Longtime Astros shortstop Carlos is signing a three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins that contains opt-outs after the first two seasons. Correa, the best free agent left on the market and arguably the best free agent available at any point this offseason, becomes the face of a Twins team that had torn down a bit this offseason but now becomes a contender in the AL Central once again. Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston was first to report news of the deal:
MLB source: Free agent shortstop Carlos Correa has reached an agreement with the Minnesota Twins (@Twins) on a three-year deal worth $105.3 million with opt outs after the first two years. Highest average annual value for an MLB infielder.— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 19, 2022
Correa, 27, is a two-time All-Star and has perhaps been the biggest constant as the Astros have reached five straight ALCS, including a World Series victory* in 2017 and two more Fall Classic appearances in 2019 and 2021. He departs the Astros organization ranking ninth in franchise history in bWAR at 34.1.
Correa is a .277/.356/.481 career hitter, and he had a spectacular walk year in 2021, hitting .279/.366/.485 with 26 homers and 92 RBI while playing in 148 games, his most since 2016. He also established himself as the best defensive shortstop in the sport, leading all major league players with 20 defensive runs saved and winning his first Gold Glove.
The Twins have had uncertainty at shortstop this offseason — after signing veteran defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons last winter and moving Jorge Polanco to second base, they let Simmons walk and traded for Rangers shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa. But they dealt Kiner-Falefa, along with former MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson, to the Yankees in exchange for catcher Gary Sánchez and third baseman/shortstop Gio Urshela. Obviously, Correa will now settle in as Minnesota’s everyday starter at short, with Urshela likely starting at the hot corner, Polanco remaining at second, and Luis Arraez presumably filling the same utility role he did last offseason.
Correa will earn $35.1 million in each season of the deal, which is the largest average annual value a position player has received in free agency this offseason and the second-largest overall behind Max Scherzer’s $43.3 million per season. It’s the fourth-largest AAV in MLB history behind Scherzer’s record-breaking salary, Gerrit Cole’s $36 million, and Mike Trout’s $35.5 million.
The Twins, who finished in last place in 2021, traded José Berríos and Nelson Cruz at the deadline, let Alex Colomé, Simmons, and Michael Pineda walk in free agency, and traded Donaldson and Mitch Garver earlier this month. They have reinforced their rotation with the signing of Dylan Bundy and a trade for Sonny Gray, and they’ve replaced Donaldson and Garver with Urshela and Sánchez, respectively, who may be downgrades but are serviceable major leaguers. The Twins still have depth issues they need to address, but the AL Central suddenly looks more competitive behind the heavily favored White Sox.