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  • Is Carlos Correa Really Going to Get Paid?


    Ted Schwerzler

    The Minnesota Twins are all but expecting Carlos Correa to opt out, and that should be seen as a near certainty, but is the big payday really there? With another loaded free agent class, the answer isn’t as certain.

    Image courtesy of © Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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    An immediate note on Carlos Correa opting out should be that it does not mean his time with the Minnesota Twins is done. He’s going to opt out because it makes sense for him to do so from a longevity standpoint. Soon-to-be 28-years-old, Correa would be better off landing a long-term deal as opposed to playing next season at $35.1 million. If he kept this current contract, he’d hit the market again at 30-years-old, making the long-term expectation that much more contentious.

    This offseason Correa had Scott Boras angle for $35.1 million. That extra $100,000 landed Correa the highest paying deal for a Major League infielder by average annual value. It came in ahead of another Boras client in Anthony Rendon. To a certain extent, Correa has already earned a record deal. Now, what does he want to do from here?

    Looking at things as they stand currently, Correa would be no better than the 4th best option in terms of 2022 fWAR among 2023 free agents. Dansby Swanson (5.2) leads the position, with Trea Turner (4.7) just behind him and Xander Bogaerts (4.2) coming in third. Correa’s 2.2 fWAR checks in 13th among qualified shortstops.

    Age wise, Turner is a bit older at 29 while Swanson is less than a year separated from Minnesota’s shortstop. Bogaerts paces the group at nearly 30-years-old, which could provide an interesting case study for Correa should he surprisingly choose to play out the string on his deal now. Making just $20 million through 2024, Bogaerts is all but certain to opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox, and it seems there’s been little dialogue regarding an extension.

    I think you can make the case that Turner is a superior player to Correa, while Swanson’s emergence has been more recent. Bogaerts is probably ahead of the Puerto Rican as well, but again, has a bit of age constraints going against him.

    Then there’s the understanding that the market would need to shift substantially. Last year Correa was looking for that big $300 million deal. He never found it, and instead signed with the Twins. Sure, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be in play needing to replace Turner, but that’d be pretty awkward given the reality that he’s the fanbase's favorite player to boo. It’s tough to see the New York Yankees getting in after opting for Isiah Kiner-Falefa instead, and having Anthony Volpe as their top prospect near ready to go. With that, you’ve immediately taken out two of the top spenders. Oh, and Steve Cohen already has Francisco Lindor with the New York Mets.

    So, where does that leave Correa? If last winter was a cold shoulder, maybe this one is even moreso. There’s no denying he’s an elite talent, and he’s going to get paid, but maybe not to the extent he hopes. A five or six year deal may happen, but it will come at a substantially lesser average annual value. A six-year deal at $200 million isn’t much of a drop, still $33.3 million. I don’t know that $150 million gets it done, but over five years that’s still $30 million per season. The decision probably lands on what level of future security is desired, and how much the average annual value matters.

    Anything close to either of those scenarios would be a record spend for Minnesota, but given the current financial obligations, it’s a pool they could certainly play in. Not having to fight against the biggest markets, Correa opting-out could ultimately result in him choosing to return to a place he’s stated feeling comfortable. Noted as a homebody, maybe weight is placed on not moving again, and this is certainly a fanbase that would embrace him for the long term.

    Having a left side of the infield that includes Royce Lewis and Correa for something like the next handful of years would be quite the stabilizing force for a team looking to take another step forward.

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    The SS market will be fascinating again this offseason. Early guesses would be that Turner returns to LA and Swanson returns to Atlanta, but there's no guarantees on either of those. I think the Yankees postseason performance will dictate a lot of their offseason strategy. If they flop in the playoffs I wouldn't be surprised at all if they take a swing at any of the big 4. Volpe isn't exactly lighting the world on fire in AA, and they've been without a championship for way longer than they like to be. 

    Does Boston decide they want improved defense at SS and are willing to let Bogaerts walk to make a run at Correa? Is there a surprise team like the Rangers last year who just say "f it" and sign a big named SS even when the rest of the team doesn't look to be ready to compete? Are the Cardinals ready to move on from DeJong and are willing to pay Correa to pair with Arenado for the best defensive left side in baseball? Will be fascinating to watch how a lockout free offseason plays out for this SS class. Correa hired Boras for a reason and we're about to see why.

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    If he opts out he's not going to do worse than Trevor Story did. That's 6 years, $140M. However, if he stays he's guaranteed 2 years $70M. If those are his only options he should bet on himself and opt into the Twins deal, knowing he can find a deal that beats 4 years, $70M in two seasons. Realistically he should probably opt in unless he can get at least 6 years $180M this offseason.

