He has won three batting titles, two straight Gold Gloves and is the reigning American League Most Valuable Player.
He has done all this before his 27th birthday.
Joe Mauer is baseball’s best catcher and an amazing force on offense and defense. He is also said to be a great guy, one that will likely never show up in the headlines to discredit his team or town.
The question is - will he continue to destroy AL pitching as a member of the Minnesota Twins beyond this season? He can be a free agent in the fall.
The Yankees and Red Sox are said to be drooling over this one. Mauer’s deal, on the open market, would likely top Mark Teixeira’s eight-year, $180 million contract.
The Twins have a few things in their favor. Mauer is the hometown kid, from St. Paul. He is represented by Baltimorean Ron Shapiro, a man who negotiated contracts that kept Cal Ripken Jr. a lifelong Oriole and Kirby Puckett a lifelong Twin.
This isn’t Scott Boras, looking to make headlines, use the media and extract every last penny from the deal.
Still, I’m pretty sure there won’t be any hometown discount on this contract. The Twins may have to offer a ten-year, $200-million deal to keep Mauer. They may need to put deferred money in the pact.
If Mauer resigns with Minnesota, will the mid market Twins have enough left to sign other players? It takes more than one player to win games.
If the Twins had a $100 million payroll and Mauer was getting $20 million, could they be a winner with $80 million left to sign 24 other players?
Unless you are a NY or Boston fan, how can anyone root for anything but Mauer to stay with his hometown team?
At some point, clubs need to be able to retain their best talent and stop serving as a farm team for the Yankees.
Let’s hope Joe Mauer remains a Twin. Everyone in baseball is watching this one.