MINNEAPOLIS -- AL batting champ Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins agreed Sunday to a four-year contract worth $33 million, avoiding salary arbitration and ensuring one of the team's young stars will be in uniform for the long term.The deal will keep Mauer with the Twins through at least 2010, the year the team is scheduled to begin playing in a new Minneapolis ballpark....
That didn't mean Mauer gave Minnesota a hometown discount, however.
He gets $3.75 million this year, $6.25 million in 2008, $10.5 million in 2009 and $12.5 million in 2010. Mauer has additional award bonuses and gets the right to designate three teams each year that he can't be traded to without his consent.
"This is a market deal," general manager Terry Ryan said. "Don't worry about that."
The contract takes the Twins through Mauer's first year of free agency.
Meanwhile, in financial galaxy far, far away...Ryan Howard sits in limbo, waiting for a big fat contract that might not come until next year.
If Howard were on the Mets, he'd already be a $100 million man. But since Chase Utley is the Phillies' (almost) $100 million man this year, Howard will probably have to be patient.
But don't feel sorry for Howard. Barring a colossal collapse this year, he'll get his.