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    5 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    The SS market will be fascinating again this offseason. Early guesses would be that Turner returns to LA and Swanson returns to Atlanta, but there's no guarantees on either of those. I think the Yankees postseason performance will dictate a lot of their offseason strategy. If they flop in the playoffs I wouldn't be surprised at all if they take a swing at any of the big 4. Volpe isn't exactly lighting the world on fire in AA, and they've been without a championship for way longer than they like to be. 

    Does Boston decide they want improved defense at SS and are willing to let Bogaerts walk to make a run at Correa? Is there a surprise team like the Rangers last year who just say "f it" and sign a big named SS even when the rest of the team doesn't look to be ready to compete? Are the Cardinals ready to move on from DeJong and are willing to pay Correa to pair with Arenado for the best defensive left side in baseball? Will be fascinating to watch how a lockout free offseason plays out for this SS class. Correa hired Boras for a reason and we're about to see why.

    The Cubs will also be looking.

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    7 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    If he opts out he's not going to do worse than Trevor Story did. That's 6 years, $140M. However, if he stays he's guaranteed 2 years $70M. If those are his only options he should bet on himself and opt into the Twins deal, knowing he can find a deal that beats 4 years, $70M in two seasons. Realistically he should probably opt in unless he can get at least 6 years $180M this offseason.

    I was all in when he signed, but I am now not sure he is worth 35 million per year.  I would think the Twins could use that money(and after the Sano buyout) to fill some other holes.  It leaves a hole at SS, but frankly he hasn't earned that money in my book this season.

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    11 minutes ago, SanoMustGo said:

    I was all in when he signed, but I am now not sure he is worth 35 million per year.  I would think the Twins could use that money(and after the Sano buyout) to fill some other holes.  It leaves a hole at SS, but frankly he hasn't earned that money in my book this season.

    For the next 2 seasons he's definitely worth $35M per season. He will provide that much value this year and I think he's underperforming his potential.

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    Question... is it considered tampering if Boras checks in with all the potential teams that fit for CC4 to see what they would be willing to offer BEFORE he actually opts out?  If so, then I think he would go that route and if the money/years are not available then opt in with the Twins.  If that is considered tampering then I think he will opt out but give the Twins first crack at signing him to a longer term contract for less AAV because I do believe that he likes it here and sees promise.

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    First sentence: "The Minnesota Twins are all but expecting Carlos Correa to opt out, and that should be seen as a near certainty, but is the big payday really there?"

     

    Do you know something we don't? 

    More accurate might be, "The media all but expects Carlos Correa..." or "Most of us on Twins Daily expect Carlos Correa..."

    The reality is, we don't know what the Twins are expecting, but my guess is that they've had ongoing conversations with Correa and Boras and know a lot more than we do.

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    Correa's player options were always BAD for the Twins. If Correa opts in to his contract with the Twins, it's a BAD thing because it meant he's severely injured or terrible. The options were always to protect Correa from the potential risk of an injury and a down season.

    Barring severe injury or a massive slump, Correa would be an absolute fool to exercise his player option for 2023.

    Worst case scenario, you don't think he could re-arrange a 1 yr $35MM contract with a player option for $35MM in the second year? Of course he could. There is utterly no possible way to believe what's on the table at this point is in any way shape or form beneficial to Correa.

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    Considering the alck of free-agent talent that will come and play in Minnesota, the Twins can afford Correa for another season.

    Also, Lewis won't be ready right away.

    Be interesting to see how Austin Martin progresses next season and if Brooks Lee is for real.

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    It has to do how well Correa performs at the end of the season and if be post season. If he ignites he'll opt out if he doesn't then the odds greatly increase that he'll stay if he get's hurt then I'd bet he'd stays.

    If he opts out will MN sign him? I doubt it even if they both would like to.

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    45 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

    Correa's player options were always BAD for the Twins. If Correa opts in to his contract with the Twins, it's a BAD thing because it meant he's severely injured or terrible. The options were always to protect Correa from the potential risk of an injury and a down season.

    Barring severe injury or a massive slump, Correa would be an absolute fool to exercise his player option for 2023.

    Worst case scenario, you don't think he could re-arrange a 1 yr $35MM contract with a player option for $35MM in the second year? Of course he could. There is utterly no possible way to believe what's on the table at this point is in any way shape or form beneficial to Correa.

    I am really not sure that is certain.  A guy who is hitting .260 with a 425 SLG and is a 3 WAR players.  I know 2022 is likely an outlier but im not 100% certain he would get that same deal or offer. 

