The news that Minnesota Twins fans have been waiting for all offseason long finally came to fruition on Sunday. Star catcher Joe Mauer will be with the Twins for a long time.
Mauer agreed to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension that starts in 2011 and takes him through 2018, when he’ll be 35 years old. An announcement will come at 6 p.m. Monday, which will be televised by Fox Sports Net North, according to its Web site.
One look at the largest current contracts in Major League Baseball gives you some idea of how prolific this deal actually is. Four of the top five largest deals (in terms of total money) in baseball right now belong to Yankees. The lone non-Yankee is Mauer.
His $184 million package puts him behind only New York’s Alex Rodriguez ($275 million) and CC Sabathia ($189 million).
The one thing that wears me out is this belief that the Twins can’t compete with Mauer making that much money. Who knows? Maybe they won’t. But if they don’t compete, it will have nothing to do with the three-time batting champion for a catcher that they have. It will be because they were unable to develop young talent to put around him.
The new stadium increases payroll by $25 to $30 million per year. Well, if Mauer’s $23 million per year is a $13 million jump from what he made the last few years at the Metrodome, then there’s still plenty of EXTRA money to go around.
I’ve heard the situation compared to the Texas Rangers when they signed Rodriguez to a 10-year, $250 million deal before he was eventually dealt to the Yankees. But clearly the Rangers failed to develop pitching to put around him. Throughout their history – for the most part – they haven’t had pitching. They weren’t a perennial playoff team before A-Rod, they weren’t with A-Rod, and they aren’t without A-Rod. Nothing has changed. It’s a completely different situation.
Like I said, if the Twins don’t compete, it won’t be because they have an MVP behind the plate.
Here’s a few more takes on the Mauer extension:
- The Star Tribune’s story, Sid Hartman‘s take, and La Velle E. Neal‘s thoughts.
- FanGraphs’ Matthew Carruth thinks it had to be done, even if it cost the Twins a few more million than it should.
- Yahoo’s Tim Brown says the contract was good for baseball, and even compliments Twins fans too.
- Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi echoes Brown’s sentiments.
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark says, despite the size of the deal, Mauer left a lot of money on the table had he become a free agent.