Korea promises ‘championship culture’ for unlucky twins

Fort Myers, Fla. (AP) — Carlos Correa has declared October “his time.” It certainly hasn’t been Minnesota.

The Twins are hopeful that Korea can fix it, even if her stay in Minneapolis is short.

“I want to build a championship culture in this organization,” Correa said.

The former Houston Astros star tug on the Twins’ No. 4 jersey and was formally offered Wednesday, five days after agreeing to a $105.3 million, three-year contract that included opt-outs after the first and second seasons. Are included.

The Twins have lost 18 straight postseason games since their last October win in 2004 – their most recent loss was in the 2020 wild-card round when Correa hit a go-forward homer in target field to complete Houston’s sweep .

Correa is a World Series champion who finalized his playoff stardom by celebrating a go-forward homer against Boston by pointing his wrist, watching the home dugout, and confirming “It’s my time”. .

“He exudes confidence because this guy has done it before,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.

This is part of why the smaller market went to Minnesota for such an unusual deal. Correa’s $35.1 million median salary is only higher than Mike Trout’s $36 million, which is roughly the same as the estimated opening day payrolls throughout Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.

The financial commitment from the Twins’ ownership comes to the fore in a game where so-called tanking fueled animosity from players a year after their last finish at AL Central, leading to a 99-day job halt.

“When I called (Twins president) Jim Pohlad as we got closer to this on Friday, immediate support,” said Derek Falvey, president of baseball operations. “I mean, there’s no other way to describe it.”

Correa will be baseball’s highest-paid infielder this season – and he’ll have a chance to explore more.

The 27-year-old agent switched from William Morris Endeavor to Scott Boras during the lockdown. Korea said on Wednesday that Boras pitched him on a short deal that could bring him back on the market soon. Together, they set sights on a ballpark where Korea could flourish.

He hit a bull’s eye on the target field. Korea is a career .413 hitter in Minnesota with 1.205 OPS in 15 games.

“When a player is so comfortable in a ballpark, we knew a joint was fit,” Boras said.

If he drops out after 2022, Korea will join a free agent market that could include Dodgers shortstop Tree Turner, Xander Bogarts from Boston and Tim Anderson from the White Sox. Korea is the smallest of all.

First, though, he’s hoping to make an impact in Minnesota. Korea hit .279 last season with 26 homers, 92 RBIs and a .851 OPS. He is a two-time All-Star, 2015 AL Rookie of the Year and has .849 Ops in 79 career postseason games.

“His leadership, his character and his commitment to this community is what makes Carlos a special person,” Astros owner Jim Crane said in a statement. “He will always be one of the great Astros players.”

Correa joins a club with several holdovers from the AL Central title in 2019 and ’20, including Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and new double-play partner Jorge Polanco. Correa and Buxton went 1-2 in the 2012 draft and have known each other since high school.

“Carlos is now going to take it up with his experiences and add to that group,” Falvey said.

Baldelli is already seeing this happen. They have noticed that Correa has a precise way of speaking around the clubhouse, which Baldelli says has gone far beyond the “surface level”.

“They are inspiring their peers to think and react and do things differently and better,” Baldelli said. “That’s his goal every day when he shows up.”

“When we are practicing,” Correa explained, “we are searching for perfection. … This is a culture that we want to create here.”

Korea has also begun advising his potential replacement, top prospect Royce Lewis. Correa took Lewis’ No. 4 but paid him back with a Hublot watch. Lewis joined former twins Rod Carew and Latroy Hawkins to watch Korea’s press conference.

“I know I took his number by mistake,” Correa said. “Royce, sorry.”

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Follow Jake Sener: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner

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