Twins’ plans after Carlos Correa deal

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s already been an offseason like no Twins fan has ever seen — and the fact is, it’s still hard to imagine they’re done.

An already crazy streak for the club got even crazier when the Twins made their expected follow-up to their trade from earlier in the week by signing a shortstop. But it wasn’t the move anyone might have imagined, with superstar Carlos Correa reportedly on his way to the Twins on a three-year, $105.3 million deal, according to’s Jon Morosi. that stunned the baseball world.

What does this mean for twins? And after? We have your answers here.

How much has this week transformed the Twins?
Yeah, let’s quickly recap things, since the three trades and two free agent signings have changed a lot in the span of just a week.

ACQUIRED: SS Carlos Correa (free agency, reported), RHP Sonny Gray (trade with CIN), C Gary Sánchez (trade with NYY), INF Gio Urshela (trade with NYY), RHP Joe Smith (free agency), RHP Francis Peguero (Minors , exchange with CIN), RHP Ronny Henriquez (exchange with TEX), C José Godoy (derogations)

LOST: C Mitch Garver (exchange with TEX), 3B Josh Donaldson (exchange with NYY), C Ben Rortvedt (exchange with NYY), RHP Chase Petty (exchange with CIN)

Somewhere in there, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa was also a twin for exactly 35 hours and four minutes, coming into the deal with the Rangers and leaving in the trade with the Yankees.

Does that mean Correa will be the Twins’ shortstop for three years?
Probably not.

The deal, as reported by Morosi, includes opt-out options for Correa after each of the first two seasons. One of the main reasons this deal came as such a shock was that the star was universally expected to sign a lengthy deal similar to – or better than – the contracts signed by Corey Seager (10 years, $325 million), Marcus Semien (seven years, $175 million) or Javier Báez (six years, $140 million).

If Correa has a good season with the Twins in 2022, he could retire and hit free agency again at age 28 in a shortstop deal with far less high-level competition and no l uncertainty of the work of this offseason’s lockdown between MLB and the MLB Players Association. In fact, with new agent Scott Boras leading Correa’s negotiations, it would seem likely, as Correa would still be in an extraordinarily good position for a mega-deal given his talent.

Why does this make sense for the Twins?
This type of contract structure would make less sense if the Twins were looking for their shortstop of the future in this market, but they didn’t necessarily need to because their two main prospects – Royce Lewis and Austin Martin – are all two shortstops who will start the season in the high Minors. Lewis is even on the 40-man roster.

If Correa steps down after a year, the Twins would have greater clarity on preparing Lewis and Martin for the big leagues, with the option of reallocating Correa’s $35.1 million salary to their other needs. If that includes another provisional shortstop, so be it. If not, so much the better.

And unless he’s seriously injured, it’s hard to imagine Minnesota complaining about another year from a 28-year-old Correa in 2023 if the star shortstop decides not to exercise his opt- out. Either way, the Twins can make it work with the pay flexibility afforded them by offloading the remaining $50 million of Josh Donaldson’s contract between 22 and 23 to the Yankees earlier in the week.

As long as Correa sticks around, the Twins will have one of the most talented shortstops in the game.

The Twins need to get a starting pitcher at this point, right?
Yes, the Twins still need to pitch. They know it too, from the reception to the clubhouse. It would be pretty surprising to see Minnesota come out of all this hype without another starting pitcher.

Gray is here for 2022 with an option in 23, making his acquisition a winning move now. Byron Buxton is obviously in this business for the long haul, having signed a seven-year extension. Correa is a clear win-now move. It’s hard to imagine that kind of offseason ending with the Twins carrying Randy Dobnak or Lewis Thorpe as their fifth starter rather than depth options.

Rumors of a potential matchup with the A’s for one of their two top arms – Frankie Montas or Sean Manaea – have swirled since the Twins acquired Gray from the Reds, which clearly signaled their winning mentality now. The Tigers’ acquisition of Michael Pineda late Friday night leaves few (if any) mid-level starters in a depleted free agent market, leaving a trade scenario as the best bet for an impact addition.

The rotation, as it currently stands, includes Gray and Dylan Bundy ahead of youngsters Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober. Another impact arm would likely result in a high prospect cost in a trade, but the Twins have plenty of pitching depth in the high minors in particular. The next free agent would likely be someone like veteran Johnny Cueto or someone else to lead the innings until the next wave of top prospect pitchers start rolling in from the minors this season.

Either way, it seems like a matter of when, not if – because this list doesn’t seem to be over.

What could this composition look like?
This is where it gets fun. Here’s a mockup of what opening day might look like:

1. Luis Arraez, 3B
2. Byron Buxton, FC
3. Carlos Correa, SS
4. Alex Kirilloff, LF
5. Jorge Polanco, 2B
6. Gary Sanchez, DH
7. Max Kepler, RF
8. Miguel Sano, 1B
9. Ryan Jeffers, C

Things should be very fluid, with Gio Urshela rotating to third base, Arraez rotating to second, Polanco occasionally rotating to shortstop and a handful of players sliding into the DH slot. The fact that the Twins can make such a formation right now without even including Urshela is definitely not a bad sign.

And the defense?
Gray and Jeffers were rightly excited about the glove Correa will bring to shortstop as well. He was worth 12 over-average strikeouts last season, according to Statcast, sixth among all qualified shortstops and within striking range of Andrelton Simmons (16 OAA). This will be especially important given the young pitchers who are expected to make their debuts for the Twins at various times this year.

With this acquisition, the Twins’ middle players will be Correa and Buxton at shortstop and center field — both Platinum Glove Award winners (Correa in 2021, Buxton in 2017). It is an important gesture on both sides of the ball.

Comments are closed.