Joe Mauer, Twins begin contract extension talks

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Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Joe Mauer and the Twins “have begun talking about a new deal.”
Walters offers no real details beyond that, and mentions nothing about the money or contract length being discussed, but does have a few quotes from team president Jerry Bell:

I feel good about it because I think he wants to stay here, and we sure want him to be here and all of his teammates want him to be here. We’ll see. I’m past the point where I get nervous about these things. It’ll get worked out. They usually do. We usually are able to work something out with players who we really want to keep.



I don’t think you need to characterize confident or not confident. I’m confident that we will have a good negotiation. To say I’m confident of the outcome, I don’t know. He has a good agent. We’ve done deals with him before.

Bell’s statement that “we usually are able to work something out with players who we really want to keep” is interesting in light of the Twins losing Torii Hunter to free agency and trading Johan Santana to the Mets. Both players were hugely valuable and immensely popular in Minnesota, yet rightly or wrongly the Twins made no legitimate effort to retain either of them.
Mauer, who figures to be named AL MVP later this month, will earn $12.5 million next season before becoming eligible for free agency. Ultimately if he wants to sign the largest possible contract the Twins are highly unlikely to win a bidding war on the open market, but the hope in Minnesota is that the St. Paul native will be content to sign a huge deal while still leaving some money on the table.

Yankees defeat Blue Jays to clinch postseason spot

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The Yankees guaranteed their place in the postseason with a 5-1 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday. Sonny Gray led the charge against their division rivals, clinching his 10th win of the season with six innings of four-hit, one-run, four-strikeout ball.

Gray worked into a little trouble in the first inning, putting runners in scoring position after Josh Donaldson drew a four-pitch walk and Justin Smoak advanced him with a single. The Yankees’ ace induced two quick outs to end the threat, but was overpowered by a Teoscar Hernandez home run in the third inning, the rookie’s fourth blast of the season:

Thankfully for the Yankees, that was the only run that slipped through the cracks. Gray finished the remainder of his outing with two hits and two walks and was backed by another three scoreless innings from the bullpen. Greg Bird supplied the go-ahead run with a three-RBI shot in the fifth inning, plating Chase Headley and Starlin Castro to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.

Todd Frazier tacked on another solo homer in the eighth, while Starlin Castro returned in the ninth to cap the win with an RBI single. Aroldis Chapman did the rest, wielding just 10 pitches to get three straight outs from Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar and Rob Refsnyder.

Following Saturday’s win, the Yankees have at least secured one wild card berth, though they’re not out of the division race just yet. They still sit a full four games back of first place in the AL East, with eight games left to play.

Watch: Brian Dozier pulls off a bunt home run

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Brian Dozier had a bonafide Little League moment during Saturday’s contest against the Tigers. In the first inning, the Twins’ second baseman squared up a bunt against Detroit left-hander Matt Boyd, which was scooped by Jeimer Candelario halfway up the third base line. The throw to first skirted the bag, allowing Dozier to touch all the bases and slide home to score the Twins’ first run of the game.

In other words, it was just your run-of-the-mill bunt home run:

Officially, the play was scored as a single and run scored on a throwing error. Still, if this is a sampling of the kind of plays we can expect to see from the Twins this October, it’s shaping up to be one wacky postseason.