MINNEAPOLIS — From the day that news broke of Carlos Correa‘s uniquely structured deal with the Twins during Spring Training, the widespread assumption was that the superstar shortstop would exercise one of the opt-outs in his contract following the ’22 season, leaving the Twins after one season to test free agency once again.
Since Correa first donned the Twins’ uniform in his introductory press conference in Fort Myers, Fla., he maintained that he didn’t necessarily see it that way. And on Tuesday, he confirmed that he’s already spoken to Twins leadership to express his interest in a longer-term commitment to Minnesota, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
“That’s a conversation I had with Rocco [Baldelli] and the front office,” Correa explained. “A lot of people were in rumors, with people seeing this as a one-year deal — that type of deal. I wanted to reassure them that I want to be part of a family here. I want to be part of a winning culture. I think with this team, we can do that.”
Currently signed to a three-year, $105.3 million contract with opt-outs following each of the ’22 and ’23 seasons, it would still make the most sense for Correa to opt out and test free agency again without the uncertainty of the lockout or the plethora of big names on the shortstop market to potentially impact his destinations. His agent, Scott Boras, is well-known for extracting maximum value out of long-term deals.
But still, Correa did emphasize upon signing that his focus was, first and foremost, that he felt comfortable at Target Field, was excited about the young talent in Minnesota, and felt that the club gave him the opportunity to win and establish a championship culture.
There was also the sense, too, that both sides would feel out the relationship over the course of the season to help determine what the future could look like.
Through 16 games, Correa has nothing but glowing first impressions of his new work environment in Baldelli’s clubhouse, where he’s surrounded by a vibrant Latin-American core in his corner — he lockers in a boisterous group next to Miguel Sanó, Gio Urshela and Gary Sánchez, and across the way from Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez — and gets to hit in a lineup alongside Byron Buxton, the man he describes as the “best player in the game.”
On top of that, he says that he and his wife, Daniella, already “feel right at home” after relocating to Minneapolis with their seven-month-old son, Kylo.
“It’s me driving here and being happy about showing up to work every single day,” Correa said. “For me, that’s the main thing. It’s about happiness, right? I show up every day and we’ve got a great group of guys to work with. We’ve got a great coaching staff to work with. I’m happy every time I walk out of my car into this locker room. That’s a great feeling to have.”
As to whether the Twins would eventually be able to offer Correa a contract that would entice him to stay when his next big payday comes — whether in one, two or three years — is another question. When Correa originally signed, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey acknowledged that it could involve various contract structures — but the situation that caused Correa to accept a creative deal last offseason might not exist in a more conventional negotiation.
“We’ll have conversations in the future about different contract structures, but we’ve worked within the parameters we know fit for us in how we’re going to build an overall roster,” said Falvey at the time of Correa’s signing.
“It’s never just about one player and one moment in time. It’s how does this Correa contract fit within our current roster. The next version of it, we’re going to have to just figure out at that time.”
But it’s still very early in this relationship, and Correa was noncommittal when asked if he wanted to wait and feel out the market before he might commit to the Twins. All that’s clear right now is that the shortstop likes the fit here — and that’s certainly a good place to start.
“We can talk about that later,” Correa said. “They know my willingness to be part of change here and creating that championship culture.”
“He’s a winning person,” Baldelli said. “I think his teammates over in that clubhouse have embraced him fully, and he’s embraced them back.”