Arrival of Carlos Correa brings 'another level of excitement' to Minnesota Twins clubhouse

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Carlos Correa met his new Minnesota teammates on Monday morning -- and wasted no time making new friends.

Two days after agreeing to a deal that makes him the highest-paid infielder in baseball, Correa walked into the Twins clubhouse and introduced himself to almost everyone inside.

Correa's three-year, $105.3 million contract, which pays $35.1 million annually and includes opt-outs after the first and second seasons, is pending a physical and is not expected to become official until Wednesday morning. That didn't prevent Correa from making the rounds before the team bus left for an exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles up the Florida coast in Sarasota.

"He's a guy you want on your team. Period," said Twins reliever Tyler Duffey, who was drafted 159 spots after Correa in 2012. "He lives for the big moment and thrives in it. Been fun watching what he's done for Houston with being a big piece for the Astros."

The excitement around the Twins has been palpable from the moment news of Correa's decision broke in the early hours of Saturday morning. A two-time All-Star and the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year, Correa batted .279 with a .366 on-base percentage and a .485 slugging percentage with 26 home runs and 92 RBI in 640 plate appearances last season for Houston.

Whether it was shock that Correa chose the Twins, debates over selling jersey numbers to the guy with the richest contract on the team, or the realization that the move signifies the team's intention to compete, Twins players have been in an upbeat mood over the last three days.

Correa's deal comes on the heels of three roster-altering trades made by the Twins last weekend. They traded third baseman Josh Donaldson, catchers Mitch Garver and Ben Rortvedt, and 2021 first-round pick Chase Petty in three separate deals that fetched catcher Gary Sánchez, infielder Gio Urshela and starting pitcher Sonny Gray. As part of the flurry, the Twins also acquired shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and flipped him to the New York Yankees.

"You can feel that there is another level of excitement within the group," said Gray, who was dealt to the Twins from the rebuilding Cincinnati Reds. "What it shows is commitment from the front office and not to be content with where we are. We want to continue to get better and it feels like that's the front office showing us as a locker room, showing us as players, 'Hey, we're going to continue to try to improve this team.'"

Adding the 27-year-old Correa provides the Twins with another potent bat in the lineup and a sure-handed defender up the middle. With six teams in each league qualifying for the playoffs, the addition of Correa significantly improves the team's chances of reaching the postseason.

It also means the Twins roster will feature the first two players selected in the 2012 amateur draft. Correa went first overall to the Astros. The Twins used the second pick to draft Byron Buxton, who signed an incentive-laden, seven-year, $100-million extension in December right before the lockout.

"I knew we were signing somebody, but you never know who it is. That's pretty wild," Buxton said. "One-two, and now we get to play together and go out and do what we do."

Game notes
The Twins claimed RHP John Romero off waivers from the Washington Nationals on Monday. Romero debuted last September and posted a 4.50 ERA in four innings over five games. ... To make space on the 40-man roster, the Twins placed RHP Randy Dobnak on the 60-day injured list with a right middle finger strain suffered earlier in camp. Dobnak missed time with a similar injury in 2021.