Twins Extend Mauer Through 2018

Tyler BlouinContributor IMarch 23, 2010

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

The biggest story line going into spring training for the Minnesota Twins involved Joe Mauer, only this spring, it wasn't his play on the field. Joe Mauer, the power hitting reigning AL MVP and Gold Glove winner, was in the last year of his contract with the Twins and speculation for months had the small market team trading him to avoid spending big money to keep the All Star catcher. All that speculation and rumors were put to bed on today. (This article originally appeared at Unplucked Sports by Patrick Baker.)

The Twins signed Mauer to an 8 year, $184 million dollar extension, keeping the St. Paul native in a Twins uniform until 2018. The $23 million price tag puts Mauer behind only Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia for highest annual salary. The deal also features a non-trade clause. The deal comes as a relief for Twins management as they open brand new Target Field this season. Mauer, 1st overall selection in the 2001 draft, will the centerpiece of the Twins and the face of the franchise

It has been a difficult spring for Minnesota. Their All Star closer Joe Nathan will miss the entire 2010 season after undergoing surgery on his elbow. The Twins are looking to defend their 2009 AL Central title in their new outdoor stadium and the signing of their homegrown All Star is a landmark contract for the organization

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