Jim Souhan: How Falvey, Twins kept the door open for Carlos Correa

Jim Souhan, Star Tribune on

Published in Baseball

The Twins have rarely competed for top talent on the free-agent market. The signing of Carlos Correa to a franchise-record contract could alter perceptions of the franchise, and if that happens, it will be due mostly to the Correa deal, a long-running, sharp-winding negotiation that required chief baseball officer Derek Falvey to play the role of persistent diplomat, working around the clock to maintain contact with Correa and agent Scott Boras.

Here's how Falvey remembers key junctures of the drama:

August 2022: A national baseball reporter wrote that Carlos Correa would opt out of his Twins' contract, creating the expectation that he would leave the team as a free agent.

Falvey: "My thought at that point was that this guy really likes it here. We were on a team flight late in the season and Carlos was sitting behind me and I kept hearing him talk about next spring, when we get to Fort Myers. I never thought he was looking to leave, I thought we just had to find the right deal."

Early October 2022: In his last talk with beat writers in the Twins' home clubhouse, Correa compared himself to Dior, a luxury item you have to be willing to pay a premium for.

Falvey: "At one point, Carlos came in and met with me and Rocco, and he kept talking about the future, about next year with the Twins.

"Before everybody went their separate ways, I gave Carlos a big hug and told him, 'I know there are decisions to be made. Just know that my phone is always open, and we should make this as open a conversation as possible and I hope we can make this work for a really long time.' "

Mid-December 2022: Correa agreed to terms with the San Francisco Giants on a 13-year contract worth $350 million. Falvey admitted the next morning to feeling crushed. He had no reason to think he'd have another shot at Correa, but he acted as if he might, continuing to praise Correa in an interview with the Star Tribune.

Falvey: "I just shot Carlos a text, saying I know there's a lot going on, but if you have a few minutes, let's talk. I could feel in his voice that this was a place he wanted to be, but the parameters and financials being what they were, he was going with the Giants. I told him it's a small game and a lot of these relationships come back around, and that I looked forward to working with him again someday."


Late December 2022: Correa's deal with the Giants fell through because of medical reports about an old injury to his right leg. Boras quickly pivoted to the Mets, who seemed eager to sign him.

Falvey: "I got a text from a reporter asking what was happening in San Francisco, and I thought they were talking about the earthquakes. We had just signed Joey Gallo, and it was the holidays, and I really had no idea that the deal with the Giants was changing.

"Then I get a text from Scott at about 2:30 in the morning saying that he appreciates the communication but it looked like Carlos was going to sign with the Mets.

"All of a sudden it's a week later, and the Mets deal isn't done. I was with my family in Florida. I go to pick up takeout food for my kids, and I'm talking to Scott while I'm out, and I just sensed that this wasn't over."

Mid-January 2023: When Correa's agreement with the Mets fell apart, Falvey constructed an offer of at least six years and $200 million, with a chance to keep Correa for 10 years.

Falvey: "When we got to the point where we felt we were one or two tweaks away, I called Scott and said, 'You've been ping-ponging around the country doing press conferences for your clients. It's about time you bought a parka and came up here.'

"I told Carlos that this has been probably the most unique creative process in any sport for any premium player, certainly that I can remember, and in the memories of a lot of people who have been around longer than me."

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