Anyhow, I got all sorts of grief from readers - and Twins bloggers - telling me about Joe's a small-town guy, he wants to stay in Minnesota, and he will stay in his home state, blah blah blah. And there was all sorts of talk this winter about how the Twins would lock him up with a long-term deal.
Yet here it is, mid-March, and Mauer still hasn't agreed to that big contract with the Twins. So Minnesota Star-Tribune columnist Jim Souhan (hat tip to Sliding Into Home) is now wondering if "Mauer's hesitancy to accept a record-setting contract offer from his hometown team has made his signing less than a sure thing and raised this previously unthinkable question: 'Won't the Twins have to trade him if he refuses their best offer?'"
Souhan also writes:
If he's spurning amounts the Twins feel are exorbitant, the team could discern that Mauer is intent on playing in New York or Boston. Those might be the only two baseball cities where a team other than the Twins would be willing to pay more than $20 million a year for a catcher with a history of leg and back injuries.Ahem. As I wrote last winter:
Besides, the thing is about being a Yankee is that it puts you in a whole other level of superstardom. Joe Mauer has arguably been the best all-around player in the league for years, but he will only get the attention he deserves if he puts on the pinstripes. Will Mauer get the ads Derek Jeter does if he stays in Minnesota? No. Will Mauer host SNL or get to introduce artists at the American Music Awards as a Twin? Doubtful.One of our readers suggested that Mauer would stay in Minnesota, because he spent time this winter in his deer stand. Myjah wrote:
Yeah--up in his DEER STAND, probably by his log cabin in the middle of nowhere where he does things like mow his own lawn.
Do you really think Joe is aching to live/play in New York City so he can make even more millions of dollars?Well, Mauer still hasn't signed that big deal everybody (except me!) expected him to, before the season started.(And none of this has anything to do with Joe Nathan potentially needing Tommy John surgery; the Twins had all winter to get this Mauer deal executed.)
So I'm sticking with my prediction of Mauer "catching CC Sabathia's first pitch in 2011." Forget about Jorge Posada - he'll be 40 next year, in the last year of his contract, and he will be the Yankees DH. Forget Jesus Montero and Austin Romine, the catching prospects of the future. (Austin Jackson was supposed to be the Yankees center fielder of the future, and Ian Kennedy was supposed to be the Yankee rotation fixture of the future. How did that work out?)
Of course, I could be wrong, and Mauer could indeed sign that big deal Minnesotaland is hoping for. But you have to wonder what's going on. Souhan writes:
At some point, the Twins' attitude will change from eagerness to sign Mauer, to indignation that he won't accept a franchise-record offer.If Mauer doesn't have that big deal from the Twins by Opening Day, start spreading the news. He will be a Yankee in 2011!
What do you think? Tell us about it!