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Conceptualizing a Creative, Realistic, Winning Contract for Carlos Correa


Nick Nelson
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Agree that this is creative and expect there is a real chance it would get the job done.  But I sure hope that it doesn't get done.  Why, I cringe when I think of paying this type of money for 10 years.  

I believe that Royce Lewis is and should be the Twins shortstop over the next 5-8 years.  I don't see the need to break the bank to sign Correa.  And this contract would break the bank.

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Good article Nick.  I can't see the Twins going that many years at that total value.  I think that they are OK with a high AAV for a shorter number of years because they value that flexibility.

I'd be concerned that when FA hit for our up and coming players that we may not be able to offer a competitive salary to retain them and end up with any aging Correa and always having to supplement that with minimum salaried players.

That said, I would not be totally disappointed with this offer in the short term, just not the long-term. 

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11 hours ago, Steve71 said:

This might be what it takes, but I would only do this deal if Mr. Joe Pohlad is going to increase the budget a moderate amount to the $160-70M range.  Otherwise, I would be concerned that we would have too many financial eggs in one basket for the long run.  What happens if Correa falls off after 2 or 3 years?  Twins with a sub-$150M budget would be hamstrung.

Mr. Joe Pohlad needs to do exactly that. For a modest 160-170 MM, he gets a team that can compete for playoff success. And the perpetually filled Target field, concessions and parking would repay him handsomely. Joe Pohlad has a major opportunity here! I don’t like opt outs but after year 4 works fairly well, although I’d be happy with after year 5 or 6. But if Correa and Boras want that, as Nick has conceived the contract, I’d be OK with it, then strike quickly for Contreras or Rodon. And I want Brantley and/or Haniger too. Shed Kepler’s salary to make room in the new era budget! Oh and David Robertson too!

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48 minutes ago, Fire Dan Gladden said:

Sounds right NIck, I think this contract offer would get it done.  I also think it is probably 10% higher than anything he would be offered (though it may be what it takes to get him to come here).  I think the opt outs would be necessary, as the Twins would probably be promising him a a better complimentary cast.  If it doesn't happen, he could leave.

We all would need to understand the last 3 years we would be overpaying for his skills, but the 10 years is less scary with his age than some of the others.

I also agree the bigger picture needs to be looked at:  Ownership and the FO would need to use this contract as a stepping stone, not an excuse.  There would need to be some willingness to push the Twins self-imposed salary cap when needed.  Not sure if I see that happening over the long haul.

 

I like the contract structure and couldn't agree more on the intent - this would have to be a stepping stone as PART of team building, not the end all and be all of that effort.  The Twins still badly need a LH catcher, a quality starter, and a RH OF. To pull all of this off, we probably had to trade Urshela's salary, probably need to say goodbye to Kepler and maybe Polanco (hope not on Polanco), and may need to trade Farmer if we can sign Correa although I think Farmer is the perfect utility infielder for this team. Even at $160 million payroll the only way this works is to have a team of star(s) and Young guys who are still cost controlled. Sign Correa to this kind of a deal, sign Rodon or Bassitt, sign Hanigar, sign Navaez, and find a reliever.  This probably gets you to about $165m and should give us a competitive team in the make the playoffs and make some noise sense. 

BTW, I do think the opt outs make sense and I think they are necessary to entice a guy like Correa. He can get 275-325m from 4 or 5 different teams. He'll go where he thinks he can be well paid AND win. The opt outs give him security and put pressure on the Twins to stay competitive so he'll stick around. Good structure.     

 

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12 hours ago, JYTwinsFan said:

Over Thanksgiving, I was pondering something just like this, thanks for crystalizing it so well. If the Twins won 1 world series in that first four years and Correa was an average contributor the rest of his career (or left after 4), that would be well worth it. If you proceed with a strategy like this, I think you start with a bottom line at $300mil and let another team push you up to the $325mil (which is likely to occur).

