Mauer a near-unanimous choice

Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer was a landslide winner of the American League MVP award.

Mauer, just the second catcher in 33 years to win the AL MVP award, was the No. 1 pick on 27 of 28 ballots. Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees was a distant secon d in the voting.

Mauer’s teammate Justin Morneau won the AL MVP award in 2006, giving the Twins two MVPs in four seasons.

From the AP story:

NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Mauer became only the second catcher in 33 years to win the American League Most Valuable Player Award, finishing first in a near-unanimous vote Monday.
The Minnesota Twins star received 27 of 28 first-place votes and 387 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Yankees teammates Mark Teixeira (225 points) and Derek Jeter (193) followed. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera drew the other first-place vote and was fourth with 171 points, one point ahead of the Angels’ Kendry Morales.
Mauer became the second Twins player to win in four years, following Justin Morneau in 2006. Morneau gave Mauer a bottle of champagne Monday at the Metrodome.
Mauer set a major league record for highest batting average by a catcher and won his third batting title, becoming the first repeat batting champion since Nomar Garciaparra in 1999-00.

Later in the story, the elephant in the room is acknowledged:

Born in St. Paul, the 26-year-old can leave the Twins and become a free agent after the 2010 season, when he is to make $12.5 million. Minnesota is expected to try to sign him to a new deal.
“I’ve always said it will happen when it needs to happen and I truly believe that,” he said. “I’m not the kind of guy that, you know, says by this date we need to have something done.”
He enjoys playing in front of his family and friends and his preference is to stay with the Twins.
“Can we win here? Yes. Definitely. I think so,” he said. “And that’s ultimately what I would like to do.”

Memo to Bill Smith:

Not that you need to be reminded, but Target Field opens in April. You remember, the new stadium that was the key to adding payroll flexibility and being competitive in signing star players.

Get Mauer signed. Soon. Then start looking for some bullpen help.