Mauer's agent arrives at Twins camp
Sides could hold discussions on contract extension
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ron Shapiro, the agent for Joe Mauer, has arrived at Twins camp, a club official confirmed on Thursday.The team characterized it as a routine spring visit, although there is the chance the two sides could sit down for face-to-face negotiations on a contract extension for Mauer, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player who is eligible for free agency after this season. Shapiro is expected to remain in Fort Myers this weekend. Still, Shapiro's presence in camp doesn't necessarily mean that a deal is close. So far there have been no indications from either side that anything is imminent.
There have been plenty of questions directed to Mauer this spring about his contract, although the catcher has politely chosen not to discuss specifics about talks taking place. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Mauer, who prefers to stay out of the spotlight, has been holding up well despite all of the attention.
"He's fine. Joe's so quiet, you don't even know. ... He's just Joe," Gardenhire said. "He goes about his business. He's preparing for the season, and all the other things take care of themselves. The only time he talks about it is when somebody asks him."
Mauer, who is entering the final year of a four-year, $33 million contract, has repeatedly said he is not concerned about working out a deal prior to Opening Day. But at TwinsFest last month, the 26-year-old catcher indicated that he might prefer an earlier resolution to the negotiations."I just don't want [the contract situation] to be a distraction for what we're trying to do as a team for 2010," Mauer said. "I just want to prepare for that season and hopefully not be the focus of everything. We've got a great lineup coming in." Mauer also reiterated on Feb. 21, when pitchers and catchers reported, that while there might be many questions about his contract over the course of the spring, he hoped to keep any information on the talks private. "Nothing's going to change -- that's the policy we've taken. We're not going to talk about anything like that, or really, anything past this season," Mauer said. "We're focused on 2010."
Mauer hit .368, along with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs, to win the AL batting title for the third time in four years last season. He also has two Gold Gloves to go along with last year's MVP for his hometown Twins.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.