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Mauer, Twins Close to Deal?

Update:  4:25pm

Ken Rosenthal believes that Shapiro's appearance in Fort Myers is a strong indication that negotiations could be in the final stages.

What makes these updates a little different is that they're coming from national sources.  But we'll find out.

Maybe for real this time?

ESPN's Buster Olney has an Insider article talking about rumored progress in the Joe Mauer extension negotiations, and he mentions that Mauer's agent Ron Shapiro was seen at the Fort Myers airport this afternoon.  Yes, it's circumstantial, but really I think we're all looking for any bit of information right now.

Olney also says that the industry expectation is for an eight to ten year extension that would average $20 to $25 million per season, which is essentially the same information that's been floated around through WCCO's Mark Rosen and KFAN's Common Man in the two premature signing announcements we've heard this off-season.

One final point that Olney mentions, and we've talked about it here before:

Assuming a Mauer deal is completed, a major challenge for the Twins -- who have evolved from a small-market team into a club with a mid-range budget -- is how they can compete while paying one player such a high percentage of their payroll.

It's a legitimate concern, and I still think that's part of the reason the Twins have been moving to sign players under team control to long-term contracts.  Payroll certainty, people!