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.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.