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    I agree that it is a bit of a question if he will get what he is looking for when he opts out.  I highly expect he will opt out, I could be wrong, but that was his plan the whole time.  Now, based on the rest of the crop teams will have to decide who is getting paid.  Of course TEX is out, DET is out, Mets out, and SD are out of bidding.  However, Dodgers, Angels, Braves, Seattle, Red Sox, maybe Cubs maybe Yankees depending on their plans with their prospects, Point is there is 4 SS, just like this year, all looking for deals and more teams than players looking to sign them. 

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    I never bought in to 10yrs and $350M. I mean, why not ASK for it? But just because the Rangers DID do similar doesn't mean anyone else is going to. Even with bad timing, it's still seemed strange someone didn't make a longer deal offer at least.

    But a year older, down year at the plate notwithstanding, why take $70M over 2yrs and try again when a 5 or 6 year deal now for "only" $30M per  more than doubles that? Even $25M per more than doubles the $70M. So even if he wants to stay, even if $35M per is off the table, he's still smart to opt out and end up with a bigger payday than opting in.

    There's competition in the market this year yet again. And a lot of the top spending teams may be out, for all the reasons listed in the OP. He's going to get paid, no question. But I think it's more $30M-ish per for 5-7yrs. 

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    33 minutes ago, High heat said:

    I am really not sure that is certain.  A guy who is hitting .260 with a 425 SLG and is a 3 WAR players.  I know 2022 is likely an outlier but im not 100% certain he would get that same deal or offer. 

    Triple slash numbers mean nothing these days. MLB has played around with the pitchers (seems like sticky stuff is back) and balls to the point where HR/FB rates and general hitting statistics aren't static enough to pull much from them. wRC+ and OPS+ peg Correa as a 25-30% better than average hitter playing the second most valuable defensive position in baseball.

    Correa's bWAR is 3.3 already, and I suspect he'll crest 4 this year. Fangraphs' 2.4 fWAR doesn't make any sense to me at all. Seems broken. Correa owns 2.4 fWAR with almost no defensive value despite his UZR being positive and him playing SS so Fangraphs' formula is seemingly broken for Correa.

    In any case, WAR isn't particularly stable as it's not a counting stat. WAR works in an exponential way with a single change being multiplied by every inning and every plate appearance over the entire year. I suspect Correa will end the year over 4.0 bWAR and somewhere close to that in fWAR.

    All that said, even if Correa was viewed as a 3 WAR player worth only $24MM per year by conventional logic, he'd still be able to secure a contract for 4-5yrs and $100MM. Minimum. He's only 27 years old right now... Of course, after that, he'd have another contract waiting for him after that should he remain healthy. The risk to Correa opting in is enormous.

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    3 minutes ago, DocBauer said:

    I never bought in to 10yrs and $350M. I mean, why not ASK for it? But just because the Rangers DID do similar doesn't mean anyone else is going to. Even with bad timing, it's still seemed strange someone didn't make a longer deal offer at least.

    But a year older, down year at the plate notwithstanding, why take $70M over 2yrs and try again when a 5 or 6 year deal now for "only" $30M per  more than doubles that? Even $25M per more than doubles the $70M. So even if he wants to stay, even if $35M per is off the table, he's still smart to opt out and end up with a bigger payday than opting in.

    There's competition in the market this year yet again. And a lot of the top spending teams may be out, for all the reasons listed in the OP. He's going to get paid, no question. But I think it's more $30M-ish per for 5-7yrs. 

    He's TWENTY SEVEN right now. 27. A year older?

    Sure, why not use his player options for the next couple years and hit the market at age 30? Yeah, makes total sense.

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    Baseball reference has him as 3.3 WAR player. He will likely get to 4 WAR by the end of the year.  Personally this about as good as you can ask for and for the Twins situation I think they will be more than happy if Correa opts into another year to let Lewis get healthy.  Correa will have essentially played to the contract and if he opts in good deal.   

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    Yawn - not sure I really care either way. The intrigue is fun to talk about, but, in reality, wake me when he decides.

    If he opts in, super - he’s a pretty darn good player and maybe rebounds a bit from this absolutely disappointing season.

    If he opts out, we can roll with the $35MM and Polacios and Lewis next season at SS and beyond. $35MM would go a long way to improving our pitching staff - say a solid #2 starter and two really good relievers. Who’s to say which model wins more games?

    Either way, we have a strong enough young core and enough FA budget to put together an interesting team with or without Correa.  Having said that, I’m not convinced anyway that with Rocco at the helm, they will get over the hump and make the playoffs, let alone win a playoff game or series.

    Doesn’t matter much too me. Six of one or half dozen of the other - I’m still going to watch every game and cheer for the Twins 

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    Evidently he said again last night, when asked about FA and the possibility of returning to Houston, that he sees himself playing a long time in Minnesota.

