Jon has links to a couple of great videos last night, so be sure to check that out. In the mean time--here are the highlights.
There actually wasn't a lot of really interesting information given out over the roughly 30-minute press conference, but there were a couple of good points and choice quotes. In fact, you could sum up most of Joe Mauer's contributions as an incarnation of one of the following lines:
- "I heart my family."
- "I'm looking foward to playing baseball."
- "I wanted to stay in Minnesota."
- "Something something something process."
Now for the rest of your interesting tidbits...
Joe on getting it wrapped up before spring training ended:
"It's been a real process, but I made it real clear when we started this process that this was where I wanted to be. This is where I wanted to be, and I love my teammates, my coaching staff--they're here today, I appreciate you guys coming out ... I made it real clear that my goal was to stay in a Twins uniform, and I want to win. I think we're definitely heading in the right direction."
Bill Smith and Ron Shapiro on the potential for a deal not happening:
Smith: It was pretty clear that Joe wanted to stay in the Twins organization. And as long as we had that, we had confidence that we were going to be able to work it out. The only thing that was going to keep it from happening was stubbornness on one side or the other and we never had that.
Shapiro: I think we had something else, and that was confidentiality. You don't negotiate things like this in a public arena. You negotiation them between two parties, trying to work something out. And Bill, I think that helped us out an awful lot with the process, and I want to thank [the press] for giving us the confidentiality to accomplish it.
Smith: I second that.
The one question Joe really side-stepped, which was in regards to the Twins remaining competetive now that they had to pay him $23 million per season:
"That's a great question. For me it's just been really easy to focus on the season and focus on winning baseball games, and that's really what I'm trying to do. I keep it simple, and that's really what I'm trying to do."
Later, Bill Smith took a similar question more head-on:
"We've always said it's about players, not money. That said, the Pohlad family has always asked us to operate responsibly, and we've tried to do that. They also pledged that as we moved into Target Field, as revenues have grown over the last few years, our payroll has grown commensurately. We are very comfortable that we will be able to continue to provide players through our minor league system, as free agents and as trades, that will keep this team competetive. 25 of the 40 players on our roster came through our system--have only played for the Twins and are original signees. We're proud of that."
Joe C asked how long it took from first offer to the contract being signed:
Shapiro: Bill's going to check me on this. I think it was less than 60 days.
Smith: We had our first discussion a year ago down here in spring training. At the time we were trying to get Joe healthy and get him back on the field, we had our first discussion about his future beyond 2010. We talked one more time in August, and Ron told us at the time after discussing with Joe--he said Joe has only one thing he wants to focus on, and that's winning the American League Central Division championship. Six weeks later, we did. There were highs and lows from there, but yeah, about 60 days ago we started in earnest getting after this and were able to get it done.
Another big question: how tempted was Joe in regards to the free agent market? A little.
"Y'know, I was curious, I can tell you that--what could be out there--but I always wanted to stay here. That was my main goal. I want to stay here and I want to win here. And I think we can do that, and it's why I signed this deal."
Justin Morneau: Does this mean you can buy dinner now?
Joe Mauer: No comment...I knew that was coming sooner or later...
On the no-trade clause:
Smith: Keep in mind that Joe's going to be a seven-year player after this year. Putting in a full no-trade clause, when he becomes a ten-and-five player in three years he's going to have a full no-trade anyway. We're locking in for the next three years and much beyond that, but the impact of the no-trade clause is important, really, for just the next three years.
Shapiro: You didn't tell me it was that easy, Bill!
On how you keep the money from changing you:
Joe: (Points to his family) Just ask that front row over there.
With all the new money on the way, what does Joe buy now?
Joe: Justin Morneau dinner so he can get off my back.
Shapiro, on this situation setting a precedent around the league for negotiations:
"It's a happy day for Major League Baseball--it's a happy day when a player can remain a part of the community and team that nurtured him and groomed him. Maybe it's an example that others will follow. It's a tough example to follow, because I've met few people in my experience that have the value system that this young man, with wisdom of years that extend beyond his age, has. It's a great day for baseball, because it gives you a chance to reflect on the good things that can happen in this game."
Bill Smith, on signing up a catcher to a long-term deal and the risks involved:
"Joe Mauer is a special player. We've had a number of those special players in our organization. We have confidence. He's done things in a short time, in his major league career, that no one's ever done before. That no other catchers have done before. It's our job to keep him on the field, for the training staff to keep him healthy. We know what his work ethic is, we know what his skills are, and we're confident he's going to be a great player for us for many years."
On reflecting on how things could have turned out differently if the Twins didn't have the number one overall pick:
Mauer: Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed of playing in the big leagues, and what better place to do it than seven miles from where you grew up? It's home for me.
On deadlines as Opening Day loomed:
Mauer: I just didn't want it to be a distraction to what we wanted to do this year as a team ... that was my main goal, I definitely wanted it to get done sooner rather than later. But we didn't set any deadlines, or anything like that.