The Mauer Rules

It was just a couple years ago that the Minnesota Twins were in the same position with a superstar as they find themselves in now. Yet there is quite a big difference in the type of media coverage given to the Johan Santana saga in the winter of 2007-08 and the one presently happening with Joe Mauer.

Both superstars were entering the final year of their contracts, and both superstars were expected to be among the highest-paid players in the game when it was all said and done.

But with Santana, there were non-stop trade rumors from all sorts of sources involving all sorts of teams. That’s not the case this time around with Mauer.

I wonder why. I can’t imagine there’s less interest in trading for Mauer than there is trading for Santana.

Maybe the Twins have changed their way of thinking since the Santana trade. When the Twins determined a couple years ago that they were unwilling or unable to meet Santana’s contract demands, he was traded to the New York Mets for four prospects. Three of those four prospects are already out of the Twins system.

At the time, in the court of public opinion, that trade was universally panned. Looking back two years later, in reality it has been panned too.

Things appear to be different this time around with Mauer. Perhaps the Twins would rather take the two first-round picks they would get if Mauer were to walk away after the 2010 season. Or maybe they realize it would be a public-relations nightmare to trade the Minnesota boy prior to the opening of a new stadium.

Or maybe, just maybe, they’re really willing to pony up. Maybe they feel real confident a deal will get done.

In any case, the way the Twins are tackling the Mauer situation is far different from the way things were done with Santana.