    Take it for what it's worth.

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    19 minutes ago, mnfireman said:

    Evidently he said again last night, when asked about FA and the possibility of returning to Houston, that he sees himself playing a long time in Minnesota.

    Take it for what it's worth.

    Returning to Houston?? Funny question, right?

    Correa: age 27; 3.3 WAR; $35.1M (min)

    current Houston SS: age 24; 3.8 WAR; not even arb eligible

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    2 minutes ago, jkcarew said:

    Returning to Houston?? Funny question, right?

    Correa: age 27; 3.3 WAR; $35.1M (min)

    current Houston SS: age 24; 3.8 WAR; not even arb eligible

    Nobody said reporters were smart....

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    31 minutes ago, bunsen82 said:

    Baseball reference has him as 3.3 WAR player. He will likely get to 4 WAR by the end of the year.  Personally this about as good as you can ask for…

    Huh?
     

    A 26-year old former #1 overall draft pick, and perennial all-star, has a 7.2 WAR season…and “as good as can be asked” is 4 WAR in his age 27 season?

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    I'm a yawner regarding Correa.  I'm always amused how people use analytics to make a player appear better than he is.  Correa has not produced for what you would think for one player eating up a huge chunk of the payroll at 35 mil.  For decades part of a players worth was measured in batting average, home runs, RBIs, risp.  Now apparently they don't mean much anymore.  As long as a player has great exit velo, high barrel up stats launch angels etc is all that matters any more.  Results aren't important like they used to be.  Correa is hitting around .125 with two outs and runners in scoring position.  Hitting around .270 been stuck on 39 RBI forever.  Even our young players have more than that.  If he stays fine, if not let it be.  I just don't think he's worth all the money he is getting.

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    It always makes me laugh when people talk about how a player produces enough WAR for their salary because they're at a 1 WAR per $8M ratio.  That is only accurate when obtaining talent on the FA market, which is the absolute worst way to acquire talent.  If the Twins wanted to win 90 games, and needed to spend $8M/WAR to do so, their payroll would have to be $336M.

    Putting it another way, if Correa is "worth" his contract, and puts up 4 WAR a year, and the Twins have a $140M payroll, that means the Twins need to get 38 WAR out of $105M, or $2.76M/WAR.  That's going to be very difficult to do.

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    2 hours ago, mnfireman said:

    Evidently he said again last night, when asked about FA and the possibility of returning to Houston, that he sees himself playing a long time in Minnesota.

    Take it for what it's worth.

    It is worth basically nothing. That's the "proper" thing to say right now because he is with the Twins and the season is still going. 

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    Correa has been solid this year and glad we signed him but not worth the $35M.  Certainly he can produce better next year if he opts to stay here but I think someone will give him the $35M for 10 years he is looking for in the open market and he will get paid if he opts out.   He could stay here if we offer him that deal but not suggesting that the Twins should or would do that.   I viewed the signing as a one year deal and I planned on enjoying watching him play for us this year.      

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    Perhaps the market for Carlos was waiting to see what he would produce without the advanced pitch recognition strategies they deployed in Houston.   This season’s performance is the result and could be the more stable indicator of what he will be moving forward.  Under that scenario, Correa would know it too and may take a second year of the Twins contract unless someone really wants to overpay for what he really is production-wise.

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    1 hour ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

    It always makes me laugh when people talk about how a player produces enough WAR for their salary because they're at a 1 WAR per $8M ratio.  That is only accurate when obtaining talent on the FA market, which is the absolute worst way to acquire talent.  If the Twins wanted to win 90 games, and needed to spend $8M/WAR to do so, their payroll would have to be $336M.

    Putting it another way, if Correa is "worth" his contract, and puts up 4 WAR a year, and the Twins have a $140M payroll, that means the Twins need to get 38 WAR out of $105M, or $2.76M/WAR.  That's going to be very difficult to do.

    Correa was obtained on the FA market so the ratio is relevant. 

    I get a chuckle out of these quick math arguments when we all know teams aren't filling out their active rosters with 26 guys earning market value. 

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    5 hours ago, bean5302 said:

    All that said, even if Correa was viewed as a 3 WAR player worth only $24MM per year by conventional logic, he'd still be able to secure a contract for 4-5yrs and $100MM. Minimum. He's only 27 years old right now... Of course, after that, he'd have another contract waiting for him after that should he remain healthy. The risk to Correa opting in is enormous.

    If Correa is a 3 WAR player lets hope he opts out. Twins have multiple players on the roster that can approach that…allowing the Twins to invest in pitching (and/or catching).

    Having said that, he’s probably more like a 5 WAR player for the next couple of years…I THINK.

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