Joe Mauer Signs With The Twins, Saves Baseball

2010 March 22

Now I don’t need to hear Yankee fans talking about getting Mauer on WFAN anymore.

All-Star catcher Joe Mauer and Minnesota completed an eight-year, $184 million deal, a contract which will inevitably be hailed within baseball as an example that teams like the Twins do have a chance to keep their homegrown talent.

The deal, which includes a full no-trade clause, ranks in scope with only Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million contract and Derek Jeter’s 10-year, $189 million contract.

They don’t mention Mark Teixeira’s contract, which is the same length and only $4 million less. It’s the closest comparison, not only due to having almost exactly the same amount of years and money, but also due to being signed only last year. And I think it’s obvious in that matchup that the Mauer contract is the better deal. Mauer is the best player in the American League. Mark Teixeira — while being a great hitter who also fields his 1B position well — is not even the best player on his team. And think of how many other 1B there are who compare offensively. Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Adrian Gonzalez are all in his league. This is ignoring the man in St. Louis who is arguably better than Teixeira at every aspect of the game.

Meanwhile, Joe Mauer not only stands alone at the catching position right now, he might stand alone when it comes to the entire history of baseball. The only catcher to hit like he did last season was Mike Piazza, and he was no Joe Mauer behind the plate. Mauer is one of the best athletes to ever squat behind the plate; he was the best quarterback in America in high school and also an All-State point guard. He was a legend in Minnesota before he was even drafted.

And this is why the Twins NEEDED to resign him. He is the franchise; he is Minnesota. Mauer leaving to go to the Red Sox or Yankees or any big-budget team would have been devastating. But the Twins aren’t exactly a small-budget team anymore. Their payroll is scratching the surface of $100 million. What if they were truly a low-budget team? I don’t see any scenario, for example, in which the Royals would have kept him. So I’m really not sure how much this says — if anything — about the ability of small-market teams to lock up the face of their franchise. Especially when you consider that Mauer absolutely could have gotten more if he waited for free agency. But I won’t downplay the fact that it’s good for baseball nonetheless.

Just remember if Mauer was a total douchebag, e.g., Alex Rodriguez, this wouldn’t have been possible.

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