It absolutely is. The available payroll is what they decide to make it.
The idea that this franchise can't afford to pay a player $20 million per season moving forward is where people start to lose me. They're definitely a mid market team, but they prefer everybody to treat them as if they're small market. They're sitting at a little over 30 million dollars under the league average team salary right now. Mauer comes off the books after next season. MLB revenue continues to increase, meaning more sharing is generated. Somehow despite all this the Twins payroll has been decreasing over the last few seasons and now they can't even afford to hand out a contract close to Mauer's without drying up the well? I think the reality is that it is just easier to believe that this franchise can't spend above an imaginary line because they've refused to do it for so long...
I never said it would dry up the well. Like any budget - and payroll is a budget - you have opportunity costs. Signing a giant 7 year 200+ contract has the cost of signing two smaller FA deals like Ervin Santana. It's not that they can't afford to, it's that (for me) the cost of doing is likely too great.
Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. I wouldn't dive into those waters unless I thought I was putting the cherry on my World Series sundae. I'd prefer to trade or dabble in the tier one below that where the years and dollars are not nearly so cumbersome to my budget.