I'm also curious about something from the forum community. Opt Outs are clearly around for good barring some larger shift in economics or strategies. Why haven't we (or will we?) start to see Team Options attached to the Opt Out year...essentially the equivalent of a "right of first refusal" for teams...embedded into contracts? It would work something like this as an example:

  • Player Opts out of deal after year 4
  • Team can automatically resign player (like an option) at a pre-agreed price (e.g. the established run rate of $40mil) before they hit the open market.

This way the player has the ability to leverage their performance potential and seize the market rate, but the team is also protected from outright losing the player to the competitive market if they are still performing at the high level, reducing fan anxiety and continuing player/team partnerships that are genuinely working. You could also get creative with what that option looks like. It could trigger multiple years or just one. It could be a pre agreed price or something similar to the "qualifying offer" where it is an average of the top X players salaries.

Gerrit Cole and I believe Trevor Story have this clause, or similar, in their contracts. If Cole opts out the Yankees have the option to resign him for 1 year at $36 million. In Story's case he can opt out and Red Sox can add another year onto his deal. But I do like your idea, it puts some risk back on the player.

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14 minutes ago, jdgoin said:

Gerrit Cole and I believe Trevor Story have this clause, or similar, in their contracts. If Cole opts out the Yankees have the option to resign him for 1 year at $36 million. In Story's case he can opt out and Red Sox can add another year onto his deal. But I do like your idea, it puts some risk back on the player.

Ah thanks for this @jdgoin. I'd not seen those details when those deals were made. I suspect we may see more of this.

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Nothing gets the comments going like spending $$$s.... LOL

I like it.  May tweak it in a couple of ways.

The 2nd opt out make it mutual, I think this is after 7 years.

Increase the Front Loading by $1M than Mad Max and overall contract to be $1M more than the Corey "Night Moves" Seager's contract.  Boras would love this.

Remember, he could always be traded if the Twins eat a bit of the contract.
I'm still on board with C4 aging along Cal Ripken Jr, so this contract would be good.  A bit of an overpay perhaps at the beginning, but as non-traditional player in the FA market, it is what the Twins may have to do.

Regardless of the rest of MLB, this would new and very creative for the Twins.

On the note of year-to-year spending budget, $170M is going to be the new $140M in a year or three.

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2 hours ago, Whitey333 said:

Someone on here said that if the Twins won the world series in the first four years of a potential Correa signing that it would be worth it.  Does anyone really think this team l, currently constructed, has any chance of winning a world series?  IMO it's going to take a lot more than Correa to win a world series.  When there is so much money tied up into one player it's nearly impossible to be able to afford upgrades needed in other areas.  Let's move on from this Correa nonsense and redistribute those payroll dollars into other areas.

I agree.  I'd rather not tie up that much money up in one player when Lewis is on deck as the future.  This team needs a catcher, at least one good starter (Rodon comes to mind), and other pieces.  Correa will tie up too much funds when the rest of the team is full of holes like swiss cheese.

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11 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

Could you name one? 

There has never been a front-loaded $300M contract signed in MLB history, let alone one with an option layout like this. I'm not sure what you mean by "structured this way" other than the vaguest of generalizations.

You're probably correct Nick. There hasn't been a front-loaded $300M contract, especially with opt outs that I remember. My point was there are front-loaded contracts with opt outs at lesser dollar amounts and fewer years that would provide a framework, no matter the total dollar figure. Nolan Arenado, Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale all have front-loaded contract with opt outs. Player opt outs are also used liberally in the NBA.

By "structured this way" I meant a long-term contract where the money is front-loaded and includes opt out clause or two. I wasn't trying to be vague or generalize.

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13 hours ago, BK432 said:

If there's a path, it's something like this, though I wonder if the AAV is slightly light. But it's in the ballpark, and if the Twins have the cojones, it's an offer structure they should consider. Correa would certainly listen, and it would be at the very least close.

I'm not afraid to look naïve: the Twins should sign Correa, and more than that, I expect them to. This is what they need to come and play.

I actually think the AAV is a little high. 29-30 should get it done.

If the Twins offer this tomorrow, Correa likely signs this tomorrow, just like Boras did with Seager and the Rangers.

