UPDATE: OK, maybe the Twins and Mauer have not yet reached a preliminary agreement

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UPDATE: Buster Olney tweets that the Twins are calling the WCCO report “not accurate” and that while they remain optimistic that a deal will be done, it’s not done yet.
Not that I’m going to delete the analysis of the deal I started drafting or anything.
4:16 P.M.:: WCCO TV is reporting that Mauer and the Twins have reached a preliminary argeement on a ten-year deal. No terms disclosed yet, but it will likely be the richest deal in baseball history.
3:49 P.M.: Last week some rumors began swirling around the Twin Cities that the Twins were close to signing Joe Mauer, with a few sources suggesting that an announcement could come at the weekend’s annual TwinsFest.
That speculation was quickly shot down by everyone involved, but Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the two sides may indeed be close to working something out:

Everybody I spoke with during TwinsFest believes the team soon will have Joe Mauer signed to a contract extension. Two people, who have their own information pipelines, claimed that the deal’s basic framework–the number of years and guaranteed money–is already set, with the sides negotiating things such as deferred payments, etc.



Our best sources on this subject, however, insisted there wouldn’t be news of an extension all weekend, and they were right. Mauer said Friday he doesn’t want his contract to become a distraction for the team. But there is hardly widespread panic that the Twins are going to lose him to free agency. I’m confident an extension is coming. It’s a matter of when, not if.

Mauer and the Twins have been amazingly quiet about contract talks, and Christensen is a good reporter with good sources who tends not to delve into rumor-mongering. In other words, the fact that some info is finally beginning to leak out now and Christensen is the person running it seemingly signals that a long-term extension is truly close.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.