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  • Carlos Correa and the Twins' Fresh Vibe

    Nash Walker

    These Twins feel different. and Carlos Correa is right in the middle of it. 

    Image courtesy of © Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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    For as unlikely as the signing was, Carlos Correa is precisely who the Twins need at this point, both as a player and person. Coming off an extremely disappointing and last-place season, fans were rightly frustrated about the club's direction. It’s not like losing teams are ever *that* fun, but the 2021 Twins were downright dull. They played with complacency that was evident to the naked eye. Reporters had little access for much of the year due to Covid, but the sense of a discouraged and disjointed clubhouse was real. 

    Nelson Cruz led the Twins to back-to-back division titles in 2019 and 2020, hitting .308/.394/.626 with 57 homers in 173 games. He was an incredible contributor to the offense, but his guidance off the field sent his value through the roof. Leadership styles and vibes vary, even among the winningest clubhouses. Cruz’s loose, fun, and calm personality perfectly fits Rocco Baldelli’s mantra. I can't say the same for Josh Donaldson, who assumed a leadership role after signing a four-year, $92 million deal before the 2020 season. 

    At the time of the signing, I felt Donaldson was a perfect key to help the Twins break out of their postseason losing streak. Now, I can’t help but think his clubhouse fit never made sense. It rarely looked like he was an actual part of the team, and Correa’s immediate impact only amplifies this feeling. Donaldson certainly contributed when healthy, posting a 128 OPS+ in 163 games, and I’m not suggesting teammates disliked him. It just didn’t work for both sides, and that’s fine!

    It’s impossible to know the impact Donaldson had on the clubhouse, but it’s fair to say his hardened style paled in comparison to Cruz and Baldelli. Donaldson's bulldog-vibe could be a double-edged sword. A winning team may appreciate his bravado, but a last-place team could wear down over the 162-game grind. The Yankees, Donaldson’s new team, have won 18 of their first 25 games. It’s about fit, and I’m not sure Donaldson ever did in Minnesota. 

    With Correa, who values the day-to-day focus and trusts the process, the Twins have the co-leader they need. Byron Buxton is the face of the Twins, and even Correa admits this is “Byron’s team,” but Correa’s presence is undoubtedly impactful. Of course, this is easier to conclude as the team is in first place. Buxton did admit this spring, though, that it's a "night and day" feeling in the clubhouse. 

    It goes behind Correa. Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic wrote about the "immediate bond" felt among the Twins' rotation members. The 2022 Twins look (so far) like a tough, entertaining, and tightly-knit group. 

    I have no idea if the Twins' change in vibe is sustainable, or if it will wear down with a losing stretch. I do know that even if it’s a one-year deal, Correa feels like a Twin. Donaldson hoped he would leave a legacy in Minnesota, but for one reason or another, it didn’t happen. Correa is off to a great start in that regard, and the sky is the limit for how far he can take the 2022 Twins. 

    Please leave your thoughts, questions, and COMMENTS below. 


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    I do see a Better vibe or chemistry  with the players  , was donaldson a prima Donna ,  of course he was , did that reflect towards a negative  clubhouse  , baldelli says no 

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    Because I am not around the team every day, it is very difficult to determine the impact that Correa is having.  But, since when has that ever deterred a Twins Daily poster from joining the conversation?  I'm in Maine and I've only seen parts of several games.  But from what I've seen, the clubhouse and the playing field are both places where the players seem very happy.  The huge smiles on Buxton are something I'm not familiar with.  Chemistry on a team is hard to explain/define but this team seems to have it.  If Correa is a big factor, enjoy it while he's here.  Who knows, maybe having fun at work is enough motivation for him to sign up for a long stretch?

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    My position is that we have no idea about the clubhouse. Players are happier when they win. Even those famous Yankee and Oakland teams that got into fights with each other had loads of laughs as they won a ton of games.

    What is most evident right now is the improved ability of the pitchers to throw quality strikes and the big improvement by the defense. Despite some errors the past couple of games, the quality of defense is a big improvement over the last couple of years. The Twins lost last night but Gordon made a fine diving catch in left field. Larnach has also seemed much more confident in the field, running down a few fly balls and aggressively charging singles for throws to home plate. The defense is being led by Buxton, Correa, and Polanco up the middle and considerable growth from Jeffers behind the dish. 

    There are so many games still to play but if the Twins can manage to play strong defense and throw pitches that avoid the whooping zone, I like their chances because they have some players that can hit the ball on offense. Players love to make and talk about great defense and winning brings smiles.

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    I have no comment on Donaldson but I will say Correa has really impressed me with his positive vibe. As well as his willingness to speak up and lead with words and actions.  His Elite defense coupled with his good offense is something this team has lacked for a long time.  I don't like high AAV long term deals but he has me thinking about the Twins trying for a 7 year deal to see if they can get him to stay. I just can't see going 10 as that could hurt the team pretty badly in future years.  He is just what this team needs IMO.  Together with Buxton and the young players coming up this team could be really good the next 5 years or so.

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    Veterans the Twins got this off season overall are team players. They want the team to do better, it's not a self thing. Correa never tried to grab all the attention for himself. Off the bat he stated that this Buxton team thus disarming any disput over who was the "Alpha male" on the team. Love his attitude of willingness to work with Polanco and Lewis and his optimism for this team. He's a stablizing force to keep us out of any long losing streaks.

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    I don't see the knock on Donaldson! To me he was one of the only players that showed any passion about the losing ways. He hated it. Others just went on playing and collecting checks.

    As for Correa, forget the Clubhouse. Look at the field stuff. He is always in dugout encouraging and congratulating the younger guys. Always smiling. Get him signed long term and stop talking about Royce Lewis!! Lewis either goes to 1B or LF. SS is out!!

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