The best details about negotiations, particularly in sports, often come well after everything has been settled. Such is the case with the Joe Mauer contract extension, an eight-year deal reached just prior to the 2010 season that kicked into effect in 2011.
According to new details of the negotations, addressed at length in agent Ron Shapiro's upcoming book and chronicled to some degree by Forbes -- Shapiro believed Mauer would be worth 10 years and $300 million on the open market.
Mauer, however, wanted to stay in Minnesota. As such, per Forbes:
The Twins offered Mauer a 5-year, $90 million contract. Shapiro countered with a demand of 9-years and $243 million ($27 million per year on average).
So yes, as Phil Miller notes, they opened negotiations $153 million apart.
Initial offers are often just that -- starting points that lead to eventual compromises in the middle.
To that end, it looks like Shapiro came far closer to his initial offer with the Twins than Bill Smith and the organization did.
The Twins' initial offer was for
$16 $18 million per year; Shapiro's was for $27 million per year. The total money initially was $90 million from the Twins and $243 million From Shapiro.
The 8-year, $184 million deal eventually agreed upon was $23 million per year (closer to Shapiro's number by
$3 $1 million), as was the total money ($59 million from Shapiro's first pitch vs. $94 million from the Twins' initial pitch).
In the end, both sides must have been satisfied. Per Forbes:
While the competing offers appear to display a distant gap, that did not halt continuing negotiations and an eventual deal between the parties. In the book, Shapiro takes the reader through The Three Ds — the drafting of scripts justifying Mauer’s position, the role of the Devil’s Advocate constantly revising the words to be used to justify the ask and finally the delivery of the message.
Eventually the media became embroiled in the pending negotiations and had the unfortunate effect of complicating things for Mauer and the Twins. ”The more confidential negotiations are, the better chance you have succeeding,” said Shapiro to FORBES. ”Playing to the fan base is unnecessary, and in fact, you can raise yourself in the esteem of the fan base by not playing games with the club.”
After reading all this, we can't help but wonder -- particularly in light of Mauer's recent position switch to first base -- what the perception would be if Shapiro had snagged a $300 million deal with another club or got everything he wanted with the Twins ... or conversely, how a 5-year deal vs. the 8-year deal ultimately signed might be viewed by Twins fans.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.