Mauer contradicts deadline report
MVP expected to begin negotiations with Twins shortly
MINNEAPOLIS -- In a text message to MLB.com on Tuesday, Joe Mauer seemed unaware of the source of a report that he has a deadline for his negotiations on a contract extension with the Twins.
In response to a Yahoo report that quoted a source close to him as saying the Minnesota catcher would end contract negotiations if a deal wasn't struck by Spring Training, Mauer wrote, "I'm not going to react to every story/rumor that comes out or comment on any negotiations. As far as that report, I don't know where that came from."The report of a deadline had contradicted comments made by Mauer last week during his teleconference after winning the 2009 American League MVP Award. "I've always said it will happen when it needs to happen and I truly believe that," Mauer said of a potential contract extension. "I'm not the kind of guy that, you know, says by this date we need to have something done." A report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune last week said that the Twins hope to have Mauer signed to a long-term contract extension by Christmas. The club has been expected to start negotiating a new contract in earnest now that the MVP celebration is over and there is no question that keeping the St. Paul native in Minnesota is a team priority. Mauer, 26, became the first catcher in Major League history to win three batting titles when he hit .365 in 2009. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.587) in '09, making him the first AL player to accomplish what some have called "the modern Triple Crown" since George Brett in 1980. A two-time Gold Glove winner and a three-time Silver Slugger, Mauer is considered to be one of the game's best all-around players, and that's why it's no surprise his contract status has already drawn national attention a year before he's set to reach free agency. Mauer's agent is Ron Shapiro, who represented Kirby Puckett and Cal Ripken Jr., two players who both spent their entire careers with one team. Mauer has expressed his interest in remaining in Minnesota, but he's also made it clear that he wants to win a World Series. The Twins have to show Mauer that they could manage to field a competitive club even with the catcher's increased salary (which could potentially average around $20 million a year). "We're going to do everything we can to keep him as a Minnesota Twin," first baseman Justin Morneau, who is one of Mauer's best friends, said last week's during Mauer's AL MVP news conference. "The biggest thing now isn't the money. It's going to be whether or not he feels we can win every day with the talent we have." Mauer said during his MVP news conference that he believes that a World Series championship is possible in Minnesota. He pointed to the team having a chance to win two of its three games with the Yankees in this year's AL Division Series. "I truly believe once you get to the postseason, you have a chance to win the World Series," Mauer said.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.