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.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.