Correa's long, winding free agency leads back to Twins

January 11th, 2023

Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey remembers calling Carlos Correa to say goodbye.

News had just broken that the star shortstop, who spent the 2022 season with Minnesota, had agreed to a megadeal to play elsewhere, so Falvey wanted to wish him well.

“It was an emotional conversation,” Falvey said. “It was a heartfelt conversation on both sides.”

That conversation ultimately convinced Falvey of one thing above all else: Correa’s heart was still in Minnesota.

On Wednesday, following a month-long saga, Correa was indeed in Minnesota to finalize a six-year deal to stay with the Twins through at least 2028.

Financial terms were not announced, but a source told's Mark Feinsand that the contract is for $200 million. The deal includes four additional team options covering the 2029-32 campaigns, each of which can automatically vest based on performance in the previous season and would bring the total value of the agreement up to $270 million.

Even if Correa doesn’t stay beyond those six years, it’s the longest and most lucrative deal given to a free agent in Twins history

“The whole free agency process, it’s a very complicated process as we know, and a lot of things happen along the way,” Correa said during Wednesday's news conference. “But at the end of the day, all that matters is that I’m here.”

Re-signing Correa was a central focus for the Twins from the offseason’s outset. However, all hope seemed lost when Correa reportedly agreed to a 13-year, $350 million contract with the Giants on Dec. 13. That fell apart due to long-term concerns regarding Correa’s surgically repaired lower right leg, which he fractured on June 21, 2014, but hasn’t caused him to miss any time since making his Major League debut on June 8, 2015.

The Mets jumped in about a week later and were ready to sign Correa to a 12-year, $315 million deal. But they shared those same health concerns.

Correa called these developments over these past few weeks “shocking” and “an emotional roller coaster,” especially since the injury had not affected him on the field in more than eight years. He went through three physicals last year -- one prior to the season, one upon agreeing to terms with the Twins and one at the end of the season -- that sounded no alarm bells.

“One thing I learned throughout the whole process was that doctors have a difference of opinions,” Correa said. “I had a lot of doctors tell me that I was fine. I had some doctors that said it wasn’t so fine.

“The whole process was crazy, but the endgame was great.”

Scott Boras, Correa’s agent, said the Twins’ knowledge of Correa’s physical condition played a crucial role in why he ended up back in Minnesota.

“Surgeons who don’t treat athletes but they do a lot of surgery will look at an MRI and say one thing,” Boras said. “The other doctors that treat patients look at them, and they find little credence in the MRIs when they’ve seen dramatic performance, particularly over an eight-year span.

“We’re not here to fault exterior physicians and their opinions. But I will say that in medicine, particularly in sport, orthopedic functionality and clinical exam on a day-to-day basis is far more important than an MRI.”

As Correa’s baseball whereabouts remained nebulous, the Twins never lost hope that they could somehow find a way to bring back the player who recorded a 140 OPS+ through 136 games last season. 

“Sometimes in baseball, as in life and everywhere else, fate and destiny come back together and there’s an opportunity that you don’t always expect,” Falvey said. “The journeys are not always linear. They are circuitous sometimes. But they are here, and they bring us back together, to the place where we knew was always right for Carlos.”

Once reports of his agreement with the Twins began trickling out Tuesday, Correa’s phone started blowing up. Byron Buxton, Jose Miranda, Nick Gordon and many others with whom he had kept in touch during the offseason conveyed their excitement to have him back in the Twins’ clubhouse.

“That means the world to me, because to earn my teammates’ respect in such a short amount of time and their love for me, that’s what it’s all about,” Correa said.

Now the 28-year-old can finally get back to baseball. His free agency didn’t unfurl as he anticipated, but he is happy to be a Twin once again and ready to pick up where he left off.

“We started something special last year, and there’s some more work to be done,” Correa said. “At the end of the day, I want to bring a championship back to this city."