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Red Sox interested in Joe Mauer for 2011

Twins' catcher Joe Mauer doesn't become a free agent until December 2010, but apparently the Red Sox are already "salivating" over acquiring the best catcher in the league:

As the Mark Teixeira free-agent negotiations go, so might go the market for Joe Mauer, who can become a free agent after the 2010 season.

Teixeira, 28, is seeking a deal in excess of $20 million a season. Mauer, 25, the Twins' two-time batting champion and Gold Glove catcher, next season will be the Twins' third-highest paid player at $10.5 million. He'll make $12.5 million in 2010.


People in the know say the Boston Red Sox already are salivating over Mauer, who would be only 27 as a free agent. There have been no talks this winter about extending the St. Paul native's contract, in part because Mauer's value after last season is at a premium, and it's uncertain whether the seismic downturn in the nation's economy will affect baseball salaries a year from now.

It makes sense if the Red Sox re-sign Jason Varitek to a two-year deal because then when Varitek's contract is up, Mauer is slated to become a free agent. But if the Sox have to go the next two years with a weak Varitek bat in the lineup almost every day, it might not be worth it.

Also, if this is true, we don't even know if Mauer will even hit the open market. The Twins will definitely try to lock him up, but it's a question of money. The Twins have lost stars before (see: Santana, Johan) because they don't have the money to retain them.

Mauer as a Red Sox? Yes, please!