And just like the Rangers, it is because this offer will likely outbid the market by $30mil or so*.

*Based on the general expectations of the ten or so analysts that I have read and/or listened to

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1 hour ago, Greglw3 said:

Mr. Joe Pohlad needs to do exactly that. For a modest 160-170 MM, he gets a team that can compete for playoff success. And the perpetually filled Target field, concessions and parking would repay him handsomely. Joe Pohlad has a major opportunity here! I don’t like opt outs but after year 4 works fairly well, although I’d be happy with after year 5 or 6. But if Correa and Boras want that, as Nick has conceived the contract, I’d be OK with it, then strike quickly for Contreras or Rodon. And I want Brantley and/or Haniger too. Shed Kepler’s salary to make room in the new era budget! Oh and David Robertson too!

How bout all three?  Contreras, Rodon, and Correa?  That would be phenomenal, lol. 

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I like this, Nick, with the addition of an extra $1M to set the record. Obviously, the Twins already have a seat at the table and this might even put them at the head of the table. Then they need to hope that one of the large market teams like the Yankees or Dodgers don't swoop in with $330M+ -- which is a very real possibility.

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The reason I've liked Correa long-term is that he is still under 30. Paying a Josh Donaldson, Miguel Cabrera or even Albert Pujols superstar dollars for their declining years is something I don't want to see. Correa should be a great ballplayer for the proposed highest salary years. If he was still at the top of his game after four years and wanted a bigger deal, more power to him. Thank you and goodbye. 

Regarding Lewis, he is an "if" for 2023. If he returns in full health coupled with a Correa signing, he is a huge trade chip or a future fixture in the outfield or third base. 

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12 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

If you wanna play that "what if" game you'll never sign an elite free agent in the entire existence of your franchise.

They'd be betting on their ability to develop cost-efficient pitching, but I'm okay with that. Even at a 150M payroll, I'm good with allocating $55M on two up-the-middle superstars in their prime in Correa and Buxton and building around them. 

I think we would hit that range 150-160 million payroll in the next 2-3 years.  When we are close to the amount dropping down a level.

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I'm sure it's just me, but 10yrs instead of 8-9 and $325M instead of $290-300M just sounds a year too long and about $30M too high. I mean, he's under 30yo and I've become a huge fan, but, I just don't get how 10 and $300+ in 2022 is the same going in to 2023 when he's a year older now. 

I think the framework here would probably get it done. The $40M seems a little high to me, but again, maybe it's my perception. I think the $40M per does keep Boras and Correa from asking for an opt out after the 3rd season though. I do think this deal works for both sides. I like the upfront money to not only lower the $ obligation later in the deal, but to free up more $ for the rest of the roster in those years.

If we're going to be serious about this, make the offer and get it done. If they don't like this deal, I honestly don't know what else the Twins could or should do. Time to pivot if they say no.

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It seems as though many Twins fans have become enamored with Carlos Correa (like me) because he's a superstar that fits in well and seems to want to be here. But let's be honest, if the Twins hadn't landed him last year, and were in on Dansby Swanson this off-season, most Twins fans would be elated.

To that end; Xander Bogaerts would be an excellent consolation prize. And I believe that he'll be much more affordable. If it would afford the Twins the chance to also be in on Carlos Rodon, Brandon Nimmo, and/or a right handed bat or some relief help, I'd be okay with that.

To be clear, I'd like to see Correa back but pivoting might open up more dollars for other signings without drastically increasing cap. And, of course, if they can find a taker for Kepler and/or Polanco (I'd love to get Nimmo on this team). 

 

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My problem with this is I think the Twins will need to start replacing Correa at shortstop after about 4 years. I don't think he hits well enough to be a DH or first baseman. He may last longer than 4 but does anyone see him playing shortstop in 10 years? 9? 8? 7?. There is a point in this contract like all long contracts that you will wish the player would just retire. 

You could also kick in a limited no trade clause, with a choice of say 10 teams.

On the other hand you could look at drafts for the next 5 years as simply looking for the best starting pitcher options. We have drafted a lot of middle infielders and corner outfielders the past 5 years.

