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John Shipley: Carlos Correa waiting for Twins to pop the question

Before Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field, Correa ranked second on the team in batting average (.289), home runs (21), runs batted in (61) and walks (58), and first in OPS (8.34) and WAR (5.0). His defense, if not entirely peerless, is virtually peerless, and Correa’s 129 games played this season are fewer than only Luis Arraez (139) and Gio Urshela (136).

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa smiles and gives a thumbs up during the seventh inning Saturday, July 23, 2022, against the Detroit Tigers.
USA Today Sports file photo
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Carlos Correa is ready to settle down, and as the 2022 season winds down over the next two weeks, he’s waiting for the Minnesota Twins to pop the question.

“I want a long-term relationship with someone,” the two-time all-star shortstop said Tuesday. “I want to get married; I don’t want to just be dating and going on one-night stands. I want to marry an organization.

“If they see me the same way, and see me as the perfect fit, then they’ll make it happen.”

There was always a good chance 2022 would be Correa’s only season in Minnesota. He signed a three-year, $105.3 million deal in March. But when this season ends, the team’s undeniable MVP will have the option to snip the two remaining seasons off and move on. And if the Twins don’t want to renegotiate a longer deal, it seems clear that’s what he’ll do.

But if this season was a courtship, both sides enjoyed each other’s company.

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“This guy has given us everything that someone could give,” manager Rocco Badelli said. “He’s given us the leadership at the highest of levels. He’s given us the performance, which has only gotten better and even more impressive as the year has gone on. He’s given everything you could ask a player to give.”

Correa is, in the parlance of old-fashioned engagement, a catch. And, apparently, ready to be swept off his feet. It’s just going to take more than the two additional years of the current deal – which, let’s face it, everyone knew when it was signed on March 28.

John Shipley
John Shipley

“They have the option …” Correa said before stopping himself. “They got to see what I can bring to the team, not only on the field but off the field in the clubhouse and teaching the young guys how to go about their business. So, a marriage and long-term relationship is what I’m looking for.”

Back up the Brinks truck.

When the Twins appear close to contending – and I know no one wants to hear this right now but they can win the Central next season – president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine have been aggressive in the free agent market. After a surprising division title in 2019, they signed former AL MVP Josh Donaldson for a then-franchise record four year, $92 million contract. They traded Donaldson to the New York Yankees, in part, so they could make Correa the highest-paid player, $35 million annually, in team history and the fourth highest in the major leagues this season.

And it was the best money they spent on a team that began losing pieces after the all-star break before the wheels finally fell off this month. Correa has been the team’s rock.

Before Tuesday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field, Correa ranked second on the team in batting average (.289), home runs (21), runs batted in (61) and walks (58), and first in OPS (8.34) and WAR (5.0). His defense, if not entirely peerless, is virtually peerless, and Correa’s 129 games played this season are fewer than only Luis Arraez (139) and Gio Urshela (136).

He has been a mentor to a large number of Latin players in the clubhouse, including fellow Puerto Rican Jose Miranda, the rookie revelation of the season who leads the Twins with 64 RBIs and seems to have solved the problem of losing Miguel Sano at first base. And Correa likes it here.

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“I love it here,” he said. “No complaints about here except for the first month and the weather. But it’s a great place to be.”

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The 25-year-old Arraez edged out Yankees slugger Aaron Judge for the American League batting title, hitting .316 in 144 games for the Twins.

Certainly, the Twins need to bolster their bullpen – again – but the biggest hole this team might have to fill ahead of 2023 would be shortstop, if they let one of the best shortstops in baseball walk for more money.

What else are they going to spend it on?

If the Twins want to give themselves the best chance to win in 2023, they’ll find the money to sign Correa, who turned 28 last week, to a lucrative, long-term contract. Period.

When your dream date is available, you put a ring on it.

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