Sean Pendergast

Four Thoughts on Carlos Correa's Free Agency Saga

Carlos Correa is headed back to the Minnesota Twins after a crazy free agency saga.
Carlos Correa is headed back to the Minnesota Twins after a crazy free agency saga. Photo by Jack Gorman
It's hard to feel sorry for someone whose last two MLB offseasons have resulted in what amounted to a one-year, $35 million contract with the Twins, and then a subsequent six-year, $200 million contract with those same Twins, but I do feel a bit for Carlos Correa and the patience and big emotional swings he's had to show and endure.

A year ago, Correa had to sit through the lockout and wait until March to land on a three-year, $105 million deal (with annual opt outs that he ended up using) with the Twins, and then over the last month, he's agreed to record breaking deals with the Giants and Mets, had each of them scuttled by medical concerns of his surgically repaired right leg, before getting a deal with the Twins bout half as long and a little more than half as much as the deals he agreed to with the Giants and Mets.

Again, I don't feel sorry for someone whose consolation prize is $200 million, and thus, I am perfectly fine with snark like this in describing the Correa contractual saga this winter:
See, that's funny! I would imagine even Correa himself will be able to sit back and laugh at this whole thing someday, once he's done counting all of the $150 million guarantee he lost in the process. (The Giants aborted contract was for 13 years, $350 million, a record for a shortstop. Or it would have been, at least.) A few thoughts on the former Astro favorite landing back in the Twin Cities:

This is a GREAT deal for Minnesota
In his one season as a Twin in 2022, by all accounts, Correa made a huge impression on the fan base and in the clubhouse. That's probably not surprising to anyone in Houston, as we were all familiar with Correa's leadership and intangibles. However, it looked like the Twins were only going to get one year of that experience and he would be swiped by a bigger market. TWICE! That the Twins get Correa back on a deal where they don't have to overpay for his seasons in his late 30s is a coup. To be clear, some vesting language and team options actually give the Twins control for four more years after the six-year guaranteed period its up, but the max they are guaranteed to be on the hook is for Correa's next six seasons, age 28 through 34.

There is no way Correa isn't regretting his decision to leave Houston
I thought this exact thing long before two teams got cold feet about Correa's medicals and walked away from record setting deals. I thought this when Correa was covering the playoffs for TBS, and watching in person as the Astros were joyously winning a second World Series with Jeremy Pena at shortstop. Pena winning MVP of the ALCS and World Series was additional salt in the wound for Correa.  Although outwardly, he was happy for Pena. Correa had to be questioning whether or not he should have accepted the Astros' five-year, $160 million offer after the 2021 season, and questioning his decision even more now. Sure, he wound up with more overall money, but relatively speaking not a ton more, and he would have likely won another title and furthered his "icon" status in Houston. Bad decision, Carlos.

Lost in the shuffle, the Giants are forgiven!
After the San Francisco Giants walked away from their 13-year deal with Correa a few weeks ago, they were roundly criticized by baseball experts and skewered by their own fans. Then, when the Mets got the same cold feet over Correa's medicals, it kind of got the Giants off the hook. Now that Correa had to settle for a six-year, $200 million deal with Minnesota, seriously altered from the Giants' and Mets' initial offers, the Giants can rest easy that they probably did the right thing, or at least that their walking away can't be perceived as just garden variety fear they spent too much money. Multiple teams are clearly concerned about Correa's medical future as pertains to his right leg.

Which former Astro star wins a World Series first?
The four that we are polling about here are Gerrit Cole (Yankees), George Springer (Blue Jays), Correa, and Justin Verlander (Mets). Let's see what the people say!

So there ya go!

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast