How Byron Buxton helped bring Carlos Correa back to the Twins

How Byron Buxton helped bring Carlos Correa back to the Twins

How Byron Buxton helped bring Carlos Correa back to the Twins

For his beloved Georgia Bulldogs, the college football national title game is 40 minutes away. Byron Buxtonphone rang on Monday night. Carlos Correa was calling.

The shortstop had a secret he couldn’t wait to share Twins central player. A text message is not enough.

Much of the conversation between the two old friends this season has focused on life, family and checking in on Correa’s well-being as his free agent trials wind down. After being largely excluded from the free agency process, Buxton emerged earlier this month after reaching an agreement with Correa and the agency. New York Mets started shaking.

Still, Buxton was reluctant to speak out. Although he already knew Correa’s wife, Daniela, was pregnant, Buxton asked Correa if the couple had another child. Correa quickly interrupted Buxton before he could second guess.

“(Correa) said, ‘She’s already pregnant, and I’m going back to the Twins,'” Buxton said by phone Thursday night. “I was like, ‘What?’ I thought. I was in the yard and I yelled and (Buxton’s wife, Lindsey) said, ‘What are you yelling at?’

Monday night’s celebration in front of the Buxton House in Georgia was one of many that will take place at the organization this week.

Two days later, Correa was done a six-year, $200 million contract He has $70 million in rights and team options to keep him in a Twins uniform until 2032. The deal also means Buxton, who signed a seven-year contract extension with the Twins through December 2021, will play at least six with Correa. more seasons.

Twenty minutes into our conversation, Buxton revealed his secret: he was instrumental in bringing Correa back.

Carlos Correa sent Byron Buxton a photo of the pair from their draft days earlier this week. (via Perfect Game)

On January 5, Buxton decided to intervene again. He was involved with Correa before agreeing to a 13-year, $350 million contract. San Francisco, but has remained at arm’s length ever since. Their conversations were mostly about making sure Correa, who Buxton knew since he was selected with the first two picks in the 2012 amateur draft, was OK.

But then it became clear that the Twins had an option for Buxton to re-sign Correa. Correa was 15 days away from a 12-year, $315 million deal. New york and the pace of the process was slow.

As they discussed the situation, Buxton not only revealed that Correa would not be a Met anytime soon, but that he would like to rejoin the Twins after the two-time All-Star spends the 2022 season with the organization.

Buxton immediately called Twins vice president of communications and content Dustin Morse for more insight. He knew Morse on his fantasy football team was close to the situation and could speed it up.

“Byron called and said, ‘How serious are we?’ asked,” said Morse. “I told him, ‘We’re serious.'”

Morse informed Buxton how his conversation with Correa coincided with a text message sent by agent Scott Boras to Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey, indicating that talks could be a bit more compelling.

So far, sources said Boras has focused primarily on the Twins’ 10-year, $285 million starting offer. He didn’t give up. But last Thursday, Boras reversed its position and opened a short-term higher annual average.

Morse spilled the beans when the front office got permission to pass this information on to Buxton.

“I think Byron really wanted Carlos back,” Falvey said. “He wanted to make sure he was talking about it (with Correa) and trying to get him back, saying we’re actually going to make an offer.

“It’s never real, concrete information, it’s like we want to keep the pace of the conversation going.” This can happen in more negotiations than you think.”

Similar to how most, if not all, teams operate, the Twins weren’t afraid to rely on close friends of free agent players to stay in touch during the process. Morse friendship Nelson Cruz was critical to the team’s efforts to re-sign the slugger through the 2021 season.

While Boras, Falvey and general manager Thad Levine are negotiating and doing the heavy lifting, any information a friend can provide could be helpful.

Although they were closer during the season they played back-to-back, Buxton and Correa went way back. In addition to their draft connection, Correa and Buxton each played the 2013 season in the Midwest League, Correa at High-A Quad Cities and Buxton at Cedar Rapids.

As they played, their competitive spirit gained strength and created a “fun” foundation. They both liked to push each other. Their friendship grew further that summer when each was named a Midwest League All-Star and hosted the event together as partners.

Buxton also recalled a conversation the two later had at second base after coming to the majors, when Correa asked about the center fielder’s experience in Minnesota and Buxton gave a strong scouting report.

The two quickly joined last spring after Correa signed a three-year, $105.3 million contract in late March. Correa did his best to let Buxton know he didn’t want to step on his feet. Buxton marveled at how Correa didn’t fake it and how his teammates, being themselves, pushed for the shortstop.

“He came up to me and looked me square in the face and said, ‘Don’t take anything back from me, and I’m not going to take anything back from you,'” Buxton said. “That’s it.”

Despite the close friendship, Buxton avoided pressuring Correa, who described their relationship as “beautiful” on Wednesday. Buxton wanted Correa back, but didn’t think it was fair to influence Correa’s decision.

Not at first.

“I don’t feel like I have to push (Correa),” Buxton said. “‘You do what you think is right for you and your family.’ Whatever he did was to encourage him. Once it went back into limbo, that’s when I got a bit hooked. I said, “Okay, what’s going on? They gave me a little insight. I said, ‘Okay, hang up, I’m going to call (Correa).

“I called him right away. We talked a little bit and he said, “Don’t say anything, but there’s a chance we’ll be brothers on the same team again.” I thought, “We’re already brothers, but I mean the same team.” But don’t tell anyone, she thought. I hung up the phone and called Dustin and said, “Stop sugarcoating it and give it to me straight.” He thought, “That’s a good opportunity.”

Buxton, who was unofficially authorized to push for Correa by what he described as a “rogue faction” of the front office, echoed what Falvey and Boras had discussed earlier: The Twins wanted Correa back, but he would have to take a shorter deal. higher AAV.

“I got off the phone and texted him,” Buxton said. “I said, ‘Man, I want you to be happy.’ I know the situation is difficult. If you need someone to talk to, talk to me. “I’m here,” he replied, “I love you, brother.”

Three or four days later, Buxton heard from Correa again. Although they always suspected the other shoe might drop, with Mets owner Steve Cohen stepping in at the last minute to seal their deal, the Twins felt good about the possibility that Correa was eager to rejoin.

For whatever reason, Buxton always suspected Correa would return. He watched Correa invest in the Twins, study the farm system, try to improve individual players and stay informed about the team’s upcoming offseason moves.

When he saw that Correa had called on Monday, he thought it was good news. However, that didn’t stop Buxton from screaming loudly for his wife to join him outside.

“He took the time to research our team,” Buxton said. “He gave his heart to the team. I saw this and thought it had something to do with it. Two seconds later, (Correa’s) wife texted my wife and said, “Now I understand why you’re yelling.” I don’t even know if I can describe it. That’s something you can’t do.”

(Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

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