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3 hours ago, bap3141 said:

It seems as though many Twins fans have become enamored with Carlos Correa (like me) because he's a superstar that fits in well and seems to want to be here. But let's be honest, if the Twins hadn't landed him last year, and were in on Dansby Swanson this off-season, most Twins fans would be elated.

To that end; Xander Bogaerts would be an excellent consolation prize. And I believe that he'll be much more affordable. If it would afford the Twins the chance to also be in on Carlos Rodon, Brandon Nimmo, and/or a right handed bat or some relief help, I'd be okay with that.

To be clear, I'd like to see Correa back but pivoting might open up more dollars for other signings without drastically increasing cap. And, of course, if they can find a taker for Kepler and/or Polanco (I'd love to get Nimmo on this team). 

 

I completely agree. Using round numbers, if the choice is...

Option 1: Correa @ 9/300

Option 2: Bogaerts @ 7/200

I want Bogaerts. He is Correa's superior on offense, though the gap is not large.

On defense, he is about average. Correa has more years left to play SS and is superior on defense by about the same amount the Bogaerts is on offense. 

Between offense and defense, they bring essentially the same value over the next 2-3 seasons.

And Bogaerts's superior offense likely plays better at 3B or 2B when it is time to move down the defensive spectrum, making the deal more valuable in those last 2-3 years of the contract.

Plus, Bogaerts has a sizeable lead in average games played and PAs per season over their respective careers. 

The advantage you get from a Correa signing is likely better production in years 4-7 of their respective contracts as Bogaerts is, and will always be, two years older.

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1 hour ago, jdgoin said:

You're probably correct Nick. There hasn't been a front-loaded $300M contract, especially with opt outs that I remember. My point was there are front-loaded contracts with opt outs at lesser dollar amounts and fewer years that would provide a framework, no matter the total dollar figure. Nolan Arenado, Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale all have front-loaded contract with opt outs. Player opt outs are also used liberally in the NBA.

By "structured this way" I meant a long-term contract where the money is front-loaded and includes opt out clause or two. I wasn't trying to be vague or generalize.

Ahh gotcha. I guess I view it as creative in that it's never been done quite at this scale, to this extreme, and certainly not by a team like the Twins. Very true though that contracts like Arenado's and Hosmer's have pushed in this direction.

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 Steve71:   "This might be what it takes, but I would only do this deal if Mr. Joe Pohlad is going to increase the budget a moderate amount to the $160-70M range.  Otherwise, I would be concerned that we would have too many financial eggs in one basket for the long run.  What happens if Correa falls off after 2 or 3 years?  Twins with a sub-$150M budget would be hamstrung."

Nick  "If you wanna play that "what if" game you'll never sign an elite free agent in the entire existence of your franchise.

They'd be betting on their ability to develop cost-efficient pitching, but I'm okay with that. Even at a 150M payroll, I'm good with allocating $55M on two up-the-middle superstars in their prime in Correa and Buxton and building around them."

Nick, while I can agree with your statement on playing the "what if" game, you are missing Steve's point here.  With some glaring holes in the lineup, the pen, and perhaps top of the rotation, there is no way the Twins should be putting all their eggs in two baskets.  $40MM to Correa precludes any other significant upgrades with a $140MM budget.  We had Correa and Buxton(and his standard diminished playing time) in 22.  How did that work out.?  And has this FO shown the ability to develop an internal pitching pipeline?  Yes, Ryan and Duran are very promising, but who else, after 6 years of drafting and development, can be counted on?  And yet, you want to rely on this FO's track record?

Concentrating on resigning Correa is a fool's errand unless it is combined with ownership's pronouncement that they are committed to breaking our playoff drought by giving the FO a clear directive that the only goal of 2023 is to win or else, and back this statement up by raising the budget to a $160-180MM range this offseason.

I would have zero expectation of Jim Pohlad ever uttering such words, but there is always hope that the new generation will be different.  C'mon Joe, let's pony up and get serious for a change!  Twenty years without one playoff victory has made this franchise a laughingstock.

