How Take 3 of Correa saga can send shockwaves across baseball

January 11th, 2023

All right, so now this time we’re sure we really mean it: Carlos Correa is joining a contender on a long-term deal.

In the wake of the news that the Twins and Correa have finalized a six-year, $200 million contract the whirlwind saga of Correa’s offseason is finally over. Of course, this is really the Twins bringing back Correa, we guess, even though he has been through so many teams at this point that you almost forget he actually played for Minnesota in 2022.

So what are the implications of this latest contract? Let’s take a look at five.

The Twins just established themselves as the team that will make big swings in the AL Central

When the Twins inked Correa to that short-term deal with the opt-out before the 2022 season, we all understood it to be a very short-term deal: Correa would play for the Twins for one year while establishing his long-term market, the Twins would show they still desperately wanted to win after a miserable season and the rest of the division could all assume everything was going back to normal in 2023.

Nope! The Twins are now clearly all-in to win for at least the next six years; they will be taking no steps back anytime soon. This has implications across the board for the division. The White Sox should be better this year simply by being healthier, but they now know they’re going to have to win more games than they might have expected a day ago. The Guardians thought they’d done enough by adding Josh Bell and Mike Zunino, but that now seems less certain. And the Royals and Tigers have a better idea of just how high the mountaintop they’re trying to climb really is. We’ve been waiting for someone to be aggressive and take control of this division. The Twins just did.

Do the Mets have to make another big move now?

It is pretty wild that after Mets owner Steve Cohen said bringing on Correa "puts us over the top,” that the star shortstop has ended up with the Twins. So what puts the Mets over the top now? There obviously aren’t any Correa-esque players left on the market, but Cohen will surely want to make a big move at some point.

Maybe he will start calling the Angels constantly about Shohei Ohtani the minute they look like they aren’t making the playoffs? You know what seems the most likely? When Manny Machado opts out next offseason, as he’s widely expected to do, the Mets line up to give him a deal that’s just like the one they tried to give to Correa. Though, about that …

The Giants suddenly come out smelling like roses

The Giants’ miserable offseason looks a lot less miserable now, doesn’t it? That physical that scared them so much? It scared the market enough that Correa just took $150 million less in guaranteed money than he was going to if the Giants’ deal had gone through. The Giants don’t look so overly cautious, as they were mocked for being initially; they look like they were ahead of the curve.

Plus, now that they haven’t wrapped up $350 million in a guy with major injury questions, they can go fight the Mets to spend that money on Machado or Ohtani in the offseason. This year might be tough. But they’re in much better position long term.

The Braves look like the NL East favorites again

There is a slim margin here, obviously. After all, the teams finished with the same record last year, and Atlanta won the division by virtue of claiming the head-to-head season series, 10-9. But while the Braves look sleek and young and locked in for years to come, the Mets, while still good, look incredibly old. (Remember: Correa would have been the second-youngest member of their lineup, and their rotation is even older.)

Correa may have been good enough in 2023 for the Mets to have a slight edge. But with him gone, the Braves still look like the best team in the NL East -- by what sure could be a larger margin than last season.

All eyes are on Correa’s health, now and forever

So, seriously: That was a pretty expensive physical! Correa was supposed to cash in on a decade-long deal in either San Francisco or New York, huge markets with massive fanbases. Now he has six more years in Minnesota. The Twins are a terrific franchise with their own huge fanbase, of course, but players get a chance to sign a huge contract like this once in their careers -- and this is surely much less than Correa ever thought he’d get. And it’s all because of that surgically repaired right ankle, the cause of this whole offseason rigmarole. Now we will find out how it actually holds up over time.

Another little added bonus for Correa here: After years of being booed by opposing fans for his alleged connection to the Astros sign-stealing scandal, he now has fanbases at Oracle Park and Citi Field -- teams he will play against at some point -- who will be booing the ever-loving heck out of him for years to come. It is not necessarily Correa’s fault that this happened. But good luck convincing Mets and Giants fans of that. After all: Just ask Yankees (or Dodgers) fans.