Look who found some money in their wallets. The team that didn’t pay Johan Santana, because it didn’t have the funds, came up with 184 million big ones to keep Joe Mauer away from the evil Red Sox and Yankees next year. So stop all of your talking about how small market teams can’t compete with the big boys because they can’t pay their big players. Take that Cleveland, Florida and all you other schmoes…
Okay that came out a little smug. To be honest with you I’m happy that Joe Mauer is staying in Minnesota. He’s a Minnesota guy. He is the Twins franchise player and is staying that way. It’s become common place in the last few years for big name players from the Marlins, A’s and other teams to jump ship to the East Coast powers that be for big bucks. Jason Giambi did it, Santana and Josh Beckett were traded there, C.C. Sabathia told the Brewers to kick rocks. Yet the Twins finally bucked the trend. They decided that Joe Mauer was a player that was too good to let walk away to the AL East monsters or the Angels or Dodgers.
It was imperative that the Twins re-upped Mauer when they did. Mauer would have easily commanded a 10 year deal in between 20-25 million per year. Granted you never know the timeline for catchers due to wear and tear on the knees, but Mauer has more than proven his worth during his time with the Twins.
Even though he missed two months last year, Mauer was the Twins best player by leaps and bounds. He led the team in batting average and could’ve easily lead the team in home runs and RBI if he weren’t injured. His presence on the team brought them back from fourth in the AL central to being the champions of the division, this despite not having Justin Morneau, another left-handed bopper, for the last two months of the year. His MVP award was well deserved and Mauer has placed himself in the discussion of being the best player in the game with Albert Pujols and Tim Lincecum.
What’s even more important is that another small market team has a big name player to keep them relevant against teams like the Sox and Yankees. It has become increasingly hard to recognize some of the small market franchises due to the lack of appeal and buzz around them. That’s why it’s important that guys like Mauer, Ryan Braun and Adrian Gonzalez stay where they are to keep the appeal wide spread and not so one sided.
Long gone are the Tony Gwynn’s, Ozzie Smith’s and Cal Ripken’s. The men that were the face of their franchises and were synonymous with everything within the organization have been replaced by players who are just waiting until arbitration ends so they can receive a big pay day from John Henry and Hal Steinbrenner. It’s shifted the balance of power and makes the viewer, and fan of the sport as a whole, seem less interested in all but 7 or 8 teams.
It also keeps the Twins in contention for years to come even though they struggle to find consistent pitching (especially now with Joe Nathan on the shelf with Tommy John surgery). Keeping Mauer in addition to the Morneau and Michael Cuddyer deals gives the Twins a 3-4-5 as tough as any in the AL. it’s a nightmare for opposing pitchers to face three lefties who hit for average and power. Mauer himself could be considered one the league’s best hitters as he is able to hit to all areas of the field as well as knocking a few over the wall.
It’s a win-win situation for all parties involved. With the new Twins stadium opening this April, having a top 5 player on your roster, as well as a hometown guy, will definitely help to sell tickets for the next 8 years and maybe longer. It’ll also hopefully send a message to all small market teams with players that they feel they won’t be able to pay like the Yankees and Red Sox will. Open up you wallets and stay competitive. Your fans and the league deserve it. Trust me, the Twins are about to receive a huge pay-off for a huge pay-out.