Correa clearly covets long-term relationship
Shortstop hasn't yet made a decision on whether he will opt out of Twins deal
MINNEAPOLIS -- The biggest question that could impact the Twins’ offseason is this: Will Carlos Correa be back in a Minnesota uniform in 2023?
Technically, that decision belongs to Correa, who is signed to a three-year, $105.3 million deal with player opt-outs after each of the first two seasons. He’ll have until five days following the conclusion of the World Series to make that call. But the shortstop indicated on Thursday that he believes his future with the Twins could instead come down to the club’s willingness to commit to him.
“When I go to the mall and I go to the Dior store, when I want something, I get it,” Correa said following a 4-3 loss to the White Sox in the Target Field finale. “I ask how much it costs, and I buy it. If you really want something, you just go get it. I'm the product here. If they want my product, they've just got to come get it.”
Ever since Correa stunned the baseball world by signing with the Twins in March following the lockout that impacted his free agency, it’s been widely expected that he will opt out of the remaining two seasons of his deal to test the market again at the conclusion of this season.
And Correa’s comments seemingly further reinforced that belief.
When explicitly asked if he’d made his decision, Correa said that he had not, and that his focus remains on helping the Twins win their final six games of the regular season. He remarked that it’s a decision that’s “never easy.”
But his comments as the season has wound down have reinforced the notion that he prefers his next step to be a long-term deal, and his statement on Thursday appears to signal that he’s looking for a contract extension if he’s to remain in Minnesota.
“I want a long-term relationship with someone,” Correa also told the St. Paul Pioneer Press earlier in the week. “I want to get married. I don’t want to just be dating and going on one-night stands. I want to marry an organization.
“If they see me the same way, and see me as the perfect fit, then they’ll make it happen.”
Correa said he and the Twins have not yet had formal discussions about his future.
“Some people have come to me saying they want to talk and this and that, but there haven't been any talks yet,” Correa said.
Correa has said since he first arrived here that he has loved his time in Minnesota and believes strongly in the team’s leadership and its future. Throughout the year, he has talked about the Twins’ future as though it is his own, too, when speaking about Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis and other exciting young players who will play a big role with the team in the years to come.
Correa has had a big voice in the clubhouse -- a mostly young room’s clear leading figure -- and has backed it up with a 5.1 WAR season, per Baseball-Reference.com. It’s by far the highest on the team, on the strength of his 21 homers and .824 OPS while playing premium defense.
His $35.1 million salary for 2022 represented more than 26 percent of the Twins’ Opening Day payroll of $134.4 million, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
"The experience with the organization was great,” Correa said. “I was treated with the utmost respect. The fans, everywhere I went, treated me like I was one of their own. From the moment I walked into this clubhouse, I felt welcome. I felt like I was going to be part of a big family. That's how I feel. I'll forever have brothers in here for a long time.”
The respect and enjoyment goes both ways, but it’s looking as though the Twins’ ability to retain his services will come down to their willingness to pay him.
“Yeah, we’ve talked a lot about Carlos,” president and CEO Dave St. Peter said. “He’s been everything we could have asked for. On the field, he’s been an elite player. Off the field, he’s been an elite person and leader, and somebody that’s gotten involved in our community.
“So we feel really good about Carlos. I think he feels the same way. He’s in a unique situation. We knew that when we signed that contract, and we’ll have to see how this plays out, but we certainly have an interest in seeing him as a Twin in 2023 and beyond. I can assure you that.”