Carlos Correa shows up to spring training camp ready to ‘plant seeds’ with Twins
With 6 years locked in as a Twin, the shortstop is eager to improve himself and teammates
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Carlos Correa made his anticipated arrival to Minnesota Twins camp Friday afternoon, greeting everyone he crossed paths with with big smiles and a hug or handshake, while introducing himself to the few people he had not yet met.
It was a homecoming, and the 28-year-old shortstop, it was clear, felt right at home, a good sign for all considering he has now committed the next six years — and possibly up to 10 — of his career to the organization.
Last year, Correa signed mid-camp and spent the early days of spring training familiarizing himself with hundreds of new people. At that point, though he had signed a three-year deal, it was believed he would only be sticking around for one season.
This year, he knows that’s not the case, and that, he said, makes things feel completely different.
“You go in and now you know you’re going to be here for a long time and you want to put all your effort and everything I have into making every single individual in that room better,” Correa said.
On his flight from Houston, his offseason home, Correa said he spent some time jotting down his goals for the spring ahead of him. He wants to improve, sure. He wants to get his timing at the plate down as quickly as he can, yes. But his biggest goal, his main objective for this period of time, is helping his teammates get better.
“Because if I can accomplish that, we’re going to be in a great spot come October,” Correa said. “For me, that’s No. 1 on my list.”
When Correa speaks, he does so with a genuine, sincere-sounding dedication to his team and teammates. His focus now is in Minnesota and on improving the organization. But it’s easy to picture a reality where Correa wasn’t walking through those doors on Friday. A reality where he was reporting to camp in Scottsdale, Arizona, or Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Correa’s free agency saga was well-documented as he agreed to deals with two separate teams, the San Francisco Giants and then the New York Mets, before both balked at his physical, citing concerns with his surgically-repaired right ankle.
Though he would have preferred not to, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was forced to imagine a future with the man whom the Twins hoped to build their team around for the next decade.
“Normally we generally don’t ride many waves regardless of what those waves are,” Baldelli said. “… But when we thought he was signing somewhere else multiple times, you become disappointed and then you become optimistic again. Disappointed, optimistic again. … Where it ended up couldn’t have been any better.”
His drawn-out free agency behind him, the Twins’ $200 million man changed the team’s entire season outlook. Baldelli admits he had optimism at that point in the offseason before Correa re-signed with the Twins. But it wasn’t nearly the extent that he has now.
Retaining Correa’s services wasn’t just a good move for the team, the manager pointed out. It changes everything.
Correa’s impact stretches far beyond what he does on the field — which itself is impressive considering he provides Gold Glove defense at one of the most important positions on the field and posted a 5.4 bWAR (Wins Above Replacement per Baseball Reference) last season. It touches each of his teammates, as well.
“That’s the type of move that really accentuates that arrow up because he’s not just someone that does something well, someone that’s just going to improve your team and you think about it in just those terms,” Baldelli said. “He really raises every possible bar that you can discuss when you’re talking about one player.”
And his goal is to raise that bar not just for himself, but for his teammates as well and, thus, the entire organization.
“I know that the seeds that I’m going to plant here are seeds that are going to grow and make us an organization that can win for a long time,” Correa said. “… I’m going to be part of that process and I’m going to be part of this family. It’s going to be fun watching all these young players become superstars and be great players.”
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