Minnesota Twins: Five things that defined Joe Mauer’s career
By Chris Schad
Mauer’s big contract (and the curse that came with it)
After the 2009 campaign, the Twins found themselves in a tough spot with Mauer’s contract. With his massive season, Mauer’s price tag went through the roof and teams such as the Yankees and Boston Red Sox were salivating at his pending free agency following the 2010 season.
With the pressure mounting, the two sides came to an agreement on an eight-year, $184 million extension in March of 2010. The deal ensured that Mauer would spend the rest of his career in a Twins uniform, but also proved to be his biggest curse.
After years of physical demands at the catcher position, Mauer began to pay the toll beginning with the infamous bilateral leg weakness incident in 2011. From there, various ailments would begin to slow Mauer down and a concussion late in the 2013 season would force the Twins to make the decision to move him to first base permanently for the final five years of his career.
In addition, Mauer’s power from the 2009 season never resurfaced as he moved from the hitter-friendly confines of the Metrodome to Target Field. With Mauer continuing to stick to his gameplan as opposed to pulling the ball, he would hit double-digit home runs in just four of the eight seasons of his massive deal and draw plenty of fans wanting more.
While many believe that Mauer wasn’t worth the money the Twins gave him following the MVP season, the reality is that he simply stuck to who he was.
If the Twins didn’t sign Mauer to that contract, Twins fans would have revolted and burned down Target Field while accusing the Pohlad family of being too cheap to sign the face of the franchise. It’s unfortunate that Mauer’s injuries led to a decline in performance, but he was still really good and would have likely thrived had he gone to a better hitting environment such as Boston or New York.