For more than 2 decades I have listened to Minnesota Twins fans complain that the Pohlads never give out big contracts. This is mostly but not necessarily 100% true. As a market that is not close to top 10 in the U.S., we, like most markets deal with the rise and fall of team salaries and our clubs are working within a more constrained budget than teams from Los Angeles, New York, Boston, or even Chicago. Now I'm not gonna be a Pohlad Pocket Protector, but there are times this team has handed out big contracts. Let's examine some truth in history:
In 1989, Kirby Puckett was being courted by the big market teams and everyone knew he was going to become the highest paid player in baseball. There were lots of rumors of the Yankees trying to sign him and everyone in Minnesota was anxious that we were about to lose our favorite player to the Evil Empire. Turns out that the biggest offer he got was from the Red Sox but Kirby took a home town discount and stayed here. He also became the first player in MLB history to make 3 million dollars a year.
Fast forward past all the losing of the 90's and nearly getting contracted. We lose Hunter to free agency and Johan Santana is demanding a trade,We are finally out of the Dome and immediately we offer up not one, but two big contracts starting with the MVP himself Justin Morneau and the much loved Michael Cuddyer.
Two short years later, the home town hero is rumored to be a future Yankee. The hand wringing has started all over again and Minnesotan's are sweating. But before Mauer even gets to the open market and tests those waters, the 4th largest MLB contract ever at that point in History is:
Let the record show, the Pohlads are usually cheap, but not always. For more signing history, see also:
My end note: It was also cool when we brought home Dave Winfield