Yesterday the Pioneer Press reported that contract talks between the Twins and Joe Mauer had begun.
Joe Mauer, on the phone to the Star-Tribune last night: “I’ve been thinking about things like that, but to tell you the truth, we haven’t really started [negotiating with the Twins].”
I suppose we could parse the definition of the word “really” here, but if I had to guess I’d say that the Pioneer Press overstated things. This is the sort of stuff that happens during the crazy season (i.e. hot stove time).
All we know for sure right now is what Aaron said yesterday: The Twins say they want to keep Mauer, but they haven’t gone all out to pay their own top dollar since Kirby Puckett roamed the Earth. And that was when top dollar was $3 million a year.
Ultimately this process rests in Joe Mauer’s hands. Nothing will happen until he decides whether or not he’s going to shoot for the biggest possible bucks or, alternatively, do something creative and likely below market to stay in Minnesota.
I think he’ll ultimately do the latter, but right now there’s nothin’ really new.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.