La Velle E. Neal III
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Eyebrows were raised across baseball when the Twins signed shortstop Carlos Correa to a three-year, $105.3 million contract during the offseason.

Even with Correa's ability to opt out after each of the first two seasons, it appeared to be a win for both sides. The Twins added an elite player to the lineup while allowing prospect Royce Lewis to rebound following knee surgery. Unfortunately for the Twins, Lewis injured his knee again.

Correa gets $35.1 million — the fifth-highest salary in baseball this season — with the option of re-entering the market after the season and getting more.

Unfortunately for the Twins, they are not getting $35.1 million of production out of Correa. If the Twins fail to reach the postseason, add this to the list of reasons why.

He entered Saturday batting .269 with 14 home runs and 39 RBI. His on base-plus-slugging percentage of .781 is below his career average of .832 and would be the third-lowest of his eight-year career. After having a 7.2 WAR in 2021 according to Baseball Reference, he was at 3.2 this season. When the Twins faltered to a 10-12 record in July, Correa was one of the culprits, batting .175 with a .614 OPS.

This is unacceptable for someone who was fifth in MVP voting a year ago when he hit 26 home runs and collected 92 RBI. That was the player the Twins believed they were getting when they landed him. His defense has been great. His clubhouse presence, from all accounts, has been exemplary.

But there must be an impostor batting for him.

The Twins hoped for all around excellence from Correa, but that is not happening. Fangraphs has his value at $17.5 million so far this season. I'm aware that players aren't paid what they are worth, they are paid what they can get. But I believe the Twins were hoping for more offense from a premium player they are paying a premium price for.

There have been at least two reports that Correa has already decided to opt out following the season. He's not making a good case for a raise.

There's still time where a strong finish could help the Twins' AL Central title chase and boost his market value if he does choose free agency. I'll give him a break on the RBI because he's been batting second most of the season. But .800 is my cutoff line for having a good OPS, and a player of Correa's caliber should be safely above that.

Before going 0-for-4 Friday, Correa was 7-for-15 over his previous five games, so perhaps he is ready to crush down the stretch and be the player he was expected to be.

Loud comeback

A quarterback's every move is scrutinized. Especially if you are Vikings signal-caller "Cursing" Kirk Cousins, who had an eventful week.

He left the team for five days as he recovered from COVID-19.

It brought back memories of a 2021 season during which Cousins was among players who declined to be vaccinated. He tested positive for the virus and had to miss a late-season game against the Packers with the playoffs at stake.

Cousins missed Sunday's game at Las Vegas while recovering. He returned to practice last week and was eager to scrimmage against the visiting 49ers.

"The joint practices," he said, "there's always a little more juice for obvious reasons."

No kidding. After completing a pass down the middle to Adam Thielen during the scrimmage, Cousins turned and yelled his trademark, "You like that?!" with a colorful word in the middle that fired up the crowd. It's always something with No. 8.

Reeve's new project

After going 14-22 — a .389 winning percentage that is third-worst in team history — the Lynx head into an offseason looking for answers.

And they should find them because losing is not tolerated with the Lynx.

Coach and GM Cheryl Reeve — after she re-signs with the club — will work over a roster that isn't completely bare. Sylvia Fowles, the game's all-time leading rebounder, is retiring. But Kayla McBride averaged 14.4 points a game this season and indicated she might curtail playing in Europe during the offseason to focus on the Lynx more. Napheesa Collier missed most of the season to have a child and wants to assume Fowles' leadership role.

So they have a couple players to build around. They have two first-round draft picks. There is some money available for free agents. And Reeve has a bad taste in her mouth.

This should be an interesting offseason.


Scoring flurry

Loons playmaker Emanuel Reynoso has reached the final frontier, as his nine goals already are a career high. He will score four goals over the remaining eight games and finish with 13.

Big finish

Byron Buxton will lock in his power stroke over the final weeks of the season and finish with 41 home runs. And he will have more home runs than walks for the second consecutive season.