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AP source: Correa spurns Mets, reaches $200M deal with Twins

KIFI

By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer

Carlos Correa has reversed course again, bringing him back to where he started in the most convoluted free-agent negotiation in baseball history.

Correa agreed Tuesday to a $200 million, six-year contract that keeps him with the Minnesota Twins after failing to complete deals with the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

The agreement for the All-Star shortstop could be worth $270 million over 10 seasons if Correa remains healthy. The contract is subject to a successful physical, and Correa was in the Minneapolis area on Tuesday for the physical, the person said.

More than 100 free agents negotiate contracts each offseason, and letters of agreement routinely are signed by agents and clubs that are subject to successful physicals. A player goes for exams and tests at a team-selected medical facility, club physicians review the results and the team finalizes the contract, which then is reported to Major League Baseball and the players’ association.

While 99% of deals follow that path, Correa and agent Scott Boras twice reached agreements that collapsed, an unprecedented twist for a star.

Correa agreed Dec. 13 to a $350 million, 13-year contract with the Giants, who scheduled a news conference a week later to announce the deal, then called off the announcement hours before it was set to begin over concerns with a right ankle injury Correa sustained in 2014.

Correa agreed that night to a $315 million, 12-year deal with the Mets, and high-spending owner Steve Cohen even confirmed the pending agreement. But the Mets also had concerns about the ankle after a Dec. 22 physical and held off finalizing the agreement while attempting to negotiate protections over the next two weeks.

A deal with the Twins was reached Tuesday calling for an $8 million signing bonus, half payable next month and half in February 2024, and salaries of $32 million in each of the first two seasons, $36 million in 2025, $31.5 million in 2026, $30.5 million in 2027 and $30 million in 2028.

Minnesota’s deal includes team options for $25 million in 2029, $20 million in 2030, $15 million in 2031 and $10 million in 2032, salaries that would become guaranteed if Correa has 575 plate appearances in 2028, 550 in 2029, 525 in 2030 and 502 in 2031. The contract could be worth $225 million over seven seasons, $245 million over eight years and $260 million over nine seasons.

Correa’s options also could be triggered by a top-five finish in MVP voting, a Silver Slugger award or World Series or League Championship Series MVP.

After the physical, the Mets were willing to guarantee $157.5 million over six seasons, the person said.

While the guaranteed money kept decreasing in each successive agreement, the average annual value increased from $26.9 million with San Francisco to $33.3 million with Minnesota. New York’s deal originally would have guaranteed $210 million in the first eight seasons.

Correa left Houston and joined the Twins last offseason for a $105.3 million, three-year deal that included opt-outs after each season. He pulled out of the deal after making $35.1 million in 2022 to chase a longer-term contract.

Boras maintained last month the player’s 2014 surgery to repair a broken right tibia should not have been an issue. Dr. Kevin Varner, chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Houston Methodist Hospital, operated on Correa.

Boras in prior years had worked out medical issues in contracts for Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordóñez with Detroit and for J.D. Drew and J.D. Martinez in Boston.

Correa, the first overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft and the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year with Houston, has a .279 batting average with 155 homers and 553 RBIs in eight major league seasons. He also has been a stellar postseason performer with 18 homers and 59 RBIs in 79 games, winning a World Series title in 2017 with the Astros.

The two-time All-Star and 2021 Gold Glove winner raved about his time with Minnesota and how much he and his family enjoyed the community, maintaining all along the Twins were in the mix even with the bigger spenders pursuing him in a particularly lucrative offseason for shortstops. Xander Boegarts, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson all struck it rich, too.

Minnesota made no secret of a strong desire to offer a contract like no other in the history of the midmarket franchise, with a $184 million, eight-year deal to extend catcher Joe Mauer in 2010 the previous record for amount and length. Twins players who were close to Correa kept in touch with the native of Puerto Rico, lobbying him to return.

The Twins had their limits, though. They acquired shortstop Kyle Farmer in a trade with the Reds for insurance at the position while top prospect Royce Lewis continues his recovery from a torn ACL expected to keep him out for at least the first half of this season.

New York has become baseball’s biggest spender under Cohen, who bought the team before the 2021 season. Correa’s addition would have put New York on track for a luxury tax payroll and tax assessment of more than $500 million this year.

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AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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