I really have only one thing that I want to address, and that is the nay-sayers. The people who are claiming that the Joe Mauer contract is going to lead cellar-dwelling-A-Rod-with-the-Rangers situation.
Teams can operate with a large contract if they build their team in a wise and largely internal way; which, coincidentally is the epitome of how the Twins do business. Yes, Mauer will take up a sizable portion of the payroll, but we are talking about the single most important athlete in Minnesota history. Bar none.
Considering the fact that Mauer will be making about $11 million per year more than he is this year, his contract doesn't actually change the Twins payroll that dramatically. When you account for inevitable rise in payroll from the inevitable rise in revenue, that $11 million gap shrinks pretty damn fast. The fact is, the Twins are going to continue to have more money to put into the team.
In a nutshell, the payroll was going to rise into the $100 million range regardless, people.
As long as the Twins can continue to surround Mauer with quality, young affordable talent (something they have been doing for ten years) the payroll won't be an issue. The only difference is, the Twins actually have a legitimate superstar to go with the talented, affordable group of young scrappers they cultivate.
I guess the point is, everyone who is complaining about the Twins locking up one of the best players in baseball, needs to stop living in the past. And as long as the Twins continue to spend smart, spending will hardly be an issue.