In a way, Joe Mauer is baseball's equivalent of LeBron James. Both are superstars in their 20s, with MVP awards, drafted by their hometown team and both will be free agents in 2010. The New York area basketball teams clearly have interest in LeBrown.... what about on the diamond?
FanGraphs.com lists Joe Mauer's value at $36.8 million dollars this season, based on his Wins Above Replacement converted to a dollar value. While that probably isn't what he'll get annually in his next contract Mauer could command $25 million per year and will surely get a raise from the $12.5 million he'll make in 2010. The Twins catcher faces the same difficult choice as LeBron: stay home, in a smaller market, for less money or take the money a big market team throws at him. The Yankees and Red Sox could easily get into a bidding war for his services and the Mets don't have a long term solution at catcher either. He's the face of the franchise in Minnesota and the Twins are a good team, but they won't have the financial capital to pay Mauer - even with the added revenue from Target Field, which opens next year. So... if you're Joe Mauer... what do you do?