Twins Selling Optimism That Carlos Correa Could Stay Beyond 2022

Photo: Jeffrey Becker - USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Correa is in the first season of a 3-year contract he signed with the Minnesota Twins during the 2021-22 offseason. Only caveat? The final two years of said deal are both optional. And it’s been widely expected/reported that the (nearly) 28-year-old platinum glove shortstop will opt for free agency after the 2022 season, in hopes he has $300 million waiting for him on the open market.

But will that long-term, big money contract be available to Correa, like he and his agent, Scott Boras, hope it will be? Most have assumed so, chalking his struggles to find long term security last offseason, as a product of the lockout and uncertainty it caused. But Charley Walters (Pioneer Press) is hearing whispers that say differently.

Also in for a surprise could be Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, 27, who has opt-outs his next two years on his remaining $70.2 million contract, if he thinks a team is going to offer him anything near the $300 million he was seeking last spring to remain in Houston.Charley Walters (Pioneer Press)

Correa’s Worth in a Loaded SS Market

Whether or not a crowded 2023 shortstop free agency market actually prevents Carlos Correa from landing the lucrative contract he seeks, remains to be seen. But even the mere idea of such a scenario has to, in the least, concern Correa and his people.

Remember, Carlos Correa only landed with the Minnesota Twins last offseason because of this exact same situation. There were a lot of shortstop options in free agency, both before and after the lockout, which sunk the SS market, league-wide. Suddenly, Spring Training was underway and Correa’s contract options were still underwhelming.

That’s when Scott Boras called his buddy, Derek Falvey, and offered Correa’s short-term services to a team historically desperate for such a combination of talent and leadership. Both on the field, and in the clubhouse, Carlos Correa has been everything we were promised he would be, and often more.

Hope that Correa stays?

Minnesota Twins fans are excited for how the next two to three months are lining up, no matter what happens with Correa’s roster spot afterward. But, given the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming SS marketplace, is it worth holding out hope that Carlos Correa might find his way back into a Twins uniform in 2023 or beyond?

While the likelihood is still small, local insider Darren Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North) admits that his Twins sources are really trying to inject some optimism into Carlos Correa’s possible return. (21:45 mark – transcribed below).

“They want [Carlos Correa] here beyond this year, yes. Unless I’m being fed a bunch of BS. But, I’ve done a good job as I’ve aged here, Judd, sifting through when I’m being fed BS. I firmly believe, I really do, from multiple people, that [Correa] really, really does like it here. He does.” Darren Wolfson (Mackey & Judd – SKOR North)

Twins should shoot their shot.

If Carlos Correa really likes it here that much, then the easiest path to keeping him in a Minnesota Twins uniform is for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to dig deep into the Pohlad pocket book and find a way to offer Correa $200+ million over 6+ years, hoping that a market-competitive offer, combined with all of the expected uncertainty, will convince him to take the deal.

But is an extension the only path to a Correa + Twins reunion in 2023? Sources inside the Twins organization tell Doogie that’s not necessarily the case. They point to the upcoming SS market, combined with Carlos’ apparent love for Minnesota, to build an argument that he could opt into a 2nd year under his current deal (23:00 mark in the video above).

“I had a Twins employee raise the idea: Would it make any sense, whatsoever, for Correa to opt-in to his 2023 contract. Then elect unrestricted free agency in November, 2023, when he’s 29 years old. There is a lot of competition at the shortstop position this winter. This person just said, ‘let’s keep an eye on that’.” Darren Wolfson (Mackey & Judd – SKOR North)

Skeptical… but open-minded.

Listen to all of Wolfson’s segment on Correa’s likelihood of remaining with the Twins. It’s only about five minutes and definitely worth it. Personally, I see an opt-in year as a less-likely route to Correa’s return. I can’t imagine a market so saturated, and with offers so underwhelming, that Carlos would settle for another $36 million bridge year in Minnesota. That would mean he’s opting to try free agency again at 29 y/o, instead pf taking the best offer he can get at 28 y/o.

We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars that could be on the line. Either way, optimism leaking out of the Minnesota Twins organization, is better than pessimism. And after the most active trade deadline in team history, who knows what could happen if the team makes a little playoff run, and Pohlad puts a bit of postseason cash in his pocket.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan