Mauer exercising clout for club, fans, himself
So who does not want Joe Mauer?
Osama bin Laden might be worth $25 million but that reward is dead or alive. Mauer could be looking at that kind of money for one year of baseball.
Here is a hometown boy that is already rich, stands to become much, much richer and is yet the money is not the be-all and end-all. Like a true MVP, he wants to take his whole team to the World Series and bring another World Series championship to Minnesota, bless his heart.
We all know that the Twins are one of those "small market" franchises like Kansas City that are not supposed to be able to afford the top-shelf players. They are supposed to be content with just filling out the field in the American League Central. Everyone knows that they have done quite a bit better than that and Mauer is the crown jewel of their efforts -- a three-time AL batting champion, a two-time Gold Glove winner and the American League's 2009 MVP at the age of 26. Wow!
It is a good bet that the Twins will make Mauer the best offer they can afford but they will have to count heavily on his loyalty to the state. The Yankees could be powerful competitors. They just won another World Series and they are as big market as it gets. The could give Mauer that ring, that championship and a whale of a lot more money.
The Twins have to take Mauer's dream of a championship for what it is meant to be -- he is telling them that to keep him on the roster, they have to come up with the talent that can not only win the division again, but the AL flag and the World Series.
Take a good look at the 2009 Minnesota Twins. They had some decent pitchers but did not have a Johan Santana-type stopper on the mound. Kevin Slowey was on his way to a pretty good season but the most games a Minnesota pitcher won year was Scott Baker's 15. Baker and Nick Blackburn both gave the Twins more than 200 innings -- the benchmark of a good starter -- but Blackburn had a .500 record. Journeyman Carl Parvano had an ERA of 5.10. Brian Duensing showed he could be tough in the clutch and should be back but Francisco Liriano was a disappointment, as was Glen Perkins. Minnesota's relief pitching was just plain bad at times. The Twins had a 4.50 team ERA which was 11th in the 14-team AL. This was -- and isn't -- good enough.
The Twins hit the ball well enough and with Justin Morneau and Joe Crede in the lineup for the whole season they would have been just that much tougher. Their 172 home runs were a pleasant surprise after 2008. You also have to give them credit for scoring 817 runs.
Bottom line, the Twins have to convince Mauer they will contend with the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels for the players they need to take it to the next level.