The Twins have the dough to sign Mauer. They should do it ASAP.

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Twins’ president David St. Peter is telling the Pioneer Press that, yes, the money is there:

Joe Mauer, the Twins all-star, Gold Glove winner and batting champion, can become a free agent after next season. Negotiations will begin after this season.

Will the Twins be able to afford Mauer?

“Yeah, we can afford him,” team President Dave St. Peter said.

Is Mauer eager to get a new deal done?

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Mauer said. “I’ve got enough on my plate right now trying to win a ballgame.”

That last quote is the most interesting in that it strongly suggests that Mauer, like a lot of players, is not going to want to be negotiating during the 2010 season. What that means is that, for all practical purposes, the Twins need to extend Mauer this offseason and no later lest (a) distrating and morale-killing trade rumors start flying next summer; or (b) Mauer has the oppotunuty to solicit offers from others next fall.

The smart money still has Mauer staying in his hometown, but if it gets to be spring training and nothing is done, the odds will begin to drop.  The Twins don’t need the hassle, the bad P.R. or the spectre of the Red Sox or someone driving up the price.  They need to get a long term deal done for Mauer this winter.

(link via MLBTR)

Dodgers designate Sergio Romo for assignment

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The Dodgers announced on Thursday that the club activated pitcher Grant Dayton from the 10-day disabled list and designated pitcher Sergio Romo for assignment.

Dayton, 29, went on the disabled list earlier this month with neck stiffness. He’ll resume with a 3.63 ERA and a 20/12 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings.

Romo, 34, signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Dodgers in February. It didn’t really work out, as the right-hander posted a 6.12 ERA with a 31/12 K/BB ratio in 25 innings. His peripherals are still decent, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a team in need of a bullpen arm makes a deal with the Dodgers within the week.

Nate Karns underwent season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that Royals pitcher Nate Karns underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome on Wednesday. He’s expected to be ready for spring training next year. Karns went on the disabled list in May with an elbow injury and didn’t make much progress.

The Royals acquired Karns from the Mariners in January in exchange for outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Over eight starts and one relief appearance, the 29-year-old right-hander compiled a 4.17 ERA and a 51/13 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 innings.

Karns will enter his first of three years of arbitration eligibility after the season, so he’ll be under the Royals’ control through 2020.