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4 Twins developments at MLB’s Winter Meetings

Correa remains top priority for Minnesota's offseason.

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SAN DIEGO — Some of the most high-profile free agents came off the board this week during Major League Baseball’s annual Winter Meetings. But not the player the Minnesota Twins are targeting, the one they’ve made their priority.

Carlos Correa, who opted out of the final two seasons of his three-year, $105.3 million deal with the Twins in November, remains unsigned. The Twins have an offer out to Correa that they believe is significant, and met with him and his agent, Scott Boras, while out in California.

As for a resolution, the Twins will leave the West Coast without one from Correa for now. With baseball’s annual gatherings concluding, here are four Twins-related developments from this week in California:

Correa unsigned

Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and manager Rocco Baldelli both spent time fielding questions about the star and how much they’d like to retain him. And behind the scenes, the Twins have been actively engaging in conversations with his representation, meeting multiple times with Scott Boras while in southern California.

They also met for dinner with Correa over the weekend.

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Carlos Correa

“There are other players who have signed. There will continue to be other players who have signed, and we will continue to be open with Scott, with Carlos,” Falvey said. “My sense is, just from conversation, nothing has really changed.”

While Falvey said they believe they have an environment that Correa likes and the shortstop already is comfortable in Minnesota, the Twins still aren’t likely the favorites to land the 28-year-old. With the Giants missing out on Aaron Judge — the slugger is re-signing with the Yankees — they are expected to be involved in the Correa sweepstakes. The Padres, who missed out on Judge and fellow shortstop Trea Turner, could get more involved in the bidding, as well.

Shortstop market

The first of the four vaunted shortstops on the market, Turner, agreed to an 11-year, $300 million pact with the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. How that affects Correa’s market remains to be seen.

Correa is younger than Turner and is expected to be shooting for a higher average annual value ($27.27 million). At the very least, Turner signing with the Phillies takes one deep-pocketed potential suitor off the board.

The Twins have some additional security to fall back on after acquiring Kyle Farmer in a trade with Cincinnati last month. But they have made it clear that they’re still in on Correa, and have shown interest in Xander Bogaerts, who shares Boras as an agent, too.

Twins jump in draft

The Twins were the biggest beneficiaries of the inaugural draft lottery, jumping all the way up from their projected pick based on record — 13th — to fifth overall.

The first six picks of the draft were decided via lottery, and all teams that missed the postseason were eligible. The Twins had a 6.2% to get into the top five, making Tuesday their lucky day.

“I was telling everyone all week that I had a weird feeling that we’re going to actually get into the top six, but I said that’s also the same feeling that’s led to massive casinos being built in Las Vegas,” vice president of amateur scouting Sean Johnson said.

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Rule 5 Draft

While there was a chance the Twins might have taken a position player in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, the Twins instead opted to stand pat on Wednesday afternoon.

They did add in the Triple-A phase, grabbing outfielder Armani Smith, 24, from the San Francisco Giants. Smith was a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft. Between Class A-Advanced and Double-A, Smith hit .229 with a .668 OPS last season in 99 games.

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The Twins also nabbed outfielder Yoyner Fajardo from the Pirates, shortstop Yohander Martinez, from the Astros and pitcher Seth Nordlin from the Rangers organization. They lost pitchers Bradley Hanner and Ryan Shreve to the Guardians and Cardinals, respectively, in the Triple-A phase of the draft.

Gus Varland, Louie’s older brother, was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the major-league phase and will have a chance to stick on their roster. Gus Varland, also a North St. Paul and Concordia-St. Paul alum, spent last season at Double-A Tulsa in the Dodgers’ organization, posting a 6.11 earned-run average in 41 games.

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