Minnesota Twins All-Star slugger Joe Mauer has been the heart and soul of thie team for over a decade, but the future Hall of Famer admitted that 2018 may be his swan song season.
In an interview with La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune, the 35-year-old Mauer talked about his consideration of retiring, but that many factors will come into play as he makes a decision.
"There's a lot that goes into it than just, 'Do you want to play?' There's a lot of different dynamics that go into it," Mauer said. "I owe it to myself and my family to sit down and think about those things. I have had some conversations with some people close to me and it's amazing...It's a big decision, and I want to make sure I'm 100 percent about it."
Despite his age, Mauer continues to produce well at the plate as a contact hitter. Entering play on Thursday, he's batting .272 with six home runs, 43 RBI and an OPS of .717. Those stats certainly don't line up with what Mauer tuned in earlier in his career, but he's still hitting very well for contact.
Mauer is one of the greatest players in Twins' history, winning the 2009 AL MVP while being named to six All-Star Games.
The three-time AL batting champion is a free agent at the end of the season, though it's hard to envision Minnesota not bringing Mauer back, should he decide he wants to keep on playing.
If Mauer does retire, the state of Minnesota won't soon forget all of his contributions to their baseball team. Since Mauer broke into the majors in 2004, the Twins have won four AL Central division titles, and they reached the 2017 American League Wild Card game.
Given his powerful bat and strong defense behind the plate as a catcher, Mauer should be an easy induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He's racked up the individual awards and hit with consistency like few others in this era.
The only thing missing on Mauer's impressive resume is a World Series ring. He's still one of the most feared hitters in the AL, so nobody should be surprised if Mauer gives it another year.
But he is warning fans that these last few weeks of 2018 may be the last time we see him on the field again.