Here are some afternoon links from around Major League Baseball and the blog world:

Twins fans can rest easy. The Twins have officially locked Joe Mauer up for a century after working out an eight-year, $184 million extension to their hometown catcher. This was the move the Twins had to make  before they lost him to free agency at the end of this year to the deep pockets of New York or Boston. Some people out there believe this signing was a mistake. In one of his ridiculous columns, Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette actually goes as far to compare the Mauer deal to when the Pirates spent a ton of money on Jason Kendall. Come on, seriously? Kendall’s been a solid catcher for years, but in what world is he on the same level with the reigning AL MVP at any point in his career. Insanity. Thanks for the rules of baseball, this was the move the Twins had to make to avoid seeing him in pinstripes.

Opening day is just two weeks away. Thank God.

Speaking of Jason Kendall above, Baseball-Reference Stat of the Day blog used the play index game finder to come up with a list that shows Kendall owns a pretty interesting record that might not be broken for a long time. By the way, not only do I love BR’s regular website as my computer continuously has it loaded up throughout the day, but the Stat of the Day blog and some of the things they research and look up are truly amazing.

Sticking with the blogs, Two Seam Fastball explains why their shouldn’t be a salary cap in baseball. Also, if you scroll down to the post before that, he also rings in on the Mauer extension that includes an old-school picture of Kendall! And yes, Kendall hasn’t been good since about 2001.

Big League Stew says Shaun Marcum, who hasn’t thrown a competitive pitch since 2008, will be the Jays opening day starter. This struck me as different because those Jays used to have some pretty good pitcher starting every opening day for them before moving on to Philadelphia. Seriously, I love the Jays but this team is really going with a young and risky rotation that starts with Marcum at the top apparently. Could be a long season in the Sky Dome (Rogers Centre blah).

Did I mention we’re less than two weeks away from Opening Day? I already have my Pirates-Dodgers tickets ready to go for April 5th.