Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Twins eye ticket bounce after mammoth Mauer deal


Minnesota Twins fans will sleep easier after Joe Mauer penned a new eight-year deal, but club officials may have a few restless nights hoping ticket sales go some way to recouping his mammoth US$184 million contract.

Considered the best catcher in baseball, the 26-year-old inked the fourth-biggest contract Major League Baseball (MLB) has ever seen that will earn him US$23 million a year at a club whose payroll amounted to US$65 million last season.

With the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox primed to court Mauer when he became a free agent at the end of the season, relief swept through the city when news of Mauer’s contract broke.

“I think Mauer gave the Twins a big hometown discount, and I’m so glad they got it done,” one elated supporter told the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

With Mauer’s services secured through to 2018, now starts the work of generating revenues and ticket sales to complement such a big signing.

“Until we were able to get Joe under contract there was some angst in the market about his future here,” Twins vice president of marketing Patrick Klinger said.

The Twins, who operate in the 14th biggest US television market in a state with a population of just over 4 million, gave the American League Most Valuable Player the generous deal.

Only the last two contracts signed by Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and the deal for Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter were for bigger money, a report on Major League Baseball’s Web site said.

Mauer was emotional after signing the extension with the same pen he had used to sign his original contract with Minnesota, who play only a few kilometers from where he grew up in St Paul as a three-sport star in high school.

“I love putting on the Minnesota Twins uniform, and I’m thrilled to be able to do this for the rest of my career,” he said.

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