Joe Mauer and his Twins future

Published 8:30 am Thursday, November 19, 2009

We live our lives surrounded by unknowns. There are more unknowns than all the grains of sand in all the beaches of the world. Unknowns range from life after death to what’s for supper? One of the pressing unknowns for the Minnesota Twins is whether Joe Mauer will sign a contract extending his time past 2010. That importance varies from person to person. Some could care less and others feel quite strongly about it, ranking it up there with the Viking’s Super Bowl chances.

Why is it so important to Minnesota Twins fans? Some people think that Joe Mauer is the best ballplayer in the Major Leagues. He has won three batting titles, voted by fans into the All-Star game and has won the Gold Glove award for the last two years. He led the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Joe did all this playing the most demanding position of everyday players. His hitting accomplishments along with the Gold Glove were like Brett Favre being named to the All-Pro teams both as quarterback and safety. Mauer accrued these honors even after missing the first month of the season due to an injury; a sixth of the season. He is, in my opinion, the best player in baseball.

Joe’s contract is up next year and all Twins’ fans are concerned. We remember what happened when Johan Santana, probably the best pitcher to wear a Twins uniform, was traded with a year left on his contract. It was a big mistake probably costing the Twins the Division title and the players received for Santana did not match his value.

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How good is Joe Mauer? Really? He’s the best Twin ever, even eclipsing Kirby Puckett.

If he continues his play or even comes close to it he is a for sure Hall of Famer. In fact, even at his young age he may have accomplished enough to qualify for the Hall.

Mauer’s contract is the biggest baseball news this offseason. Baseball fans around the league are interested in Mauer’s contract. New York Yankee and Red Sox fans are particularly interested for if the Twins don’t sign Mauer, the Yanks or Sox will.

I don’t think they will get the chance and here are some reasons why Mauer will sign with the Twins. He likes Minnesota and his teammates and his ex-roommate Justin Morneau’s contract has a few years to run. He also is friends with the new shortstop J.J. Hardy. His family is here and how many years does Grandpa Jake have. The Twins have added some players that will improve the team and Mauer’s agent seems to approve of players staying with their original team.

One negative to his staying with the Twins is Joe can’t eat a restaurant meal without being recognized. He would have a lot more anonymity in New York. The biggest plus to his leaving is that he is more likely to play in a World Series with the Yankees. He would receive the plaudits of the nation and be known as the 21st century Joe DiMaggio. I think his legacy weighs heavily on his mind. Morneau has said so. That seems to me the big reason why Mauer might leave vs. the positives of his staying.

I think Joe will stay. He will give the Twins and the World Series a few more chances. He will trust Bill Smith to build a championship team. He may sign for three years or he may sign a contract that will allow him to opt out after a year or two. If Mauer stays two or three years and the Twins don’t do well, he will still be in his twenties and able to play extremely well for the Yankees in the 2012 World Series.