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Done deal: Joe Mauer signs with Twins for 8 years, $184 million

The Minnesota Twins just broke the piggy bank for Joe Mauer(notes).

Word has come that Mauer and the Twins have agreed to a $184-million contract extension — the fourth-richest deal in major league history — one that will keep the superstar homeboy in the Twin Cities through at least 2018.

It's a tad more than Mark Teixeira(notes) got from the New York Yankees ($180 million) before the 2009 season.

Of course, details might emerge about deferred money and whatnot, but at face value, Mauer's deal is worth $23 million a season, which ties him with CC Sabathia(notes) as the second-highest paid player annually in the majors after Alex Rodriguez(notes) ($27.5 million).

Mauer's deal also dwarfs the previously biggest deal for a catcher, the $91-million contract for Mike Piazza(notes) and the New York Mets, which ran from 1999-2005.

Mauer also gets a full no-trade clause, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets, not that "Way Above Average" Joe is likely wanting to go anywhere.

This is going to make for quite an ovation for Mauer come April 12 when the Twins open their new stadium, Target Field.

Mauer, who turns 27 next month, has won the AL batting title three of the past four seasons, and he trailed only Albert Pujols(notes) for the major-league lead in OPS in 2009.

Minnesota had the 24th-highest payroll in '09, but the time has come to spend some of the fortune accumultated by Carl Pohlad, the late owner. Long-term, the Twins are continuing to lock up their young players. Denard Span(notes) and Nick Blackburn(notes) also recently signed contract extensions.

In exchange for a lot of money, Mauer sacrifices upcoming free agency which, Twins fans feared, might have ignited a bidding war between the Yankees and Red Sox.

This makes for some happy news for the Twins, who confirmed earlier Sunday that closer Joe Nathan(notes) would miss the 2010 season because of an elbow injury requiring Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

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