Citing a source close to the situation, WCCO's Mark Rosen reported yesterday that the Twins and Joe Mauer had come to agreement on a 10-year contract, with the financial terms undisclosed. The rumor hit the Internet and predictably spread like wildfire; the phrase "Twins & Joe Mauer" had become a trending topic on Twitter within minutes of the first report I saw. This, of course, led numerous other baseball reporters to check in with their own Twins-related sources, who unanimously declared that Rosen's report was not in fact accurate and no deal was officially in place.
Not surprising. The report seemed a little odd, mainly due to the length. I was told by some that I was stretching it when I predicted that the Twins would strike an eight-year deal with Mauer this winter. A 10-year contract would not only be unprecedented in Minnesota Twins history, it would be pretty close to unprecedented in baseball history. Only two players have ever signed deals of such an exorbitant length, and they're both currently on the Yankees' payroll. Considering his youth, his talent and his extraordinary list of accomplishments already, it would hardly be absurd for Mauer to join Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter as the only players to ever receive decade-long baseball contracts, but for the Twins to be the team handing out such a massive pact? Tough to imagine.
Nevertheless, yesterday proved a promising one for Twins fans. That's because even though multiple reporters shot down Rosen's report after checking in with their own team sources, the denials consistently came with caveats that a deal is close to being done, or that team officials are confident a deal would get done. The Twins have a massive PR department in place; if the organization was not completely confident this extension was going to get done -- and soon -- they would be trying harder to downplay expectations of fans. (Think back to Torii Hunter and Johan Santana.) I've seen no indication that they're trying to do this.
Even if a deal didn't become official yesterday, I find myself more confident that the Twins will announce an extension within the next few weeks and that Mauer's future here in Minnesota will be ensured.