The Los Angeles Dodgers-Carlos Correa speculation can officially end for the third time this offseason (we think), as the ex-Astros shortstop reached a reported agreement on Tuesday to go back to the Minnesota Twins, following brief stints in both San Francisco and New York doctors offices.
Correa used the Twins as his temporary landing spot last offseason, and though all anyone heard from the clubhouse was how valued his leadership was and how well-integrated his persona had become, most didn't take Minnesota too seriously this time around.
That became fully realized when the financials on the San Francisco Giants' 13-year, $350 million mega-deal first leaked. Sure, the Twins wanted in, but ... not for those years. Not at that price. To get Correa to stay in the Twin Cities, theirs would've had to be the highest offer on the table. Ditto for the Dodgers, who had plenty of baggage to overcome if they planned to block Gavin Lux with a 2017 World Series offender.
But then ... the deal hit a snag. The world laughed as Steve Cohen's Mets swooped in to sign Correa in the middle of the night (and midway through a Hawaiian vacation) before ... that deal hit a subsequent snag. The price continued to drop. Years continued to be dissolved off the back end of the contract like Marty McFly and his siblings disappearing from a photograph. Was there a point where the Dodgers could feel comfortable revisiting talks? Could they deliver the ultimate blow to the Giants' Arson-filled offseason?
Clearly, that price point didn't exist, for one reason or another. The Twins ended up with Correa nearly a month after his Giants contract was signed, sealed and returned to sender, and the price Minnesota secured the shortstop at absolutely could've been matched by the Dodgers. It wasn't, though, which speaks volumes.
Carlos Correa could've been Dodgers shortstop over Gavin Lux at this price
The Dodgers clearly are content to roll with Lux for the foreseeable future, as they bide their time and bank on adding both rotation help AND slugging next offseason when Shohei Ohtani's available.
Or perhaps Juan Soto is their cup of tea? He's a free agent two years down the line, and slots nicely into the money Andrew Friedman might've had reserved for the recently-extended Rafael Devers.
No matter whether it was a clubhouse concern (though letting Justin Turner go probably didn't help matters there) or discomfort with an old injury, Tuesday's news made perfectly clear the Dodgers had less than no interest in doing more than their due diligence on Correa. Even a scaled-back Dodgers budget had enough room in it for this modest deal, considering the team's only competition was Minnesota and the Mets, who reportedly sliced their offer in half and left negotiations for six years and $157.5 million on the table (contingent on an annual physical every offseason).
Despite all initial reports including Correa's two least-favorite words in the English language -- "Pending Physical" -- it appears, after months, that this deal is finally safe. He's found a comfortable landing spot, something we have no guarantees the Dodgers could've been for the embattled shortstop.
Let the Correa-Dodgers connection fizzle out the way it probably should've ages ago, because this appears to be (knock on wood) his final MLB stop for quite some time.
In fact, let's pretend nobody -- not even Arson Judge -- ever ignited it in the wake of 2017.