He is the American League’s best player, playing at one of the most demanding positions on the field and yet he excels at every aspect of it.
All-Star catcher Joe Mauer made Minnesota Twins fans extremely happy yesterday by putting an end to speculation he might leave the franchise by committing the next eight years of his baseballing future to the club.
His services have come at a cost however, $184million over the course of the deal and it includes a full no-trade clause. Indeed the cost is high and only two people in the history of baseball have signed more lucrative contracts than Mauer’s, Alex Rodriguez twice and Derek Jeter, but he could have demanded much more on the open market if he had so wished.
As a hometown kid, the catcher took quite a considerable discount to stay at home, and many believe he could have commanded a salary in the region of $250million. But being a Minnesota boy all he ever wanted as a kid was to play for the Twins, now he gets the chance to do so for the rest of his career.
A press conference will be held on Monday at 6pm CT at the Twins’ Conference Center at the Lee County Sports Complex where it is widely expected the Twins will announce the deal keeping their prize asset until 2018.
He was taken as the No.1 overall pick in 2001 ahead of Mark Prior and the news that he is staying with the Twins will be encouraging for Major League Baseball who have been under pressure to look into the disparity between the big market clubs and the small market teams such as the Twins.
Mauer’s signing was even more important for the Twins considering they are moving to a new stadium in just a few weeks, and a new stadium without a star player could have been a disaster for the franchise.
And with their closer, Joe Nathan, injured for the season the Twins had to give their fans something to smile about.
The contract does raise some issues for the Twins. How will they sign new players considering $23million a year is going to Mauer? Will they remain competitive? And will they regret the decision before the end of the contract is up? The answers to all these questions will become apparent in the next few years.