‘I can sit down and … cry about it, or I can just keep working’: Carlos Correa on his offseason, Twins reunion and goals for 2023
FORT MYERS, Florida – To get into the big leagues, stay there succeed here you need some kind of supernatural athleticism and disposition. Everyone at the MLB level once dreamed of being here, so it’s easy to see how they could come to the conclusion that baseball is what they were always destined to do.
However, when other players consider Carlos Correa, they take it one step further.
“He was born to lead teams to championships,” Minnesota Twins outfielder Nick Gordon said as he sat in the dugout Wednesday, waiting for his bat at a live practice.
That the Twins in particular believe this is clear—if not from the special praise they showered on Correa in his freshman year in Minnesota, then certainly from last offseason. In an extraordinarily bizarre saga, their unwavering interest in his return ultimately won out after two blockbuster contracts were canceled by two botched physicals. A whirlwind of opportunity across both coasts has brought Correa back to Minnesota — he bought a house there but keeps his home in Houston to escape the winter chill — where he will stay for at least the next six years.
As BP finished, Correa stopped assistant pitching coach Luis Ramirez to talk about hand slots and corners.
“I have a lot of information about hitters and now I want to get a lot of information about pitching to see how they are going to attack hitters and what makes a pitcher so efficient and good,” he later said.
This is the quintessential Correa, who is obsessed with doing everything from baseball to parenthood with the greatest possible intent and clear understanding. He reads The Four Agreements (but refrains from judging its usefulness for the time being) and is working on becoming a more attentive listener – “rather than just listening to get an answer or an answer.”
This is a person that Gemini believes in, knowing that he will do everything in his power to stay healthy and that his presence is as valuable as his work. Of course, they pay him to be a stellar shortstop, and how his ankle will hold up is an open question that cannot be completely abandoned until his playing career is over.
But if Gordon is right, I have to think about the Twins, who didn’t make the World Series this century and win the playoffs. a game at 19 years old – they will say it was worth it.
Sportzshala Sports: I know how committed you were to this team last year, but now you have a real long-term commitment. Is it different when you come in this year and evaluate everything? Do you have long term plans in mind when you consider the changes you would like to see and make?
It’s completely different. You see me making my rounds. I try to leave a mark everywhere, with every player, with every person in this organization. Because in order to be a champion-level organization, we have to look at each other like family, right? There is nothing that I would not do for my son, for my brothers, for my father. And if we look at each other like family and create that bond at this club, everything will change on the pitch. I sincerely believe in this, and this is one of the main directions of my spring training. My first goal is just to make my teammates better and make sure everyone gets along with each other and it was more like family and not just teammates.
Was it weird to leave here at the end of last season not knowing if you’d be back?
Yes, but I went through it in 2021 when I left the organization where I spent nine to ten years of my career, including the minor leagues. Obviously, it was hard, and you learn to deal with such things. I learned that moving to another team can be intimidating, but going through this last year, I was so glad to know that my role was completely different.
In Houston, I just showed up, and there are all veterans, all superstars, so everyone knows how to do their own thing. Here it was more like making sure I’m helping these kids understand how business is done in the big leagues because most of them grew up during the COVID years. And in the COVID years, you are late and leave early just because of the new rules, right?
Well, when you grow up like that, you think that’s the way the big leagues work. This is not how the major leagues work. We show up early. We run with our teammates, we sit down at the dinner table and have some quality conversations for a while, and then we continue our day by doing work and putting nutrients into our bodies. This is what everyone now understands and understands, and everyone is in the same boat.
What was it like watching Houston win without you?
It was fun. It was fun. Just because when you really see your teammates – in my case, now ex-teammates – as family members, which we talked about, you want the best for your family members. After all that some of these guys have been through, all the hard work, all the injuries, all the noise, to be able to see them celebrating and coming together and having such a beautiful moment, I was very excited. I jumped up on my couch, watching them. For me, these are my brothers, and I wanted the best for them.
Now that the season starts over again this year, I want us to be the last team left alive. All this love goes away when we meet face to face. And then when the games are over, love returns. But that’s the standard that everyone tries to follow, and that’s the team that everyone tries to surpass.
This is no embellishment: this is the best team in the major leagues. And if you want to be called the best team in the big leagues, you have to go through them. And that’s the reality of baseball in today’s game. This is a team that needs to be beaten so we have to focus on getting better and getting to the level where we can compete with the best.
When that team failed last year, did you notice something about the way the Twins handled adversity that the Astros would have handled differently?
Last year there were so many ways to get better and one of them was just physical. As a team, we didn’t publish. At one point we had 19 guys on [injured list], which was the second highest in the major leagues. So that’s a big problem. When your star players and your regular players start to drop, it’s hard to make up for it because they’re stars for a reason – because they’re so damn good.
So let’s say you take Altuve, Alvarez and Bregman out of the Astros roster and replace them with three minor league players, the team looks very different, right? They are no longer the best team in the big leagues. So health is something we have to make a priority here and try to stay on the field as long as possible because in the end that’s what we need to win.
How much do you think you can control it?
I feel like there is information that many players don’t have access to or don’t have, I would say, the time or urgency to look for. But I study the game, as you know, and I’m not just talking about hitting, defending and base running. I’m talking about nutrition. I’m talking about sleep. I’m talking about supplements. I’m talking about everything you can do to become a better player.
And the information that I share with them is my work. Make sure they understand the importance of nutrition. If you want to go there and eat, you know, a hamburger, wings and a Coke, that’s fine, but you have to understand the consequences that this will have. Every action has a reaction. So if they understand this, they can make more informed decisions.
For someone who prides himself so much on his fitness, was it hard to publicly question his health this offseason?
No. It’s just something you can’t control, right? If I can’t control it, why bother with it? It happened in the 14th year, and, passing the medical examination, I was 100 percent sure that everything was in order. I mean, there is nothing. There was not a single bone or muscle that hurt during the physical. Last year was the healthiest I have ever been. That is, the whole year I was not bothered by anything. I have never visited a coach, except for a blow to the finger.
I would say that it was rather shocking when I found out this information. But once everything was sorted out, I thought, “Okay, this is what we’re dealing with. What’s next?”
Then there was another deal, and then it didn’t work out, and then there was another deal. And I really believe that this is where I should have been. I can sit down and chat about it and cry, or I can just keep working and focus on taking care of my health, taking care of my body. And try to make my team better so we can go out and win championships. I prefer the latter, working and focusing on what comes next.