'Brothers for life': Correa, Buxton ready to lead Twins for long haul

Star SS, CF formed tight bond during 1st year together in Minnesota

February 19th, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Great teams are built on elite up-the-middle talent, and in and , the Twins have anchored their future around a center fielder and shortstop rivaled by few in the game.

That is now the foundation upon which Minnesota has staked its hopes for a championship. Just two years ago, before Buxton signed a long-term contract extension that will keep him a Twin through 2028, and the mere thought of Correa in a Minnesota uniform would have seemed laughable, could the Twins have possibly even fathomed the notion that they would, one day, not too far in the future, have the pair secured together for at least seven total years?

“Oh, man,” president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “No, honestly.”

When Correa first arrived in Twins camp last spring on what was widely viewed as a short-term bridge deal, he emphasized that he saw Minnesota as “Byron’s team,” and not his own. Now, he's committed to a six-year deal with the club. And based on the way Buxton and Correa have leaned on each other, learned from each other and grown closer in the last year, with the clubhouse looking up to them, the team is theirs to lead together -- each in their own ways.

“He deferred to Buck, and I think he genuinely wanted to,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “What was cool about that was watching Buck lean back in and say, 'I want you to lead, too.' It was Buck's deference back to Carlos, and all year, we saw that relationship budding and developing and connecting. They just have so much respect for one another. I've seen Carlos impact Buck as a leader and I've seen Buck impact Carlos in different ways.”

Correa understands the vocal role of rallying his teammates around conversations and priorities. Buxton prefers to speak through his example and presence, letting his performance and on-field energy speak for him.

But part of what helped the onetime No. 1 and No. 2 picks from the 2012 MLB Draft forge such an immediate and tight bond -- one evident in their huge embrace when Buxton arrived in camp on Friday -- are the similarities they hold in their priorities and how they learn from each other’s perspectives, according to Buxton.

“We kind of act the same -- don't do too much, lazy off the field,” Buxton said. “He'll tell you that. We work out, go home, play with the kids, and that's it. There's not really much more we want to do other than those things and talking amongst ourselves about how to make each other better. That's something we did all offseason.”

In fact, they grew so close in one year that throughout the offseason, they stayed in touch, talking about their families and checking in, with Buxton saying that it was up to Twins leadership to “go back and get him.” When Correa’s deals with the Giants and Mets fell through and he improbably ended up back in Minnesota, Buxton already knew -- and wrote on social media that it was “hard to hold that in from everybody.”

“I think [Correa] called Byron first and then Byron called before anything became public,” Baldelli said. “I think it speaks to the depth of that relationship and how much they'll lean on one another. They're very different. But they're complementary in a lot of ways, and I think they both know they're central to what we're trying to do.”

Only three other times have the No. 1 and No. 2 picks from the same MLB Draft been teammates -- and none for longer than two seasons. Now, the Twins have Correa and Buxton for at least seven years, and Falvey admits the competitive environment and direction of this roster would have felt completely different in an alternate universe.

“I think what we would have had to do is be creative in a lot of different ways -- and who knows what that would have meant for the rest of our roster and what it looked like,” Falvey said.

Fortunately for the Twins, they don’t need to worry about that. Their stars are aligned on the field and in the clubhouse -- and that bond will grow even tighter in the half-decade to come.

“The bond that we made last year was incredible, but to be able to do that for six more years and have your kids side by side in the stands, it makes it that much better,” Buxton said.

“I truly feel that we’re going to be brothers for life after this,” Correa said.