2-3-10: The Trouble With the Mauer Story...

Hello again everybody...

I'm back, and better than ever!!!

Okay, maybe not better than ever, but I'm feeling much better than I was on Monday. Still not back to 100%, and I have to be careful bending and twisting (insert punchline here). But I'm feeling far better than I was on Monday, thank the maker.

Hopefully within a few days I'll be back to turning handsprings and leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Actually, I'd settle for being able to walk like a 35-year-old rather than an 85-year-old. So we'll see!

I had to chuckle on Monday, because right after I posted that brief announcement, news hit that caused a bit of a local firestorm. Why a chuckle? Because it was a natural topic of discussion and I'd just posted one of the shorter blogs I've ever written. Who says the man upstairs doesn't have a sense of humor?!

So let's get to the discussing, shall we?

”Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.”
- Will Rogers (1879 - 1935), Cherokee cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor.

Diplomacy relies on the ability to negotiate effectively, which leads me to today's subject.

Joe Mauer.

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Or more specifically, WCCO-TV's Mark Rosen, and his report that Mauer and the Twins have agreed to the framework of a 10-year contract extension.

The first inkling I had that something was up on Monday came via Twitter. I know many of you reading this don't use Twitter and in fact, make a point of not using it. But I'm telling you, you're missing out on all kinds of breaking news and insight.

Twitter commercial, fin.

The specific Twitter message I'm referring to came via the @WCCOBreaking account and said: “Sources tell @WCCORosen that Twins & Joe Mauer agree to 10-year contract extension.”

When you went to Rosen's account (@WCCORosen), his first message read: “looks like joe mauer is staying with the #twins. Sources tell me 10-year deal – watch @WCCO at 5 and 6 for more!”

Combine those two messages, and it's easy to see how people might jump to the conclusion that a Mauer extension was a done deal. But that's not “technically” what Rosen was reporting.

When you follow the link that WCCO's Breaking News account provided, you get a story that describes a “preliminary agreement” that the Twins and Mauer had come to. But even that could mislead you into thinking that a deal was basically done.

As it turns out, what Rosen had was a source who told him that the basic framework of a deal - the length and total money - had been agreed to, but that the details - incentives, perks, distribution of payments, etc. - had yet to be worked out.

So the real story is that there's been progress towards a new deal for Mauer, and important progress at that. But it doesn't seem like an announcement of an agreement is imminent, or that the deal is close to being signed, sealed and delivered.

And that distinction has caused something of a backlash aimed at Rosen. And while I understand the backlash, I don't necessarily agree with it.

Yes, it's a "non-story" story. Ultimately, as I said, all Rosen really had was that there was “progress” towards a deal. Progress isn't a guarantee, and certainly the deal could still blow up and not get done. So in the end, Rosen didn't really have much that's tangible.

That being said, if any of us were to put ourselves in his shoes, I don't know what we could've done differently.

While his information wasn't substantial or concrete, it did advance the story somewhat. Prior to Rosen's report, there wasn't any kind of specific news about the negotiations between the Twins and Mauer. Everything was third-hand or hearsay. As I've written before, that's very much by design. Both the Twins and Mauer's representatives feel it's best to conduct negotiations completely in private and only go public once a deal is done and signed.

Prior to Monday, the only scuttlebutt I'd even heard came via a source close to the coaching staff who said that as far as he knew, negotiations hadn't even started yet.

So if Rosen's report is true - and so far I've seen nothing that directly refutes it (all denials have come in the form of “no deal is done yet”, which doesn't go against what he reported) - then clearly that scuttlebutt was incorrect and negotiations are well underway, and presumably are progressing well.

To me, if someone comes into possession of information that advanced a story, however infinitesimally, that was second in rabid fan interest only to the Brett Favre saga of this past summer, I think it has to be reported.

Some have suggested that without a signed agreement, no report should have been made. I disagree. Via Rosen's report, we've gone from “Mauer is entering the final year of his contract and could decide not to negotiate with the Twins and pursue free agency next year” to “Mauer's entering the final year of his contract, but is in serious negotiations with the Twins on a legacy contract”.

That's not “Mauer's signed and will be a Twin for the next 10 years”, but it's also not insignificant.

The only thing I'd have done differently is to have been more careful in the wording. The initial WCCO-TV twitter message, “Sources tell @WCCORosen that Twins & Joe Mauer agree to 10-year contract extension” was especially poorly worded. If all you saw was that, of course you'd think the deal was done. And a “done deal” was not what Rosen was technically reporting.

So bottom line, I think the story had to be reported. I just wish they'd worded their initial headlines better.

I got an email Monday afternoon from my aunt, the budding baseball fan. She asked, “is it too soon to get excited???”

My response? Yes, it's too soon to get excited. If we want to use an “e” word, the word should be “encouraged”.

What Rosen's story ultimately tells us is that there are significant negotiations going on, and that a deal is possible by the time pitchers and catchers report - the four greatest words in all of sports, in my opinion - for the Twins on the 21st.

And that is encouraging news.

So there you have it. As always, I welcome and encourage any and all comments you may have.

That'll wrap things up for today. I'm back on Friday with your usual DFTU goodness.

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. Nice read! I would agree with most of your takes. I hope Rosen's rep doesn't take a big hit over it. I think he and the Mauers are all close. I am sure he has a good source!


  2. I think the four greatest words in all of sports are, "The Huskers win again!" but I might be subject to a little bias.