Mauer signs through 2010

class=img_thumbleft>The game-within-the-game that is the major league arbitration process may be fascinating from an economics standpoint, but for casual fans and, I imagine, the players themselves, it's something you want to put behind you as quickly as possible. After all, is there any chore so tiresome for millionaire athletes than to bicker with their billionaire owners over a measly few million dollars more ? Christ, wrap it up already, it's the off-season. There are rounds of golf to be played!

It's a thousand times more tiresome for fans, of course, which is why Mauer's new four-year, $33 million contract is a relief for everyone involved. Terry Ryan and Carl Pohlad, by locking the hometown boy down through 2010 before the arbitration hearings even began, have spared us all from being inundated with details about the inner workings of a process so disfunctional that it valued Kyle Lohse at nearly $4 million last year. (Mauer will make $3.75 million next year, in case anyone tries to claim the Twins aren't still getting a deal).

In other Mauer news, he's single again.

Is it April yet?

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