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View Full Version : How Overpaid is Joe Mauer?



jokin
05-14-2012, 03:58 PM
I posted this elsewhere, but thought it was worth general discussion, as well. I've argued that this ridiculous contract has paralyzed the Twins ability to compete until 2018. For #3 hitters, Joe is 6th overall in OBP, but second from the bottom (28th) in slugging percentage, does this sound like the attributes needed of a "typical" batter in the 3-spot?


Mauer's Ranking Versus Other No. 3 Hitters Ranked by OPS (Including Contract)




1) Hamilton 402/455/866/1321 $15.25 Mil

2) Kemp 359/446/726/1173 $10.25

3) Wright 400/489/591/1080 $15.25

4) Votto 319/466/543/1059 $11.41

5) Beltran 298/406/653/1058 $13

6) Ortiz 348/412/614/1026 $14.575

7) Braun 306/386/636/1022 $7.399

8) Dunn 250/393/600/993 $14

9) Joyce 287/374/565/939 $0.499

10) C. Gonzalez 300/378/550/928 $5.43

11) A. Cabrera 315/411/495/906 $4.55

12) Me. Cabrera 348/396/504/900 $6

13) McCutcheon 339/403/496/899 $0.708

14) Reddick 290/338/536/874 $0.485

15) Freeman 284/340/507/847 $0.535

16) Mi. Cabrera 224/345/485/830 $21

17) A-Rod 280/334/424/808 $30

18) Markakis 254/346/455/801 $12.35

19) MAUER 286/406/387/793 $Twenty-Three Million

puck34
05-14-2012, 04:03 PM
Whatever happened to regular stats? Batting Average, Doubles, Home Runs, & RBI?

jokin
05-14-2012, 04:05 PM
I purposely used the "trendy stat-lines" to appease the sabre-geeks:p

puck34
05-14-2012, 04:06 PM
I purposely used the "trendy stat-lines" to appease the sabre-geeks:p


I know, I know.........It wasn't intended for you as much as I'm just old school and a bit overwhelmed by all the new data

jokin
05-14-2012, 04:13 PM
I guess I'm asking what is the "proper" mix of power/timely hitting/ability to get on base for a "typical" #3 hitter. And with applying a salary metric to the mix.

Boom Boom
05-14-2012, 04:14 PM
Whatever happened to regular stats? Batting Average, Doubles, Home Runs, & RBI?

Batting average is right there - .286. His .387 SLG means he hasn't hit many doubles or home runs.

James
05-14-2012, 04:24 PM
So, this doesn't really tell me that he is over paid, more that maybe Gardy should look to move him to a different spot in the batting order, like, maybe #2.

gunnarthor
05-14-2012, 04:31 PM
Let's give him a bit more time. If he ends up posting a 135-140 OPS+ again, I think he'll be worth it.

Mauer does things that annoy me (it would be great if he'd turn on a 3-0 pitch once in a while) but I don't think he or his salary are real problems. Even if you think he's overpaid some, he's not overpaid by 23m.

Highabove
05-14-2012, 04:39 PM
Funny you should ask this question. In this morning's edition of USA TODAY, Bob Nightengale list his MLB's worst Contracts. Joe comes in at number 2

" He's a swell fella. Great role model. But his eight-year, $184 million contract is the biggest albatross on any payroll in baseball. Mauer, who just two years ago was considered the finest catcher in baseball, now can barely stay healthy enough to catch, let alone hit for power. The only thing considered softer than this demeanor is his batting average. He is hitting.286 and has hit just one homer. Incredibly, he has hit only two home runs in 460 at-bats at Target Field since his new contract. Toronto's Jose Bautista has 10 in just 47 at-bats at Target Field. The Twins are playing him more frequently at first base to keep him healthy, but the Twins made him the highest-paid catcher in baseball history to handle a pitching staff. If he plays mostly at first base, and continues to be powerless, he's only a $5 million to $7 million player. Take away his 28-homer season of 2009, and Mauer has never surpassed 13 homers in a season. Little wonder why the Twins' front office is seriously thinking of moving the fences in next year." (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2012/05/mlb-worst-contracts-alfonso-soriano-barry-zito-joe-mauer/1#.T7F5set8DK0)


Link
MLB's worst contracts: We have a new, ahem, winner (http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2012/05/mlb-worst-contracts-alfonso-soriano-barry-zito-joe-mauer/1#.T7F5set8DK0)

jokin
05-14-2012, 04:50 PM
So, this doesn't really tell me that he is over paid, more that maybe Gardy should look to move him to a different spot in the batting order, like, maybe #2.

Really? Look at the amazing production numbers, in contrast to Mauer's paucity of power, from most of the players above him, (ie, what will McCutcheon command for a contract when he finally escapes Pittsburgh? IMO, on a team like the Pirates, he is the perfect #3 man). In numerous internal batting measures, Mauer is hitting lower marks than even last year's disatrous season, marked by numerous career lows (Check his GB/FB %-- Scary!). Only in walk rates is he hitting career highs. I agree about moving him to a different spot and have advocated the #2 spot since he got here, he never has been a great #3 hitter with the exception of his one (apprently) "career year" in 09. But in moving him to another spot in the batting order, and with his apparent evolution to becoming a half-time catcher, I would argue that he is/would be even MORE overpaid.

one_eyed_jack
05-14-2012, 04:54 PM
1. You can't judge a 8-year deal by 33 games. Yes, we'd all like to see more production, but the conclusion that he has "paralyzed" the Twins for the next 6 years is melodramatic and silly.

2. Even if he is as grossly overpaid as claimed, there's nothing that says you can't compete with overpaid guys on your payroll. Barry Zito's contract with the Giants was widely regarded as one of the worst in baseball for years. Yet despite that, they managed to not only compete, but win a World Series.

3. Far too many tears have been shed and tantrums thrown over Mauer's contract. For years I listened to Twins fans whine endlessly about how the team wouldn't pony up to keep its best players. Then they did with Mauer, and it's been a nonstop hissyfit about him being overpaid. Welcome to big league baseball, folks. You either pay big bucks to keep your best players, or somebody else will. And yes, you'll end up overpaying for some guys. It's just not realistic to think you can field a team of all-stars with league-minimum contracts.

jokin
05-14-2012, 04:57 PM
Let's give him a bit more time. If he ends up posting a 135-140 OPS+ again, I think he'll be worth it.

Mauer does things that annoy me (it would be great if he'd turn on a 3-0 pitch once in a while) but I don't think he or his salary are real problems. Even if you think he's overpaid some, he's not overpaid by 23m.

Speaking of annoying, how about swinging on those first pitch meatballs down mainstreet? It seems that Mauer's goal in every at bat is to draw a walk, rather than taking an agressive approach, the result is he looks for one kind of pitch in his preferred zone and then swings one way and resultantly ends up with ground ball after ground ball.

twinsnorth49
05-14-2012, 05:03 PM
What is it the you guys want the Twins to do about it? All the endless hand wringing and moaning about Joe's contract fascinates me, it's done, get over it.

You guys are right, is that what you want, recognition? A gold star? I've said it before, I'll say it again, all of this bitching is in hindsight and everybody is perfect in hindsight. He's not the 1st guy to get overpaid, he's not the last.

Big baseball contacts are based on past success which is rarely repeated, they are doomed from the start, it's an accepted culture.

snepp
05-14-2012, 05:07 PM
In this mourning's edition of USA TODAY,

Freudian slip?

:)

jokin
05-14-2012, 05:08 PM
1. You can't judge a 8-year deal by 33 games. Yes, we'd all like to see more production, but the conclusion that he has "paralyzed" the Twins for the next 6 years is melodramatic and silly.

2. Even if he is as grossly overpaid as claimed, there's nothing that says you can't compete with overpaid guys on your payroll. Barry Zito's contract with the Giants was widely regarded as one of the worst in baseball for years. Yet despite that, they managed to not only compete, but win a World Series.

3. Far too many tears have been shed and tantrums thrown over Mauer's contract. For years I listened to Twins fans whine endlessly about how the team wouldn't pony up to keep its best players. Then they did with Mauer, and it's been a nonstop hissyfit about him being overpaid. Welcome to big league baseball, folks. You either pay big bucks to keep your best players, or somebody else will. And yes, you'll end up overpaying for some guys. It's just not realistic to think you can field a team of all-stars with league-minimum contracts.

I haven't instilled any melodrama in my comments, pretty much just facts. You have instilled few facts into the discussion and gone emotionally bombastic in the other direction.

1) I agree with your point, but you completely ignore the facts on the table. Mauer's health and production have fallen off markedly since Shapiro held up the Twins. This risk was not properly assessed by management and you now have one player who is unable to play his proscribed postition full-time and has a "grossly" (your word) distorted salary that represents about 25% of the entire payroll. Any corporate exec would tell you that tying up one-fourth of your payroll in one unproductive entity for 8 years paralyzes a company's ability to react to changing market conditions. Not silly or melodramatic.

2) Zito's contract was one of the worst, no question, but, as a starting pitcher, Zito only affected 20% of the Giants games and the club was fortunate to have SP depth to fill the breach. This is called "contingency planning" in worst-case scenaros. What was the Twins contingency planning? Oh yeah--trade away Wilson Ramos....

3)No tears or tantrums, hissyfits or whining from me. Refer back to point #2 about proper stewardship of resources for a mid-level-market baseball club.

BHtwins
05-14-2012, 05:25 PM
Mauer's contract is about affensive production at defensive scarcity. How many other catchers on that list of #3 hitter sparky?

It wasnt a bad deal then and its still really not that bad of a deal. Not Mauers fault he isnt catching much thus far.

Rosterman
05-14-2012, 05:26 PM
The contract is there, but must be taken out of the equation. He is basically the face of the franchise and needs to be marketed as such, unless you feel we should send him on his ways. I'm sure there is at least one team out there that would absorb his contract for just 115 or so games as a catcher...and they might actually keep batting him third.

But basically Mauer should be considered outside-the-box. Put him in his own category and say the team payroll is....then add Mauer in. His hometown value is/can still be/high. But if I was management, I would look for an opportunity.

The other consideration...Mauer signed thinking the Twins were going to win. Does he want to play 8 seasons on a so-so team? I doubt it. It makes him look all the worse in the long run. It's too bad he can't give any of the money back, or adopt someone each year.

But no one said Twins baseball had to pay him that much except us fans here in town...basically.

He is cute in the Head and Shoulders ads!

jokin
05-14-2012, 05:38 PM
Mauer's contract is about affensive production at defensive scarcity. How many other catchers on that list of #3 hitter sparky?

It wasnt a bad deal then and its still really not that bad of a deal. Not Mauers fault he isnt catching much thus far.

Hey Sparkler, there are none. Apparently Mauer's days as a catcher are numbered as well. It is arguable that it was a bad deal then and there is little doubt that it now is widely recognized as one of the top two (at least) worst deals in baseball(See Highabove's post above for just the latest confirmation). Just wishing it weren't true doesn't make it go away. The problem with the deal at the time was that there were strong hints that Mauer's health would always be in question, his leadership ability at a leadership position was non-existent, his personality was "aloof" and his hitting production was frequently untimely or inconsequential. The problem with the deal now goes beyond Mauer's complete power outage, he quite demonstrably is no longer a top-level defensive catcher, which coupled with his apparent unpopularity with the pitching staff makes him more a liability at the position.

Highabove
05-14-2012, 05:52 PM
Many of us never considered that the payroll would start to plummet so soon after the opening of Target Field. Next years payroll could easily be in the low 80's. Subtract Mauer's contract, and Ryan will have less money to work with then he did at the Dome.

BD57
05-14-2012, 06:48 PM
The contract is the contract.

Imagine the firestorm that would've erupted if the Twins hadn't signed Mauer. Here's the scenario

Mauer is a local kid drafted #1 by the Twins. In 2009, he won the batting title, hit 28 HRs after sitting out the first month, OPS+ 171.

At the time, no one "knew" 28 HR in 5 months was an "aberration." CW was that Mauer's power would pick up as he became more experienced, etc.

At the time, no one knew Target Field was going to be a pitcher's park or that the difference between the Dome & Target would be so significant.

The contract was signed before the Twins began play in their new ballpark - the one which (the Twins told us) would allow them to generate the revenues required to actually compete.

So "naturally" the first thing the Twins should've done is drive a hard bargain with the 'hometown boy who makes very good' and risk losing him to free agency.

The Twins would've been accused of double-crossing the fans - "the Pohlad family's going to rake in the money and sit on it," etc.

Joe Mauer happened to be negotiating an extension at the best possible time for him - career (to date) season, he hits the equivalent of 32-35 HR, drives in the equivalent of 120 runs, wins the battling title, MVP, etc.

The Twins happen to be negotiating an extension at a less than opportune time for them - moving into a new park where income is going to go up (making it harder to cry "poverty"), when any reluctance on their part to pay the man will be construed as miserly.

twinzgrl
05-14-2012, 06:57 PM
The Twins management GAVE Joe this contract. No one held a gun to their heads. They don't seem to be whining about it. Have you ever seen the number of MAUER jerseys at TF or out in public. I work at a public school, and MAUER jerseys and T-shirts are everywhere. As another blogger noted, he IS the face of the franchise. I don't think the TWINS or anyone else thought he'd catch for the next eight years. He will transition to another position. Did you see the foul he took off the inside of his knee? I think it is admirable that he has played in almost all the games in one capacity or another. I believe he will win another batting title at some point. Most ballplayers are overpaid. So are movie stars. Get over it. The TWINS have plenty of money to spend on players. They just choose not to. If you don't like it, find another team to cheer for. I am so sick of the MAUER bashing.

BHtwins
05-14-2012, 06:59 PM
Not a very big Bob Nightengale fan, mostly think he is an opinionated ass so I dont really care if his opinion is Mauer is overpaid.

Mauer still is an above average catcher by most metrics and the reason as far as I can tell he hasnt started at catcher as much is why, when a measurable portion of your roster is made up of catchers would you risk your best player to catch everyday.

Again, not Mauers fault that the Twins use their resources like **** and Morneau is hurt.

The reason Mauer is boo'd is the same reason Ted Williams was boo'd. That is that their expectactions are wildly out of control and the average casual baseball fan is an idiot on judging the value of a player.

As it is, if Mauer last 4 to 5 more years catching regularly he is almost certainly a hall of famer and probably one of the top 5 catchers of all-time.

Montecore
05-14-2012, 07:18 PM
BD57 nailed it. And, didn't someone mention not long back that moaning and groaning about this (the contract) was a dopey waste of time which it is? I like Mauer, like him as the face of the franchise and like to see him do well, contribute to victories as we all do.

Alex
05-14-2012, 07:19 PM
The problem with the deal now goes beyond Mauer's complete power outage, he quite demonstrably is no longer a top-level defensive catcher, which coupled with his apparent unpopularity with the pitching staff makes him more a liability at the position

Really? Where do you get this information, especially the second part?

Beyond that, a couple of things. I appreciate that you went to the effort to use data to try and back up your initial claims. I should add that I don't think Mauer is performing at the value of his contract this season. There's a major flaw in the initial question, as hinted at by others: Hitting order is not a position and does not have much to do with player value. If we shift Mauer to the 8th or 9th spot, he's suddenly far more valuable by that logic. Additionally, many of the players you list are under team control, so including contracts of non-negotiated salaries is somewhat misleading. Admittedly, it would do little to help Mauer in this case anyway in this analysis.

I don't think anyone would argue this is going to be a good contract. However, I think a lot of people think it's worse than it actually is because of the way people value certain stats over others. In fact, Nightengale's evaluation falls prey to exactly that, quoting only average and HR. Again, I'm not arguing here that Mauer is playing at the value of his contract, but I'm pointing out that what is examined is not always indicative of complete value.

Here are a couple of other metrics: (Note these assume his current numbers stand for the entire season, which I think is actually a conservative estimate. They also assume he continues to play half his games at catcher. If he plays more C, these numbers increase. If not, they will likely decrease unless he ends up being a lights out defensive player at 1B).

-WAR: Mauer's WAR is currently .9, according to http://www.baseball-reference.com (http://www.baseball-reference.com/). If he continues with the same numbers he'll end the season with a 4.5 WAR, not a great number, but one that puts him as borderline all-star.
-WOBA: Again from Fangraphs, is .352. well above average.
-Value: http://www.fangraphs.com (http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1857&position=C)/ gives player value in a monetary amount. A nice item to look at in exactly this kind of discussion. Mauer's value through the season so far is $3.7M. Multiply that out and you $18.5M.

