On March 21st, 2010 Joe Mauer made the decision to be the catcher for the Minnesota Twins for the rest of his career. As he put the pen to paper to make the eight-year, $184 million contract official, Twins fans rejoiced that Mauer would not wind up like Torii Hunter or Johan Santana—both were players that at the prime of their career were let go for almost nothing.
Fast-forward two years later, and it appears that Mauer earned something other than that massive contract: expectations.
When Mauer signed the richest deal for a catcher in the history of Major League Baseball, he put immense pressure on himself to crank out carbon copies of his 2009 season (.365 batting average, 28 home runs and 96 runs batted in). Instead, Mauer has thrown two duds since signing the contract.
There are numerous things that can be said about Mauer's willingness to play through injury, and perhaps some of them are true. However, the bold prediction I am about to make is that Joe Mauer will bounce back in 2012 and regain his All-Star status.