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Carlos Correa Officially Opts Out of Twins Contract


From the time he signed, it was widely expected that Carlos Correa would opt out of the final two years of his Twins contract. Now, it is official, and Correa is a free agent.

Image courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Twins fans have known this moment was coming for quite some time, but Carlos Correa officially opted out of the final two years remaining on his 3-year, $105 million deal. Correa and Scott Boras, his agent, knew what they were doing last winter. Correa switched to Boras because his previous agency was rumored to be losing its certification to represent MLB players. Now, he heads to free agency for the second straight offseason. With no lockout, he is now looking for his long-term deal. 

Where do we go from here? You can find out by downloading the "Future of Shortstop" chapter of the Offseason Handbook, now available for free to anyone with a registered Twins Daily account. 

2022 Season Recap
Correa's 2022 season started slowly, but his performance improved as the season progressed. In April, he hit .243/.309/.324 (.633) while he adjusted to a new organization for the first time in his career. Correa turned it on for May and June by posting a .954 OPS in 37 games. He missed time in June after testing positive for COVID-19, but his bat didn't slow down until later in the year. July was another poor month, as his .614 OPS was the lowest out of any month this season. Minnesota's lead in the AL Central was shrinking, but Correa turned it on for the most critical part of the season. 

The Twins couldn't overcome their massive injuries, but Correa performed his best in the season's final months. In his final 59 games, Correa hit .302/.402/.498 (.900) with ten doubles, a triple, and nine home runs. His Win Probability Added during this stretch was 1.67, as he came up with some clutch hits in big games. Some might say it didn't matter because the Twins fell out of the race, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Correa showed why he is one of baseball's best players, even with the rest of the line-up scuffling. 

Bound for Free Agency
Correa made his opt-out decision clear as the season ended, giving fans a chance to examine the free-agent market. Minnesota has the payroll flexibility to sign a top free agent this winter, but there will be multiple suitors for Correa's services. He is also entering a free-agent market that includes four top-tier shortstops. Last winter, Corey Seager received a ten-year, $325 million contract that players like Correa will use as a starting point in their negotiations. That's a lot of money guaranteed to one player, especially considering Minnesota's payroll usually sits in the middle of the pack compared to other MLB teams.

Minnesota's current front office has avoided giving out multi-year contracts unless they were team friendly. Top free-agent deals will have some dead money at the back end of the contract. It would be interesting to see if Minnesota could be creative with a Correa deal that includes a much higher average value at the deal's front end so the end of the contract is more palatable. That might be one of the only ways he stays with the Twins. 

Correa is one of baseball's top-15 position players in his career's prime. That type of player is usually out of reach for the Twins, but there is a slight chance he will stay in Minnesota for the long term.  

What do you think are the chances that Correa will resign with the Twins? How much do you think he will get as a free agent? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

 


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My Opinion  

I would offer Correa a 10-year, $310M, front-loaded contract.  The 1st year would be $40M and would decrease by $2M each year.  This would benefit Correa because of the present value factor (money earned now is worth more than the same amount earned in the future).  And it would benefit the Twins in two ways.  It would lock down the shortstop position for at least the next five years and would give the Twins payroll flexibility as Correa's skills diminish.

 

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20 minutes ago, terrydactyls said:

My Opinion  

I would offer Correa a 10-year, $310M, front-loaded contract.  The 1st year would be $40M and would decrease by $2M each year.  This would benefit Correa because of the present value factor (money earned now is worth more than the same amount earned in the future).  And it would benefit the Twins in two ways.  It would lock down the shortstop position for at least the next five years and would give the Twins payroll flexibility as Correa's skills diminish.

 

Doesn't seem like too bad of an option.  Perhaps add in another option to opt out after between 3 - 5 years to sweeten the deal?

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I have gone back and forth on the front loaded, so not overpaying as much at end of deal.  The issue with that is money is worth more now, then it will be in 8 to 10 years.  Meaning payrolls will go up, so even if you are paying for dead money the last few years, it will be less of a hit if you do not front load.  However, if you do front load while we have a lot of guys on rookie or less than 3 year service time money, and then first and second year arbs, so your payroll will be lower, then you can get more money to other players on the back end.  

The player should want to take the front loaded deal as a financial reason, but you never know what pushes people.  Maybe we can do a bonilla deal and be paying Correa until we are all dead, and the money will pass onto his kids and kids kids. 

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No reason for this team to spend that much on CC. Anyone who watched the playoffs should have seen how far off the twins are from competing. Makes zero sense to dump that much money into one guy who was largely a disappointment offensively last year 

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It would be great to re-sign Correa. But I don't want the Twins to "Win" the offseason.  They don't need the best players at each position to be successful.  Personally, I think Dansby Swanson would be a nice fit here.  I don't think we've seen his peak yet and is already very good.  Sign him to a 6-7 year deal probably around $150M.  He will be 29 to start 2023, and a 7 year contract brings him through his age 35 season.  At some point he could be moved to another position of it needs to happen in his mid 30's.  