To be certain, these are not $23M numbers, nor are they even good for Joe. However, I was actually surprised by, relatively, how good they were. Sure, some will dismiss them for whatever reasons, but these are, imo, representative of his actual holistic current value without nitpicking and choosing specific individual numbers, and I'm actually expecting all of them to improve as the season goes on.

glunn
05-14-2012, 07:47 PM
The contract is the contract.

Imagine the firestorm that would've erupted if the Twins hadn't signed Mauer. Here's the scenario

Mauer is a local kid drafted #1 by the Twins. In 2009, he won the batting title, hit 28 HRs after sitting out the first month, OPS+ 171.

At the time, no one "knew" 28 HR in 5 months was an "aberration." CW was that Mauer's power would pick up as he became more experienced, etc.

At the time, no one knew Target Field was going to be a pitcher's park or that the difference between the Dome & Target would be so significant.

The contract was signed before the Twins began play in their new ballpark - the one which (the Twins told us) would allow them to generate the revenues required to actually compete.

So "naturally" the first thing the Twins should've done is drive a hard bargain with the 'hometown boy who makes very good' and risk losing him to free agency.

The Twins would've been accused of double-crossing the fans - "the Pohlad family's going to rake in the money and sit on it," etc.

Joe Mauer happened to be negotiating an extension at the best possible time for him - career (to date) season, he hits the equivalent of 32-35 HR, drives in the equivalent of 120 runs, wins the battling title, MVP, etc.

The Twins happen to be negotiating an extension at a less than opportune time for them - moving into a new park where income is going to go up (making it harder to cry "poverty"), when any reluctance on their part to pay the man will be construed as miserly.

I think that this is an excellent analysis. I also agree with those who say that Mauer is likely to get back to being more productive as time passes.

Let's all be glad that we are not in as bad a position as the Angels with Pujols.

Alex
05-14-2012, 07:48 PM
Many of us never considered that the payroll would start to plummet so soon after the opening of Target Field. Next years payroll could easily be in the low 80's. Subtract Mauer's contract, and Ryan will have less money to work with then he did at the Dome.

If Mauer's contract truly handcuffs the organization, then it's certainly an issue. However, if anyone should have considered the payroll would plummet, it should have been the organization. That element is their choice, at least for this season, and they could now be in a downward spiral as far as that is concerned: cut the payroll---> not as much talent ----> not as many wins ----> fans coming to games ----> cut the payroll.

I'm still of the opinion that they aren't going to spend much of that $23M even if they could have it back.

Thrylos
05-14-2012, 08:34 PM
A: Small Sample Size: The Mauer Contract compares favorable to The Fielder Contract and The Pujols Contract at this point.

B: Big Picture: The Twins were between a rock and a hard place with this one and they had to do it. They ones who are screaming about Mauer's contract now would be the ones who would be screaming for the Pohlad's head if they did not sign him. And if they did not sign him, the backlash would be so bad that there would be no Target Field.

Big picture is sometimes more interesting than small sample size.

For one, I am sick and tired about all that whinning about Mauer's contract, something that was done years ago. Can't change it, move on, and try to discuss things that the Twins can change to improve the team

USAFChief
05-14-2012, 10:03 PM
A: Small Sample Size: The Mauer Contract compares favorable to The Fielder Contract and The Pujols Contract at this point.

B: Big Picture: The Twins were between a rock and a hard place with this one and they had to do it. They ones who are screaming about Mauer's contract now would be the ones who would be screaming for the Pohlad's head if they did not sign him. And if they did not sign him, the backlash would be so bad that there would be no Target Field.

Big picture is sometimes more interesting than small sample size.

For one, I am sick and tired about all that whinning about Mauer's contract, something that was done years ago. Can't change it, move on, and try to discuss things that the Twins can change to improve the team


Might want to think about that'n for a minute or two.

twinsnorth49
05-14-2012, 10:10 PM
Just wishing it weren't true doesn't make it go away.

Neither does bitching and moaning about it with apparently no point.

Shane Wahl
05-14-2012, 10:12 PM
Really? Where do you get this information, especially the second part?

Beyond that, a couple of things. I appreciate that you went to the effort to use data to try and back up your initial claims. I should add that I don't think Mauer is performing at the value of his contract this season. There's a major flaw in the initial question, as hinted at by others: Hitting order is not a position and does not have much to do with player value. If we shift Mauer to the 8th or 9th spot, he's suddenly far more valuable by that logic. Additionally, many of the players you list are under team control, so including contracts of non-negotiated salaries is somewhat misleading. Admittedly, it would do little to help Mauer in this case anyway in this analysis.

I don't think anyone would argue this is going to be a good contract. However, I think a lot of people think it's worse than it actually is because of the way people value certain stats over others. In fact, Nightengale's evaluation falls prey to exactly that, quoting only average and HR. Again, I'm not arguing here that Mauer is playing at the value of his contract, but I'm pointing out that what is examined is not always indicative of complete value.

Here are a couple of other metrics: (Note these assume his current numbers stand for the entire season, which I think is actually a conservative estimate. They also assume he continues to play half his games at catcher. If he plays more C, these numbers increase. If not, they will likely decrease unless he ends up being a lights out defensive player at 1B).

-WAR: Mauer's WAR is currently .9, according to http://www.baseball-reference.com (http://www.baseball-reference.com/). If he continues with the same numbers he'll end the season with a 4.5 WAR, not a great number, but one that puts him as borderline all-star.
-WOBA: Again from Fangraphs, is .352. well above average.
-Value: http://www.fangraphs.com (http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1857&position=C)/ gives player value in a monetary amount. A nice item to look at in exactly this kind of discussion. Mauer's value through the season so far is $3.7M. Multiply that out and you $18.5M.

To be certain, these are not $23M numbers, nor are they even good for Joe. However, I was actually surprised by, relatively, how good they were. Sure, some will dismiss them for whatever reasons, but these are, imo, representative of his actual holistic current value without nitpicking and choosing specific individual numbers, and I'm actually expecting all of them to improve as the season goes on.

I just wanted to bump this again to make sure people read it.

DJSim22
05-14-2012, 10:19 PM
Alex is wise.

JB_Iowa
05-15-2012, 08:19 AM
I've never understood the whole deification of Mauer. And in the same way, I don't really understand the villification of Mauer.

I do think that BD57 nailed it. From day 1 of the new contract, I argued that about $16 million should be his "payroll slot" and that the other $8 million should be assigned to public relations. While I'm not sure he is currently worth the $16 million, it would make the whole situation with him a lot more palatable.

There's just something about seeing him take up over 20% of the payroll that seems to irk. If he were taking up more like 15% with the other 5-10% buried in the PR budget, it wouldn't seem so bad for some reason. It's all just playing with numbers but even before the contract was signed, I felt like (and posted on the Strib) that the deal for Mauer needed to be considered differently because of his "hometown hero" status. His position at the time the contract was negotiated was unique -- and this all would seem to play out better if the Twins had structured it uniquely in the way they handle payroll.

twinscowboysbulls
05-15-2012, 08:33 AM
Mauer will be fine, just simmer.

peterb18
05-15-2012, 09:36 AM
Not a very big Bob Nightengale fan, mostly think he is an opinionated ass so I dont really care if his opinion is Mauer is overpaid.

Mauer still is an above average catcher by most metrics and the reason as far as I can tell he hasnt started at catcher as much is why, when a measurable portion of your roster is made up of catchers would you risk your best player to catch everyday.

Again, not Mauers fault that the Twins use their resources like **** and Morneau is hurt.

The reason Mauer is boo'd is the same reason Ted Williams was boo'd. That is that their expectactions are wildly out of control and the average casual baseball fan is an idiot on judging the value of a player.

As it is, if Mauer last 4 to 5 more years catching regularly he is almost certainly a hall of famer and probably one of the top 5 catchers of all-time.

Bob Nightengale is paid to give his opinions. I've listened a lot to Bob over the years and he usually has been very complimentary to the Twins. As far as Joe is concerned, I think, yes, he is batting in the wrong position for the 3rd spot. That spot usually demands a more agressive approach at the plate--for old timers think: Eddie Mathews, Stan Musiel, Roger Maris, etc. Joe has all the ability in the world, but is hard to change approaches. I also think that he will be close to a hall of famer. Even if he stays at first--he can be a Mark Grace type which isn't too bad.

gunnarthor
05-15-2012, 09:47 AM
I've never understood the whole deification of Mauer. And in the same way, I don't really understand the villification of Mauer.

Yeah, this.

jeffk
05-15-2012, 09:53 AM
The thing about having above-average hitting at a tough defensive position is it's only useful if you have a pretty good team. When you're fielding absolute rubbish at one outfield spot and third base, you'd be way better off to find an above average hitter for those spots and an average hitter for catcher. Of course, maybe the Twins couldn't have predicted what would befall them, but Mauer would not be terribly useful on this team even if he were at his best.

StormJH1
05-15-2012, 12:32 PM
The contract is the contract.

Imagine the firestorm that would've erupted if the Twins hadn't signed Mauer. Here's the scenario

Mauer is a local kid drafted #1 by the Twins. In 2009, he won the batting title, hit 28 HRs after sitting out the first month, OPS+ 171.

At the time, no one "knew" 28 HR in 5 months was an "aberration." CW was that Mauer's power would pick up as he became more experienced, etc.

At the time, no one knew Target Field was going to be a pitcher's park or that the difference between the Dome & Target would be so significant.

The contract was signed before the Twins began play in their new ballpark - the one which (the Twins told us) would allow them to generate the revenues required to actually compete.

So "naturally" the first thing the Twins should've done is drive a hard bargain with the 'hometown boy who makes very good' and risk losing him to free agency.

The Twins would've been accused of double-crossing the fans - "the Pohlad family's going to rake in the money and sit on it," etc.

Joe Mauer happened to be negotiating an extension at the best possible time for him - career (to date) season, he hits the equivalent of 32-35 HR, drives in the equivalent of 120 runs, wins the battling title, MVP, etc.

The Twins happen to be negotiating an extension at a less than opportune time for them - moving into a new park where income is going to go up (making it harder to cry "poverty"), when any reluctance on their part to pay the man will be construed as miserly.
That's an accurate recap and I absolutely agree that they had to sign him, even if they knew it was a significant overpay. Had this site (which is far more critical than the average fans wearing Mauer J-shirts at Target Field) existed in early 2010, I bet most of us would have been in favor of the deal if it were a simple up or down vote (myself included).

But there's two separate issues here:

(1) Should the Twins be faulted for signing Mauer to such a large deal, as opposed to driving a harder bargain or letting him walk?
(2) Is Joe Mauer living up to his contract, to any degree of reason, with the knowledge that the team paying him was never going to have an "infinite" budget, and that his deal could have a suppressive "Kevin Garnett" effect on the quality of the other 24 players on the team?

I think most of us are in agreement on point #1, which is the point you were arguing. Point #2 is more divisive. It's not that "blame" Mauer for taking the money (who wouldn't) or even that I demand at all times that Mauer's on-field production matches the level of his salary. Look at Albert Pujols right now - sustained success in MLB is difficult even for elite players.

But I think it's Mauer's "approach" to baseball, both on-field and off-field, that really brings the contract into question. Like the perception that he missed two months because he was more interested in pimping video games than doing leg squats. Or that he does his best to stay invisible from the media at the very times when people need some type of information from him. Or (as was stated above) that this "superstar" player looks almost relieved to be getting a free pass to first base, when really, he's paid to be impact player, not a table setter (fair or not).

StormJH1
05-15-2012, 12:43 PM
The thing about having above-average hitting at a tough defensive position is it's only useful if you have a pretty good team. When you're fielding absolute rubbish at one outfield spot and third base, you'd be way better off to find an above average hitter for those spots and an average hitter for catcher. Of course, maybe the Twins couldn't have predicted what would befall them, but Mauer would not be terribly useful on this team even if he were at his best.
Yes. Yes. YES. I've said this over and over again!

Positional scarcity is the #1 argument for why Mauer's numbers can't be compared against 1st baseman and corner outfielders. That's an excellent argument in a 12-team fantasy baseball league, to which I'm sure any Mike Napoli owner from last year or Matt Wieters owner this year can attest.

But in REAL baseball, the only time that positional scarcity actually matters in the overall production of your lineup is when you believe you have a lineup so deep and dominant that you have the ability to "stuff" in a productive hitter at positions where most teams are employing scrubs. Some good examples of this would be like Jorge Posada on the Yankees, or Allen Craig playing second base for the Cardinals because Berkman, Beltran, and Holliday are blocking his other positions.

Even if Mauer were hitting 25+ HR's per season (which would be intrinsically valuable from ANY position), it has no value from a "positional scarcity" standpoint so long as you're filling up other positions with guys like Punto, Casilla, Nishioka, Valencia, Carroll, Plouffe, Parmelee and other guys who are considerably below-average for their positions. Plus, the days of Mauer catching 100+ games a year were virtually over by the time he signed his contract anyway.

chuuke
05-15-2012, 01:16 PM
jeffk and StormJ have said it perfectly. Positional scarcity means jack sh*t on a terrible team.

It is after the fact to whine about signing him, because they pretty much had no choice but to do so.

And yes, there would have been outrage....for all of about 1 year until he was producing like he is now in New York, in which case the Twins would've looked like geniuses. Who knows, with all that money and a new ballpark, we could've had an entirely different team by now.... who knows what the team would've evolved into... most likely, something better then it is now...

But after the fact, yes

mike wants wins
05-15-2012, 01:31 PM
The contract is what the contract is. The question should be, what do the Twins do now, with the rest of their payroll? Cutting it probably isn't the answer I'd give. I agree with jb, I have no idea why he's deified in the first place, but that's a topic for a different thread.

Alex
05-15-2012, 01:33 PM
Yes. Yes. YES. I've said this over and over again!

Positional scarcity is the #1 argument for why Mauer's numbers can't be compared against 1st baseman and corner outfielders. That's an excellent argument in a 12-team fantasy baseball league, to which I'm sure any Mike Napoli owner from last year or Matt Wieters owner this year can attest.

But in REAL baseball, the only time that positional scarcity actually matters in the overall production of your lineup is when you believe you have a lineup so deep and dominant that you have the ability to "stuff" in a productive hitter at positions where most teams are employing scrubs. Some good examples of this would be like Jorge Posada on the Yankees, or Allen Craig playing second base for the Cardinals because Berkman, Beltran, and Holliday are blocking his other positions.

Even if Mauer were hitting 25+ HR's per season (which would be intrinsically valuable from ANY position), it has no value from a "positional scarcity" standpoint so long as you're filling up other positions with guys like Punto, Casilla, Nishioka, Valencia, Carroll, Plouffe, Parmelee and other guys who are considerably below-average for their positions. Plus, the days of Mauer catching 100+ games a year were virtually over by the time he signed his contract anyway.

Setting aside the Mauer argument, It's just as true for real baseball. Having a good hitter and a "hitting-scarce" position allows more flexibility and allows that team to more easily fill other portions of their roster. As we saw this offseason, it's not as difficult to replace corner outfielders who can hit. With regard to almost every other fielding position, it is. In fact, of the players you mention above, only Parmelee doesn't play at a "positional scarcity."

Essentially, the hope is that it's managed correctly that you can get more for your money throughout your entire team. You certainly can't get away with replacement level players (or worse) at those other positions, as you mention, but a team doesn't have to be equivalent to the Yankees or Cardinals to make use of a player like Mauer, the Twins certainly have proven that in the past.

cr9617
05-15-2012, 02:55 PM
I don't think enough has been made about just how badly Bill Smith got worked in that negotiation. Mauer was never going to go anywhere else...he could never handle the pressures of a big market. No chance. It's called a Hometown Premium...

It's his right to get the best deal possible for himself, but it's also his legacy.

He makes 24% of the teams payroll, and he just doesn't produce very much. Hindsight is 20/20 but, he just isn't worth anything close to 23 mil per year. How could anyone possibly disagree with that?

He's the poster boy for an organization that has made countless blunders, big and small, in recent years....and he's the face of a franchise that will probably lose 90-110 games in the next several years. Is that his legacy?

