Twins and Carlos Correa make a new deal

Carlos CorreaIt seems like the unprecedented free agent saga is finally coming to an end, and it turns out he won’t even have to look for a new place to live. The former Player of the Year and Platinum Glove winner has reportedly agreed to a new six-year, $200 million contract with the Twins, which comes with four additional vesting options that could bring the contract value to $270 million over a decade-long term. The Boras client has no refusal in the contract, although he will get a full no-trade clause. The deal is expected to be completed on Wednesday.

Correa’s deal still awaits the completion of a physical, though John Heyman of the New York Post stated that “a key part” of that testing—including a look at Correa’s ankle and shin—has already been completed. If the deal is completed, Correa will receive an $8 million signing bonus (payable between 2023-2024) and annual salaries of $36 million in 2023-25, $31.5 million in 2026, and $30.5 million in 2027-30. $1 million in 2028. The options are worth $25 million (2029), $20 million (2030), $15 million (2031) and $10 million (2032). Correa would achieve his option in 2029 by reaching 575 games the previous season; That number drops to 550 in 2029 (for a 2030 option award), 525 in 2030 (for a 2031 option vesting) and 502 in 2031 (for a 2032 option vesting). Twins can still choose to choose any of the options if Correa does not meet the previous year’s eligibility limit.

The new deal between the Twins and Correa represents the potential latest and final twist in perhaps the wildest free agent saga ever played. Correa, a two-time All-Star, has agreed to terms with three different teams on three contracts worth $200 million or more this winter — the first two of which were stymied by the aforementioned right leg/ankle concerns. Originally, Correa reached a deal with the Giants on a 13-year, $350 million deal that knocked the runner-up Twins out of the water. However, the Giants postponed Corea’s intro press conference after raising some concerns in the eleventh hour regarding his physicality. The Mets, who had not previously been involved in Corea’s bidding, swooped in and agreed to a new 12-year, $315 million deal with Corea just days later, but New York raised similar concerns on December 24, after what really happened. .

There was concern about the stability of Correa’s right leg and how long it would last the life of a long-term deal. Correa suffered a major fracture when he slid into third base as a 19-year-old prospect in the Astros system, which required surgery and the installation of a plate that remains in place to this day. While Correa has never been on the leg injury list in the nine years since that injury, he did at least have a brief scare with it late in the 2022 season.

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Correa was thrown on a hard slide to second base and was on the field for several moments before leaving under his own power. After the match, he told reporters that he was hit on a plate in his leg and was briefly numb and shaken. However, Corea didn’t miss any time after that incident, and went on to hit . 346/. 393/. 481 with a homer and four doubles in 56 plate appearances from that awful day until the end of the season.

The way Corea’s leg and hardware would hold up gave the Mets enough pause that it was reported that they halved the length and total guarantee of their original width. The Mets still offered Correa the ability to match the original 12 years and $315 million they put on the table, but the back half of the contract was conditional and the team ostensibly wouldn’t budge on the matter. Not surprisingly, Correa took the largest collateral and much larger average annual value offered by the Twins on what has now become the largest deal in franchise history.

The outside leg drama surrounding Correa won’t do him any favors when it comes to letting go of the “injury-prone” tag that followed him early in his career, but it’s worth noting that over the past three seasons, Correa has appeared at 89.1. The percentage of potential matches for a team. Eight of the missed contests in that time came early in the 2022 season with the Twins, when he spent just over a week on the Covid-related injured list.

However, all eyes will be on Korea’s leg for the foreseeable future. The uncertainty surrounding this was enough to drop Correa — a player the Twins adamantly said they never wanted to lose — back into Minnesota’s lap at a rate less than the 10-year, $285 million bid he made just a month earlier, before he agreed to terms in San Francisco. Francisco. It’s a stunning turn of events and a major narrative change for a Twins club that was so focused on Korea in the early stages of Season 1 that the majority of the impact players were already off the board by the time it looked as if they’d been outbid by San Francisco.