I'd love to see homegrown talent at SS, but Lewis can't stay healthy, Martin is a question mark and Lee hasn't seen a full pro season yet. And there is no guarantee any or all of them stay Shortstops.   Signing Swanson and creating a SS log jam would be a good situation.  

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1 hour ago, Trov said:

I have gone back and forth on the front loaded, so not overpaying as much at end of deal.  The issue with that is money is worth more now, then it will be in 8 to 10 years.  Meaning payrolls will go up, so even if you are paying for dead money the last few years, it will be less of a hit if you do not front load.  However, if you do front load while we have a lot of guys on rookie or less than 3 year service time money, and then first and second year arbs, so your payroll will be lower, then you can get more money to other players on the back end.  

The player should want to take the front loaded deal as a financial reason, but you never know what pushes people.  Maybe we can do a bonilla deal and be paying Correa until we are all dead, and the money will pass onto his kids and kids kids. 

Front loading also makes him easier to trade later, if circumstances warrant doing so.

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Although torn, I hope we sign Correa. $300MM/8 years.  A couple of reasons:

1. The old saying rings true: a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. Meaning Correa > Lewis and Lee.

2. However, when Lewis and Lee turn out to be exceptional major leaguers, and I fully expect they will, we have room for them at 3rd and 2nd, respectively (which may be their optimal positions anyway).

3. A 2024 infield (including a backup) of Correa at $37.5MM with Arraez at $5MM and Lewis, Lee, and Miranda at $700k each is not too expensive and has great positional flexibility as needed.

4. By the second half of the contract, the numbers won’t hurt much at all given salary escalation, inflation, etc.

5. Buxton is the only other position player making any serious coin - some combination of Larnach, Gordon, Kiriloff, Wallner, Jeffers, Julien and Martin will likely comprise most of the remaining position player slots and all will be on league minimum and under team control for a while in 2024.

6. We have the money; in fact, points #3-5 above indicate we still have plenty of cash to add quality players on the mound and perhaps behind the plate. We will need pitching to win, but there is still cash available.

7. With the way the team is currently comprised and the outlook for the next several years, right now is an excellent time to pull the trigger on Correa.

8. Oh, and he’s really, really good and a strong leader (which this club truly needs).

 

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I don't expect the Twins to be competitive when it comes to signing Correa.  And I am ok with that.  I really don't want the Twins tying themselves to a big 8-10 year contract.  Especially for a shortstop with three very good young prospects on the verge of making it.  Yes, all three may not develop into better than average major leaguers.  But odds are awfully good that one of Lewis, Lee or Miller will.  So I put those dollars towards a few other holes and pray for better health.

And should two of the above trio turn into something special, the Twins just may be awfully good.  Those extra dollars will be needed to both add to future lineups and sign some of these young kids to extensions.

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2 hours ago, MN_ExPat said:

Doesn't seem like too bad of an option.  Perhaps add in another option to opt out after between 3 - 5 years to sweeten the deal?

This makes the most sense to me.  Maybe, say, after 4 years the team has an option on the 5th, and after that it is the players option from then on through each remaining year.  Gives us some security, and gives him the chance to move toward the end of his career to a championship contender (assuming we aren't).   Give him a partial no trade deal, maybe giving him the chance to pick 8-10 teams he would agree to and not the rest.  Gives him a say in any trade, which he will probably want.  And give him the choice of front loading, or back loading the contract, or just making it a constant number throughout.  Lay out the number of dollars and the number of years, and let him and Boras write in the amount they want each year, as long as it adds up to the total dollars.  I know, that may overload payroll on a given year, but it would relax it in another, and it would be a very nice gesture to someone who has options.  And make an actual competitive offer, or move on.  Your aren't stringing Correa along, you are only stringing us, the fans, along, and we are bloody sick of it.  Just one man's extremely humble opinion.  

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3 hours ago, Aggies7 said:

No reason for this team to spend that much on CC. Anyone who watched the playoffs should have seen how far off the twins are from competing. Makes zero sense to dump that much money into one guy who was largely a disappointment offensively last year 

Not sure I agree with the logic here, Aggies.

 

"Don't sign good players because we don't have enough good players."

 

 

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3 hours ago, Trov said:

I have gone back and forth on the front loaded, so not overpaying as much at end of deal.  The issue with that is money is worth more now, then it will be in 8 to 10 years. 

Time value of money in this case is a benefit to Correa and detriment to the Twins.  All things considered equal if the Twins and another team offered the same years and money, but Twins front loaded, the Twins would win that bidding war due to the fact "a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow".  But in a sense if the Twins have money to burn in the first few years where they don't need to spend that on other contracts it helps the Twins in that way to have more on hand available later.  It's a good way to manage cash flow, but lose out from an investment standpoint.  It all depends on circumstances.

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1 hour ago, Aggies7 said:

How many times do long term contracts have to fail before people stop clamoring for them? 9 years? Good grief

Sure, plenty do, but plenty don't. Recently, they've been working well. Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Manny Machado, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, George Springer. And that's not counting all the early-20's career spanning extensions the shrewd teams are doing with the young players.

A decade ago, these things were almost always swings and misses, but the last several years, teams seem to be hitting on them more than they strikeout.

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I don’t think the Twins should make a play for him at this point. Maybe 35 million per on a 2-3 year contract if it comes to that. For the top 10 SS by WAR, CC had the worst defense this year. (Data is from fangraphs).  I also realize that this year was a sharp decline in defense for CC from 2018 - 2021 seasons and I am not sure why.   I would much rather they spend the $ on pitching. 

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4 hours ago, Aggies7 said:

Makes zero sense to dump that much money into one guy who was largely a disappointment offensively last year 

So a .291/.366/.467  130 OPS+ slash line is disappointing? 5.4 bWAR & 4.4 fWAR is disappointing? 

Among qualified SS (21) his AVG was 3rd, his OBP was 2nd, and his SLG was 2nd. 

He didn't grade out very high according to defensive metrics, and we can all read into those what we want.

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Correa is an unicorn; a rare superstar that actually wants to play for the Twins (if the money is right). Minnesotans don't want to hear it but there is a "tax" on the local team for many players. Bad weather, bad history, historically bad playoff metrics and actual bad taxes make it a resort of last stop for many players. Fans rail at this statement. But unpleasant things are often true. Verlander sign here? Kershaw?  Please.

The Twins need to sign him even if the contract is a little uncomfortable. If he signs, other free agents may reconsider the prevailing notions that bedevil the team. 

The team has the money even within their self imposed budget. The Twins are helped by another abundant bounty of available shortstops. He will bend the bank but he won't break it. There is really no excuse to let him go elsewhere.  

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9 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

My Opinion  

I would offer Correa a 10-year, $310M, front-loaded contract.  The 1st year would be $40M and would decrease by $2M each year.  This would benefit Correa because of the present value factor (money earned now is worth more than the same amount earned in the future).  And it would benefit the Twins in two ways.  It would lock down the shortstop position for at least the next five years and would give the Twins payroll flexibility as Correa's skills diminish.

 

I've gone back and forth on the front load idea as well. As has been pointed out, smartly, by others, a $35M per will be worth "less" 6-9yrs from now as payrolls increase. Paying less up front gives an extra few $M per to go to the rest of the roster, but paying more up front with so many cost controlled players making up the roster over the next couple of years allows some extra flexibility payroll flexibility down the road. So yeah, I'm torn on that part of any offer.

I do wonder if an opt out in 4 or 5yrs is an added incentive to a potential deal?

I remain conflicted on the total years and dollars of the deal. I've always been conflicted about the whole 10yr and $330M idea. For whatever reason, Seager got 10yrs from Texas, but for less than the proposed Correa $330M idea. And again, for whatever reason, NOBODY stepped up to offer anything similar for Correa last year. And a recent podcast from Gleeman and the Geek with guest Dan Hayes offered the opinion for $315-ish to get a deal done. BUT, if 10yrs and $330M was a proposed idea in 2021's offseason, but Correa...still young...is another year older and earned $35M last year, shouldn't we be talking about 8-9yrs and $290M this time out? I guess I'm just confused how another year has gone by, NOBODY jumped at the 10yr $330M idea last year, and now we're speculating almost the same terms a year later.

We're still talking a HUGE and long term deal, but I'm confused about terms a year later.

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5 hours ago, DJL44 said:

Fangraphs expert estimates 10 years $300M. Crowdsource is 8 years $256M

2023 Top 50 Free Agents | FanGraphs Baseball

The Twins should be in on the 8 year contract but not on the 10 year contract. I don't want the 2 years $54M for years 9 and 10.

FWIW, and I can't find the article now, (dangit), but Heyman had a post recently I read where he had Correa for 8-9yrs and around $270-280M. Not sure where his numbers come from vs other projections, but I thought it was interesting when I read it.

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I'm tipping my cap for the year, and bidding him farewell.

Spending big money on shortstop is goofy; you get bigger bang for the buck elsewhere. I'm glad the Twins tried it (the lockout limited the options and Correa was a noble effort), but signing him limits most other moves, and we have many needs. Because Correa was on the team this year, and is anyone out there happy with the results?