I'll gladly eat all my words if he can put MVP type numbers going forward. Afterall, he IS getting paid like one...

gunnarthor
05-15-2012, 03:03 PM
I don't think enough has been made about just how badly Bill Smith got worked in that negotiation. Mauer was never going to go anywhere else...he could never handle the pressures of a big market. No chance. It's called a Hometown Premium...

It's his right to get the best deal possible for himself, but it's also his legacy.

He makes 24% of the teams payroll, and he just doesn't produce very much. Hindsight is 20/20 but, he just isn't worth anything close to 23 mil per year. How could anyone possibly disagree with that?

He's the poster boy for an organization that has made countless blunders, big and small, in recent years....and he's the face of a franchise that will probably lose 90-110 games in the next several years. Is that his legacy?

I'll gladly eat all my words if he can put MVP type numbers going forward. Afterall, he IS getting paid like one...

In the economy of baseball, he probably would've gotten more if he held out for FA. He would have been a free agent in the same offseason that saw Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford get their insane deals. He was younger than both, played catcher and had more success than both. Plus the Tigers, Yanks and Red Sox were all looking for catching help that offseason.

StormJH1
05-15-2012, 03:31 PM
@Alex - Okay, so you are saying that because a hitter of Mauer's ability (even the non-2009 versions of Mauer) is scarce because those numbers would be difficult to replace at catcher. Point taken. But as you continued to say, that only generates actual "value" for the Twins if they continue to "fill other portions of the roster". The Twins didn't because they can't - about 1/4 of their budget for a 25-man team is tied up in one guy. This team has guys like Parmelee at 1st base and the collection of Doumit/Komatsu/Clete/Plouffe in right field, when those two positions are supposed to be two of the most productive offensive positions in baseball. If both of those positions were filled with even "average" players for that position, and if we got a little more production of of SS, 2B, and 3B, then the "positional scarcity" argument would make sense. The Twins simply elected to use their $23 million on Mauer instead of upgrading those other positions.

@gunnarthor - I'm not sure that's necessarily true that he would have gotten more. I believe that there was a definite market for Mauer, and that market pressured the Twins to drive the price up to the extent they did (I actually have more of a problem with the length of the contract than the amount per year). First of all, with the aid of 20/20 hindsight, he would have become a free agent after 2010, not his stellar 2009 season. His 2010 line of .327, 9 HR's and 75 RBI's (on a very good team, by the way) is nice, but unless you think Mauer would've "tried harder" in a contract year to hit the ball out of Target Field...I think there were signs even by the end of 2010 that his 2009 numbers were an anomaly. Plus, Mauer had some past durability concerns, and the "prime years" for a defensive catcher are really around the age of 24 to 28. In other words, the mere fact that he was a catcher wasn't going to inflate his value if they didn't believe he'd be a full-time catcher in 5 years.

Also, there are other reasons to think that NYY and BOS (the two most commonly assumed targets for Mauer) would have paid a catcher $20 million plus. The Yankees, at that time, had two stellar catching prospects in their own system - Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. Assuming that one of those two guys might have been a 5-10 years solution at that position, why pay Mauer? Meanwhile, Boston had Victor Martinez for the end of 2009 and all of 2010, when he caught 100+ games for them and had a season as good or better than Mauer as a 31-year old. They could have retained V-Mart (who only caught 26 games for DET the next year) for about half as much money, or simply determined that they wanted to go in a younger (or more defensive) direction.

The fact that the Twins had to commit to Mauer before 2010 while he couldn't have been signed by another team until the winter of 2010/11 would have reduced his market value also, since he hit one homer at home that entire season.

BHtwins
05-15-2012, 06:12 PM
"But in REAL baseball, the only time that positional scarcity actually matters in the overall production of your lineup is when you believe you have a lineup so deep and dominant that you have the ability to "stuff" in a productive hitter at positions where most teams are employing scrubs. Some good examples of this would be like Jorge Posada on the Yankees, or Allen Craig playing second base for the Cardinals because Berkman, Beltran, and Holliday are blocking his other positions. "

You know how completely inane that sounds? Positional scarcity exists is REAL baseball and its a side effect in fantasy baseball.

The Twins do not use their assets wisely. If you can find a guy that can catch everyday with a .400 + OBP, a smart GM would spend his free agent dollars on corner outfielders, and 1b/dh types where offensive production is relatively cheap. That the Twins didnt...again not Mauers fault. There is way more Willinghams to be had then Mauers....therefore cheaper.

one_eyed_jack
05-15-2012, 07:25 PM
I haven't instilled any melodrama in my comments, pretty much just facts. You have instilled few facts into the discussion and gone emotionally bombastic in the other direction.

1) I agree with your point, but you completely ignore the facts on the table. Mauer's health and production have fallen off markedly since Shapiro held up the Twins. This risk was not properly assessed by management and you now have one player who is unable to play his proscribed postition full-time and has a "grossly" (your word) distorted salary that represents about 25% of the entire payroll. Any corporate exec would tell you that tying up one-fourth of your payroll in one unproductive entity for 8 years paralyzes a company's ability to react to changing market conditions. Not silly or melodramatic.

2) Zito's contract was one of the worst, no question, but, as a starting pitcher, Zito only affected 20% of the Giants games and the club was fortunate to have SP depth to fill the breach. This is called "contingency planning" in worst-case scenaros. What was the Twins contingency planning? Oh yeah--trade away Wilson Ramos....

3)No tears or tantrums, hissyfits or whining from me. Refer back to point #2 about proper stewardship of resources for a mid-level-market baseball club.

---I think we have a bit of a vocabulary problem here.

1) "Melodramatic and silly" is a perfectly apt description of your claim that Mauer's contract "paralyzes" the Twins ability to compete for 8 years. "Hamper" might be a reasonable characterization. But "paralyzes" is over the top ridiculous. The Twins payroll was $112 mil in 2011 and $94 mil entering this year. So they've been spending between $70 and $90 million on payroll outside of Mauer. There are teams in the league that have managed to compete on payolls in that range alone, or even less in Tampa's case. So the exact thing you're saying the Twins are "paralyzed" from doing until 2018 has already been done. If Tampa can compete in the AL East with a $64 million payroll, then there is absolutely no reason at all the Twins can't compete in the AL Central with a payroll of $71 million plus Mauer.

2) For all of your lofty talk about "facts", much of your argument is based on Mauer's assumed production for the remainder of his contract. It is not a fact that he will be no more productive in the coming years than he is this season. It is an assumption or projection, but it is not a fact.

Mchans24
05-15-2012, 07:30 PM
Mauer is the worst 3 hitter in baseball if you look at return on investment. He is a singles hitting 23 million dollar a year part time catcher. That's not being anything but factual. He struggles to drive in runs from third base with less than two outs and hits into a TON of double plays. Even if he catches fire we would be lucky if he hit 12 HR and drove in 90 runs. PERIOD. My vote is to make him a third baseman 100% of the time. He will be around longer and fill a real need in the organization. Sano is years away and might be an outfielder anyway.

Highabove
05-15-2012, 08:08 PM
---I think we have a bit of a vocabulary problem here.

1) "Melodramatic and silly" is a perfectly apt description of your claim that Mauer's contract "paralyzes" the Twins ability to compete for 8 years. "Hamper" might be a reasonable characterization. But "paralyzes" is over the top ridiculous. The Twins payroll was $112 mil in 2011 and $94 mil entering this year. So they've been spending between $70 and $90 million on payroll outside of Mauer. There are teams in the league that have managed to compete on payolls in that range alone, or even less in Tampa's case. So the exact thing you're saying the Twins are "paralyzed" from doing until 2018 has already been done. If Tampa can compete in the AL East with a $64 million payroll, then there is absolutely no reason at all the Twins can't compete in the AL Central with a payroll of $71 million plus Mauer.

2) For all of your lofty talk about "facts", much of your argument is based on Mauer's assumed production for the remainder of his contract. It is not a fact that he will be no more productive in the coming years than he is this season. It is an assumption or projection, but it is not a fact.

Tampa's Farm System is the reason they win on a 64 million dollar payroll. For Example, their System produced a starting Pitching staff of Price, Hellickson, Moore, Davis, Shields and Nieman. Compare that to the Twins. (Liam Hendriks ??)
Until the Twins can again produce their own star players, Payroll will matter.

Alex
05-15-2012, 08:42 PM
This team has guys like Parmelee at 1st base and the collection of Doumit/Komatsu/Clete/Plouffe in right field, when those two positions are supposed to be two of the most productive offensive positions in baseball. If both of those positions were filled with even "average" players for that position, and if we got a little more production of of SS, 2B, and 3B, then the "positional scarcity" argument would make sense.


I agree, and this was the point. It should be much easier to sign/develop even average hitters at these positions, but the Twins haven't done a good job of that. You shouldn't need to spend big money to get average players at these positions and they are still excellent hitters. The difference between them and spending a ton of money at those positions is of smaller gain than at a position like catcher. See below for average WOBA by position. There's far more net gain in spending big on a SS or C than there is in a LF, RF or 1B.



Catcher
.307


First Base
.337


Second Base
.307


Third Base
.309


Shortstop
.303


Left Field
.320


Center Field
.324


Right Field
.334


Designated Hitter
.337


MLB Average
.316





Additionally, there are two further problems with your argument. One, we should have at least 1B filled with an excellent hitter, but that's easily a worse contract than the one discussed here. (Note: I'm not bashing Morneau, here, but the point seems obvious).

The other problem is the simple premise that Mauer's not valuable in terms of positional scarcity due to the fact that he doesn't have players around him. As mentioned, that's up to the Twins, not Mauer. The fact that they have haven't been able to produce/draft/accquire another even average hitter at RF is an organizational issue. The fact that they cut $15 from their payroll is an organizational issue. You cannot blame Mauer's contract for their inability or unwillingness to produce other even average talent or spend some more money in FA. It just isn't true.

Alex
05-15-2012, 08:59 PM
Mauer is the worst 3 hitter in baseball if you look at return on investment. He is a singles hitting 23 million dollar a year part time catcher. That's not being anything but factual. He struggles to drive in runs from third base with less than two outs and hits into a TON of double plays. Even if he catches fire we would be lucky if he hit 12 HR and drove in 90 runs. PERIOD. My vote is to make him a third baseman 100% of the time. He will be around longer and fill a real need in the organization. Sano is years away and might be an outfielder anyway.

This stuff can be checked:

Mauer's triple slash with runners on third and less than 2 outs:
.346/.417/.636, 8 RBIs

With RISP in general:
.379/.514/.552 14RBI (37 PA and only struck out twice and has hit into 0 GDP in these situations).

Yeah, terrible.....

You're dead on about the GDP, overall though. I think he's going to need to figure out a way to hit line drives if he wants to improve. Even with that, his line with a runner on 1st and less than two outs is .269/.424/.886 and 7 GDP in 33 PA.

His worst hitting is with a runner on third and two outs: .200/.333/.200. This is also his smallest sample size of just 6 PA, so a couple of good at-bats here will have a positive affect.

Just for good measure, with runners on his overall numbers are: .302/.456/.434 (.890 OPS) in 68 PA. Better than his stats with no one on.

Like I said, these things can be checked.

headcheese
05-15-2012, 09:18 PM
i didnt read all the posts in this thread... im sure it has been beat into the ground but

his plate appearances are awful for a number 3 hitter. i mean do pitchers fear joe mauer?? probably not. he just seems so indifferent.

it would make my day and probably everyone elses if he struck out and started smashing sh*t in the dugout.

USAFChief
05-15-2012, 09:23 PM
i didnt read all the posts in this thread... im sure it has been beat into the ground but

his plate appearances are awful for a number 3 hitter. i mean do pitchers fear joe mauer?? probably not. he just seems so indifferent.

it would make my day and probably everyone elses if he struck out and started smashing sh*t in the dugout.

Hell, if he went after the water cooler with his bat, he'd look at two and then flare it to left anyway.

headcheese
05-15-2012, 09:24 PM
whatchu kno about dat, whatchu kno about dat, whatchu kno about dat, ay joe knows all about dat!!

twinswon1991
05-15-2012, 09:26 PM
No one has the guts to say it so I will: Mauer built a career year in the HR category 100% via HGH/Roids just like Brady Anderson and many others before him. Joe is no dummy so he quit the stuff right after signing the contract to preserve his body and to have a nice life after baseball.

Now our favorite team is left with a 23 million dollar Casey Kotchman for the next 8 years. Yipeee!!

Bad for us........Great for Joe.

snepp
05-15-2012, 09:29 PM
tw91, did you get lost on the way to Rubechat?

twinswon1991
05-15-2012, 09:37 PM
tw91, did you get lost on the way to Rubechat?


Nope, I live in a place called Reality.....You should visit some time!

jcompton1
05-15-2012, 10:20 PM
Whatever happened to regular stats? Batting Average, Doubles, Home Runs, & RBI?

It went away along with dial up internet 2d graphics. Why compare hits, doubles, triples, and home runs when you can compare hitters with a single number in ops. ops+ is even a better statistical measurement as it is park adjusted. Why watch tv in black and white when you can watch it in HD?

Mchans24
05-15-2012, 10:36 PM
Alex, stats often lie!! What is his percentage for driving in the run in that situation? It should be 90% given his ability to hit weak ground balls.

Alex
05-15-2012, 11:03 PM
It went away along with dial up internet 2d graphics. Why compare hits, doubles, triples, and home runs when you can compare hitters with a single number in ops. ops+ is even a better statistical measurement as it is park adjusted. Why watch tv in black and white when you can watch it in HD?

Hehe and woba is even more fun!

Alex
05-15-2012, 11:09 PM
Alex, stats often lie!! What is his percentage for driving in the run in that situation? It should be 90% given his ability to hit weak ground balls.

Lol! 12 PA with runner on third and less than 2 outs. 8 RBI. That not exactly a percent as a runner could score from first or second, but it seems like a good ratio.

Truth be told, I'm optimistic about Mauer and tend to think the frustration about him and his contract are misplaced in terms of who should be blamed if the Twins aren't getting value out of it. I'll admit, Nick Nelson's latest blog is a major fear.

jokin
05-16-2012, 02:12 AM
---I think we have a bit of a vocabulary problem here.

1) "Melodramatic and silly" is a perfectly apt description of your claim that Mauer's contract "paralyzes" the Twins ability to compete for 8 years. "Hamper" might be a reasonable characterization. But "paralyzes" is over the top ridiculous. The Twins payroll was $112 mil in 2011 and $94 mil entering this year. So they've been spending between $70 and $90 million on payroll outside of Mauer. There are teams in the league that have managed to compete on payolls in that range alone, or even less in Tampa's case. So the exact thing you're saying the Twins are "paralyzed" from doing until 2018 has already been done. If Tampa can compete in the AL East with a $64 million payroll, then there is absolutely no reason at all the Twins can't compete in the AL Central with a payroll of $71 million plus Mauer.

2) For all of your lofty talk about "facts", much of your argument is based on Mauer's assumed production for the remainder of his contract. It is not a fact that he will be no more productive in the coming years than he is this season. It is an assumption or projection, but it is not a fact.



I think we have a bit of a "inability to comprehend the situation" problem here. I also note you failed to acknowledge or refute certain parts of my refutation of your counterpoints, I am reluctantly forced to assume that you therefore agree that they were largely irrefutable. For the record on your point #2, I have made no assumptions or projections about how Mauer's contract will play out, I don't know- and more importantly- the Twins don't know- but no one denies things have gone from bad- to worse- to uncertain-...and that is where the paralysis kicks in. I think most commenters agree though, that the physical demands at his position strongly suggest that we have likely seen his most productive seasons behind him (see Nick Nelson's latest blog post for further evidence). I haven't seen or heard anyone argue that Joe Mauer will be having a Carlton Fisk- or Ivan Rodriguez-type career ahead of him- his numerous past injuries suggest exactly the opposite.