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With Correa now likely to be installed not just for the 2023 season but for the next six years, at the very least, the Twins’ short- and long-term outlook has changed drastically. Correa, who batted 0.291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs as the Twins last season, will be back in the first third of a lineup that suddenly looks a lot deeper than it did just hours ago. He would follow the leading man and AL batting champion Louis ArazWith Byron BuxtonAnd Jorge PolancoAnd Jose Miranda and location abroad Joey Gallo Among the names behind him in order.

If the Korea deal has already been completed, the acquisition business Kyle Farmer He will transform from the starting shortstop into the utility role the Twins initially envisioned when he got it. Acquired from Cincinnati in November, Farmer is a former catcher who has seen time all over the field in recent years. He can back up Correa, Polanco, and Miranda while providing Minnesota with a solid batter against left fielders. Correa’s return allows Farmers to use it in more advantageous faction encounters, one year after the former Red cut .309/.380/.568 against lefties (but only .235/.291/.320 against righties).

Correa’s comeback on a long-term ranking also calls into question where his fellow shortstop and former No. 1 overall pick would go. Royce Lewis He may fit into the equation once he’s back to full health. Lewis suffered from miserable luck on the health front, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee twice in just over one calendar year. He recovered from his first ACL tear and burst onto the scene in 2022 with a .300/.317/.550 hitting streak in his first dozen MLB games—only to suffer a ligament tear while playing the outfield. Lewis could end up out for the long haul, but he could also be considered an option at third base (with a possible Miranda move across the diamond) or at second base as heir to Polanco, who is entering the guaranteed final season of his contract. (The Twins have a couple of affordable clubhouse options in Polanco.)

Correa’s $36 million salary (and half of the $8 million signing bonus payment) brought the Twins’ salary to nearly $157 million—a franchise record. The twins also added Gallo (1 year, $11 million) and a catcher Christian Vasquez (Three years, $30 million) So far in the off-season – three moves that will upgrade the team’s defense in various key positions. While Correa didn’t match his 2021 Platinum Glove numbers in his first season with the Twins, he’s still generally seen as an overloaded defender and should anchor the position with quality glove work for years to come. If a move to another position is eventually necessary, he has the arm strength to move into the hot corner, and ranks 14th among all major league players (minimum 100 pitches) in terms of arm strength in 2022, per Statcast.

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The addition of Gallo made it seem more likely that Minnesota would eventually find its own trading partner Max Keplersince the Twins are now flush with left corner batsmen (Kepler, Gallo, Trevor LarnachAnd Alex KirillovAnd Wallner died). Kirillov can see most of his time at first base, but even still, the Twins have as many as four cornerbacks who can stay at two positions — and that doesn’t even factor in right-handed bench options like Kyle Garlick And Gilberto Celestino.

It all falls under the “good problem to have” cliche, as the Twins now have a range of options in the outside corners and around the infield, freeing up the possibility to explore deals designed to increase starting spin and/or strikeouts that might not have seemed so palatable.

To put it more simply, while a contrasting reunion with Korea will undoubtedly be seen as the most substantial move in the off-season, it is unlikely to be the last. While the Twins may have erred in preparing for a transitional year in the wake of losing Korea, he suddenly held the biggest contract in franchise history to spur the front office to more action.

ESPN’s Jeff Bassan first reported on the agreement and terms (Twitter link). John Heyman of the New York Post reported on vesting options and details surrounding the Mets’ discounted offer and Correa’s physical circumference with the Twins (All Twitter links). USA Today Bob Nightingale chirp That contract does not contain opt-out. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links) And Ronald Blum from the Associated Press You mentioned details about vesting options and salary structure. Heyman reported on the vesting limits and the no-trade clause (Twitter link), while The Athletic’s Dan Hayes reported on the Twins’ ability to run options even if Correa did not meet the maturity mark (on Twitter). Nightingale chirp The contract was likely to be announced on Wednesday.

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