We have all heard the rumors, and they are certainly well founded and deserved, that the Twins and the
Home Town Hero", Joe Mauer, are feverently working on a contarct extension that will keep Mauer home for the good part of the next decade. While negotiations are being kept purposely away from the media, and thus very close to the vest, the word is that even with the proverbial "Home Town Discount" Mauer will be reporting Texeira type numbers to the IRS for the foreseeable future.
Assuming what we hear is accurate, and leaving myself open to the potential pitfalls of basing a position on an assumption, is the reputed deal really in the best interest of all involved?
If the Twins payroll is in the targeted $80M range what impact does Joe Mauer on the books for $22+M per season have for the Twins franchise that has always relied on a farm cultivated "core" with select supplementing via free agency and trades to stock their roster?
An organization that has prided itself on being able to replace parts, as they outgrew the teams payroll parameters, with players weaned in an organization that banks on playing Twins baseball as the way to avoid being forced into bidding wars with the "Big Market" teams?
Furthermore, and in my view the most unaccounted for factor, will the strength of all of the above be diminished by the loss of the biggest home field advantage in baseball, the "Dome"? Speak to any big leaguer and they will tell you that playing in that dome was a huge plus in the Twins favor. From the crowd noise to the roof to the turf all were factors as to how the Twins team was crafted and an big factor in their organizations success, Suddenly these variables are at the very least diminished and, in my view, they are eliminated.
As painful as it may seem for some to follow me when I say, let's suppose I am correct, let's do just that.
Is Joe Mauer going to be happy being competitive in the AL Central including winning a fair share of Division crowns but probably not "sniffing" a WS Title? How long before the pressure is on the Twins to add "help" thus increase the payroll to compete ?
Are the Twins willing to do so? Remeber this is an organization that historically has thrown nickles around like they were man hole covers to the tune of going sans a roof in a new stadium, Target Field, in Minnesota!
I hope I am off but I see a scaenario whereby the honeymoon will wear off as Mauer gets a little older and he realizes that he wants to win WS Titles more than be the "Home Town Hero".
"Say it aint so Joe (Mauer)".
Posted on: February 5, 2010 3:25 pm