Dec 1, 2009, 12:37 AM EDT
A source told Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan that Joe Mauer will set an Opening Day deadline for extension talks with the Twins.
If a multiyear deal cannot be completed by the end of spring training and the report holds true, Mauer would become a free agent after next season.
Twins GM Bill Smith hasn’t seemed to give any consideration to the idea of trading Mauer. The 26-year-old is in line for one of the biggest contracts in baseball history, but he is a Minnesota native and he’s indicated a willingness to stay with the Twins if the team can keep itself in a position to contend annually.
The Twins, though, probably wouldn’t have much chance of retaining Mauer if he hits the open market. It could well be the fiercest free agent showdown between the Yankees and Red Sox to date. Realistically, the Twins will have to sign Mauer to a huge extension, perhaps one with an opt-out clause after two or three years, this winter if they intend to have him around in 2011.