Don’t know if you have heard the news yet, but Carlos Correa is a Minnesota Twin. The physical is done, the contract is signed, and the press conference is completed. He has a six-year, $200 million contract with vesting options that could stretch to a max contract of ten years, $270 million. If all goes according to plan, Correa could spend 11 years of his pro career in a Twins uniform after spending seven years previously with the Houston Astros.
Correa has a chance to become the face of the franchise for younger fans. Correa and Byron Buxton are coming into this season as the undisputed leaders of the Twins for as long as they wear a Minnesota uniform. Young fans will get to watch two incredibly talented baseball players who are on their hometown team in the prime of their careers.
It’s about a once-in-a-generation opportunity at best for mid-market teams like Minnesota. Buxton and Correa’s star tandem is something Twins fans haven’t seen since Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau spent their prime playing together in the mid-2000s and 2010s.
The two were inseparable. Mauer and Morneau hit three and four in the Twins lineup, were putting up good seasons side by side and even roomed together in the early years of their Twins careers. Mauer and Morneau were the same quiet leaders who let their play on the field do the talking. Mauer’s St. Paul roots played a big role in his popularity. Morneau is from British Columbia in western Canada, but what the heck? He’s basically a Minnesotan anyway. Currently living in the Twin Cities and holding pond hockey matchups with Mauer and other prominent Minnesota figures also doesn’t hurt his honorary Minnesotan status. What made this duo popular, though, was that the two were so darn good.
Mauer and Morneau were the faces of the Twins franchise from 2006-13. Morneau spent this period slashing .284/.354/.490 with 1101 hits, 176 home runs, and 707 RBI over 1023 games. That also included All-Star appearances every year from 2007 to 2010, two Silver Sluggers, and an AL MVP in 2006. Mauer slashed .327/.410/.473 with 1237 hits, 90 home runs, and 562 RBIs over 1012 games. He also earned six All-Star appearances, five AL Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves, three Batting Titles, and the 2009 MVP award.
Buxton and Correa share a similar makeup compared to Minnesota’s previous star duo. Mauer and Morneau became great friends playing together through their young seasons together on the Twins. Buxton and Correa are already forever linked as the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2012 draft. They were two of the top prospects in baseball and made their big league debuts during the 2015 season.
Through all of that, the two seem to be great friends. That was evident from the first week Correa became a Twin last March, making it well known to the clubhouse and the media that the Twins are Buxton’s team. Their relationship continued to grow over the last ten months. Buxton and Correa’s friendship was one of the key reasons Correa reconsidered the Twins after deals with the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets fell apart.
Now that the Twins have signed Correa for the next six-plus years, we can say the Twins are Buxton and Correa’s team. Just like previous Twins squads were Mauer and Morneau’s team. The M&M boys is a catchier nickname, but BB & CC has to have some branding opportunities. They’d also be involved in the “ABC” lineup when Luis Arraez, Buxton, and Correa lineup one-two-three in the batting order.
Buxton, when healthy, has been one of the best players in baseball with his 2017 Gold Glove and 2022 All-Star selection. He’s produced at a .224/.306/.526 career clip with 477 hits, 98 career home runs, and 255 RBIs in 585 career games. Correa has been even more consistent with his production over his career. Through eight seasons, he’s slashed .279/.357/.479 with 933 hits, 155 home runs, and 553 RBIs in 888 career games. Correa took home Rookie of the Year in 2015, two career All-Star nods, and a platinum glove in 2021. It’s the playoff pedigree that Correa would be additive if the Twins can reach the postseason. He has reached the World Series three times and has won a championship.
In terms of legacy, which pairing will be remembered best? The M&M boys were in their prime together for roughly seven seasons before the Twins traded Morneau to the Pittsburgh Pirates in September 2013. Buxton and Correa don’t have the hardware and All-Star appearances Mauer and Morneau did in Minnesota. However, give this duo time, and you can see that number start to catch up a little bit. You can look at the career numbers of both tandems, and they will likely have similar on-field production. Let’s be honest here, no matter what numbers and awards the BB & CC duo finish with, the conversation of who is better will come down to which duo won more in the postseason.
The M&M boys never won a single playoff game together. That’s not to blame Mauer and Morneau but more of an unfortunate outcome due to front-office mismanagement. Buxton and Correa now have at least six chances to lead the Twins to the playoffs and hopefully win a postseason game, let alone a postseason series. Therefore, fans may eventually see them as the superior duo. If Buxton and Correa somehow could bring a World Series back to the Twin Cities, then immediately retire both of their numbers and give them the title on the spot.
Despite the lack of postseason success, Mauer and Morneau were a blast to watch during their Twins tenures. Now Twins fans will be treated to this generation’s dynamic duo in Buxton and Correa. If it’s anything like when the last Twins duo was at their best, the current era of Twins baseball will be competitive, with their two stars leading the charge.