As noted here yesterday, the Minnesota Twins and Joe Mauer, the reigning American League MVP, have agreed to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension, keeping Mauer in Minnesota through the 2018 season.
Mauer will make $12.5 million in 2010 and will then make $23 million per season through the 2018 season.
This signing is great news not only for Minnesotans and fans of Twins baseball, but for the sport of baseball in general as well.
Forget about the fact that catchers are more susceptible to injury than any other position player and that he may be forced from the catcher's position at some point down the line. Just don't even think about that. Leave that be for another day.
Instead, focus on the fact that the MINNESOTA TWINS, a team not a decade removed from looking down the throat of retraction, a team once forced to play inside a Teflon-roofed building not meant to host baseball, a team that had recently lost All-Star-caliber players due to having insufficient funds, have signed a player for $184 million.
This move makes the Twins look like they were David taking down Goliath. It immediately instills faith into the fans of the San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, and Milwaukee Brewers, whose teams are trying to sign their premier players to long-term extensions even with little to no chance of it happening.
Is this the best move for the Minnesota Twins? Maybe not. It's hard to explain how one player making 25 percent of their team's payroll is a good move.
However, this extension means a lot to the teams (and their fans) that have been unable to keep up with the large-market teams who can lure players away by offering them a lot more money over more years without batting an eye.
Mauer, already one of baseball's most marketable and beloved players, wasn't tempted by the thought of playing in a large city, where he'd undoubtedly heighten his celebrity to disgusting levels.
Instead, he's staying home to play baseball in the state that has made him their son. The organization that could have chosen Mark Prior, the best college pitcher in years to enter the draft. The team that he grew up cheering for as a child.
This is a big win for the little man.