his right knee twice in just over a calendar year. He recovered from that first ACL tear and burst onto the scene in 2022 with a .300/.317/.550 batting line in his first dozen MLB games – only to suffer that tear ligament when playing in the outfield. The outfield may well end up being Lewis’ long-term home, but it could also be considered an option at third base (with Miranda possibly moving through the diamond) or second base as an heir. of Polanco, which enters the last guaranteed season. of his contract. (The Twins do hold a pair of affordable club options on Polanco, though.)
Correa’s $36 million salary (and half of his $8 million signing bonus payout) bumps the Twins’ payroll to around $157 million — a franchise record. The Twins also added Gallo (one year, $11 million) and receiver Christian Vazquez (three years, $30 million) so far in the offseason — a trio of moves that should improve the team’s defense at various key positions. Although Correa didn’t match his 2021 Platinum Glove numbers in his first season with the Twins, he’s still generally considered a plus defender and should stabilize the position with quality gloves for years to come. If a move to another position is ultimately deemed necessary, he has the arm strength for a move to the hot corner, ranking 14th among all Major League infielders (min. 100 throws) in strength of the arm in 2022, by Statcast.
The addition of Gallo only made it more likely that Minnesota will eventually find a trade partner for Max Keplerwhile the Twins are now flush with left-handed corner fielders (Kepler, Gallo, Trevor Larnach, Alex Kiriloff, Matt Waller). Kirilloff could see most of his time at first base, but even still, the Twins have up to four viable corner fielders for two spots – and that’s not even factoring in bench-right options like Kyle Garlic and Gilberto Celestino.
This all falls under the ‘good problem to have’ cliché, as the Twins now have a wealth of options in the corners of the outfield and around the infield, freeing up the ability to explore trades designed to increase starting spin. and/or the bullpen that might otherwise, didn’t seem quite so palatable.
Put simply, while the jarring reunion with Correa will undoubtedly be seen as the most important move of the offseason, it likely won’t be the last. While the Twins might have made a mistake preparing for a transition year after missing out on Correa, suddenly holding him back on the biggest contract in franchise history to entice the front office to keep going.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported the deal and terms (Twitter link). Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported on acquisition options and details surrounding the Mets’ reduced offer and surrounding Correa’s physique with the Twins (all Twitter connections). USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted that the contract did not include opt-outs. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter connections) and Ronald Blum of The Associated Press details of vesting options and salary structure. Heyman pointed to vesting thresholds and the no-trade clause (Twitter link), while Athletic’s Dan Hayes reported on the Twins’ ability to trigger options even if Correa doesn’t reach the acquisition mark (on Twitter). Nightingale tweeted the contract was to be announced on Wednesday.