1) You calling my remarks "melodramatic and silly" does not make them such and you fail to demonstrate that they were. Tampa Bay has done things right because their market dictates this is what they must do to survive (see Highabove's post, because the Twins haven't duplicated this model, as HA says: "payroll will matter"). The Twins, their 3 million plus attendance, and in a new ballpark, were transitioning from the mid-size market small-payroll model to the "big-time" and had done a horrible job in the interim in terms of drafting, trading, signing and developing talent, while overpaying to retain current talent (Mauer obviously, but many others, all the way down to Blackburn and Casilla)

Here's a demonstrable scenario that shows the Twins are paralyzed by Mauer's contract:

2): You acknowledge that the Twins payroll was $112 mil in 2011 and $94 mil this year. This is strong evidence that the Twins recognized they would not be able to compete in 2012 (what with nearly 25% of their payroll holding a no-trade contract for a $23 million roster spot and a huge cloud of uncertainty about Mauer's ability to resume previous production numbers). If the Twins were confident that he would come roaring back, they could have gone in full "win-now" mode, to which, it is highly arguable that the Twins could have gone all-in in the free agent market and gone from $94 mil to a $120 mil payroll. Let's say they were even conservative with how much money they wanted to spend, they still could have signed 3 very good-to-decent FA starters who all inked 1-Year deals in the off-season- Edwin Jackson ($10.96 mil), Eric Bedard ($4.5 mil) and Paul Maholm ($4.25 mil). Their combined salaries come to $19.71 million. Even if the Twins "overpaid" this group to a combined $21 million, that still would have put the payroll at $115 million. Now, subtract the horrible contract to Jason Marquis ($3 mil) and the Twins would now be back to the exact payroll they had in 2011!!!($115 mil-$3mil= $112 mil). But wait, that still leaves the Twins with Pavano, Baker, Blackburn and Liriano. It has been obvious that Liriano should have been properly showcased and dealt previously to this year and he would have been traded in the offseason, regardless. That takes Liriano's contract off the books ($5.5 mil). The Twins should have known about Baker's arm problems and didn't, but let's say they would have kept the other three, designated Baker and Pavano as starters and put Blackburn in the bullpen. That still reduces the payroll to $106.5 mil. I get the PR disaster delayed and the long-term plan in mind for the reasons for re-signing Capps at $4.5 mil. I would have sent him on his way, reducing the payroll to $102 mil. If the Twins were certain of Mauer bouncing back, Joe Nathan is retained, moving the payroll up to $109 mil. This would leave more than enough room to re-sign either Cuddyer or Kubel (the logical choice for me is Kubel, but retaining Cuddyer would still bring the payroll in under $120 mil), AND, remember, we already made room to sign Willingham, Carroll and Doumit under the $120 mil cap and/or fill at least one of the holes at 3B and 2B by trading Liriano/Valencia/Casilla/1 excess SP/prospect(s).

This is what a team would do if it wasn't paralyzed.....

Riverbrian
05-16-2012, 07:16 AM
The Twins are not paralyzed by Joe's contract. They were punched in the head by it.

The value of the contract is pretty much set by what other people would pay. Coming off 2009 others would have paid.

Its a perfect storm... The state of Minnesota just built a brand new stadium for the Pohlads to pull revenue from. Hometown hero has a year for the ages and looked like he became what the scouts projected he could be. A hitter with power.

Another year like that in 2010... The wolves would be knocking at the door promising Joe and Shapiro all kinds of things not just tempting our boy away but ripping him from our arms like an F5 tornado.

The Twins promised Minnesotans that they would INVEST... Letting hometown guy walk after year one would be a PR nightmare. Extension a month before the doors opened to Target Field was a conclusion that both Einstein and Lennie Small and most everyone in between would have come to. Signing Mauer just before the turnstiles turn is BIG MO.

I blame Bill Smith for a lot of things... Or at least blame Bill Smith and the people surrounding Bill Smith for the current state of the franchise. They made a boatload of mistakes. The Joe Mauer contract is not something I blame them for.

It was a punch in the head... Not a broken spine. "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry".

Allow me to quote Mike Tyson who said. "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth". Some of the truest words ever spoken. As Twins fans we get to see what happens with the plan now. I hope to God that Jason Marquis was not the plan.

Alex
05-16-2012, 08:57 AM
@Jokin,

Blaming decisions in free agency and direction of the team on Mauer's contract, or the uncertainty of his performance, is, frankly, absurd. Any front office that sets their goals for an entire season around one player would be labeled as idiotic.

It's true that Mauer's contract is going to limit future FA and that how well Mauer would bounce back was/is questionable. However, he was one of many question marks and has been more positive than some. Here they are:

1. Morneau: Coming off multiple injuries, what form could he return to? So far, the answer has not been good.
2. Valencia: Could he regain 2010 form or even just be better than last year? So far, he's been worse, and hopefully he'll be back up and perform better sometime soon, but I doubt it.
3. The Entire Starting Pitching Staff: Nick Nelson again does a great job of breaking this down, but as he mentioned, they've all come up "tails." (http://www.twinsdaily.com/entry.php?41-Dangerous-Gambles-in-the-Rotation)


If you want to argue that the Twins cut payroll due to all these question marks and didn't plan to win-it-all based on that I'd be fine with that, but hypothesizing that their lack of aggressiveness in FA was simply due to questions about Mauer is ridiculous, and lacks evidence. I'd further argue, though, that the Twins track record of FA shows that they have never been aggressive, especially with starting pitching. Maybe that will change, but I don't think it will under the current leadership, and I think it has less to do with Mauer that with the organizational philosophy.

Shane Wahl
05-16-2012, 09:14 AM
I haven't read everything in this thread, but has anyone mentioned that the true paralyzing situation for the Twins is Justin Morneau and his contract? A healthy Justin Morneau causes a chain reaction beyond what he alone brings in WAR. The Twins have had to alter everything the past two years and this year it contributed (with Willingham's unwillingness to make a simple corner OF switch) to a total roster FARCE. The 1B/DH/RF situation outside of the past two weeks of Ryan Doumit has been an absurdity. Not Monty Python ha-ha absurdity, but painful absurdity . . . Clete Thomas signing and making a regular out of player who had not a single plate appearance in AAA. And more.

Furthermore, aside from the big two contracts, the Twins have a problem with paying smallish to medium sized contracts to players that suck. This is historical true, but historically it was more like 4-5 $2-3 million contracts for a total of $8-15 million (still a lot, and still money to be spent on a combination of replacement players and a star). Now it is Pavano, Baker, Liriano, Blackburn, and Capps (to a lesser extent). That's something like $30 million. That is a much greater problem than Joe Mauer. They could (and slowly are) replace each of those 4 starters with replacement players from the minors for probably the same or more wins (Diamond, Walters, Hendriks, DeVries).

Alex
05-16-2012, 09:27 AM
@ shanewahl, I agree and I did mention it, but those are great points about the chain reaction in the roster. He obviously doesn't get the boos and vitriol because his contract is smaller and for whatever reason people think Mauer missing playtime last year was less legitimate than Morneau's.

One other point: Vernon Wells contract did not paralyze the Angels...., though they could be looking at two horrid contracts...

Klochner
05-16-2012, 09:47 AM
Well said. It's worth pointing out to all the OPS hounds that getting on base at a .400 clip is significantly more valuable than slugging .400. Mauer hasn't been top tier this season, but it's not like he hasn't been productive. To be fair, 4.5 WAR is pretty awesome. It'd almost surely place him among the top three or four catchers in baseball.

Dilligaf69
05-16-2012, 09:57 AM
For me the Joe Mauer argument has little bearing on our situation. The Twins had to sign him...HAD to. It was market value coming off an MVP season while moving into a new ballpark. it had to happen and it did. I agree with shanewahl that Justin's contract which only has on yr left and all the smaller contract to below avg players hurts more. Now the Puljos contract will be an albatross for the LAA but that's a different story.

StormJH1
05-16-2012, 12:15 PM
I agree, and this was the point. It should be much easier to sign/develop even average hitters at these positions, but the Twins haven't done a good job of that. You shouldn't need to spend big money to get average players at these positions and they are still excellent hitters. The difference between them and spending a ton of money at those positions is of smaller gain than at a position like catcher...

Additionally, there are two further problems with your argument. One, we should have at least 1B filled with an excellent hitter, but that's easily a worse contract than the one discussed here. (Note: I'm not bashing Morneau, here, but the point seems obvious).

The other problem is the simple premise that Mauer's not valuable in terms of positional scarcity due to the fact that he doesn't have players around him. As mentioned, that's up to the Twins, not Mauer. The fact that they have haven't been able to produce/draft/accquire another even average hitter at RF is an organizational issue. The fact that they cut $15 from their payroll is an organizational issue. You cannot blame Mauer's contract for their inability or unwillingness to produce other even average talent or spend some more money in FA. It just isn't true.
We're sort of arguing two different things, so I'm not saying you're wrong. But I absolutely did not say that Mauer's positional scarcity couldn't have value to other teams in the right situation. Of course it could.

But it doesn't for the Twins, and that's the entire point. It's safe assume that the Twins can afford only one contract in the $20-25 million range, another one or two contracts in the $10-15 million range (Morneau is one of them, we had Nathan last year but axed him...and Cuddy/Kubel to get down to the $100 million level). You're going to tell me that if you had one player to spend that much money on, you'd rather spend that same amount of money on Mauer instead of Fielder, Cabrera, Pujols, Texiera, Braun, etc. etc....simply because Mauer happens to play catcher (sometimes)? That makes no sense. If you can only have one guy at that price, it had better be an impact bat in the middle of the lineup. Otherwise, you need your $10 million guy (or some $5 million guy or prospect) to suddenly become the 30 HR/100 RBI guy, and that's hard to do.

The real kicker, of course, is that Mauer was a better producer when we paid him less money. This was predictable, of course, but it doesn't change the reality that keeping Mauer meant that we had to increase the overall budget by about 15 million dollars, without any type of "upgrade" to the team.





2004
21
Minnesota Twins
$300,000
4/7/04 AP



2005
22
Minnesota Twins
$325,000




2006
23
Minnesota Twins
$400,000




2007
24
Minnesota Twins
$3,750,000




2008
25
Minnesota Twins
$6,250,000




2009
26
Minnesota Twins
$10,500,000




2010
27
Minnesota Twins
$12,500,000




2011
28
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000












2012
29
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000




2013
30
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000




2014
31
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000




2015
32
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000




2016
33
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000




2017
34
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000




2018
35
Minnesota Twins
$23,000,000

StormJH1
05-16-2012, 12:25 PM
For me the Joe Mauer argument has little bearing on our situation. The Twins had to sign him...HAD to. It was market value coming off an MVP season while moving into a new ballpark. it had to happen and it did. I agree with shanewahl that Justin's contract which only has on yr left and all the smaller contract to below avg players hurts more. Now the Puljos contract will be an albatross for the LAA but that's a different story.
Right, but that's the "non-baseball" argument for why Mauer is valuable. Mauer has intrinsic value to the Twins as a "business" because he has single-handedly changed the way this team is perceived. This team routinely drew 20,000 to 25,000 fans a game during season where they were, frankly, pretty mediocre, and before 2010, they did it in one of the crappiest baseball facilities in MLB. A HUGE part of this was the local celebrity appeal of a good-looking, likable hometown product with star potential. Mauer was the archetype for a team identity that was scrappy, mostly white, and non-threatening. If this team put up the exact numbers and wins each season, but with no Mauer, a Cuban shortstop, and a bunch of guys who smile less often (but do their jobs), you lose about 5,000 to 10,000 casual fans wearing pink J-shirts and fake sideburns every night. I'm not exaggerating.

That's the business part of it, and as something more than a casual fan, I accept it (whether I like it or not). Which is why I also "accepted" the Mauer deal in 2010, even though the baseball part of me knew it couldn't be a good idea.

USAFChief
05-16-2012, 01:21 PM
I think its doubtful at best that Mauer is singlehandedly responsible for 5000 to 10000 fans per night.

Shane Wahl
05-16-2012, 01:27 PM
We're sort of arguing two different things, so I'm not saying you're wrong. But I absolutely did not say that Mauer's positional scarcity couldn't have value to other teams in the right situation. Of course it could.

But it doesn't for the Twins, and that's the entire point. It's safe assume that the Twins can afford only one contract in the $20-25 million range, another one or two contracts in the $10-15 million range (Morneau is one of them, we had Nathan last year but axed him...and Cuddy/Kubel to get down to the $100 million level). You're going to tell me that if you had one player to spend that much money on, you'd rather spend that same amount of money on Mauer instead of Fielder, Cabrera, Pujols, Texiera, Braun, etc. etc....simply because Mauer happens to play catcher (sometimes)? That makes no sense. If you can only have one guy at that price, it had better be an impact bat in the middle of the lineup. Otherwise, you need your $10 million guy (or some $5 million guy or prospect) to suddenly become the 30 HR/100 RBI guy, and that's hard to do.


First, they can afford 2 $20 million players even at $100 million after this year, and especially after Morneau's contract is gone.
Second, yeah I would choose those guys you mention before Mauer, but Fielder and Butera is not that much greater than Mauer and Jim Thome, or some good DH/1B option. The positional scarcity thing is abstract until you actually start putting players in. Yeah, a Fielder-Butera duo compared to a Mauer-Parmelee duo favors the first pair, but Mauer and a healthy Morneau? Without crunching numbers, I am guessing the latter pair.

TwinsDohK
05-16-2012, 01:36 PM
http://stobblog.com/2012/05/mlb-mega-deals-mauer-not-alone-in-slagging-production-post-contract/

Good info here, showing at least Mauer isn't the only guy who has struggled or produced less after their big contract...issue is that he seems to have dropped off more than any of the other top 10 earners in the MLB.

Shane Wahl
05-16-2012, 01:40 PM
He dropped off for one injury-plagued year and 6 weeks into the following season while probably playing a few too many games. Perspective is needed.

Alex
05-16-2012, 01:43 PM
You're going to tell me that if you had one player to spend that much money on, you'd rather spend that same amount of money on Mauer instead of Fielder, Cabrera, Pujols, Texiera, Braun, etc. etc....simply because Mauer happens to play catcher (sometimes)? That makes no sense. If you can only have one guy at that price, it had better be an impact bat in the middle of the lineup. Otherwise, you need your $10 million guy (or some $5 million guy or prospect) to suddenly become the 30 HR/100 RBI guy, and that's hard to do.

This is the essence of value. My answer is likely a yes, assuming that you're getting a closer to ideal Mauer, who is catching more than he is now and hitting more like expected when his contract was signed.

Hopefully, the difference in hitting production between a top hitting C and average C is > the difference in hitting production between a top hitting 1B and an average one. You don't need to hope a $5M-$10M player hits 30HR/100 RBI (if those are the only numbers that concern you) because the net gain overall should be better.

A player like Willingham is an excellent example of this. He plays a corner outfield position, hit 4 fewer HR than Braun and had 14 fewer RBI on a much worse team. Willingham is getting $7M this year. Braun signed an extension that averages over $21M a year (which I think includes the bonus). Now, Braun did a lot of other things better, too, but I chose to use HR and RBI since those are the stats you quoted. I'm not saying I'd rather have Willingham than Braun, but you can see the difference is much smaller there than between a top hitting catcher last year, Napoli, and an average hitting catcher like Lucroy.

So, if I took Willingham and Napoli and you took Braun and Lucroy, I think I come out ahead.

I should note that by themselves HR and RBI just don't matter all that much to me. There are so many things a hitter can do besides hitting a HR that add value (or take it away) while RBI tend to be a lot about chance and the hitters ahead in the order.

MileHighTwinsFan
05-16-2012, 01:49 PM
I think the more interesting topic is whether we are at the beginning of the end of the long term high dollar contract. Mauer and Pujols might be exhibits 1 and 2 of why long term, high dollar contracts may quickly become a thing of the past. It will also be interesting to watch Fielder's performance over the life of his deal. While Fielder has been fine - you have to wonder about what his performance will look like in the later years. His dad, who as we all recall had a similar physical traits as Prince only had about 8 productive years total in his career. If at the end of the year we look at these three deals and see what the performance has been and then look at Josh Hamilton - it will be interesting to see if he gets a deal that approaches that of these 3 guys.

twinsnorth49
05-16-2012, 02:36 PM
I think the more interesting topic is whether we are at the beginning of the end of the long term high dollar contract. Mauer and Pujols might be exhibits 1 and 2 of why long term, high dollar contracts may quickly become a thing of the past. It will also be interesting to watch Fielder's performance over the life of his deal. While Fielder has been fine - you have to wonder about what his performance will look like in the later years. His dad, who as we all recall had a similar physical traits as Prince only had about 8 productive years total in his career. If at the end of the year we look at these three deals and see what the performance has been and then look at Josh Hamilton - it will be interesting to see if he gets a deal that approaches that of these 3 guys.