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1 hour ago, mike8791 said:

Nick, while I can agree with your statement on playing the "what if" game, you are missing Steve's point here.  With some glaring holes in the lineup, the pen, and perhaps top of the rotation, there is no way the Twins should be putting all their eggs in two baskets.  $40MM to Correa precludes any other significant upgrades with a $140MM budget.  We had Correa and Buxton(and his standard diminished playing time) in 22.  How did that work out.?  And has this FO shown the ability to develop an internal pitching pipeline?  Yes, Ryan and Duran are very promising, but who else, after 6 years of drafting and development, can be counted on?  And yet, you want to rely on this FO's track record?

The alternative to signing Correa is that this FO has to find better ways to spend that $40M. You don't seem confident in them, so why wouldn't you rather just take the "safe route" with a proven nucleus of superstar players instead of trying to cobble together mid-tier guys?

I would say it worked out pretty well with Buxton and Correa this year, they were both 4-win players and worth a combined $65M according to Fangraphs. 

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Well, in response to Nick's post just above, there are 3 other "premium" SS options in the FA market that might be available at lower cost/shorter terms.  This might stretch their self-imposed budget to acquire other assets.

Turning back to Correa, I for one would rather offer him 5/$200 than these 9 and 10 year contracts being discussed.  He is a wonderful player, but he may not be when he is 36-38 years old.  Pay a very healthy AAV for his good years;  if he wants an opt-out at some point (not in 1 year like last contract), sure.  Perhaps with a team option to extend him an additional year for $40M.

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This is entirely realistic Nick.  I prefer Correa but Bogaerts is a strong #2 candidate.  And I agree with Steve71, if we sign Correa to that deal we would need to see our payroll expand into the $160-$170 million range.  If the Twins put a good product on the field and are competitive, the revenue will follow making a contract like this doable.  But this is a BIG step.  To make this move, a plan to be competitive while Buxton and Correa are under contract has to be in place.  

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On 11/28/2022 at 11:11 PM, GNess said:

How many teams actually win the world series with a generally fiscally-conservative, don't take risks approach?  For a sample, take the last ten seasons - really only the Royals in that span could be described in that manner. 

Champions are bold and take calculated risks. Yes, a long term deal such as this is taking a chance. At least, it's taking a chance on a proven MLB elite-level SS and leader.

Risk avoidance is another term for also-ran in sports.

Fortune favors the bold....

Didn’t Matt Damon say that once? I hope you have better success with it lol

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21 hours ago, stringer bell said:

The reason I've liked Correa long-term is that he is still under 30. Paying a Josh Donaldson, Miguel Cabrera or even Albert Pujols superstar dollars for their declining years is something I don't want to see. Correa should be a great ballplayer for the proposed highest salary years. If he was still at the top of his game after four years and wanted a bigger deal, more power to him. Thank you and goodbye. 

Regarding Lewis, he is an "if" for 2023. If he returns in full health coupled with a Correa signing, he is a huge trade chip or a future fixture in the outfield or third base. 

I like this idea too. Correa is a known substance whereas Lewis isn't. Also Lewis could slide into the 2B spot too. Why not have that problem of too many good players and not knowing where to put them. 

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On 11/29/2022 at 9:18 AM, Whitey333 said:

Someone on here said that if the Twins won the world series in the first four years of a potential Correa signing that it would be worth it.  Does anyone really think this team l, currently constructed, has any chance of winning a world series?  IMO it's going to take a lot more than Correa to win a world series.  When there is so much money tied up into one player it's nearly impossible to be able to afford upgrades needed in other areas.  Let's move on from this Correa nonsense and redistribute those payroll dollars into other areas.

No, because currently constructed, the Twins only have 1 catcher. But ask that question in March while the Twins are at Ft. Myers in 80 degree weather at spring training. 

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21 hours ago, adorduan said:

Does this proposal come without a no trade clause?

In my opinion it should not.  I am a fan of C4 AND this proposal, but he is getting the $$s.

No to a NT clause

And I still would like to see a Mutual Option put in there.

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