Some AL East teams thankful for Mauer's extension with Twins

{eot} Staff
3/23/2010 12:40:31 AM
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You know you're good when your opponents - who are grown men - are thanking their lucky stars they don't have to play you more often.

A day after Joe Mauer signed a long-term contract extension with the Minnesota Twins (thus keeping him in the American League's Central Division), Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon offered up his most grateful thanks to the brass in Minny for keeping Mauer off the New York Yankees and out of the AL East.

"We'd really like to thank the Twins for giving him a long-term deal," Maddon said. "We can't have him. We can not afford that. For us, Toronto and Baltimore, we really appreciate that."

The deal, which will see Mauer make a massive $184 million over the next eight years, means the Rays will face Mauer far less often than they would have had he landed in the division that also features the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Orioles and Yankees.

Had Mauer ended up on the World Series champion Yanks, it could have spelled disaster for the other teams in the AL East.

"I thought it was fabulous," Maddon said of the deal. "He's that good. I don't know how he's going to perform, but if anybody's worth that, he is. He's the best at what he does...He blocks well, he calls well, he throws well, he uses the whole field. He's all of that. He's among the best players in the game today. At 26, he might be the best.

"And he's not in our division. Again, thanks to the voters of whatever the county was that have committed to this new ballpark (in Minnesota)."

Mauer, a native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, certainly didn't seem to offer up any hometown discount. The deal, which goes from 2011 to 2018, is the fourth largest in major league history (in overall value and average yearly salary) and has a no-trade clause.

The only bigger contracts ever in MLB were those of Alex Rodriguez (two deals, one worth $275 million and the other $252 million) and Derek Jeter ($189 million).

Mauer, the reigning AL MVP and three-time AL batting title winner was entering the final year of his current contract.

He was the Twins' No. 1 selection in the 2001 MLB Draft.

Last season, Mauer hit .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI as the Twins won the AL Central.

Joe Mauer (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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