‘It’s about being smarter’: How Carlos Correa is approaching his future after wild offseason


FORT MYERS, Florida — Carlos Correa felt great, he felt great. At the end of a long season, he trained without problems, even playing tennis with his sister, waiting for his free will to kick in. And so he was the first to admit: the collapse of the record $350 million deal with the San Francisco Giants was stunning. Correa suggested that passing the Giants’ physical was a fait accompli. “I’m like, ‘Easy money,’” Correa recalled.

Then, after the Giants retreat, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen swooped in with a $315 million offer, but that too fell through due to doctors’ doubts about a nearly decade-old leg injury. “The second case was more shocking,” Correa said. It was his understanding that the Mets made the deal knowing he had a problem with his leg.

“When it failed, I thought, ‘Oh shit.’

The sequence of events was unprecedented, the superstar and his value had turned into vertigo negotiation, and Correa needed certainty. He told his agent, “Hey, take me where I want to go.”

And it just so happens that Correa returned to the Minnesota Twins’ camp this spring, a place few thought he’d ever been to. From the early days of Correa’s career in the industry, it was assumed that he was a former No. 1 overall—an aspiring prodigy who asked his parents at the age of 8 for English lessons so he would be prepared to conduct interviews in a second language as an adult. – will find its way to the biggest and brightest stage possible, almost certainly in New York, Los Angeles or Wrigley Field.

But now he’s likely to spend the rest of his career in Minneapolis, and the Twins staff, who got to know Correa in what they envisioned would be a one-off 2022 season, immediately felt the depth of his commitment. . Correa’s present and future are sealed and he’s going all in, determined to win as much as he can and play as much as he can, now that he’s received doctors’ feedback on his leg. Correa has built his career around analytics – he loves, uses and relies on numbers – and understands risk management. So, based on what he heard from those doctors and from his own, he has already begun to adapt.

“We won’t play tennis anymore,” he said of the off-season with his sister. “I won’t play basketball anymore. We will not do anything that is outside the scope of my profession. It’s about being smarter.”

Correa is a giant among shortstops at 6’4″ and 220 pounds, and he readily admits he will eventually move to third base (a move he would have made had he signed with the Mets). If he could benefit from less time on his feet, cutting his training regimen – sort of a mid-career career change that helped Aaron Judge, among other things – then he’s determined to find out. He will learn to do more with less. Failed physicals are now a part of his story, but any anger, any frustration about how his winter played out has been effectively separated from each other. He moves on.

“You know, there’s not much that can upset me,” Correa said, sitting at a picnic table next to a semi-field in the Gemini complex. “I don’t focus on what’s outside. I focus on what’s inside. When I say inside, I mean my family members, my friends, my teammates and people who are really in my safe place.

“I always say that a boat will never sink in the water that surrounds it. The water you allow into your life is what will sink your boat. All that outside noise and all the outside things that I can’t control has never affected me. I just get on with my life and try to be a positive influence on the people around me.”

DAY EARLIER Correa arrived at the Twins’ camp, the team alerting him that some members of the media would be there to document the return of the player, who is now anointed – thanks to the sheer scale of his contract – as the heir to Kirby Puckett and Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.

He told them that he would come through the doors of the club at 8:45 am, and, as it turned out, his estimated time of arrival had expired. At 8:44, Correa entered the room. His personality filled the room as he greeted old and new teammates with handshakes and hugs. Twins pitcher Sonny Gray wrote a message during the chaos of Correa’s winter asking Correa how he was doing, and at the time, according to Gray, the idea that Correa might return to Minnesota was never raised. It wasn’t a thought. “But now he’s here,” Gray said, smiling as he talked about how Correa, center fielder Byron Buxton and new catcher Christian Vazquez would bolster the defense. Shortly after placing his bag in the corner locker of the Twins’ club, Correa walked over to the cages to rock, his voice echoing with the crackle of bats. Correa then ran out to half the field where three coaches were waiting for him, yelling and pleading with glee, donning gloves and hitting baseballs in a series of drills. He then stopped by a small group of fans to sign autographs.

“I’m glad you’re back, Carlos,” one of them said.

“Me too,” he replied.


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