To Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, the solution to staying in Minnesota past this season is clear.
"When I go to the mall, and I go to the Dior store, when I want something, I get it. I ask how much it costs, and I buy it," Correa said. "If you really want something, you just go get it. I'm the product here. If they want my product, they've just got to come get it."
"They" being the Twins and their payroll.
Correa joined as a free agent this offseason with an unexpected and unique three-year, $105.3 million deal that provided the opportunity to opt out after this season and 2023. The expectation has always been Correa would move on after a year to seek his longer-term deal, but he placed the onus on his current organization.
The Twins payroll is around $140 million, ranking 16th out of 30 teams. As an example of what Correa might be looking for, shortstop Corey Seager signed a 10-year deal with the Rangers after the 2021 season for $325 million.
Twins President Dave St. Peter said he's spoken to the Pohlad family, the team's ownership, a lot about what it might take to keep Correa. And St. Peter said while the attendance at games was down this year, that shouldn't affect the payroll, which St. Peter said has always been "well north of where [the club's] revenues would suggest it should be."
"He's been everything we could have asked for. On the field, he's been an elite player. Off the field, he's been an elite person and leader, and somebody that's gotten involved in our community," St. Peter said. "… We certainly have an interest in seeing him as a Twin in 2023 and beyond. I can assure you that."
Correa has spoken many times about how he has enjoyed being with the Twins this season. And while he's missing the playoffs for the first time since 2016, he said he will "forever have brothers in here for a long time."
In addition to becoming a locker room voice, a partner with franchise center fielder Byron Buxton and a mentor to rookie Jose Miranda, Correa put up the third-best batting average among shortstops this season at .286, with 61 RBI and 21 homers. His defense has been sound to stunning. But the shortstop free-agent market could be crowded with talent, from the Dodgers' Trea Turner to Boston's Xander Bogaerts.
Correa said he hasn't made his decision yet and also hasn't engaged in any serious talks with the Twins. And beyond the impending choices regarding his future, he has more big offseason news to deliver: He and his wife, Daniella, are expecting their second child around spring training.
A week ago, the front office backed Twins manager Rocco Baldelli's future with the club despite missing the playoffs in back-to-back years. Now it has earned the same support.
St. Peter said Derek Falvey, the team's president of baseball operations, will be back in 2023 and hopefully many years after that.
"Everybody in our organization is disappointed with the way our season has played out. I don't know that there's anybody that has more angst over it than Derek Falvey," St. Peter said. "... We think we have a very dynamic, smart, forward-thinking leader."
Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine both came to the Twins after the 2016 season and brought Baldelli on as manager ahead of the 2019 season. Under Falvey and Levine, the Twins have compiled a 449-415 record.
The Twins have made it to the playoffs three times in the span — 2017, 2019 and 2020 — but failed to win a single postseason game, let alone make it out of their first round.
St. Peter said he's evaluated the front office on its entire body of work, not just the past two tough seasons, and gave it "high marks."
"We were criticized for years for being too passive as a baseball operation. This group has never been passive," St. Peter said. "Look at their track record. You can criticize the trades, you can criticize the signings, but they're going to shake the tree and try to make us better for 2023."
- The Twins said all of their employees in the Fort Myers, Fla., area are safe after Hurricane Ian. The team's facility sustained some moderate wind damage and limited water damage. Any structural damage has yet to be assessed, so it's not yet known when the club will be able to resume baseball activities there.
- Injured starter Tyler Mahle is traveling on the season-ending road trip to Detroit and Chicago, where he'll throw a light bullpen next week as he deals with right shoulder inflammation.