Twins "Optimistic" about Mauer Extension

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images's Kelly Thesier addresses the question on the mind of every Twins fan

1. Will the Twins sign Joe Mauer to a contract extension before Opening Day?

Mauer's future has been the biggest topic surrounding the Twins this offseason and certainly all of baseball is paying attention to whether the club can extend the catcher. Mauer is entering the final season of his four-year, $33 million contract and would be eligible to become a free agent in the fall.

There has been a lot of optimism within the organization that a deal will get done. While no one has ruled out the possibility of discussions taking place during the regular season, there is no question that the Twins would like to have a deal in place before Opening Day. So there are bound to be a lot of eyes focused on Fort Myers, Fla., this spring to see if the Twins can lock up the reigning AL MVP before they break camp and open up their new ballpark, Target Field.

It would be disappointing to see the best 2011 free agent off the market simply because it would be fascinating to see what Mauer could earn on the open market, but there is no denying how important this deal is for the Twins. And if the Twins are able to sign Mauer, the deal will be good for baseball in general.

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