Should Twins closer Joe Nathan need Tommy John surgery and not play this season, he will receive 100 percent of his $11.25 million salary.

So you wonder if reigning American League MVP Joe Mauer and his agent, Ron Shapiro, are concerned about the consequences of Mauer suffering a serious injury should the former Cretin-Derham Hall all-around athlete choose to not re-sign with the Twins this year and become a free agent at the end of this season. If Mauer did suffer a serious injury, the market certainly wouldn’t be what it is today.

Mauer has missed a total of 120 games because of various injuries out of the 974 regular-season games the Twins have played since he joined the team in 2004.

He missed 69 games in 2004 because of a torn meniscus in his left knee after being injured in April. Mauer was healthy in 2005 and 2006, when he played in 131 and 140 games, respectively.

However, the 26-year-old All-Star catcher missed 29 games in 2007 because of a strained left quadriceps muscle suffered in May. After playing in 146 games in 2008, he missed all of spring training and 22 games into the 2009 season because of an inflammation of the right sacroiliac joint.

But if Mauer happened to get seriously hurt before signing, the big-money, long-term offers would disappear. The Yankees and Red Sox haven’t thrown money around like they have in the past. Those two clubs would likely be the most interested in signing Mauer to a big contract.

The Yankees now have a policy of not signing their superstars with expiring contracts until after the season, so shortstop Derek Jeter and closer Mariano Rivera will become free agents. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is also in the last season of his three-year contract.

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