Star infielder Carlos Correa reportedly agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday on a six-year pact that will pay him $200 million. Correa's deal with the Twins marks the third time this winter he's shook hands with a team. His previous agreements with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets fell apart after those clubs expressed concern about his lower right leg as part of the physical.
The long story made short is that Correa required surgery after sustaining a leg injury when he was a minor-league player in the Houston Astros system. As part of that surgery, doctors installed a plate near his ankle. Though Correa has missed no time since because of his ankle, the plate is believed to have made insuring his contract more difficult. That, in turn, made a long-term deal more risky for the teams.
If, like a well-adjusted human being, you spent the past month-plus weeks attending to familial matters as part of the holiday season, then you might be out of the loop on everything that's happened with Correa. We here at CBS Sports are hardly well-adjusted, so we figured we'd provide a handy timeline of Correa's offseason.
Let's get to it.
Dec. 14, 2022: Correa reaches agreement with the Giants
We might as well start here. Correa technically reached an agreement with the Giants in the form of a 13-year contract worth $350 million. At the time, there was no notion that Correa's physical might threaten or derail his chances of becoming the new face of the Giants franchise. These were innocent times, folks. Alas, they did not last long.
Dec. 20, 2022: Giants cancel introductory press conference
Almost a week later, the Giants scrapped a press conference to introduce Correa just hours before it was scheduled to begin without giving an explanation. This development, which came after he had arrived in town and even shopped for a home in the area, was the first indication that the deal might be in danger.
Dec. 21, 2022: Correa reaches an agreement with the Mets
Before a full day had passed, Correa had agreed to terms with the Mets on a 12-year contract worth $315 million. Correa's agent, Scott Boras, explained what happened: "We reached an agreement. We had a letter of agreement. We gave them a time frame to execute it," he told The Athletic. "They advised us they still had questions. They still wanted to talk to other people, other doctors, go through it.
"I said, 'Look, I've given you a reasonable time. We need to move forward on this. Give me a time frame. If you're not going to execute, I need to go talk with other teams."
In a notable and now-regrettable moment, Mets owner Steve Cohen opted to talk about the agreement before the physical.
"We needed one more thing, and this is it," Cohen told the New York Post from Hawaii where he was vacationing with his wife. "This was important … This puts us over the top. This is a good team. I hope it's a good team!"
Dec. 24, 2022: Report surfaces about Mets' concern with Correa's physical
As with the Giants before them, the Mets walked away from Correa's physical worried about the long-term wellbeing of his ankle. Those concerns inspired more than two weeks of additional negotiations, during which the sides attempted to find an appropriate structure. This led to, among other things, an education about so-called "exclusion clauses."
The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal explained how one would work as part of a revised agreement. (Glove tap to NBC Sports Bay Area for the podcast transcription.)
"The way to do it in a situation like this is to put something in the contract called an 'exclusion clause' and that basically says if a player spends X number of days on the injured list with this specific injury, the specific injury to that part of his leg, then you can void future years or you can lower the guarantee, there are all kinds of ways to do it," Rosenthal said. "Now obviously if you're Correa and Boras you don't want this kind of language because it lowers the value of the contract and creates this uncertainty. Clearly, it doesn't have the same."
In the end, clearly the Mets and Correa couldn't find enough common grown to salvage the deal.
Jan. 10, 2023: Correa reaches an agreement with the Twins
Talks with the Twins were reportedly accelerating as of Jan. 9, but it was unclear if such noise was a case of Boras attempting to leverage the press and Minnesota's interest into a sweeter offer from the Mets. When news of a six-year deal worth $200 million with the Twins surfaced on Jan. 10, or nearly a full month after Correa had originally linked up with the Giants, it became clear that the Twins' interest wasn't just a convenient negotiating tactic.
The Twins, for their part, are retaining a 28-year-old two-time All-Star who has posted a 128 OPS+ over the last three seasons while playing good defense at shortstop. CBS Sports ranked him as the No. 3 free agent entering the winter, behind only Aaron Judge and Jacob deGrom. Correa is an elite player, in so many words. It would be unfortunate if the events of his dizzying winter end up obscuring that fact.