There were many reasons why the Twins were able to sign Carlos Correa. Minnesota freed up salary space by dumping Josh Donaldson's contract on the Yankees. The front office also hadn't made any major free agent signings, so there was still payroll flexibility. And that was just the beginning of the Correa free agent puzzle.
Correa's new agent, Scott Boras, didn't want to split his major contract with his previous representatives. His free agent market didn't develop exactly as planned, and he was young to reach free agency, so pushing his major contract one year shouldn't hurt his long-term value. The perfect storm allowed Correa to wear a Twins' uniform for the year.
Correa started slowly in 2022, but some of that may have been expected after an abbreviated spring training. His OPS was under .700 in the season's first month, and the rest of the campaign became a roller coaster ride. He posted an OPS above 1.000 in July and saw it dip to under .620 in August. While the Twins have faded in September, Correa has been playing his best. In 25 games, he has hit .347/.405/.594 (1.000) with seven doubles and six home runs. His 5.1 WAR leads the Twins, and he's also made defensive improvements after a slow start on that side of the ball.
Through the 2022 season, Correa has made it clear that he'd love to stay with the Twins. He has two years remaining on the $105.3 million deal he signed this winter. However, he told reporters what it would take for him to stay with the Twins for 2023 and beyond.
Correa said, "When I go to the mall and I go to the Dior store and I want something, I get it. I ask how much it costs and I buy it. So if you really want something, you just go get it. I'm the product here, so if they want my product, they just gotta come get it."
It seems clear from this message that Correa will opt out of his contract in the days following the World Series. He's also making it clear that the club won't be receiving any type of discount even after paying him the highest annual contract for any infielder in baseball history. The Twins would have to pay up to sign Correa long-term, which seems unlikely to happen.
If he opts out, Correa will join a free agent class that is expected to include Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, and Dansby Swanson. Last winter, Corey Seager received $325 million from the Texas Rangers, so it seems likely for Correa to want to be around that contract amount. Minnesota can give him a contract near that total, but this front office enjoys payroll flexibility.
As the Twins finish the season, it's even more apparent now than before that Correa's on his way out the door. Did Correa's comments surprise you? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.