OK, so maybe the Twins and Mauer aren't talking yet

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Yesterday the Pioneer Press reported that contract talks between the Twins and Joe Mauer had begun.

Joe Mauer, on the phone to the Star-Tribune last night: “I’ve been thinking about things like that, but to tell you the truth, we haven’t really started [negotiating with the Twins].”

I suppose we could parse the definition of the word “really” here, but if I had to guess I’d say that the Pioneer Press overstated things.  This is the sort of stuff that happens during the crazy season (i.e. hot stove time). 

All we know for sure right now is what Aaron said yesterday: The Twins say they want to keep Mauer, but they haven’t gone all out to pay their own top dollar since Kirby Puckett roamed the Earth. And that was when top dollar was $3 million a year.

Ultimately this process rests in Joe Mauer’s hands. Nothing will happen until he decides whether or not he’s going to shoot for the biggest possible bucks or, alternatively, do something creative and likely below market to stay in Minnesota.

I think he’ll ultimately do the latter, but right now there’s nothin’ really new. 

Brewers’ and Dodgers’ benches empty after Manny Machado and Jesús Aguilar get into it

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The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.

With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.

Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.

It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.