No. 1? No. 4? Correa's new number the talk of Twins clubhouse

Twins Pass back on sale; Arraez prepping for infield role

March 22nd, 2022

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The buzz around the Twins' clubhouse was palpable on Saturday morning, hours after players woke up to the news that superstar shortstop Carlos Correa would soon join their ranks.

In front of utility man Nick Gordon's locker, that buzz was a downright ruckus.

Whenever a veteran star arrives to a new team, it's often the case that a unique business opportunity presents itself to one of the existing players as part of the internal economic workings of the baseball clubhouse. Correa wore jersey No. 1 with the Astros. Gordon wears jersey No. 1 for the Twins.

Only one of them can emerge with the number, and Gordon, as the youngster needing to give up that ground, was getting ready to put his negotiating cap on, with locker-mates Brent Rooker and Jake Cave loudly giving him advice from each side while others around the clubhouse chimed in. Perhaps Gordon could come up with a nice backstory about his attachment to the number to sweeten the deal.

"I don't know if I really want a car, you know?" Gordon said. "I'm more of a cash guy."

Perhaps Gordon shouldn't have dreamed so big; the world has ways of bringing you back to earth. Seeking a fresh start, Correa chose not to go after his old number and instead opted for No. 4 as the Twins' new shortstop -- shattering Gordon's hopes when he found out a day later.

"I guess he didn't want my number," Gordon said. "I'm going to cry about it. Almost. We almost did it."

Who's the beneficiary of Correa's change of heart, then? Come on down, Royce Lewis.

The Twins' No. 1 prospect originally received No. 4 as part of his first Spring Training on the 40-man roster and will switch to No. 23 to accommodate Correa, though he mentioned that he was also offered No. 0 (ruled out immediately), No. 16 (which he dislikes) and No. 69 (also ruled out immediately).

Lewis noted with a smile that his new number obviously has pretty solid clout in the sports world -- LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Fernando Tatis Jr., anyone? -- and that he's confident in his skills to negotiate a nice gift from Correa, the exact nature of which has yet to be determined.

"I would say they're pretty good," Lewis said. "I was able to get Adidas back on board with me after an injury like [my torn ACL]. I’m assuming I can get Correa to give me a little watch or something."

Considering Lewis now has to work closely with Correa, who will serve as his new mentor figure throughout camp, the 22-year-old prospect perhaps won't drive a hard bargain. If he wanted to, though, Gordon is willing to draw on his own preparation to act as an advisor -- but Gordon might be looking to recoup some of the value from his lost opportunity.

"I have tips, but I have to charge him to give him those tips," Gordon said. "It's not free advice."

Twins Pass now on sale
According to the Twins, they have sold around 60,000 regular-season tickets since news broke early Saturday morning of Correa's intent to sign with Minnesota, and fans can continue to secure their place at Target Field in 2022 with this year's edition of Twins Pass on sale as of Tuesday.

Fans holding the Twins Pass can pay $49 per month for standing-room access to every Twins home game except for Opening Day against the Mariners on April 7. Those who purchase the Twins Pass after April 6 will see the price increase to $59 per month, and their plan will only cover the months of May through September.

Arraez still preparing only in infield
Even with Correa expected to play nearly every day at shortstop, limiting the need for moving players around the infield positions, the Twins will continue to work Luis Arraez almost exclusively in the infield, manager Rocco Baldelli said Tuesday.

Arraez has made 48 appearances in left field since he debuted in 2019 in an effort to get him more consistent at-bats, and he was even the Twins' Opening Day left fielder last season. His opportunities will likely come mainly at third base, where he could split time with Gio Urshela, with some time also likely at second base and designated hitter.

"One thing that never fails in our game is everyone thinking that if you have a starter at every position, that you don't need more really good players -- ‘We're good because we have a good starter at every spot,’" Baldelli said. "You couldn't be any further from the truth, and we've all been there.

"You need as many really good players as you can possibly get, because you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow with anyone."