2009 American League MVP, Joe Mauer, recently signed a contract that will pay him $184 million over the next eight years.
No he didn't sign with the Yankees, Red Sox, or even the Mets. He inked this major deal with the Minnesota Twins.
Yes, the Twins, the small market team that drafted him in 2001. The contract which is the fourth largest in Major League Baseball history was something the Twins had to get done.
Mauer is a Minnesota native that has been the best catcher in baseball over the past few years. He has won the gold glove twice and is a three time batting champion in his five seasons in the league.
To let a player of that caliber go especially with his hometown roots would be devastating to a franchise and its fan base.
The Twins are also moving into a new stadium this season and the signing of Mauer to a long-term deal helps provide a center piece to contend for World Series, and will help fill the new outdoor park on those 35 degree April days in Minneapolis.
Give the Twins organization credit. They stepped up and delivered for their fans, but don't get used to this happening with every star player on a small market team.
The circumstances were perfect for the Twins to make this deal. Even though they are a team that traditionally does not spend major money they do compete for titles on a regular basis. You can attribute that to how well they draft, getting players like Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Scott Baker.
Other teams may not have the resources to keep their major league players, like when the Indians traded away C.C. Sabathia, and more recently Cliff Lee. Both of those pitchers were Cy Young Award winners with the Indians, but in the end they could not keep them so both were traded for prospects.
The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't had a talent like Sabathia, Lee, or Mauer in quite some time. They have drafted poorly, but the jury is still out on the Huntington regime. Andrew McCutchen had a good rookie season and if he continues to progress into a star caliber player it will be interesting to see if the Pirates are willing to pay him.
Mauer is living a dream. He gets the fourth largest contract in baseball history and gets to play in his hometown. But his situation does not come around very often, and there are few players that will be getting $184 million from the Royals, Pirates, or Nationals anytime soon.