The Twins have the dough to sign Mauer. They should do it ASAP.

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Twins’ president David St. Peter is telling the Pioneer Press that, yes, the money is there:

Joe Mauer, the Twins all-star, Gold Glove winner and batting champion, can become a free agent after next season. Negotiations will begin after this season.

Will the Twins be able to afford Mauer?

“Yeah, we can afford him,” team President Dave St. Peter said.

Is Mauer eager to get a new deal done?

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Mauer said. “I’ve got enough on my plate right now trying to win a ballgame.”

That last quote is the most interesting in that it strongly suggests that Mauer, like a lot of players, is not going to want to be negotiating during the 2010 season. What that means is that, for all practical purposes, the Twins need to extend Mauer this offseason and no later lest (a) distrating and morale-killing trade rumors start flying next summer; or (b) Mauer has the oppotunuty to solicit offers from others next fall.

The smart money still has Mauer staying in his hometown, but if it gets to be spring training and nothing is done, the odds will begin to drop.  The Twins don’t need the hassle, the bad P.R. or the spectre of the Red Sox or someone driving up the price.  They need to get a long term deal done for Mauer this winter.

(link via MLBTR)

Video: Nolan Arenado collects 200th career home run

Nolan Arenado
AP Images
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The Rockies fell 9-6 to the Orioles on Saturday, but the loss wasn’t without its bright spots. Case in point: Third baseman Nolan Arenado passed a significant career milestone on an Andrew Cashner fastball in the third inning, slugging the ball a projected 394 feet into the left field stands for his 200th career home run.

Arenado is the 34th active player to join the 200+ homer club and the first to do so since the Braves’ Freddie Freeman crossed that threshold on May 19. The three-run shot was the infielder’s 14th of the season and third since Friday, when he went deep twice against Orioles rookie John Means and reliever Shawn Armstrong. Following Saturday’s performance, he’s batting a robust .333/.377/.632 with 30 extra-base hits, 42 RBI, and a 1.009 OPS through 220 plate appearances.

He isn’t the only Rockies slugger making history, either. Arenado’s feat trailed that of Trevor Story, who clobbered an 0-2 pitch from Armstrong during the seventh inning of Friday’s 8-6 win. The two-run blast was his 100th home run in 448 career games, making him the fastest shortstop to reach the mark in MLB history.

The Rockies will vie for the series win as they round out the series on Sunday, with right-hander German Márquez scheduled to take the bump against fellow righty David Hess at 3:10 PM EDT.