Minnesota Twins

Joe Mauer is a Gambler

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 07:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the New York Yankees at Lee County Sports Complex  on March 7, 2010 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images
Josh LevittSenior Analyst IMarch 18, 2010

So says Sid Hartman:

So you wonder if reigning American League MVP Joe Mauer and his agent, Ron Shapiro , are concerned about the consequences of Mauer suffering a serious injury should the former Cretin-Derham Hall all-around athlete choose to not re-sign with the Twins this year and become a free agent at the end of this season. If Mauer did suffer a serious injury, the market certainly wouldn't be what it is today.

Mauer has missed a total of 120 games because of various injuries out of the 974 regular-season games the Twins have played since he joined the team in 2004.

He missed 69 games in 2004 because of a torn meniscus in his left knee after being injured in April. Mauer was healthy in 2005 and 2006, when he played in 131 and 140 games, respectively.

However, the 26-year-old All-Star catcher missed 29 games in 2007 because of a strained left quadriceps muscle suffered in May. After playing in 146 games in 2008, he missed all of spring training and 22 games into the 2009 season because of an inflammation of the right sacroiliac joint.

But if Mauer happened to get seriously hurt before signing, the big-money, long-term offers would disappear. The Yankees and Red Sox haven't thrown money around like they have in the past. Those two clubs would likely be the most interested in signing Mauer to a big contract.

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Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

If Mauer signs an extension with the Twins before the season begins, then he will surely be giving up money on the open market—in theory—in return for security.

If Mauer holds off on the extension with the Twins until after the season, people like Sid Hartman will scrutinize the decision because Mauer is only one injury away from losing big money.

Being a catcher in the majors is a huge injury risk, but my advice to Mauer is this: Do what your comfortable with and don't play the what if game. Because in the end, asking "What if?" will drive a person nuts.

Especially when we're talking about a nine-figure payday.

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