That sound you heard yesterday in the late afternoon? That was the sound of an entire state breathing out one huge sigh of relief.
Yankees fans can stop drooling with anticipation. Red Sox fans can stop formulating theoretical trade packages. Mets fans can let any glimmers of hope die and go back to wallowing in misery.
Joe Mauer is staying in Minnesota.
The Twins announced yesterday that they'd signed their 26-year-old homegrown MVP to an eight-year contract extension that will keep Mauer at Target Field through 2018. The catcher will make $23 million per season over the life of the $184 million deal, which includes a full no trade clause.
Jittery fans and bored newspaper columnists had been stirring up some anxiety over the past few weeks, but ultimately there was little reason to believe this deal would not get done. While premature announcements from a couple of prominent local sports personalities proved false, there Twins organization's confidence that this extension would eventually get hammered out was clear on almost every report on the subject. With a new stadium opening this year and fan interest at the highest point been it's been in recent memory, the Twins were not going to let Mauer get away.
With the contract officially signed, the Twins have locked up the reigning MVP throughout his prime years. Mauer is the best player in the American League and he's not even 27 yet, so the benefits of this deal figure to be huge over the next several years. Of course, there's room to question whether Mauer will still be worth $23 million at the age of 34 or 35. There's also room to question how drastic the impacts of dedicating such an enormous percentage of the team's total payroll to one player will be; the Twins are setting an all-time high in payroll this year at $96 million, and Mauer's $23 million would account for 24 percent of that.
But those are discussions for another day. While it's not without its downsides, this is a move that needed to be made. Mauer staying in Minnesota is good for baseball and certainly good for Minnesotans.
The final piece of offseason drama has offically been settled. Now, can we get this season started?
Finally, a quick word from today's sponsor...
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