Long term, high dollar deals rarely, if ever, pay for themselves with on field performance. I've said many times that these contracts are based on past performance and are usually never repeated, especially over the length of time any of them are for. The contacts for these type of players keep fans in the seats and sometimes provide the edge to win in the short-term, which if the team does the contract will be well worth it from all of the residual benefits winning provides.

Like it or not, it's the buying public that provides the motivation for these types of contracts but are the first to blame ownership when they, quite expectedly don't live up to the hype.

one_eyed_jack
05-16-2012, 05:04 PM
I think we have a bit of a "inability to comprehend the situation" problem here. I also note you failed to acknowledge or refute certain parts of my refutation of your counterpoints, I am reluctantly forced to assume that you therefore agree that they were largely irrefutable. For the record on your point #2, I have made no assumptions or projections about how Mauer's contract will play out, I don't know- and more importantly- the Twins don't know- but no one denies things have gone from bad- to worse- to uncertain-...and that is where the paralysis kicks in. I think most commenters agree though, that the physical demands at his position strongly suggest that we have likely seen his most productive seasons behind him (see Nick Nelson's latest blog post for further evidence). I haven't seen or heard anyone argue that Joe Mauer will be having a Carlton Fisk- or Ivan Rodriguez-type career ahead of him- his numerous past injuries suggest exactly the opposite.

1) You calling my remarks "melodramatic and silly" does not make them such and you fail to demonstrate that they were. Tampa Bay has done things right because their market dictates this is what they must do to survive (see Highabove's post, because the Twins haven't duplicated this model, as HA says: "payroll will matter"). The Twins, their 3 million plus attendance, and in a new ballpark, were transitioning from the mid-size market small-payroll model to the "big-time" and had done a horrible job in the interim in terms of drafting, trading, signing and developing talent, while overpaying to retain current talent (Mauer obviously, but many others, all the way down to Blackburn and Casilla)

Here's a demonstrable scenario that shows the Twins are paralyzed by Mauer's contract:

2): You acknowledge that the Twins payroll was $112 mil in 2011 and $94 mil this year. This is strong evidence that the Twins recognized they would not be able to compete in 2012 (what with nearly 25% of their payroll holding a no-trade contract for a $23 million roster spot and a huge cloud of uncertainty about Mauer's ability to resume previous production numbers). If the Twins were confident that he would come roaring back, they could have gone in full "win-now" mode, to which, it is highly arguable that the Twins could have gone all-in in the free agent market and gone from $94 mil to a $120 mil payroll. Let's say they were even conservative with how much money they wanted to spend, they still could have signed 3 very good-to-decent FA starters who all inked 1-Year deals in the off-season- Edwin Jackson ($10.96 mil), Eric Bedard ($4.5 mil) and Paul Maholm ($4.25 mil). Their combined salaries come to $19.71 million. Even if the Twins "overpaid" this group to a combined $21 million, that still would have put the payroll at $115 million. Now, subtract the horrible contract to Jason Marquis ($3 mil) and the Twins would now be back to the exact payroll they had in 2011!!!($115 mil-$3mil= $112 mil). But wait, that still leaves the Twins with Pavano, Baker, Blackburn and Liriano. It has been obvious that Liriano should have been properly showcased and dealt previously to this year and he would have been traded in the offseason, regardless. That takes Liriano's contract off the books ($5.5 mil). The Twins should have known about Baker's arm problems and didn't, but let's say they would have kept the other three, designated Baker and Pavano as starters and put Blackburn in the bullpen. That still reduces the payroll to $106.5 mil. I get the PR disaster delayed and the long-term plan in mind for the reasons for re-signing Capps at $4.5 mil. I would have sent him on his way, reducing the payroll to $102 mil. If the Twins were certain of Mauer bouncing back, Joe Nathan is retained, moving the payroll up to $109 mil. This would leave more than enough room to re-sign either Cuddyer or Kubel (the logical choice for me is Kubel, but retaining Cuddyer would still bring the payroll in under $120 mil), AND, remember, we already made room to sign Willingham, Carroll and Doumit under the $120 mil cap and/or fill at least one of the holes at 3B and 2B by trading Liriano/Valencia/Casilla/1 excess SP/prospect(s).

This is what a team would do if it wasn't paralyzed.....



1) This was good for chuckles. Most of your "refutations" were either tangential if not wholly irrelevant the claim at hand or simply non-sequiturs (e.g. when I cited the Giants and Zito's contract as a counterexample and your "refutation" was basically "yeah, well, that's different because Zito is a starting pitcher"), and thus did not merit further response or discussion. So no, it wasn't because I agreed with them.

2) The rest of your incoherent rant about what would, could and should have happened if Mauer had performed differently is pure speculation, the liberal use of bolding and underlining notwithstanding.

3) You have not even attempted to explain the part of your claim most worthy of the "melodramatic and silly" label, which is that Mauer's contract "paralyzes" the Twins until 2018. There is no reason a single contract, no matter how bad, paralyze for 6 years. Such a claim simply has no basis in facts or logic. It reflects the mentality of a child who fails in his first attempt at something and starts whining about how he'll never be able to do it.

twinzgrl
05-16-2012, 06:52 PM
No one has the guts to say it so I will: Mauer built a career year in the HR category 100% via HGH/Roids just like Brady Anderson and many others before him. Joe is no dummy so he quit the stuff right after signing the contract to preserve his body and to have a nice life after baseball.

Now our favorite team is left with a 23 million dollar Casey Kotchman for the next 8 years. Yipeee!!

Bad for us........Great for Joe.
SERIOUSLY? Where did you get this information? Doesn't MLB have pretty tight drug testing? I don't believe for one second that Joe did drugs.

mike wants wins
05-16-2012, 07:23 PM
I think its doubtful at best that Mauer is singlehandedly responsible for 5000 to 10000 fans per night.

THIS for sure.

one_eyed_jack
05-16-2012, 07:35 PM
Nope, I live in a place called Reality.....You should visit some time!

---Please tell me you didn't just classify your "Mauer took steroids" claim as "reality".

jokin
05-17-2012, 12:01 AM
1) This was good for chuckles. Most of your "refutations" were either tangential if not wholly irrelevant the claim at hand or simply non-sequiturs (e.g. when I cited the Giants and Zito's contract as a counterexample and your "refutation" was basically "yeah, well, that's different because Zito is a starting pitcher"), and thus did not merit further response or discussion. So no, it wasn't because I agreed with them.

2) The rest of your incoherent rant about what would, could and should have happened if Mauer had performed differently is pure speculation, the liberal use of bolding and underlining notwithstanding.

3) You have not even attempted to explain the part of your claim most worthy of the "melodramatic and silly" label, which is that Mauer's contract "paralyzes" the Twins until 2018. There is no reason a single contract, no matter how bad, paralyze for 6 years. Such a claim simply has no basis in facts or logic. It reflects the mentality of a child who fails in his first attempt at something and starts whining about how he'll never be able to do it.


1) Again, you are the master of talking right past the facts with arguments that are nearly entirely "tangential" (ie "erratic"). Case in point, your summation about my Zito comments is nothing short of other-world absurdity. As I stated, Zito's case is entirely different, as:
A) he is a starting pitcher who plays in 20% of his team's games AND
B) the Giants had a contingency plan with extra arms in the farm system to take up the slack if Zito(as it turned out) ended up underperforming.
You are evidently completely unable to read and understand a simple use of the English language in a string of coherent sentences. (And you obviously relish in playing the role of the Bully-Boy of the Keyboard.)
C) Mauer was signed as- The Face of the Franchise- an everyday player at a physically demanding, key position who already had a demonstrable injury history- who inked the big contract while playing with a knee injury that would later require subsequent-season-debilitating surgery. The 2011 mystery and murky atmosphere surrounding Mauer and his "condition" was so palpable you could cut it with a knife, as the club's official party line on the matter seemed to change every week. To suggest that this situation wasn't The key concern of the Twins organization throughout 2011 is pure fantasy.

2) Your use of "incoherence" is directly related to your inability to comprehend the written language, not "rantings". Given my hypothesis that: Mauer's health and the self-inflicted damage that the club ("bilateral leg weakness") and Mauer (his Wet-Rag public persona led to wild speculation about what exotic disease-of-the-week was afflicting him) combined for, coupled with a collapse of personnel performance virtually across the board, led to the Twins becoming paralyzed at what direction to take; it is demonstrable by the Twin's actions subsequently, that they really floundered for direction (are we a "seller" or a "buyer" in July? became "dump salary at any price" going into August, September and the post-season). This is not speculation, this is what happened until they finally made public their intention to cut payroll to $94 million. I am further applying deductive logic (not "pure speculation") that the Twins master plan to build the new "big market" Twins around the "Face of the Franchise" came crashing down to Earth amidst the once-unthinkable choruses of boos for Mauer upon his return in 2011 and led to panic and inertia within the franchise, which had apparently made no contingency plans about what steps were needed to swiftly remedy the situation.

I presented a careful and precise hypothetical scenario with how the Twins could commit to a $120 million payroll (with exact contractural breakdowns included) that was one way the "newly competitive Twins and their beautiful new ballpark" could fulfill their promises to the fans when they agreed to build the new stadium for them. Every one of the moves I proposed for a quick fix for 2012 was workable and had a realistic outcome for success, with very low downside risk (a series of one-year FA contracts that the athletes themselves actually signed with other teams). There were no pie-in-the-sky Darvish, Buehrle, Wilson, Pujols in my proposal, just solid, obtainable players and a move to retain some of the core cogs that were keys to past success. That the Twins didn't pursue such a reasonable course demands a case be made for their rationale, I offered one reason why that was the case. If you would choose to become active in the discussion rather than rant, you might want to propose your reasoning why the Twins did what they did and in turn, propose your own alternative solution at getting out from under the status quo.

3) It's amazing how many Keyboard Nazis get cheap orgiastic delight in employing anonymous perjoratives against someone else equally anonymous, it's really quite sad and pathetic. You are completely misinterpreting my posts as I've never "whined" on this topic once. Apparently unlike yourself, I attach no emotional involvement in my posts or interest in the Twins, I merely enjoy the observational exercise of studying the dynamics of professional sports teams and athletes and other non-sports related businesses and organizations, as well. Your declarative statements, because you say them, doesn't necessarily make them so, as do mine. I did, and will continue, to offer reasons why I think the Twins are paralyzed by what to do with "The Face of The Franchise". To watch the media's coverage of Mauer's troubles last year and the Twins PR disaster in handling the situation and pretend that what to do next about handling Mauer the athlete, and his 24% imprint on the payroll, in the short-, intermediate-, and long-term isn't always, or should't be a front-page concern of the Twins, shows an incredibly opaque area in one's perceptive ability. Furthermore, the Twins appear to be moving in the opposite way from which I proposed, actively demonstrating their paralysis (ie, cutting payroll w/o a "new" master plan laid out to the buying public, illogical retention of players who have repeatedly proven they are below replacement level, bargain-basement FA signing of Marquis, a succession of waiver-wire castoffs claimed and immediately placed in the starting line-up, etc), meaning that Mauer takes up a bigger chunk of the payroll as the talent pool dissipates, continuing the cycle downward. "Basis in facts and logics" is easily demonstrated and has happened to past Twins teams and other sports franchises, as well. In the Twins case, past history showed that as the product declined on the field, revenues fell, causing another cut in payroll, and so on. This finally led to shedding virtually all established players and starting all over from practically ground zero and resultantly leading to two very long stretches of ineptitude while rebuilding from the ground up. I think I can make a strong case by the Twins behavior thus far that this is likely where this franchise is headed and "The Face of the Franchise" is a front-and-center issue in why it is headed that way. Certainly, someone, or many in the braintrust of the Twins were already aware and are having sleepless nights, of what Nick Nelson just recently posted on, ie, the sharp drop-off of the career of Jason Kendall from one of the best, to one of the worst catchers in baseball after he reached 30. This tends to be the norm for catchers rather than the exception- Mauer turns 30 next April.

glunn
05-17-2012, 12:10 AM
1) This was good for chuckles. Most of your "refutations" were either tangential if not wholly irrelevant the claim at hand or simply non-sequiturs (e.g. when I cited the Giants and Zito's contract as a counterexample and your "refutation" was basically "yeah, well, that's different because Zito is a starting pitcher"), and thus did not merit further response or discussion. So no, it wasn't because I agreed with them.

2) The rest of your incoherent rant about what would, could and should have happened if Mauer had performed differently is pure speculation, the liberal use of bolding and underlining notwithstanding.

3) You have not even attempted to explain the part of your claim most worthy of the "melodramatic and silly" label, which is that Mauer's contract "paralyzes" the Twins until 2018. There is no reason a single contract, no matter how bad, paralyze for 6 years. Such a claim simply has no basis in facts or logic. It reflects the mentality of a child who fails in his first attempt at something and starts whining about how he'll never be able to do it.

I think that you both make some good points, and I admire your passion. You might want to make this a bit less personal.

jokin
05-17-2012, 12:15 AM
I think that you both make some good points, and I admire your passion. You might want to make this a bit less personal.

Glunn, I am in complete agreement and am trying hard not to do so. I started the post with some stats and was curious in discussing the incongruous nature of Mauer's stats in the 3-spot relative to the rest of the league and how the Twins should handle such an unusual dilemma. I will make every effort to cease and desist from any unpleasantness.

StormJH1
05-17-2012, 12:48 PM
I'm mostly with jokin on this debate, though "paralysis" is probably too strong of a word. It's not that Twins are "paralyzed" from doing anything b/c of the contract. There is about $76 million dollars for the remainder of the budget that can be shifted around, and if this team could ever develop young (cheap) talent, they would still have the ability to be players in the FA market if they should so choose. But I'm sorry, for anyone to argue that we couldn't (or wouldn't) use an extra $23 million on other players that could help this team, that's just nuts. Of course we could!

Barreiro had a good take on this the other day - it isn't just about the money. This guy is supposed to be the leader and face of the organization and, by extension, a reflection of the greatness of Minnesota and what Minnesota can produce. And a lot of it is in the approach. Myself and others have talked endlessly about taking the first pitch in almost every at-bat, which puts him behind in the count much of the time and, therefore, leads to him swinging more defensively. Barreiro was talking about the thing Mauer does after every foul ball where he asks the umpire if it would have been a strike, since...heaven forbid...he might have swung at a pitch 3 inches out of the zone. He's a very good baseball player. I think he's trying this season to put on a tough face and prove he can be more reliable. But in terms of that "killer instinct" that calls for him to evolve his game, or show aggressiveness when the situation calls for it, no, I don't think he gets it. And the fact that we all wanted him to "get it" so badly was the reason that 2009 has us so badly duped.

CDog
05-17-2012, 01:58 PM
Myself and others have talked endlessly about taking the first pitch in almost every at-bat, which puts him behind in the count much of the time and, therefore, leads to him swinging more defensively. Barreiro was talking about the thing Mauer does after every foul ball where he asks the umpire if it would have been a strike, since...heaven forbid...he might have swung at a pitch 3 inches out of the zone. He's a very good baseball player. I think he's trying this season to put on a tough face and prove he can be more reliable. But in terms of that "killer instinct" that calls for him to evolve his game, or show aggressiveness when the situation calls for it, no, I don't think he gets it. And the fact that we all wanted him to "get it" so badly was the reason that 2009 has us so badly duped.

As long as it gets brought up endlessly, I guess I'll endlessly keep mentioning that he gets first pitch strikes less than the overall average. Then, of course, there's the possibility that he doesn't feel as stressed out over having a strike or even two against him that many observers apparently do. And as long as we're heaven forbidding...heaven forbid that he ask for some information, likely to use that information to make himself a better hitter. Yes, everyone can always improve all the time, especially in this game, but the overwhelming thoughts from the peanut gallery that think their approach is so much better than someone who has used their own to put up the first half pace of a hall of fame career just seems so out of place that I'm just amazed by it over and over again.

How do you get the rant font turned off here?

