Carlos Correa, the top free agent on the market this winter, has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins, reports Mark Berman of Fox local in Houston. The deal reportedly includes opt-outs after both the first and second years, so it's entirely possible this is simply a one-year deal and Correa hits free agency again next offseason.
For now, though, the Twins have made a huge splash.
Correa, 27, batted .279/.366/.485 (131 OPS+) with 26 home runs last season. He made his second career All-Star Game and won his first Gold Glove Award for his stellar play at the shortstop position. He also finished fifth in Most Valuable Player Award voting, his highest career finish.
The Twins have been very active since the lockout was lifted just over a week ago. They traded catcher Mitch Garver to the Rangers, using part of that return along with Josh Donaldson to get Gary Sánchez and Gio Urshela from the Yankees. They acquired Sonny Gray from the Reds via trade, too. Certainly some of the money they cleared in sending Donaldson to the Yankees helped them dish out the money for Correa.
The Twins' infield now looks like it will feature Miguel Sanó at first, Jorge Polanco at second, Correa at short and Urshela at third. Sánchez is the primary catcher with Byron Buxton in center. As things stand, the corner outfield and DH spots could be a mix of Luis Arraez, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Nick Gordon and Brent Rooker.
The Twins won the AL Central in 2019 and 2020, but took a step back to 73-89 in 2021.
CBS Sports ranked Correa as the No. 1 free agent coming into the offseason. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Correa is such a talent that if he didn't exist a video-game player would have created him. He's a well-above-average hitter who walked and struck out at personal-best rates last season, and he did so while achieving maximum exit velocities that were on par with all-world sluggers like Juan Soto and Yordan Alvarez. Unlike Soto and Alvarez, two corner outfielders celebrated more for their work at the dish than in the grass, Correa is a highly proficient defensive shortstop with a big-time arm. He's constructed of flesh and bone, meaning there are negatives to consider. His attendance was spotty earlier in his career, and it's to be seen if he can maintain his high level of durability (he appeared in 92 percent of Houston's games in 2020-21) as he nears his 30s. He's also no longer a stolen-base threat, the way he was when he first broke into The Show. (He hasn't attempted one during the regular season since April 2019.) There's also the sign-stealing scandal. The George Springer precedent suggests Correa won't have a Poe-like moment this winter, his heart pounding like so many trash-can thuds as lower-than-expected offers pour in. Truthfully, even if teams had shown any inclination to punish Astros players in that manner, they might make an exception for Correa. He might just win an MVP Award someday and, per the authority of this list, is the best player available on the market.
For his career, Correa is a .277/.356/.481 (127 OPS+) hitter. He's been worth an estimated 34.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference.
Correa had reportedly been seeking a deal somewhere in the range of 10 years and/or $300 million, but the market didn't really end up working that way. He does come away with the highest-ever average-annual salary on a free-agent deal for an infielder at $35.1 million per season. And if he has a big year in 2022, he's liable to give the 10-year deal another shot by opting out.
As for the Astros, they'll either pivot to fellow free agent shortstop Trevor Story -- who will certainly be cheaper than Correa on a per-season basis -- or prospect Jeremy Peña.