There are downward spirals and then there’s the way that Carlos Correa has begun both this season with the Minnesota Twins and his $200 million contract with the team.
Correa’s horrific struggles at the plate through the first two months of the season are bad enough, but everything he does is now viewed through the prism of the franchise-record deal the Twins gave him in January.
Minnesota handed Correa a six-year deal worth $200 million, ending one of the most bizarre free agent journeys a player has had. Rather than see it as a concession, the Twins viewed Correa as a sueprstar addition, the kind the organization has never made. Aside from a $180 million deal for Joe Mauer, the Twins have never spent big in free agency but broke the bank to establish themselves as contenders in the American League.
Expectations were understandably high to begin the year, and Correa has done nothing to live up to his end of the deal. After Tuesday’s loss to the Padres, Correa is slashing a meek .185/.261/.363 which is hardly worth a fraction of the money he’s making.
Twins fans know this, and have officially reached a breaking point with Correa and his early season struggles.
After Correa struck out to end the seventh inning of a two-run game with runners stranded in scoring position, Twins fans at Target Field began to boo him.
Carlos Correa reacts to Twins fans booing him at Target Field
Minnesota eventually lost the game 6-1, spoiling another great starting pitching performance. That’s been a theme this season, as the Twins finally have a dominant pitching staff but have an offense that is incapable of providing run support.
Louie Varland allowed just one earned run in six innings of work, striking out six Padres batters while giving up five hits. It was a stellar performance, once that should have resulted in a huge win over a tough National League opponent.
Instead, the Twins offense couldn’t help burping up all over itself while Correa continued stepping to the plate with a whiffle ball bat. There’s no other explanation for the Twins $200 million man to be struggling this bad, yet that’s the reality of the situation.
To his credit, Correa knows he stinks right now and isn’t blaming fans who are letting him hear it.
"I'd boo myself too with the amount of money I'm making if I'm playing like that and I'm in the stands,” Correa said after the game. “Obviously (the booing) is acceptable. It’s part of the game, part of sports. Fans want production and fans want a team that’s going to compete out there and win games. It’s expected when you play poorly.”
For as mad as fans are at Correa right now, you can’t help but respect that he’s owning his struggles. It’s not often that superstars face the music and admit they’re not living up to expectations, and Correa is genuinely doing that out of what seems to be a deep care for Twins fans.
While it’s beyond frustrating to see someone who should be the Twins best hitter looking like he couldn’t hit the ball off a tee, the season is still young. Correa has time to turn things around, and his bat heating up and carrying the Twins through the summer — or in the postseason — will make these struggles now feel like a distant memory.
Something needs to change, though, and Correa’s bat needs to wake up sooner rather than later. Minnesota has a brutal stretch of games ahead, with two more against San Diego before matchups against the Dodgers and Cubs. The Twins should have won a statement game on Tuesday but lost in large part because their best player is ice cold.
Until Correa heats up, the boo birds will be circling him everywhere he goes.