Committing serious resources for almost a decade to a player who has at most three years of elite SS play left is extra goofy. It not only hurts us in the short run, but will be a millstone around the neck that gets worse every year. It is the sort of thing that forced Boston into shipping out one of the game's gems, Mookie Betts; they couldn't even keep their best internally developed player, because of albatross contracts.

And FYI, if Carlos wanted to play here, he had a deal for $70+ million signed with the Twins that he voided. After his replacement in Houston won MVP, my guess is he wants to sign in LA or NY or some organization that will be a Series favorite, and that won't be the Twins (especially if they sign Carlos, and fill out their roster with rookies and waiver claim projects). He wants a long Twins contract about as much as I want him to sign one.

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Gang, I'm totally conflicted about Correa, which is why I had to make a recent post in the Forum section. My personal blueprint for 2023 was without Correa because it made sense to me to take that approach. And I stand by that blueprint, even with a "fantasy" idea in my head that has been proposed by others...in various incarnations...where Correa is re-signed, some limited in scope, some more aggressive by moving on from Urshela and Kepler and other variations.

And I don't have the answer as to what the Twins should do. On one hand we have the "DO'S" and on the other hand we have the "DON'T's". The bite is, both sides have very valid arguements!

DO:

The Twins lock down SS with a potential HOF player who not only stabilizes SS for the next 5-6yrs and maybe an extra year or two with health, but provides quality offense, a "been there, done that" experience factor, leadership, and might be one of the smartest players in all of MLB. On top of that, he provides a real leadership for not only the infield...which is getting real young real quick with Lewis, Lee, Krilloff, Miranda, Arraez, Julien, etc...but for the team as a whole. Imagine a STAR player at SS for several years to come, a producer, and Lewis taking over at 2B...maybe being one of the best in all of MLB...and the "natural" Lee at 3B, with Miranda at 1B, still able to fill in at 3B, a healthy AK also playing 1B, as well as OF, and Arraez able to play 3 infield spots as well as DH. Lewis and Lee and Gordon can all cover SS on occasion. And that's just the infield. Larnach, Buxton, Wallner in the OF with AK also playing there and a hopefully improved Celestino, along with Gordon and maybe another RH OF addition at some point. This could be as early as 2024, with parts of it manifesting in 2023.

DONT:

So much $ tied to ONE player, despite his offerings. More $ to spend on the rest of the team and a bridge player to cover SS until Lewis is ready. It's a gamble, and a small gamble, IMO, because I think Lewis will be at least a solid ML SS. But you can still see an infield of Lee at 3B, Lewis at SS, Polanco or maybe Julien at 2B, and Miranda at 1B/3B with AK at 1B/OF and Arraez still covering 3 positions as well as DH  and still having all of the same OF potential as previously listed. And again, this infield and OF option could be in 2024 with parts of in place 2023. But you sacrifice a truly transitional talent for the franchise a whole to bank on the promise of what you have, and what is close.

I'm torn! I see both sides of this. And I think both sides are solid in their thoughts. And I'm not sure which way is the best. 

I guess I'm thinking, 8yrs and $280M to go with option #1, and don't be cute and wait and miss out on other opportunities. Patience for deals is one thing, being blind to opportunity to do something different is being short sighted and obsitent. 

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Carlos who? Just a visitor here. I'd rather have Jeremy Pena on the Twins than Correa. Houston doesn't miss Correa at all. Pena won the GG, and the WS MVP. ..... as a rookie. Yup. And with no baggage. Carlos who? Clean it up. No Sano. No Correa. Moving on.......

Spend on the best starting pitchers. 

Edited by h2oface
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5 hours ago, mnfireman said:

So a .291/.366/.467  130 OPS+ slash line is disappointing? 5.4 bWAR & 4.4 fWAR is disappointing? 

Among qualified SS (21) his AVG was 3rd, his OBP was 2nd, and his SLG was 2nd. 

He didn't grade out very high according to defensive metrics, and we can all read into those what we want.

I agree, the end numbers were very good. But don't forget all the mentions and horrific stat lines of the lack of coming through in important at bats (runners in scoring poition and 2 outs for instance) for at least 4 of the 5 months of the season with the pressure on. The stats were padded in the 6th month with no pressure and the team tanking in September, when it really didn't matter what he did. 

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7 hours ago, USAFChief said:

Not sure I agree with the logic here, Aggies.

 

"Don't sign good players because we don't have enough good players."

 

 

Why would you tie up that much money into one guy when you have a roster full of holes and the team realistically not ready to contend? You watched most of the games this year, how soon in your estimation is this team to seriously competing?

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