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How Carlos Correa’s free agency took him from Twins to Giants to Mets to Twins

How Carlos Correa ended back on Twins and lost $150 million from Giants, Mets.

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

In a saga that’s had more twists and turns than a typical race day at the Monaco Grand Prix, it appears that Carlos Correa has finally figured out where he’s going to be playing baseball for the next few seasons. It won’t be in San Francisco for 13 years and $350 million and it won’t be in Queens for 12 years and $315 million, either. Instead, the All-Star shortstop will be returning to the land of 10,000 lakes after signing a six-year, $200 million contract to stay with the Minnesota Twins.

I can already hear you saying “Yeah, but that’s pending a physical,” and while that is apparently the most important part of any contractual situation involving Carlos Correa, the Twins have announced the deal is official. Correa is going to be playing for the Twins next year and it appears that this weird saga has finally come to an end.

So now that the Twins have somehow managed to keep Carlos Correa after he opted out of the contract he initially signed for three years and $105 million following the 2020-21 lockout, it’s time to figure out just what in the world happened here. What scared off the Giants? How did the Mets end up letting the player that supposedly “put them over the top” go after swooping in, themselves? What are the odds that Carlos Correa himself turns this from the biggest story of the offseason to just a footnote in baseball history?

For starters, it’s time to address the elephant in the room that caused both the Giants and the Mets to decide that they didn’t want to go through with signing Carlos Correa after all. In the latter stages of last season, Correa attempted a steal and stated that he felt numbness in the area near his right ankle. That’s where he has a metal plate that was surgically implanted in 2014 following a major injury to his right fibula. It definitely sounds concerning, even though the numbness from 2022 didn’t sideline Correa and it also didn’t affect his performance down the stretch, either.

The 2014 injury also didn’t cost Carlos Correa any Major League games at any point in his career. This happened while Correa was in the minors and 2022 was the only reported time where there’s been any indication that something, if anything, was going on with that ankle. It’s absolutely something to keep an eye out on, but is it really the sort of thing that should make multiple teams back out of a long-term contract?

While you can argue that the Giants had a decent reason to be concerned, this also could’ve been an opportunity for San Francisco to make a splash. While I’m not going to argue that public appearances needed to be kept up, it still would’ve been nice for the Giants to salvage what had been a very disappointing offseason up to the point of mid-December. They had whiffed on all of their free agent targets (with Aaron Judge being the most high-profile example) and bringing in a player of Carlos Correa’s caliber would’ve been a bit of a coup for a Giants team that came back down to Earth in 2022 following a brilliant 2021 season.

That’s what makes it so frustrating to watch San Francisco get so, so close to finalizing their deal with Correa before calling it off. It’s one thing for terms to be announced before eventually falling through — it’s another for the jerseys to be printed, for ticket packages starting to be sold and your star acquisition being all dressed up and ready to attend the big announcement press conference. While the Giants have made some decent acquisitions since then, it’s nowhere near the impact that signing Correa would’ve had both on the field and in the stands as well. Coming that close and failing at the final checkpoint is a massive disappointment and it’s pretty difficult to recover from that outside of simply just winning a ton of ballgames.

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

If it was frustrating to see the Giants trip up at the very last hurdle, then I’d say that it’s inexplicable that New York followed in their footsteps. You would think that with the swiftness and enthusiasm that Mets owner Steve Cohen swooped in once it became clear that he suddenly had a shot at getting Correa after all, they would’ve had little-to-no concerns about any issues that would’ve cropped up in the physical. The Giants’ loss would be the Mets’ gain, right?

Well, it looks like the hedge fund manager decided to start getting meticulous over another one of his “investments.” As it turned out, the Mets also found concern with the same issue that the Giants found when they did their physical for Correa. So instead of Mets fans ending up with a star shortstop that would conceivably put them over the top, New York ended up finding themselves at the bargaining table with Scott Boras as they tried to get this thing to the finish line. Eventually, the Mets reportedly settled on a contract offer that would’ve included the first six years being worth $157.5 million.

Consider that that number is approximately $42.5 million less than what the Twins eventually offered Correa, and the fact that New York was offering a lot less in guaranteed money. Consider that the physical for Correa and the Twins ended up being an open-and-shut case since he’d just signed there for the previous season. At this point, it became an easy and understandable decision for Correa to run things back in Minnesota after getting close to signing with two separate National League baseball clubs.

It’s still not so easy to understand the Mets backing out on signing Correa. The money is clearly not an issue here, as Cohen has blown clear past “The Steve Cohen Tax” that was supposed to deter him from spending as much as he has. Instead, it’s looking like it’s a repeat of the Kumar Rocker situation from the 2021 MLB Draft. It remains to be seen if this failed signing won’t end up with Steve Cohen being in a bit of hot water again (this time in the form of a potential grievance) but it’s already done a bit of damage to the Mets with the bottom line being that Correa legitimately could’ve been the man to put the Mets over the top as undisputed favorites in the National League.

Instead, the Twins are now in prime position to keep their star shortstop around for a handful of seasons. Where two other teams saw hesitancy and trepidation, the Twins saw opportunity and potential. There’s no guarantee that the Twins and Carlos Correa are going to work out but at the same time, if anybody deserves production and prosperity going forward, it’s Correa. It’s been a long, twisting and winding offseason for Correa but he’s finally found himself a long-term home and hopefully we actually do get to see that press conference this time.