Yeah, yeah, yeah, paying a 35 year-old catcher $23 million a season might not be the smartest move ever, but whatever. I fully expect the Twins to be in rebuilding mode by then, after winning the world series a couple of times, naturally. Although, come to think of it, the Twins might not be paying a 35 year-old Mauer $23 million a season. Oh sure, the extension is for eight years, but beat writer LaVelle E. Neal, III revealed this interesting tidbit:
While chasing down a Mauer rumor last week that wasn't true, I had heard that the sides weren't that close to a deal. But indications are that Mauer and Shapiro got together over the last couple of days and realized that the Twins weren't going to improve on their offer and took it.The details of the extension will probably be made public during tomorrow's press conference, but I'm guessing there is an opt-out clause in there somewhere. Like C. C. Sabathia with the Yankees, I'm guessing Mauer and his agent negotiated a deal where Mauer could opt out of his contract after a certain number of years (after 2011, in Captain Cheeseburger's case) and enter the free agent market, where he will most likely command a much higher price tag than $23 million a season. Of course, it's also possible that I'm reading way too much into this and maybe he just really wanted to stay in Minnesota.
UPDATE: Nope, there's nothing like that in the contract. It's just $23 million a year for eight years, with a full no-trade clause. I guess he really hearts us and wants to stay after all. Twinkie Town has all the highlights and links to the video of his press conference (MLB is still stuck in the non-embeddable dark ages), and here is what Man Muscles had to say for himself:
Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of playing in the big leagues, and what better place to do it than seven miles from where you grew up? It's home for me.Of course, pretty much everyone in major league baseball had to weigh in. I guess it's kind of a big deal when the American League MVP decides to take less money to stay with his hometown team (though not much less, since he was reportedly asking $25 million a year, and he's still the fourth-highest paid player in baseball and the highest-paid catcher in MLB history). However, I think Ozzie Guillen, as usual, said it best:
I wish they didn't sign him so he can go somewhere else and I don't have to face him 19 times. But it's a great for him and great for baseball. God bless his mom and enjoy the money. If you don't know where to spend it, I send him my number.