Heading into last offseason, one of the biggest questions facing the Twins was how they could possibly fill the hole left by Carlos Correa, who was expected to opt out of his three-year contract and sign elsewhere.
Correa did opt out of that contract, but a series of twists and turns — and concerns about his right ankle — ended up leading him back to Minnesota, where the Twins were ecstatic to welcome him back.
Now, the Twins have no such questions as they look forward to their third season with Correa manning the position.
After all the offseason talk about his right ankle, it ended up being his left foot that bothered him throughout the course of the 2023 season. Correa was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in May but played through it, appearing in a team-leading 135 games.
Though he was on the field, his production did take a hit. But Correa was always the first one to not blame it on the pain he felt in his heel. Correa hit .230 with an on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS well below his career norms. He ended the year with a 94 OPS+, well off his career 124 mark.
Though he didn’t perform to his expectations and he noted his range defensively had suffered because of the injury, Correa was still a team leader both on the field and in the clubhouse, and finished the season as a Gold Glove Award finalist (winners will be announced next month).
Come postseason time, after a short break on the injured list after rupturing his plantar fascia in September, Correa hit .409 with a 1.004 OPS in six postseason games, making a number of key defensive plays.
When Correa wasn’t on the field, Kyle Farmer saw most of the action at shortstop in his place, appearing in 40 games there and starting 27 of them.
Correa will spend the offseason working to get his heel right, listening to what his doctors tell him. The issue will not require surgery, he said.
“Hopefully it doesn’t happen ever again,” he said. “I don’t ever want to experience another season where I have to play through it.”
Correa, of course, will command a majority of the playing time at shortstop, so the only question really is who will fill in for him on his days off or if he happens to get hurt.
The Twins could retain Farmer, his primary backup this season, or decide the amount of money he’s expected to be owed is too much and decide to move on. Royce Lewis can play some shortstop, if need, and Willi Castro can, as well.
And in Triple-A, the Twins’ top prospect, Brooks Lee, could come knocking at the door sometime during the 2024 season. Lee played primarily shortstop upon his promotion to Triple-A, but got some time in at third base, as well.
Twins position breakdown: Third base
Twins position breakdown: second base
Twins position breakdown: first base
Twins position breakdown: catcher
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