minneapolis. The Minnesota Twins They were smitten after one season with the hitting, defense, intelligence, experience and leadership of Carlos Correa. Those traits were strong enough to commit a record amount of guaranteed money to the franchise over the next six years.
They also badly needed a shake up for their brand.
Correa picked two other teams before returning to Minnesota after those deals fell through, but his $200 million contract was still pretty good for a fan base weary of a wait that has spanned two decades since the last time the Twins won a playoff series.
“Sure there’s a lot of excitement inside the building from the business side of the operation to the baseball side, but I’m also hearing from the fans and the people of the city: ‘He (Correa) chose to come back‘” said President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey.
“Obviously the route was particular and the way he got here, but we were always on his radar and I think at the end of the day that always feels good when you’re a fan of the team or someone who works for the team,” he added. .
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Correa, who made his first visit to Minnesota during a particularly chilly weekend, was the main attraction at the sold-out annual fan festival that included more than 60 current and former players for autographs and interactions.
“There is definitely excitement. They think we’re a team that can go out to the playoffs and have a good run, so that’s what we’re trying to do.Correa said Saturday at Target Field during a break between appearances at TwinsFest.
The Twins drew 1.8 million fans in 2022, the lowest total attendance in a season without seating restrictions brought on by the pandemic since 2001.
The assist figure was due to factors beyond team performance, but spending 108 days in first place in the division before a slump due to multiple injuries wasn’t enough to get the Twins excited with the masses.
When the Twins traded last season’s batting champion, Luis Arraez, to the Miami Marlins for pitcher Pablo López and two prospects, there was much public reaction about the loss of a popular player. For team president Dave St. Peter, that wasn’t a negative.
“I think the level of interest in the 2023 Twins has increased dramatically from where we were in November.said St. Peter, expecting the attendance total to top two million.
In six seasons under Falvey, the Twins made the playoffs three times, but failed to win a game and extended their record streak to 18 consecutive postseason losses. What this regime does not have to demonstrate is a willingness to aggressively and creatively pursue improvements, the second time acquisition of Correa being the most famous example.
“Hopefully it’s a feather in everyone’s cap because of how we treated him, the way he spent his year here, even in a year where we struggled at the end, I still felt there was real optimism about this club,” Falvey said. . “And that makes everyone else feel better, too.”
Third baseman José Miranda of Puerto Rico was one of several Twins who kept in touch with Correa during the rollercoaster ride that included deals with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets that collapsed over long-term ankle concerns. .
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“We said, ‘Oh, okay, he’s gone,’ and then all of a sudden, he came back and everyone was excited,” Miranda said.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said that for a long time he had a feeling that Correa would end up staying.
“It’s not like if you want something it stops you from having other options or wanting something else,” Baldelli said, “but I always felt like this was a very important place for him and a place where he could spend the rest of his baseball career. ”