Mauer and Twins still talking despite yesterday's report of a done deal

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The latest news on Joe Mauer is that there really isn’t any news.
Mark Rosen of WCCO television in Minnesota reported yesterday afternoon that Mauer and the Twins had agreed to a 10-year contract extension, which naturally got Twins fans incredibly excited. Unfortunately it turns out that Rosen’s report seems to be somewhere between premature and off base.
While the consensus is that Mauer and the Twins will eventually get a long-term extension completed before Opening Day, everyone involved has denied that a deal of any kind–let alone a 10-year contract–is already in place. In fairness to Rosen he’s been a prominent figure in the Twin Cities media for nearly 40 years and is definitely well-respected, so it’s possible that he merely jumped the gun on his report and the two sides are now playing cover up.
However, in the meantime nearly every major local and national media outlet has contradicted his report. This afternoon Peter Gammons wrote that the “Mauer contract is far from done and could be quite some time before it’s completed” while Bob Nightengale of USA Today revealed that “Mauer laughed at reports that he agreed to a 10-year contract” and said there was “no truth” to it.
As a Twins fan I’m certainly hoping that Rosen is right about Mauer agreeing to a long-term deal, but as a baseball writer I also can’t help but wonder how different the media’s reaction to his report would’ve been if he were a blogger instead of a TV sports anchor. My guess? Mauer and the Twins will finalize a deal by Opening Day, but it will come significantly later than Rosen claimed and the contract won’t be for 10 years.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.

Video: Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran give signs from the dugout

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.

You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: