I have an idea. It's probably a stupid one, but I'm prone to saying stupid things, so here it goes.
With today's news of Joe Mauer winning the 2009 MVP, all of Minnesota is wondering how in the world this little franchise that could is going to sign its second MVP in 4 years. With holes peppering the infield and a starting rotation that scares no one outside of Kansas City, the Twins cannot afford to spend all their limited resources on one player. Franchises that spend more than 20% of their total payroll on one player have not been successful, and for good reason. It's still a team sport.
Jesse broke down what Mauer's market value might be earlier. Even at a home town discount of ~20%, Joe could still be worth $30 million a year. So, even if the Twins were to go crazy and up their payroll to $150 million a year, Mauer would still be at 20% of the team payroll.
So, here's my crazy idea: Make him a partial owner of the Twins.
Why not? CEOs get stock options all the time. It saves a company cash and at the same time gives incentives for the recipient to improve the bottom line of the company. I have no idea if this is legal under MLB rules, but it should be.
If they're serious about making Mauer an offer he couldn't refuse, this would be it. It obviously would make Joe a Twin for life, and it would allow them to save cash to sign players around him to compete. The Mauers are a baseball family, and the name Mauer will be synonymous with the Twins. Make them a Twins baseball family. Make them actual partners.
The Twins need to literally make Joe Mauer a franchise player. It may be their only option.