Mauer agrees to 8-year, $184M deal
Joe Mauer is staying home.
The AL MVP yesterday agreed to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension with Minnesota that includes a full no-trade clause, a massive deal that shows the Twins are no longer spending like a small-market club.
The deal covers the 2011-2018 seasons and is the fourth largest — both in total value and average salary — in major league history. Starting next season, the All-Star catcher will make $23 million a year.
The team said yesterday evening that neither Mauer, 26, nor team officials would comment until a news conference scheduled for today at the team's spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
"184 million for Mauer! Wow," Twins center fielder Denard Span tweeted last night. "I'm glad it got done so we can all concentrate on winning now."
Mauer has won three AL batting titles and an MVP award. He is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game. Last year he hit .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBIs to help the Twins win the AL Central division.
The St. Paul native was the No. 1 overall pick by the Twins in 2001.
The $184 million total worth is fourth behind two deals signed by Alex Rodriguez — the $275 million deal with the Yankees signed in December 2007 and a $252 million contract signed with Texas in December 2000 — and Derek Jeter's $189 million deal signed with the Yankees in 2001 that expires after this season.
Meanwhile, Twins closer Joe Nathan will miss the 2010 season because of an elbow injury that will require surgery.
Nathan, who leads the major leagues with 246 saves since 2004, made the decision after playing catch with Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson for 10 minutes yesterday.
Nathan, 35, said his goal would be to return at the start of the 2011 season.
SCULLY IN, GAGNE OUT
Bruised physically and emotionally following a fall at his home Thursday, Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully showed he still has his sense of humor.
The 82-year-old Hall of Famer arrived in the desert yesterday to call his first game of the spring.
"I'm supposed to cut back on dangling participles, and I'm not allowed to split any infinitives for at least another week," Scully told reporters inside the Dodgers' spring training complex.
Scully said he was never in a life-threatening situation. Feeling the effects of a cold, he was walking across a marble floor to his bathroom when he blacked out.
Meanwhile, former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne has been granted his release by the Dodgers.
Dodgers spokesman Joe Jareck said Gagne asked for his release yesterday, six days after he was reassigned to their minor league camp. Gagne had an out clause and could have become a free agent but initially accepted the assignment.
Gagne was attempting to make a comeback with the team he successfully converted 84 straight save chances and won the 2003 Cy Young.
White Sox closer Bobby Jenks expects to be ready for the season opener after an MRI on his right calf revealed no structural damage.
Jenks missed his turn to pitch on Saturday because of irritation. He expects to throw a bullpen session today and figures "a few days rest should knock it out." He has a 37.80 ERA in two spring outings.
Jenks says there's "no doubt about it" that he'll be ready for the opener against Cleveland on April 5.