Alex
05-17-2012, 02:20 PM
As long as it gets brought up endlessly, I guess I'll endlessly keep mentioning that he gets first pitch strikes less than the overall average. Then, of course, there's the possibility that he doesn't feel as stressed out over having a strike or even two against him that many observers apparently do. And as long as we're heaven forbidding...heaven forbid that he ask for some information, likely to use that information to make himself a better hitter. Yes, everyone can always improve all the time, especially in this game, but the overwhelming thoughts from the peanut gallery that think their approach is so much better than someone who has used their own to put up the first half pace of a hall of fame career just seems so out of place that I'm just amazed by it over and over again.

How do you get the rant font turned off here?


I was thinking exactly the same thing when I heard Barreiro yesterday, that maybe Mauer is trying to judge the strike zone and gather information rather than the fact that he just didn't want to swing at a ball.

I've also never like Barreiro's take on Mauer. I think he has things, and responsibility reversed. I don't think it's really Mauer's job to change his personality and leadership because of his contract. It's up to the Twins to recognize what they have and pay what they think it's worth.

one_eyed_jack
05-17-2012, 02:25 PM
I'm mostly with jokin on this debate, though "paralysis" is probably too strong of a word. It's not that Twins are "paralyzed" from doing anything b/c of the contract. There is about $76 million dollars for the remainder of the budget that can be shifted around, and if this team could ever develop young (cheap) talent, they would still have the ability to be players in the FA market if they should so choose. But I'm sorry, for anyone to argue that we couldn't (or wouldn't) use an extra $23 million on other players that could help this team, that's just nuts. Of course we could!



---I don't believe I, or anyone else, argued such a thing. My disagreement was with the claim that Mauer's contract "paralyzes" the Twins until 2018. Like I said, I think "hampers" would be fair, but "paralyzes" is dramatic, particularly when you insist it will last untl 2018.

Shane Wahl
05-17-2012, 04:00 PM
Officially staying away from "Joe Mauer-hating" threads on top of the "trade Span" threads. At least the latter has some rational support.

TwinVike61
05-17-2012, 04:40 PM
Officially staying away from "Joe Mauer-hating" threads on top of the "trade Span" threads. At least the latter has some rational support.

OK, I'm officially not going to respond to your post...oops...I guess I am...I just want to respond that it's not hating Joe Mauer...it's the contract.

twinsnorth49
05-17-2012, 04:54 PM
If you kids don't be quiet I'm turning this thing around right now!

jokin
05-17-2012, 05:21 PM
OK, I'm officially not going to respond to your post...oops...I guess I am...I just want to respond that it's not hating Joe Mauer...it's the contract.


Exactly right! You nailed the crux of the matter with a brevity for which I am admittedly lacking. I also don't hate Joe Mauer, I honestly don't understand people who can ever generate enough feelings about a game that elevate one's emotional response to the level of "hate". Conversely, it is lazy analysis to suggest it is "hate speech" when someone points out when performance paramaters change in a statistically significant way. I engaged the debate in this thread to flesh out and question what things a mid-market team: 1)could have done differently leading up to the contract and, 2) should do now with the contract and player being what they are.


Upon further reflection, perhaps "paralyzed" came off as too strong a characterization of Twins management until 2018, but if any criticism ("hate") was being proffered, that was the direction I was headed, perhaps "handcuffed" would have hit the right note, had I given it more thought. But the fact remains, Mauer is locked in as the 3rd highest player in baseball (http://baseballplayersalaries.com/salaries?season=2012) with his production and health in evident (at least in the short-term) decline, about to enter his 30s, all while retaining the right to call all the shots regarding his continued tenure as a Twin- thus far, the Twins seem to have a paralysis of thought in how they move forward with the apparent new reality.

USAFChief
05-17-2012, 07:22 PM
As long as it gets brought up endlessly, I guess I'll endlessly keep mentioning that he gets first pitch strikes less than the overall average. Then, of course, there's the possibility that he doesn't feel as stressed out over having a strike or even two against him that many observers apparently do. And as long as we're heaven forbidding...heaven forbid that he ask for some information, likely to use that information to make himself a better hitter. Yes, everyone can always improve all the time, especially in this game, but the overwhelming thoughts from the peanut gallery that think their approach is so much better than someone who has used their own to put up the first half pace of a hall of fame career just seems so out of place that I'm just amazed by it over and over again.

How do you get the rant font turned off here?

1. Do you have some proof that Mauer's first pitch strike percentage is below average? I admit I don't know, but I'd like to see some proof before accepting that claim. I also think a more relevant comparison would be 1st strike percentage of #3 hitters, or 3, 4, and 5 hitters, rather than first strike percentage of everyone.

2. Whether or not he feels "stressed" at being behind in the count is pretty irrelevant. What's relevant is if hitting behind in the count makes him a worse hitter. A quick check of BBRef shows that for his career, when behind in the count, Mauer ends up OPSing .623. After 0-1 counts, he's at .731. After 1-2 counts, .599. So maybe Mauer should be a little more stressed about hitting behind in the count.

3. Yeah, I don't give a rat's arse either if he always brushes the box with his feet and asks the umpire if it was a strike after most foul balls.

4. Even if we grant you Mauer has put up a "first half pace of a HOF career," he ain't maintaining that pace. After the 1.000+ OPS of 2009, he's gone .871 and .729 in the two years since. Dropping .150 points per year. And he's sub .800 again this year, although I certainly agree it's early to judge 2012. So maybe he should be a little more open to "making adjustments" as we hear over and over again is required at "the major league level." What Mauer did in 2009 was great, but it's no longer relevant. We're talking about what he's going to do over the next 6+ years that matters now. And so far, he ain't doing a whole lot. Certainly not $23M worth.

Get him out from behind the plate, permanently, so he has the best chance of staying healthy and playing 160-ish games per year. Get him to accept some sort of leadership role. That's part of what he's being paid for. And for Pete's sake, ahe could at least try to learn to look for spots to turn on the ball sometimes. That's part of being a $23M player too.

Alex
05-17-2012, 08:58 PM
I'm pretty much done with this thread, but, people, stats are so easy to look up. Good find on the counts. I actually had the impression that Mauer was just as good a hitter behind in the count. Never had a reason to look that one up though, so hadn't bothered. He's definitely not good down in counts as I expected. As far as first pitch strikes:

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1857&position=C#platediscipline

This season Joe Mauer's first pitch strike % is 54.5% (not unusual for him). Josh Willingham's 1st pitch strike % is 56%, and that's low for him. MVP Ryan Braun is 58.6% this year and 59% last year. Josh Hamilton is 63.2%. Cabrera is 60%. Need I go on? There are hitters that are lower, but does anyone really think that pitchers would want to get behind these guys?

League Average since 2002 has been between 58.3 and 59.4, so it's safe to say that Mauer sees fewer first pitch strikes than most hitters. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=5&season=2011&month=0&season1=2002&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&players=0

So, pretty much well below average. Another interesting stat is that he is a .967 OPS hitter on first pitch swings. It's really his second best count after 3-1 (he's even better at 3-0, but he's put 4 pitches in play his ENTIRE career in this count, so I'm going to set that aside.). This means he's pretty selective, so imo....

No matter what people say about Joe's leadership, the possibility of his decline, lack of power, etc...etc...the guy is a professional hitter and knows that aspect of the game better than most other ballplayers, and certainly, better than those of us here.

USAFChief
05-17-2012, 09:22 PM
. As far as first pitch strikes:

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1857&position=C#platediscipline

This season Joe Mauer's first pitch strike % is 54.5% (not unusual for him). Josh Willingham's 1st pitch strike % is 56%, and that's low for him. MVP Ryan Braun is 58.6% this year and 59% last year. Josh Hamilton is 63.2%. Cabrera is 60%. Need I go on? There are hitters that are lower, but does anyone really think that pitchers would want to get behind these guys?

League Average since 2002 has been between 58.3 and 59.4, so it's safe to say that Mauer sees fewer first pitch strikes than most hitters. http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=5&season=2011&month=0&season1=2002&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&players=0

.

Interesting, but deceptive. Fangraphs' data for that stat (F%) includes swinging strikes on the first pitch, fair and foul balls on the first pitch, as well as called strikes on the first pitch. So naturally, a hitter who seldom swings at the first pitch is pretty much guaranteed to end up with a lower "first pitch strike" percentage than a hitter more inclined to swing at the first pitch.

So without further analysis, I don't think you can draw firm conclusions that Mauer is getting fed fewer first pitch strikes than other hitters. And I don't think it serves as very good evidence that Mauer wouldn't benefit from aggressively swinging at a higher percentage of first pitches.

striker_86
05-17-2012, 10:25 PM
Im sure many of you have checked out Fangraphs.com. This site is awesome, breaks down everything you need to know.

I know people are begging for Mauer to swing at the first pitch and stop grounding into double plays. Is it possible, that he is in such a slump, that he thinks a walk is the best he can do? He knows that he is having trouble hitting and is trying to use walks to help the team out. Don't get me wrong, Im not making excuses for the guy, just curious what you guys think.

His OBP is .391 (20th in the league). Willingham's is .410

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&players=0&sort=14,d

Interesting...

Alex
05-17-2012, 10:26 PM
Interesting, but deceptive. Fangraphs' data for that stat (F%) includes swinging strikes on the first pitch, fair and foul balls on the first pitch, as well as called strikes on the first pitch. So naturally, a hitter who seldom swings at the first pitch is pretty much guaranteed to end up with a lower "first pitch strike" percentage than a hitter more inclined to swing at the first pitch.

So without further analysis, I don't think you can draw firm conclusions that Mauer is getting fed fewer first pitch strikes than other hitters. And I don't think it serves as very good evidence that Mauer wouldn't benefit from aggressively swinging at a higher percentage of first pitches.

Deceptive? How odd. Regardless, his approach leads to fewer first strikes than the average hitter by a considerable margin. This should lead to favorable counts in which most hitters have a better chance of reaching base.

If you believe the stats are deceptive, you're then assuming that these average hitters are swinging at balls, thus artificially inflating their strike counts. In truth, I'm sure they are to a small extent, but then, shouldn't they be taking those pitches? Even accounting for that notion, is that entire difference (~5%) that these hitters are swinging at bad pitches? Think of how that frames your point: The average hitter ends up with more first strikes because he swings at balls outside of the strike zone. By that logic, disciplined hitters should swing at more balls, so that pitchers throw them fewer strikes on the first pitch? My head is about to explode here.

There is game theory involved in first pitch strikes (see my recommendation below) and an equilibrium involved, but I don't think Mauer's anywhere near it. (He should be getting 60% or higher before he starts swinging more).


Even if, for some reason, you still don't buy into it, I think it quite resoundingly refutes the idea that Mauer is getting fed MORE first pitch strikes than most hitters, which is the perception and frequent argument. If you still don't buy that, I'd highly suggest p.358-361 of The Book by Tom Tango (paying special attention to 361, the discussion of Boggs and Youkilis, hitters with similar approaches to Mauer.)

Ultima Ratio
05-17-2012, 10:27 PM
At the end of April I said that Mauer was overpaid by 8 million/year. Now it's at least 10/year. It looks to me like he's not using his lower body at all some for some swings, like a Span swing. He's also not good against junk, but more of a FB hitter and pitchers know this. Get the fastball in for strike one, then breaking balls down over and over again.

one_eyed_jack
05-17-2012, 10:56 PM
Apologies to jokin and others for going overboard with the snark in this thread. It was unnecessary and uncalled for.

CDog
05-17-2012, 11:52 PM
1. Do you have some proof that Mauer's first pitch strike percentage is below average? I admit I don't know, but I'd like to see some proof before accepting that claim. I also think a more relevant comparison would be 1st strike percentage of #3 hitters, or 3, 4, and 5 hitters, rather than first strike percentage of everyone.

2. Whether or not he feels "stressed" at being behind in the count is pretty irrelevant. What's relevant is if hitting behind in the count makes him a worse hitter. A quick check of BBRef shows that for his career, when behind in the count, Mauer ends up OPSing .623. After 0-1 counts, he's at .731. After 1-2 counts, .599. So maybe Mauer should be a little more stressed about hitting behind in the count.

4. Even if we grant you Mauer has put up a "first half pace of a HOF career," he ain't maintaining that pace. After the 1.000+ OPS of 2009, he's gone .871 and .729 in the two years since. Dropping .150 points per year. And he's sub .800 again this year, although I certainly agree it's early to judge 2012. So maybe he should be a little more open to "making adjustments" as we hear over and over again is required at "the major league level." What Mauer did in 2009 was great, but it's no longer relevant. We're talking about what he's going to do over the next 6+ years that matters now. And so far, he ain't doing a whole lot. Certainly not $23M worth.

1. What other people said.

2. Well no kidding he hits worse behind in the count. So does another really good player named Everybody. He does NOT, however, hit as poorly compared to ahead in the count as many or most. For instance, a player he hits better than when behind in the count...Miguel Cabrera. And as another point, even when he does fall behind 0-1, there are lots o' times he ends up in hitter's counts later on.

4. It's not a pace he needs to "maintain" in the same sense as a race. Looking at his top ten comparables at his age, five are in the hall, one is guaranteed to go, and three others "could." All of those guys slowed down their accumulation with age, too.

USAFChief
05-18-2012, 12:51 AM
1. What other people said.

2. Well no kidding he hits worse behind in the count. So does another really good player named Everybody. He does NOT, however, hit as poorly compared to ahead in the count as many or most. For instance, a player he hits better than when behind in the count...Miguel Cabrera. And as another point, even when he does fall behind 0-1, there are lots o' times he ends up in hitter's counts later on.

4. It's not a pace he needs to "maintain" in the same sense as a race. Looking at his top ten comparables at his age, five are in the hall, one is guaranteed to go, and three others "could." All of those guys slowed down their accumulation with age, too.

1. As noted above, the first pitch strike percentage includes pitches swung at, and pitches put into play, so it doesn't really tell us if Mauer gets fewer, or more, first pitch called strikes. If Josh Hamilton swings at the first pitch, it counts as a first pitch strike and we don't know if the umpire would have called it a strike or not. Since Mauer swings at few first pitches, it's not an exact comparison.

2. a) So wouldn't the idea be then to not get behind in the count? Sometimes guessing on a first pitch and taking a rip is one way to avoid falling behind in the count, and one way many hitters hit for power. As noted above, Mauer is pretty successful when he puts the first pitch of an AB in play. I think the team would benefit if he'd do it more often. Too often, IMO, he ends up putting a pitcher's pitch in play with 2 strikes on him, with a defensive swing. b) As for Cabrera, he must then be a much better hitter than Mauer when he's even and/or ahead in the count...lifetime he's been .078 OPS pts better than Mauer overall. c) And ending up in a hitter's count after falling behind 0-1 was included in the stat cited above..."after 0-1 count."

4. There actually is a pace he needs to maintain, and putting up a string of .700-something OPS years from here on out will not maintain that pace. If he does that, those age 28 comparables are meaningless, as his age 35 comparables will be quite a different list. They don't put you in the HOF based on what you looked like you might be.

twinswon1991
05-18-2012, 06:54 AM
It speaks to how overpaid Mauer is when there is no team in baseball that would take his contract for FREE.

6 more years at 23 mil for a DH/1B that posseses Punto-esque power will paralyze any franchise.

StormJH1
05-18-2012, 09:43 AM
I was thinking exactly the same thing when I heard Barreiro yesterday, that maybe Mauer is trying to judge the strike zone and gather information rather than the fact that he just didn't want to swing at a ball.

I've also never like Barreiro's take on Mauer. I think he has things, and responsibility reversed. I don't think it's really Mauer's job to change his personality and leadership because of his contract. It's up to the Twins to recognize what they have and pay what they think it's worth.

Okay, so it's kind of like the "dating somebody hoping they will change argument". I get it, it's unrealistic.

But you're talking about his personality. My counter to that is that Mauer DID change after he got the contract. The Twins (and their fans) saw an evolved Mauer in 2009, at an age (26) where it was still realistic to expect that evolution to take place. You don't "accidentally" hit 28 balls over the outfield fence...Mauer was driving the ball, and that was a new development. He's had double digit home runs only one other time in his career. Oh, and by the way, it's not like he was doing cartwheels to lead the team onto the field or breaking bats over his knee that year either. He was his same boring self, and nobody cared because we had a damn good baseball player.

