Minnesota Twins: Grading the Stunning Carlos Correa Deal

New Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa watches his home run. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
New Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa watches his home run. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Wow. That’s really all that we can say as Minnesota Twins fans after the team finally made the mega move that we were all hoping for:

While all reports were saying that the Twins were hunting for Trevor Story, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine quietly came to the conclusion that Story was getting too expensive and shifted in another direction, adding the top name in free agency: Carlos Correa.

The Minnesota Twins made a huge splash, signing Carlos Correa to a three-year, $105.3 million deal.

The deal, which sees Carlos Correa get paid $35.1 million each year, makes him the highest-paid infielder by average annual value, edging Anthony Rendon’s seven year, $245 million deal from 2020. It also includes player opt-outs after both this season and next, which benefit both Correa and his agent Scott Boras if Correa has a great year.

It seems likely that teams wanted to prove Correa could stay healthy on a short term deal before giving him the $30+ million that he felt he deserved. The Twins were very eager to help Correa reach that mark.

Our contributor, Mason Keith, predicted Carlos Correa would join the Minnesota Twins back in December, but the expectation would be a long term deal that would secure one of the game’s premier players at a premier position. Instead, it’s a little different. Before we focus on that, let’s focus on the player himself.

Carlos Correa, picked one selection before Byron Buxton in 2012, has firmly established himself as one of the best shortstop in baseball. The 27-year old has worked hard to make himself into one of the best defenders in the game. The 2015 Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star won his first Gold Glove last year and landed the 2021 Platinum Glove as the best defender in baseball.

In addition to his defense, his offense is stellar. His career slashline is .277/.356/.481, good for a .835 OPS. He also averages 29 homers per 162 games, so you know there’s solid pop in his bat. Last year, his numbers matched up to that pretty well:

  • 148 G, .279/.366/.481, 26 HR, 92 RBI, 75-116 BB-K ratio

Now yes, from 2017-2019, there were some injury concerns, but in 2020 and 2021, he missed just 16 games in total, so it’s safe to say that the Twins are getting one of the best regular season shortstops in the league. Now about the postseason.

Say what you want about the Houston Astros’ tainted run to the World Series title in 2017, but there’s absolutely no denying Carlos Correa’s ability in the postseason. Correa has slashed .272/.344/.505 in 16 career series. The Twins need a guy with that level of playoff experience and the ability to provide clutch moments like this:

On top of this, Correa is a far more safe option than Trevor Story. There are major concerns about Story playing outside of Coors Field. He could struggle at a new stadium, particularly at pitcher-friendly Target Field. The Twins won’t have that worry with Correa, who has a career .413/.443/.762 slashline and 1.205 OPS there.

There’s definitely a major downside to this deal. Carlos Correa can opt out of the deal at the end of 2022. If the Twins struggle this year, if Correa feels like it isn’t a good fit, then he can choose to hit free agency again in a year from now. Even if he does opt in after this year, he could opt out again the year after next.

But that’s why we need to look at this deal right now. The Twins DESPERATELY needed a shortstop this year if they were going to take another run at the postseason with Miguel Sanó, Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers, and now Gary Sanchez all expecting to hit free agency at the end of this year.

They have a lot of prospects coming up for next season, including Royce Lewis. If the team doesn’t contend for a World Series this year, they can immediately retool and start the next season fresh, and with Donaldson and likely Correa’s money out of the way, the team can be massive players in the free agent market. The team will likely have nearly $70 million to spend to reach the team’s expected $130 million payroll.

Grading the Deal for the Minnesota Twins

The short-term nature of the contract is where the beauty of this deal lies. Correa gets to pick up a massive payday next season if things go right in 2022, and if they don’t Correa gets another $35 million for next year. If he does leave, the Twins will have the best bridge shortstop of all time to allow Lewis time to recover from his ACL injury and meet his potential.

Either way, the Twins come out on top. The franchise itself proves to the fanbase that it’s actively trying to bring them it’s first title since 1991. Royce Lewis still is the future of the position, and gets a boost of confidence that the team added Correa short term with him in mind.

If for nothing else, Minnesota Twins fans can be massively excited that the team is contending this year. Their team signed the biggest name on the market, and with arguably the biggest free agent signing in Minnesota Twins history now in place, this team is ready to contend. This deal is a win for everyone involved. Astros and Yankees fans: Eat your heart out.

Grade: A+.

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