- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
Oh, how things can change in 18 months.
It was just a short time ago when baseball was talking about its best hitting tandems. Among them were the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, and the Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Now, 18 months later, Pujols is in Los Angeles and Fielder is in Detroit, but Mauer and Morneau remain Twins, literally and figuratively, joined by their sheer lack of tradability due to their massive contracts.
They were supposed to be the Twins’ cornerstones after helping the team to division titles in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. Their contracts ensured the duo would remain together through the opening of Target Field and beyond. Morneau signed first, inking a six-year, $80 million deal in 2008. Then Mauer signed a club-record eight-year, $184 million deal after the 2010 season.
However, what seemed like a dream scenario with the Twins' two biggest stars devolved into a nightmare of injuries from the 2009 season through the 2011 season.