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It’s official: Carlos Correa has opted out of his Twins contract

Correa hit .291 with a 140 OPS+, was a Gold Glove finalist and led the team in Wins Above Replacement.

Carlos Correa spring training March 27, 2022
Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa takes on the field prior to a game March 27, 2022, against the Boston Red Sox during spring training at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Florida. Despite opting for free agency and nearly signing with both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets, it was reported on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, that Correa would be returning to the Twins.
USA Today Sports file photo
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ST. PAUL -- Carlos Correa is officially a free agent.

According to the Major League Baseball Players Association, the star shortstop exercised his player option, as he previously had indicated he would do, and opted out of the final two seasons of his contract with the Twins and is hitting the free-agent market for the second straight offseason in search of a long-term deal.

This has been the expected move since the day Correa, now 28, shocked the baseball world by agreeing to a deal with the Twins in March.

Correa has publicly expressed interest in extending the relationship beyond the 2022 season, but retaining his services will come at a cost. And the Twins will have competition. Re-signing Correa would require them to dole out a contract that would far exceed anything they’ve ever given out.

“When I go to the mall and I go to the Dior store, when I want something, I get it. I ask how much it costs, and I buy it,” Correa said in late September. “If you really want something, you just go get it. I’m the product here. If they want my product, they’ve just got to come get it.”

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The Twins also announced Monday they have exercised the club option on right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray through the 2023 season.

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Gray, who turned 33 on Monday, made 24 starts for the Twins in 2022, going 8-5 with a 3.08 earned-run average, 36 walks, 117 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP. He was acquired by Minnesota in a trade with Cincinnati on March 13.

The Twins said they will decline the 2023 club options on right-handed pitchers Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, and infielder Miguel Sano. Archer went 2-8 with a 4.56 ERA in 2022. Bundy led the club with 29 starts, going 8-8 with a 4.89 ERA. Sano missed most of the 2022 season with injury, going 5-for-60 with one home run and three RBI in 20 games.

Correa’s three-year, $105.3 million deal is the heftiest free agent contract in franchise history, and the Twins only wound up paying a third of it — $35.1 million.

In his final interview before the regular season ended, Correa — who hit .291 with a 140 OPS+, was a Gold Glove finalist and led the team in Wins Above Replacement — gushed about the organization but also made it clear he wasn’t about to take a discount just because he enjoyed his time in the Twin Cities.

“I love this team. I love this organization. My wife loves it here, loves it in Minnesota,” Correa said in early October. “… But at the same time, I want to make sure that my son and my family are taken care of. Hopefully the Twins can see the player that I am, the person that I am, the passion that I have for this game and the love that I have for this game and we can get into some serious conversations.”

President of baseball operations Derek Falvey followed that up the next week by repeatedly saying the Twins would be “creative” in their conversations with Correa and his agent, Scott Boras, and they would see where that takes them.

Last month, team owner Jim Pohlad told Pioneer Press columnist Charley Walters that he was “totally on board with (Correa) coming back.”

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“I love the guy. He’s a huge asset and benefit to the team,” Pohlad told the Pioneer Press. “But I don’t know how it’s going to go.”

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