The Minnesota Twins: Taking a Lesson From Baseball's Model Franchise

Mr. Jones and MeCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2010

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 26:  Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his two-run home run with teammate Joe Mauer #7 during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angels Stadium on July 26, 2009 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Last Sunday the Minnesota Twins all but assured that Joe Mauer will be wearing a Twins cap into the Hall of Fame by signing their star to a eight-year 184 million dollar contract extension.

Thank God, because seeing the St. Paul native in pinstripes might have been too much for me to handle.

Mauer’s deal is a huge commitment for the small market and thrifty Twins organization, but it shows that they, unlike many small market clubs, have their priorities straight.

Joe Mauer is a once in a lifetime player in a once in a lifetime situationone of the best players in the game, playing for the club he grew up watching and loving. It is like LeBron ending up in Cleveland. It is a dream realized.

The Twins could not let the face of their franchise and the key component to their future success walk out the door. It would have devastated Twins’ fans. Scratch thatit would have devastated the entire state of Minnesota.

The Twins got it right. The Twins always get it right. They are the model franchise for small market clubs throughout baseball.

While clubs like the Marlins pocket revenue sharing cash, and the Pirates perpetually trade away talent to avoid big pay days, the Twins win year after year. They have been doing more with less for years, and now the Mauer signing proves that they are committed to keeping their franchise at the top of the heap.

So, how do the Twins do it? It is simple really. They make good decisions. They spend wisely, scout intelligently, and are opportunistic in the trade market.

Furthermore, they do an exceptional job of developing the talent in their farm system. In addition to Mauer, they have developed Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Denard Spann, Nick Blackburn, and many other key members of their roster are products of the Twins’ farm system.

Lastly, they have developed a team first persona which they instill into their players, including minor leaguers, from the moment they become a member of the organization. The Twins are no longer just a team, they are ideal.

A Twin plays team baseball, is fundamentally strong, and is not afraid to get their uniforms dirty. They are guys like Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, and Brendan Harris. The Twins new middle infield of Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy? The perfect fit. Those two are Twins.

So, who is the consummate Twin? Joe Mauer of course.

The Twins do not need 200 million dollars to compete. They do just fine with what they have got, and last Sunday they assured that what they have got is Joe Mauer.

I hope their taking notes in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Florida, and lots of places in between.


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