His swing now has more in common with Ichiro's than it does with Morneau's or Willingham's. Perhaps he's scared of failure. Maybe he thinks he really is more valuable to the team keeping his OBP as high as possible (though it was never higher than it was in '09). Maybe it's chronic nagging injuries. Maybe he has something even more insidious, like a blood disorder or chronic fatigue. These are all darts thrown at the wall, but at least the people trying to find an explanation are also the ones holding onto the hope that it can be fixed. But if it's a straight question of expected value versus actual value, the reason really doesn't matter.

BeefMaster
05-18-2012, 11:05 AM
His swing now has more in common with Ichiro's than it does with Morneau's or Willingham's. Perhaps he's scared of failure. Maybe he thinks he really is more valuable to the team keeping his OBP as high as possible (though it was never higher than it was in '09). Maybe it's chronic nagging injuries. Maybe he has something even more insidious, like a blood disorder or chronic fatigue. These are all darts thrown at the wall, but at least the people trying to find an explanation are also the ones holding onto the hope that it can be fixed. But if it's a straight question of expected value versus actual value, the reason really doesn't matter.

Mauer NEVER had a swing like Morneau's or Willingham's, even in 2009 - almost all his homers that year were line shots to the opposite field, most of which barely cleared the wall. He probably would've lost a bunch of homers if the Twins had left up the plexiglass in the Dome. He's never been a pull-for-power guy, and if the Twins thought that he would become that based on 2009, that was a colossal failure in scouting.

Look at his numbers from 2009 to 2010, when he moved to a home park with deeper fences: In 2010, he hit 19 fewer homers but had 13 more doubles than in 2009. He was still driving the ball basically the same as before, but they weren't making it over fences as often. Between those two years, he lost 30 points of OPS on the road and 300 points of OPS at home.

Alex
05-18-2012, 02:23 PM
Gleeman breaks down a lot of Mauer stats. As he says, they're more bad than good overall, but does share some interesting ones about the main complaints (RBI %, WAR, value of AVG vs. OBP, contract space).

http://www.kfan.com/player/?station=KFXN-FM&program_name=podcast&program_id=KFAN_PADubay.xml&mid=22098817

glunn
05-19-2012, 02:54 AM
It speaks to how overpaid Mauer is when there is no team in baseball that would take his contract for FREE.


How do you know that? I would bet that there is at least one or two large market teams that would gladly take him. It also seems possible that he will return to 90% or more of his prior excellence.

EephusKnuckler
05-20-2012, 01:46 PM
I'm not too familiar with contract stuff in MLB, but I wonder if there's ever a chance that Mauer's contract can be reworked. The "hometown kid" thing works both ways. The organization takes care of him, and he does what he can to help the team win. If that means reworking a deal and taking a paycut so the team around him can improve, then that needs to be done.

jokin
05-29-2012, 11:38 PM
Jim Souhan has come up with the latest adjective describing Mauer's upcoming 6-year relationship with the Twins:"Suffocating"...

http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/155550255.html

I don't often agree with Souhan, but he does bring up some valid points in his article. In his Mauer-attribute-summation paragraph there are areas to agree and disagree over:



"Mauer circa 2012 is a quality hitter. (partially agree, hasn't exactly acquitted himself the last two days, who didn't think a GIDP was coming during tonight's 9th inning rally??? GB/FB% at career worst). He's elite when it comes to getting on base. (Agree) He's a pretty good defensive catcher with an excellent arm . (Most observers would say he has slipped to just-above average defensively and his arm isn't what it once was: ZR at career low, CS% career low and at 1/2 of career average, CERA career worst, etc.) He's a fine baserunner and a smart player. (I think Souhan must have taken Memorial Day off, Joe didn't exactly distinguish himself on the bases yesterday).
He's the last guy who's going to embarrass himself or his franchise with a DUI or a ridiculous quote. (Agree about his good citizen status but he filled up a dozen notebooks with ridiculous quotes last year). He's just not worth anything close to $23 million a year..." (Is there one person in TwinsLand that doesn't agee with this quote?)

CDog
05-29-2012, 11:55 PM
"Mauer circa 2012 is a quality hitter. (partially agree, hasn't exactly acquitted himself the last two days, who didn't think a GIDP was coming during tonight's 9th inning rally??? GB/FB% at career worst). He's elite when it comes to getting on base. (Agree) He's a pretty good defensive catcher with an excellent arm . (Most observers would say he has slipped to just-above average defensively and his arm isn't what it once was: ZR at career low, CS% career low and at 1/2 of career average, CERA career worst, etc.) He's a fine baserunner and a smart player. (I think Souhan must have taken Memorial Day off, Joe didn't exactly distinguish himself on the bases yesterday).
He's the last guy who's going to embarrass himself or his franchise with a DUI or a ridiculous quote. (Agree about his good citizen status but he filled up a dozen notebooks with ridiculous quotes last year). He's just not worth anything close to $23 million a year..." (Is there one person in TwinsLand that doesn't agee with this quote?)

A two-day sample? Twice?..............I didn't read a single quote that was ridiculous when not taken out of context or twisted by a reader/listener...............Probably not one, but almost certainly many.

jokin
05-30-2012, 12:11 AM
A two-day sample? Twice?..............I didn't read a single quote that was ridiculous when not taken out of context or twisted by a reader/listener...............Probably not one, but almost certainly many.Your Selective Reader Bias is showing, badly, the "two-day samples" were illustrations, not proofs, the proofs are included. Mauer is definitely a "quality" hitter, but nothing like before (Ben Revere, of all people, has a higher SLG%!// Mauer is on a current pace to break the all-time single-season GIDP record); regarding his baserunning, it's fair to say he's a "good" baserunner, probably a grade below "a fine baserunner". Re Mauer's quotes, the organization itself has acknowledged the PR disaster in Mauer's quotes last year, his two-month Florida "vacation" and his apparent unwillingness to play unless he was "feeling 100%". The proof there is the Twins and Mauer have obviously come to some agreement, this season, to keep Joe "on message" to the media and a mutual commitment to keep him on the field as much as possible.

Bark's Lounge
05-30-2012, 01:05 AM
Your Selective Reader Bias is showing, badly, the "two-day samples" were illustrations, not proofs, the proofs are included. Mauer is definitely a "quality" hitter, but nothing like before (Ben Revere, of all people, has a higher SLG%!); regarding his baserunning, it's fair to say he's a "good" baserunner, probably a grade below "a fine baserunner". Re Mauer's quotes, the organization itself has acknowledged the PR disaster in Mauer's quotes last year, his two-month Florida "vacation" and his apparent unwillingness to play unless he was "feeling 100%". The proof there is the Twins and Mauer have obviously come to some agreement, this season, to keep Joe "on message" to the media and a mutual commitment to keep him on the field as much as possible.

Dear Mr. Jokin. Are you a high profile defense attorney? If not, you should give your career choice a second thought. You would make Johnny Cochrane proud... although a few "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit" kind of lines would help your standing and profile. Within this thread you probably have a books worth of written material. You seem really intent on proving your critics wrong and at no cost. I am not sure whether to equate that to you having an inflated ego or that you are uber passionate about Mauer's contract - it comes off as angry and out of control. This is coming from a Twins Daily Participant who has pissed on an electric fence or 2 on this site and is regretful of past posts, etc... I might actually regret this one. Mr. Jokin, please channel your inner Johnny Cochrane and repeat these words: "Joe Mauer's Contract is behind us, about the contract don't remind us."

Riverbrian
05-30-2012, 08:04 AM
There are ten players making 20 million or higher in 2011. In comparison to the production of some players who make a mere ten million a year or the league minimum... I contend that nobody is worth that amount of cash!

The market is what the market is and the market was what the market was and the market will be what the market will be. In 2010... You sign Mauer to that contract.

cr9617
05-30-2012, 09:28 AM
All of this back and forth is somewhat entertaining. It doesn't change the fact that our Hometown Hero is massively overpaid, and his performance since signing the contract has been underwhelming, to say the least. And this contract will hamstring the team for the duration of the deal.

The Twins, and Super Joe, have egg on their face.

CDog
05-30-2012, 09:30 AM
Your Selective Reader Bias is showing, badly, the "two-day samples" were illustrations, not proofs, the proofs are included. Mauer is definitely a "quality" hitter, but nothing like before (Ben Revere, of all people, has a higher SLG%!// Mauer is on a current pace to break the all-time single-season GIDP record); regarding his baserunning, it's fair to say he's a "good" baserunner, probably a grade below "a fine baserunner". Re Mauer's quotes, the organization itself has acknowledged the PR disaster in Mauer's quotes last year, his two-month Florida "vacation" and his apparent unwillingness to play unless he was "feeling 100%". The proof there is the Twins and Mauer have obviously come to some agreement, this season, to keep Joe "on message" to the media and a mutual commitment to keep him on the field as much as possible.

Yes, I very selectively ignored alllllll the things you said about Mauer's baserunning that were outside of the one game you mentioned (although I did give the benefit of the doubt to add a second game). I also kindly and selectively didn't mention that almost anyone with sense knows that even full season's worth of defensive data can be mis-leading, and even more so for catchers, and let alone 200 innings. I also selectively didn't mention that "most observers" likely means "your own non-objective thoughts." And if it's super fun for you, we can keep going on the merry-go-round where you claim his quotes were ridiculous, I say that I read almost everything I could and didn't hear any that were ridiculous unless twisted by the reader/listener who wanted to hear something ridiculous and then you can say "nuh uh, they were ridiculous" and I can say....etc etc etc. Your attempts at analysis aren't so good, and then your bias begins to show and things get laughable. You imply that nearly everyone expects the negative outcome that you expect (despite that being an unlikely outcome even at it's "record breaking pace"). That example shows your unreasonable and slanted expectation and bias (fact-based). As does your unfounded implication that Mauer's choice would be to not play rather than play (opinion-based).

Shane Wahl
05-31-2012, 05:12 PM
God, that Souhan article is trash as usual. Mauer's projected $ value right now, according to Fan Graphs is $20 million. FYI. Maybe morons like Souhan aren't aware that 20 and 23 are close numbers?

ChuckkJay
05-31-2012, 05:21 PM
I think the best question is this: How many top level, elite players receive top level, elite contracts - and then go on to make them worth it?

It's hard to answer, mostly around the "worth it" part. Use WAR, World Series title, whatever. I don't care to get bogged in the minutiae, it's more of a qualitative question.

It would seem the answer is "not very many." I don't have any data, this is my perception.

I truly believe that if I were a GM, I'd not sign anyone like this. Pujols, Mauer, Hamilton ... any of them. Let them walk. The fans will get over it in two years if you use the savings to sign good replacements. I can't see how it's ever worth it. For every example of someone making it worth it, there's about 20 cases where it wasn't worth it.

twinsnorth49
05-31-2012, 06:20 PM
All of this back and forth is somewhat entertaining. It doesn't change the fact that our Hometown Hero is massively overpaid, and his performance since signing the contract has been underwhelming, to say the least. And this contract will hamstring the team for the duration of the deal.

The Twins, and Super Joe, have egg on their face.


Ok, they have egg on their face, now what?

twinsnorth49
05-31-2012, 06:21 PM
that Souhan article is trash as usual.. morons like Souhan


Most accurate comments in this entire thread.

Nick Nelson
05-31-2012, 06:31 PM
God, that Souhan article is trash as usual. Mauer's projected $ value right now, according to Fan Graphs is $20 million. FYI. Maybe morons like Souhan aren't aware that 20 and 23 are close numbers?
Fan Graphs statistics are not gospel. That is a highly theoretical number, and citing it as fact seems disingenuous for someone who is casting stones at another writer.

I personally don't believe Mauer, at his current rate of production, will be worth $20 million to the Twins this year. And I certainly don't think he'll be worth it if he's still hitting this way and playing 1B/DH exclusively in four years.

StormJH1
05-31-2012, 07:55 PM
Agree with Nick, but that has to go both ways. If FanGraphs said that Mauer was worth $6 million right now, critics of Mauer (myself included) shouldn't be have license to use that number to prove he's overpaid. Contract value is highly subjective, and in the case of Mauer, there was value to keeping Mauer that can't be measured with any statistic (such as watching him bowl strikes in Twins commercials, or sing off-key in Minnesota tourism commercials, instead of seeing him in pinstripes and a Yankee hat on SportsCenter).

I'm actually surprised how many knowledgeable fans share the view that Mauer is overpaid. A lot of the statheads (Gleeman comes to mind) seem to be able to come up with reasons why Mauer is one of the best in baseball, no matter how much he struggles. Then again, this is the same logic telling us that J.D. Drew is a borderline Hall of Famer. (Seriously. Read Gleeman's analysis of #2 overall picks and WAR).

NorthwestTwinsFan
05-31-2012, 08:15 PM
We shouldn't have to dig through advanced statistics to find the hidden value of a guy making $23 million a year. Do you think Rangers fans have to consult Fan Graphs to tell you how good Josh Hamilton is?

jokin
05-31-2012, 10:57 PM
Fan Graphs statistics are not gospel. That is a highly theoretical number, and citing it as fact seems disingenuous for someone who is casting stones at another writer.

I personally don't believe Mauer, at his current rate of production, will be worth $20 million to the Twins this year. And I certainly don't think he'll be worth it if he's still hitting this way and playing 1B/DH exclusively in four years.

This.

Statheads at Rotoworld and FanGraphs (like Gleeman) are seemingly using a Braille-based method of analysis and/or had their cable and sat dishes shut down. Mark Twain was at his facetiously sardonic best when he said there were three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies and statistics. Satiating stat hound's rotisserie team performances has become more important than actually getting down to the nub of a player's true worth to a team. There simply have to be flaws in the numbers or Billy Beane would have one at least one World Series in the last 15 years, right? (StormJH1 nailed it- JD Drew is demonstrably NOT a borderline HOFer, therefore, the numbers have to be flawed). Additionally, there appear to be posters here on Twins Daily that remain in denial and are unwilling to believe their own lying eyes at what they are actually observing. Don't take Souhan's word for it, he followed his usual MO, made some strong observations and surprisingly, has since equivocated on Twitter and KSTP. The usuals trashed him for the bomb-thrower he usually is, despite the fact that he, for once, actually got some aspects of the situation right. Instead, read unbiased national baseball writers and analysts for their take on the situation, every time one of those types writes at all negatively about Mauer and the Twins, they get the same treatment from the usual local suspects.


I think Nick's opening statement needs to be repeated- repeatedly- the Sabre-stats are a very useful tool for analysis, they are not sacrosanct or divinely inspired, let alone the Final Word. I can honestly say as a Twins fan I want this situation to resolve itself and nothing would make me happier than Mauer reverting close to his career averages, but the move to Target Field and past history suggests against it ever happening- and I can think of at least 6 catchers just off the top of my head that would be more valuable to the team today than Mauer- and at a fraction of the price. At least Souhan got the ball rolling, we now have laid a foundation to determine ballpark figures for Mauer's pay for performance and his pay for marketing.

Shane Wahl
06-01-2012, 02:02 AM
Please name those 6 catchers. But I am likely to go back to ignoring the overpaid-Mauer crowd.

Alex
06-01-2012, 07:20 AM
This.


I think Nick's opening statement needs to be repeated- repeatedly- the Sabre-stats are a very useful tool for analysis, they are not sacrosanct or divinely inspired, let alone the Final Word. I can honestly say as a Twins fan I want this situation to resolve itself and nothing would make me happier than Mauer reverting close to his career averages, but the move to Target Field and past history suggests against it ever happening- and I can think of at least 6 catchers just off the top of my head that would be more valuable to the team today than Mauer- and at a fraction of the price. At least Souhan got the ball rolling, we now have laid a foundation to determine ballpark figures for Mauer's pay for performance and his pay for marketing.

I guess I didn't read all this in Nick's statement. I got the impression he was talking about the player value stat, and I think that's fine.

I don't think that the stats crowd believe that Mauer is performing to norms or trying to find hidden value. Most wouldn't argue that he's been as valuable as he has in the past, but I think that most of us would argue that he's more valuable than the booing fans, or even a large portion of the mainstream media think. Much of this is because, imo, HR are far overvalued.

