The reigning American League MVP has laid down a deadline of opening day for the Twins to resign their franchise player according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. If the Twins don’t by then, Mauer will enter free agency following the season in which the Twins will have absolutely no chance to match dollars with the Yankees and Red Sox. According to reports the Twins do plan on having the issue resolved by Christmas which would make many Twins fans (including myself) sleep better at night.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Blue Jays only have until the start of spring training to trade their lanky righthander. Following that he will veto any trade attempt (a powerful clause in his contract) in order to avoid distractions during the season. If the Jays can’t get the trade done all they will get is a compensatory draft pick while one of the best pitchers in baseball walks right out the door. They need to get something done ASAP.
I agree that it is extremely important for the players to set deadlines so that it doesn’t carry over into the season. Both sides have plenty of time to make something happen and I expect to see both stories wrapped up in plenty of time for pitchers and catchers to report.
[Update @ 8:25 AM: Halladay’s friend and former teammate AJ Burnett has spoken out about his desire to see the ace land with the Yankees and pitch alongside him once more. This would give the Yankees and incredibly strong top half of the rotation most likely making them the strong favorites to win the AL East again in 2010.]