Mauer, Favre

Joe Mauer won the American League MVP award in convincing fashion, garnering all but one of the first place votes. Sports nuts are busy wondering what the other voter was thinking, but you have to consider: These are sportswriters and they have their own ideas. There is no real intelligence test to get into their fraternity.

One writer who would pass such a test with flying colors, in my opinion, is my favorite Twins commentator Aaron Gleeman. He is part of the sabermetrics movement in baseball. These guys, inspired by Bill James, have overhauled traditional baseball statistics, which they claim do not measure true excellence, and have come up with their own measures, which they claim accurately portray the ability of a single player to produce additional team victories.

There remain many skeptics, but indications are that the general managers and even the more tradition-bound of the mainstream sportswriters now sneak looks at the statistics of the sabermetricians when evaluating players.

The only remaining drama for the Twins during this off-season, and it is important, is whether the Twins will pony up the cash to keep Mauer in Minnesota for a long time. It was at this very juncture that the Twins ended up trading Johann Santana to the New York Mets, a deal I feel was necessary. It is risky to give $130 million to a pitcher, who might at any time come down with a bad arm as Santana did in July, ending his season.

Mauer is a little safer bet. And he, unlike Santana, wants to stick around. However, it may take $150 million or more over six years to keep him here. Those who criticize those numbers must realize that Mauer will be under pressure from other players not to take less than his value on the open market. The player's union doesn't want anybody to start setting that kind of example.

And if the Yankees were to get involved, the sky would be the limit. Let's hope it doesn't get to that, as there would be a great deal of despair in Mudville, MN should Mauer end up in pinstripes. I don't mean just sports fan despair, I mean serious existential write-sad-songs angst.

Other sports news: Another fun game for the Vikes yesterday. Favre was on fire again. The defense shut things down. It was a laugher, and it was fun to see Favre having a ball and spreading his fun attitude to the rest of the team. He loves what he is doing, he loves his teammates, he loves to win.