An insincere whisper comes from the abyss, making a plaything of the last ounce of hope Twins fans have: “The Giants deal technically is not official and maybe this mess upset Boras and Correa enough to sour the relationship there....”
Breaking: Carlos Correa and the Mets have a deal. $315M, 12 years.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 21, 2022
The reality we live in, barring a truly wild turn of events, is that the Twins lost out in the Carlos Correa sweepstakes. Proving to be no more than a stepping stone for the star shortstop on his way to a bigger deal in a bigger city, 2022 likely will prove to be nothing more than a curious footnote in a hall of famer’s career. After Dansby Swanson’s more recent signing with the Cubs, the Twins were left without a dance partner at star shortstop prom, having lost out on Turner and Bogaerts while waiting on Correa.
The Twins also failed to bring in a second Carlos (Rodon), who was one of a very few impact starting pitchers on the open market this off-season.
Twitter, Reddit, other Twins blogs, and general discourse amongst Twins fans has turned but despair. Twins fans can’t remember a worse or more disappointing off-season, they are ready to fire the front office and start from scratch, the calls of “Cheap Pohlads” ring through the hills.
That’s what expectations do for you. After winning big prizes in free agency in two of the past three years, Falvey and Levine came into this off-season with big expectations from fans and a tall task ahead of them: bring Correa back. It would take the largest contract in franchise history, but that’s what was expected. They came up short.
Carlos Rodon, an injury-riddled 30-year-old left-hander, was seeking a lengthy and expensive deal. Since they came up short on Correa, they had money to burn, right? How could they let him slip away as well?
Here’s the thing: prior to Josh Donaldson and Correa, the Twins had always been bargain bin shoppers. You could argue the last player the Twins signed where they really “won out” over other teams was Ervin Santana. Ricky Nolasco was the owner of what is still a top-six free agent contract in Twins history. Jason Castro is fourth on that list.
The Twins, under this front office regime, are trying to play with the big boys in free agency. Just trying isn’t going to satisfy anyone, but there’s no other way to get a seat at the table. The way baseball is these days, you’re either fishing in deep water with the big markets and the elite mid-market teams, making player development magic on a shoe-string budget (Rays & Guardians), or there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’s you (Pirates, Rockies). I think Pohlad, Falvey, Levine, & Co. are making an admirable effort to emulate a team like the Cardinals, an organization lauded for their player development that has also been aggressive to supplement their homegrown players by acquiring big stars. It just isn’t something that happens overnight.
I’m not saying that it will, either. But the wheels are turning, and I’m unwilling to already call this offseason a massive failure when I detach from expectations and look at it for what has happened (so far):
- The Twins missed out on signing massive stars at shortstop. Players of a caliber Twins fans wouldn’t have dared dream would come to Minnesota prior to Correa.
- The Twins missed out on signing a guaranteed impact starting pitcher in a very thin pitching market.
- The Twins signed the second-best catcher on the market to a multi-year deal, filling a glaring abyss in their lineup with one of the ten best catchers in the league.
- It looks likely that the Twins will upgrade in right field and at pitcher by signing an all-or-nothing right fielder who’s good defensively to replace a punch-less right fielder who’s good defensively and likely to be traded for good pitching.
Maybe the Twins will suck next year, the front office will get fired, and we’ll go back to square one. Who knows! Based on the offseason so far, I don’t think it’s fair to despair yet.
At least we're not having the offseason Giants fans are having.