I actually liked the Souhan article. If you're going to talk Billy Beane, you really should understand that many, many teams have now copied his approach and have far more money with which to do it. Obviously, there's more to it than just stats as they tell you what a player has done, but not what he will do. However, it's worth pointing out here that almost all of this discussion is about what Mauer has done this season (or points to evidence) and the fact is that he's done a lot more than watching a single at bat or even a few games can tell you.

Rangers fans certainly don't need stats to tell them Josh Hamilton is valuable, obviously, but the stats won't lie to them there either.

Eyes do lie, though. For example, one of the biggest complaints about Mauer, especially early in the season, was that he wasn't getting hits with runs in scoring position. You can actually look these numbers up, as there are places that keep records of these kinds of things. At the time, Mauer's numbers with RISP were actually far above his season totals, and they still are. For my part, if I had only watched the games and not looked up the numbers, I'd have actually been in agreement with people that were saying he was terrible with RISP.

The other thing a lot of us (those of us especially tempted by statistics!) said was that it was cautionary to judge his entire contract on the first portion of the season. I'd say it's still early to do that, and to some degree we've been proven right. The triple slash line you quoted on the front page has improved in every area. Does this mean he's Joe Mauer we hoped for or that his contract value will be met? No. His groundball rate is especially concerning, as many have written about, and might inform the rest of his hitting.

Overall, though, my point throughout this thread is that there's too much simply "eyeballing" of Mauer going on and that much of the Twins woes are being laid upon him unjustly, and that frankly, he's still a very valuable hitter. If you've thought he was very valuable in the past, he's still very valuable now, and it might surprise people to know that this is not his worst season (even throwing out last year). It's one of his worst three, but probably not his worst.

As for catchers having better years, I'd agree there are certainly some: Molina, Ellis, and Pierzynski, all of whom are having career years and playing catcher full time. Though I'd be hard pressed to say I'd prefer them over Mauer long term (for different reasons: Molina's not cheap either and might be having the best season he'll have), Ellis at 31 is cheap but his numbers seem to be a bit of an anamoly, and AJs got to be about done) . I'd have a hard time choosing 6 that are hitting better than Mauer this season.

Riverbrian
06-01-2012, 09:42 AM
Joe Mauer... One of the Sweetest Swings in the Game... Athletic enough to play multiple positions well in my opinion... One of the best players in the game. I can't say enough good things about Mauer.

However, he is vastly overpaid for his overall production and I would have paid it and with the chance to do over. I would have paid it again. The baseball market just works that way.

ashburyjohn
06-01-2012, 01:48 PM
Maybe morons like Souhan aren't aware that 20 and 23 are close numbers?

Are you kidding? With that difference, we could have had another Jason Marquis.

jokin
06-01-2012, 04:01 PM
I guess I didn't read all this in Nick's statement. I got the impression he was talking about the player value stat, and I think that's fine.

I don't think that the stats crowd believe that Mauer is performing to norms or trying to find hidden value. Most wouldn't argue that he's been as valuable as he has in the past, but I think that most of us would argue that he's more valuable than the booing fans, or even a large portion of the mainstream media think. Much of this is because, imo, HR are far overvalued.

I actually liked the Souhan article. If you're going to talk Billy Beane, you really should understand that many, many teams have now copied his approach and have far more money with which to do it. Obviously, there's more to it than just stats as they tell you what a player has done, but not what he will do. However, it's worth pointing out here that almost all of this discussion is about what Mauer has done this season (or points to evidence) and the fact is that he's done a lot more than watching a single at bat or even a few games can tell you.

Rangers fans certainly don't need stats to tell them Josh Hamilton is valuable, obviously, but the stats won't lie to them there either.

Eyes do lie, though. For example, one of the biggest complaints about Mauer, especially early in the season, was that he wasn't getting hits with runs in scoring position. You can actually look these numbers up, as there are places that keep records of these kinds of things. At the time, Mauer's numbers with RISP were actually far above his season totals, and they still are. For my part, if I had only watched the games and not looked up the numbers, I'd have actually been in agreement with people that were saying he was terrible with RISP.

The other thing a lot of us (those of us especially tempted by statistics!) said was that it was cautionary to judge his entire contract on the first portion of the season. I'd say it's still early to do that, and to some degree we've been proven right. The triple slash line you quoted on the front page has improved in every area. Does this mean he's Joe Mauer we hoped for or that his contract value will be met? No. His groundball rate is especially concerning, as many have written about, and might inform the rest of his hitting.

Overall, though, my point throughout this thread is that there's too much simply "eyeballing" of Mauer going on and that much of the Twins woes are being laid upon him unjustly, and that frankly, he's still a very valuable hitter. If you've thought he was very valuable in the past, he's still very valuable now, and it might surprise people to know that this is not his worst season (even throwing out last year). It's one of his worst three, but probably not his worst.

As for catchers having better years, I'd agree there are certainly some: Molina, Ellis, and Pierzynski, all of whom are having career years and playing catcher full time. Though I'd be hard pressed to say I'd prefer them over Mauer long term (for different reasons: Molina's not cheap either and might be having the best season he'll have), Ellis at 31 is cheap but his numbers seem to be a bit of an anamoly, and AJs got to be about done) . I'd have a hard time choosing 6 that are hitting better than Mauer this season.


A very thoughtful and thought-provoking post, thankyou! I immediately take exception with your first thought, the search for perfect baseball statistics is much like physicists' search for a unified nuclear theory, assigning theoretical values to subjectively-derived numbers still has a long way to evolve. And understanding some of the conclusions that are reached can be as difficult a mental exercise as understanding quantum mechanics. In your second paragraph, I would counter that booing Twins fans are expressing and channeling their displeasure with management through the iconic, "Face of the Franchise". Is there a level of disconnect there by ignorant Twins fans? Absolutely! But, Gleeman is one of many statheads that tried to find hidden value last year and continue to whistle past the burning house, not accounting for his current approach at the plate, (ie, bat speed, Joe's negative swing plane, his apparent preference for walks, his apparent unwillingness to consider alternate approaches to attack the current "book" on him, GB/FB, etc.) and the troubling production results. To your great credit, you are one who acknowledges there are reasons for concern.



Regarding Molina and the concept of "cheap"...uhhhh....he's making less than 1/3 of Mauer's salary....$7Million...I think the Twins theoretically could do something productive with the excess $16 Million. His extension moves him to $15 Million, which is where he tops out for his career, still less than 2/3rds of Mauer's take, and Molina's contract ends in 2017.


I wasn't necessarily talking about catchers that are having better years, but rather, catchers I'd rather have now than Mauer, with the implication left wide open regarding current age, potential, durability characteristics, power and timely hitting and fielding and leadership qualities. That made it easy to throw out 6 names I'd rather have w/o researching it. Molina, Ellis and AJ were on my quick list. Carlos Ruiz is also on it, and that was way before I became aware that he was having a career year, he & Molina are widely regarded as 2 of the 3 best defensive catchers in the game and Ruiz only makes $3.7 Million. Based on this year's admittedly outlying performance, he probably still has at least 3 years left in the tank and his career numbers put him in the middle of the pack statistically for HOF catchers. Ruiz is also universally praised by the pitchers for whom he catches for his abilities to manage a game. I know we differ greatly in the value of power to a club, give me bigger-sticks McCann, Napoli and even Wieters (who is the other top defensive catcher) over Mauer, all about the same age or younger. (These 3 also have a higher WAR since 2009 than Mauer). I'd also consider the still-relatively unproven young guys over Mauer, Montero and Posey, big upside is still there, both 25 or younger.

That's up to 9, no one on the list currently makes half of Mauer's salary and I guess that's the primary reason I threw out that supposition, none of these guys will soon likely reach a salary of $13 Million (besides Molina, McCann comes the closest, he might have topped out), let alone $23 Million.

Obie
06-01-2012, 04:40 PM
For whatever it's worth, here are lifetime OPS of the great "singles hitters".

Pete Rose .784
Rod Carew .822
Wade Boggs .858

Joe Mauer .871

The other three didn't play an a primarily defensive position, either.

Alex
06-01-2012, 06:56 PM
@Jokin,

Gleeman and I think similarly on this, at least from what I can tell in a recent appearance he had on PA's show, where he said these numbers aren't Mauer numbers and that Mauer isn't worth $23 million.

We're going to have to agree to disagree on why fans are booing as there's just no hard evidence, but I wasn't speaking to just that. It's always seemed to me that Mauer's type of hitting has always been undervalued to some extent by the large fan base and media, imo, even when he wasn't making $23m. I'll also say that I think the local mainstream media's lock-step with that notion has not helped Mauer, either.

Aside: It's a big reason I was glad to see Souhan's article and his change of tone. I especially like that he seemed genuinely upset about the poorly chosen headline for the article. Some of these guys, though (including Souhan), have been outright rude to people who have a different opinion on the value of statistics in baseball than they do, so I'm not surprised with the vitriol with which some people view their writing. It's very tough to win someone back when you tweet about fans of sabermetrics needing to get off their mom's couch in their basement.

As for Mauer's approach and his preference for "walks," that again goes to what we, individually, value. I prefer a walk to a lot of things that a hitter can do. Mauer currently has a 70% chance of getting out when he puts the ball in play, so a walk is better than %70 of the alternatives. His "approach" also got him 4 IBB this season, putting him on pace for something close to his highest of any season, and that's often with Willingham hitting behind him! A lot of people complain that Mauer's "approach" to take the first pitch allows pitchers to throw him a first pitch strike "all the time." Mauer sees first pitch strikes 52.6% of the time. Only 17 hitters in the entire MLB see fewer first pitch strikes. 17! for I know I've discussed this before and that it wasn't a particular stat you talked about, but it definitely illustrates the reason people need to look at the numbers in some cases simply watching an at-bat.

Finally, as for other catchers that you'd rather have now, well, sure. It's very easy to see who it would be worthwhile to have in hindsight (and yeah, I jumped lines with Molina), but that could be done with several of the Twins players, and for that matter, players on any team.

DL450
06-04-2012, 05:52 PM
If the Twins were certain of Mauer bouncing back, Joe Nathan is retained, moving the payroll up to $109 mil. This would leave more than enough room to re-sign either Cuddyer or Kubel (the logical choice for me is Kubel, but retaining Cuddyer would still bring the payroll in under $120 mil), AND, remember, we already made room to sign Willingham, Carroll and Doumit under the $120 mil cap and/or fill at least one of the holes at 3B and 2B by trading Liriano/Valencia/Casilla/1 excess SP/prospect(s).

This is what a team would do if it wasn't paralyzed.....


First of all, you're really defensive about someone calling your comments melodramatic. They were- this team is not "paralyzed." Hindered, sure, but calling them paralyzed fits very squarely within the definition of being melodramatic.

Second of all, though, and more importantly, you really are living in a fantasy world talking about the $120 million payroll the Twins supposedly would have had. Even before the team was awful in 2011, ownership said that payroll was too high and they intended on dropping it. I have no idea why you think that $120 million is the appropriate number because I don't think there's any evidence anywhere to support that it should be that high.

Third, Joe Nathan didn't want to sign with the Twins. With the money being equal (or even slanted in favor of MN), Nathan wanted to play for whoever would give him the best shot at a world series. MN can't compete with Texas in that department this season and Nathan doesn't have many years left. He was gone anyway. And Cuddy and Kubel didn't want to stay here, either. Kubel really didn't try to hide the fact that he would be leaving via FA.

Fourth, who do you think the Twins could have received by trading Liriano, Valencia, Casilla, or other starting pitchers or prospects? These guys carry VERY little trade value, and for good reason. No one would want them on their team. So they aren't going to trade a starting caliber 3rd baseman or 2nd baseman. Not to mention, who would fill the SP void? Have another rookie take a shot in the rotation? Not that I don't love having Swarzak and Manship take their turns in the rotation....

jokin
06-04-2012, 06:52 PM
First of all, you're really defensive about someone calling your comments melodramatic. They were- this team is not "paralyzed." Hindered, sure, but calling them paralyzed fits very squarely within the definition of being melodramatic.

Second of all, though, and more importantly, you really are living in a fantasy world talking about the $120 million payroll the Twins supposedly would have had. Even before the team was awful in 2011, ownership said that payroll was too high and they intended on dropping it. I have no idea why you think that $120 million is the appropriate number because I don't think there's any evidence anywhere to support that it should be that high.

Third, Joe Nathan didn't want to sign with the Twins. With the money being equal (or even slanted in favor of MN), Nathan wanted to play for whoever would give him the best shot at a world series. MN can't compete with Texas in that department this season and Nathan doesn't have many years left. He was gone anyway. And Cuddy and Kubel didn't want to stay here, either. Kubel really didn't try to hide the fact that he would be leaving via FA.

Fourth, who do you think the Twins could have received by trading Liriano, Valencia, Casilla, or other starting pitchers or prospects? These guys carry VERY little trade value, and for good reason. No one would want them on their team. So they aren't going to trade a starting caliber 3rd baseman or 2nd baseman. Not to mention, who would fill the SP void? Have another rookie take a shot in the rotation? Not that I don't love having Swarzak and Manship take their turns in the rotation....


1) Thanks for the psychiatric eval, Dr. DL450. Where do you need me to send my health insurance info for billing?

For the umpteenth time, the Twins have repeatedly demonstrated that they had no contingency plans for their now obviously-failed "master plan" for the direction of the franchise as it transitioned to the 3 Million-in-annual-attendance-new-stadium, higher-payroll-justifying, "compete with the big boys", ball club. Are they competing, reloading or rebuilding? pitch-to-contact defensive small-ball or swing for the fences Blue-Jays-style?, silly, patchwork, non-spring training AAA pitcher now starting and new waiver wire of the week castoff immediately inserted into the starting lineup, etc., etc.

2) The only fantasies in this thread are your suppositions on what the payroll "should" be. I don't know the "appropriate' payroll number, I proposed a "what-if", financially realistic payroll with the intent for the club to immediately address and repair the damage from the disastrous 2011 season; and I would request that you cite the specific quote from management stating that they were publicly intending on cutting payroll after the 2010 season. IIRC, the payroll cut announcement came near the end of the 2011 season, indicative of the club's intention to surrender being competitive for the short-to-intermediate term, paralyzing the club in place with overpaid, underperforming assets seemingly to keep fans in the seats with "name" players until they developed a new plan to dig out of the hole. There is a string of evidence in the past on what percentage of the gross revenues the club committed to put back back into the team (and there was publicly stated intent and precedent for a certain level of "overages" if the proposed salary bump could potentially put the team over the top).......Plus the promises from the club to put more % of the revenues into the team based on building the new park...

3) You must be Joe Nathan's agent or are a clairvoyant, in addition to a psychiatrist, please cite your evidence and sources for your insider info. Please cite same for Cuddy, and to a lesser extent, Kubel. The Twins publicly made a lowball offer to Cuddyer. I'm guessing they lowballed Nathan also. But thanks for helping me make my point, a team that is confident, and not paralyzed by their situation can make solid proposals to these guys and impress on them that they will remain competitive and give them solid reasons for treating 2011 as an aberration from the previous decade's continued record of success. (They proved they have a paralysis of thought by absurdly paying top-dollar to a closing pitcher Capps (probably as a PR move) when there is no need to pay little more than minimum to a closer on a losing team (if that is, in fact, how Twins management actually perceives themselves, confusion reigns).

4) Again, strong theories require strong evidence. I think you are wrong about Liriano, and Valencia/Casilla might have been intriguing enough with a club in a position of need wanting a cheap stop-gap. Without naming a lot of names, every year there are scores of players, better than the Jamey Caroll/Brandon Inge type of expendable players, available for a variety of reasons, if the price is right. I certainly wasn't suggesting that Robinson Cano or Miguel Cabrera were available. I would argue there are always players at those positions that can be had above Caroll/Inge and way below Cano/Moutsakis- remember JJ Hardy, we got him for a highly expendable player. I already posited who the FA SPs should have been to fill the void, read my entire post. I'm sure you would agree they all would have been far more successful in Twins uniforms than Marquis, Manship, Swarzack, DeVries, Duensing, et al. have demonstrated as SPs.

one_eyed_jack
06-05-2012, 05:37 PM
Merriam-Webster defines 'paralysis' as "a state of powerlessness or incapacity to act." The Twins are not powerless to act due to Mauer's contract.

1144