Signing Mauer a percentage play

Updated: November 23, 2009, 11:50 AM ET
By Buster Olney
There are a couple of Dodgers fans in Aberdeen, S.D., as I learned over the last week, and a lot of Orioles fans, because of the team's past minor league affiliation there. There is at least one fan of the Angels, a young man of about 10 who likes how Erick Aybar plays. Others root for the Milwaukee Brewers. And yes, there are Yankees fans who have proudly emerged from the muddy fields of barley and corn (harvesters are getting stuck all over the place because of the staggering October rains) with caps of interlocking N's and Y's to annoy their neighbors.

But mostly, South Dakota is the realm of the Minnesota Twins, and last week, Aberdeen's Twins fans asked the same question over and over and over again: Are they going to re-sign Joe Mauer?

And I'd say that my best guess is yes, the Twins will open the checkbook and spend big dollars to keep the superstar catcher, who will be told on Monday, officially, that he is the winner of the AL Most Valuable Player Award. He and Albert Pujols are baseball's best hitters now, and in time, he might be regarded as the greatest catcher ever. He is, of course, a hometown guy for the Twins, and the last thing the team wants, as it begins play in a publicly funded park, is to have the imminent departure of its most marketable player hang over the franchise throughout the 2010 season.