Correa officially opts out of Twins contract, enters free agency

What has been expected for the past eight months is now official: Carlos Correa is a free agent.

As expected, the star shortstop opted out of his contract with the Minnesota Twins on Monday to enter free agency and pursue a long-term contract.

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The Twins shocked the baseball world in March when they inked Correa to a three-year, $105.3 million contract that made him the fourth-highest-paid player in the league. However, it also included player options after each of the first two years to allow Correa to enter free agency earlier and without the disruption caused by last year’s lockout.

After hitting .291/.366/.467 with 22 home runs, 64 RBI and an .834 OPS in his first season with the Twins, the 28-year-old will again be among the most coveted players in free agency.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft has hit .279/.357/.479 with 155 home runs, 553 RBI and an .836 OPS over his eight years in the majors — all with Houston prior to last season. He’s also a two-time All-Star, the 2015 AL Rookie of the Year, and a Gold Glove Award winner.

He joins Michael Fulmer, Gary Sanchez, Billy Hamilton, Aaron Sanchez and Sandy Leon, whose contracts all expired, as other now-former Twins in free agency.