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Joe Mauer, Twins begin contract extension talks

Nov 11, 2009, 2:48 PM EDT

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Joe Mauer and the Twins “have begun talking about a new deal.”
Walters offers no real details beyond that, and mentions nothing about the money or contract length being discussed, but does have a few quotes from team president Jerry Bell:

I feel good about it because I think he wants to stay here, and we sure want him to be here and all of his teammates want him to be here. We’ll see. I’m past the point where I get nervous about these things. It’ll get worked out. They usually do. We usually are able to work something out with players who we really want to keep.

I don’t think you need to characterize confident or not confident. I’m confident that we will have a good negotiation. To say I’m confident of the outcome, I don’t know. He has a good agent. We’ve done deals with him before.

Bell’s statement that “we usually are able to work something out with players who we really want to keep” is interesting in light of the Twins losing Torii Hunter to free agency and trading Johan Santana to the Mets. Both players were hugely valuable and immensely popular in Minnesota, yet rightly or wrongly the Twins made no legitimate effort to retain either of them.
Mauer, who figures to be named AL MVP later this month, will earn $12.5 million next season before becoming eligible for free agency. Ultimately if he wants to sign the largest possible contract the Twins are highly unlikely to win a bidding war on the open market, but the hope in Minnesota is that the St. Paul native will be content to sign a huge deal while still leaving some money on the table.

  1. ochocinco - Nov 11, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    Twins gotta sign Mauer. Locking him up with a big contract–he is worth it–will usher a new era of baseball at Target Field where the Twins are committed to winning.

  2. The Common Man - Nov 11, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Strange statement by Bell there. Obviously, Mauer’s got a hometown pedigree and the Twins are moving into a park that will raise revenues, leading them to think that they finally can afford to keep a player of Mauer’s quality around. But Bell’s comments leave hanging the question of why the Twins wouldn’t want either Hunter or Santana…

  3. David - Nov 11, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    I think it’s a big difference in context. Hunter was, at least theoretically, past his peak, and Santana’s contract demands were such that just about NO ONE in baseball wanted to pay him as much as he wanted. Being a pitcher and a huge injury risk, it’s not too surprising that the Twins were skittish. Of course, catcher isn’t a perfectly safe position either, but Mauer’s just hitting his prime, he plays every day, he could move to another position to avoid injuries if needed, and of course there’s the local angle. Plus, what Mauer has done as a catcher Santana never approached doing as a pitcher. Just my two cents.

  4. Dan - Nov 11, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    I’m betting they passed on Torii because he wouldn’t be worth his salary as he ages.
    They probably figured $20 million a year was too much for a starting pitcher, especially if he gets injured. Pitchers tend to get hurt and the Twins can’t afford to have a $20 million dollar player on the DL like a New York team can.

  5. jb - Nov 11, 2009 at 6:06 PM

    the reason they are willing to pay mauer the big bucks has at least as much to do with his marketability as it has to do with his talent. while they were both beloved players, the only player in my lifetime (i’m 29) that has come close to having as much fan loyalty as mauer was kirby.
    people were angry about santana and hunter, but if we got beat in the playoffs by mauer in two or three years on the yanks or bosox target field would get burned to the ground and bill smith would be the new norm green.

  6. Bill@TDS - Nov 11, 2009 at 7:34 PM

    I don’t think they really wanted Torii, and for good reason. They made him an offer — more than he was probably worth — and if he could get better than that elsewhere, good on him.
    Not so sure about Santana.

  7. Charles Flodstrom - Dec 25, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    I think part of the article is inaccurate. Saying – “Twins made no legitimate effort to retain either of them (Santana & Hunter)” is not true. The Twins made a nice offer to Johan of 5 years, 100 million.

  8. Lesley Habermehl - Mar 7, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    You post definitely was one of the best points of my Saturday. I had been on Aol researching something completely unrelated when the title captured my attention. I am glad I took the time to read your article! Feel free to check out my sport articles should you get some free time!

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