Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Interesting article about Buxton

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:17 AM
I enjoyed the article linked below about Buxton. As you can see, the Twins and lots of other folks seem to think that he could be a hall...
Full topic ›

Article: DET 4, MIN 1: Niko’s Revenge

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:53 PM
Former Twin Niko Goodrum hit a two-run homer and the Twins' offense couldn’t muster much of anything after the first inning. On the plus...
Full topic ›

Article: MIN 6, DET 0: Lynn Shows Will to Win

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:09 PM
Lance Lynn pitched his best game in a Twins uniform to date, and looked like he was about ready to punch himself in the face in frustrati...
Full topic ›

Article: Twins Daily Roundtable: Top Prospect Timelines

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 08:47 PM
Twins Daily Roundtable is a new weekly series. As part of this series, a question will be posed to the site’s writers and they will respo...
Full topic ›

Article: Bartolo, the Twins, and a Guy Named Phil

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:30 PM
The year was 1973 and the Dominican Public had already become a breeding ground for baseball players. With the country producing multiple...
Full topic ›

Joe Mauer's Future

It's no secret that Joe Mauer is in the final year of his eight year, $184 million contract extension signed in 2010. It's also not a secret that Mauer isn't the player he was in 2009 or in the years leading up to that MVP season. What does seem to be a secret, is what thoughts "Falvine" has on Mauer's future past the 2018 season. There are really only three options.
Image courtesy of Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
1. Stay with the Twins
Personally, I think this is the most likely scenario. He's from here, his family is here, he's spent his entire career here, his personality and demeanor (although frustrating to fans) fits well with the "Minnesota nice" mantra, and the Twins are starting to become contenders. So what will it take for the Twins to keep him here?

Since his move from catcher (2012), Mauer has played 813 games as a first basemen, which is good for 13th most among 50 qualified players. In that same time he has provided a 14.7 WAR which is good for 10th best:
  • The "good": He's staying healthier, he's getting on base (6/50 in BA and 5/50 in OBP), and he's become one of the best defensive 1B in the game (#1 in UZR in 2017 among 21 qualified players).
  • The "bad": He'll be 36 in April of 2019 (only six qualified players were 36+ years old in '17), he provides no power as a 1B/DH (42/50 in SLG from 2012-17) and despite being healthier he's still good to miss at least 20 games/year not including the days provides no defensive value as a DH.
I think it's fair to assume that 2017 is the ceiling of what we can expect from Mauer in 2018 and beyond, although he has been lights out so far this season. Looking at salaries for players who are currently 36+ years old, 2017 and 2018 contract agreements, and salaries of other first basemen around the league, I would be looking for the Twins to give Mauer a two- or three-year deal at $8-$10 million/year not including incentives or player/team options. Again, I believe him signing with the Twins is the most likely scenario.

I came up with the $8-$10 million range from looking at the following data.

Yonder Alonso signed with the Indians for $8 million per year. Compared to Mauer he provides a little more power, less OBP, and a lot less defense. He's younger, coming off a career year, and also fits the "launch angle" ideal that so many hitters are trending towards. Ultimately, my opinion is that the pros and cons of both players provide a similar value to a team although the type of value they provide are different. I think that provides a sort of baseline going into next offseason.

I also looked at players who signed in the 2016/17 offseason who were 36+ years old and although the median salary was $7.75 million a few of those guys are getting paid $13 & $16 million. If I were to include 35+ year olds, which is technically how old Mauer will be at the start of the 2019 season, the median is at $8 million and includes Yadier Molina (a career-long Cardinal) getting paid $20 million. Although the median is lower, I think the higher deals give Mauer/Shapiro some room to negotiate an above the median salary. Especially if Mauer performs similarly to how he did in 2017 and/or is able to hit like he currently is for a majority of 2018.

2. Sign Elsewhere
I don't see this happening, but obviously this is a possibility. Assuming Mauer only has a few more years in the big leagues, he could be looking for a team to win now. Now being 2019 or 2020. Depending on what the Twins front office does in free agency over the next couple of years the Twins may or may not be legit World Series contenders. I hate to say it, but with Greg Bird not being able to stay healthy the Yankees may have an opening at first base that would be a good fit for Mauer. Teams like Houston, Boston, the Cubs, Dodgers, Indians and Nationals are also obvious contenders, but currently have a player who is under contract at first base.

3. Retire
From what I have read/heard, there have not been any rumblings that Mauer is ready to hang them up. Doesn't mean it's not something to consider. Honestly, I almost think Joe would be more apt to retire than he would be to sign somewhere else. Moving somewhere else obviously would mean either moving his family or moving away from his family, which I don't think he would want to do.

  • nclahammer likes this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

84 Comments

 

Yes - he is the face of the franchise and his jersey is popular.If we went buy jerseys we'd be in the hunt for Carew, Killebrew, and Puckett too.This has nothing to do with it.

 

I don't speak for all fans, but I don't know if I ever bought a ticket just to see Mauer play.He's just not that type of player.I bought a ticket to watch Johan pitch, I bought tickets to see McGuire and Sosa, I bought tickets to see a really good Twins team in the mid-2000's, but I have never once bought a ticket to see Joe slap an opposite field single.This isn't me ripping on him...I appreciate everything about Mauer, but my point is that he's not that "must see" type of player IMO.

 

If they bring him back it should only be based on the market value and whether they believe he makes the team better.Don't get me wrong - it would be awful to see Joe in another uniform but I'm also more impressed with wins than watching aging stars bring down a team.At this point, I don't see a viable replacement so as long as we can get him at a fair deal, then I see him in a Twins uniform for the next few years!

 

I don't think Kelly is saying that people go just to see Mauer - she's saying that Mauer has value beyond what is on the field. For one thing, he certainly sells memorabilia that benefit the bottom line. I'd also argue that while you may not be going to see games to see Mauer, plenty of Minnesotans still see him as a big draw. No one goes to a game for one position player (well, maybe Bonds back in the day?) but Mauer is a big part of the Twins experience.

 

I can't tell you the number of times I've been queueing for a day game (hooray "working" downtown in the summer!) and heard people in line talking about whether or not Joe will get the day off. He's no longer the face of the franchise but he's top-5 player on a given day for most Twins fans. For me still #1 but I'm an extreme Mauer-lover.

 

I think some sense of decorum plays into this. The Twins could likely go out there and find someone cheaper with more upside, especially since they have Sano and Morrison for next year at 1B if need be. But there's a sense of doing the right thing - if Mauer can play at an MLB level and isn't asking for $18 million/year, it seems like you're picking a fight for no reason.

 

It also can't hurt to have demonstrated that kind of loyalty, especially when you think about the Twins FO need to sign guys like Berrios, Buxton, Kepler etc. in the coming years. Showing you take care of your guys has to have some impact. I was thinking about that when Joe was getting his standing O for #2000 - you have to think that Kepler, Buxton and co. were thinking about whether that could be them someday. These guys play for the money but they were all little kids too, thinking about being the hero in the big game.

 

All of this will be a moo point when Mauer hits .400 for the year of course.

    • ashburyjohn and 70charger like this

 

I am not sure where you go this, but Mauer only played in 113 gamesin 2013 and I think this would make him the highest paid player by a fair margin for that season.To me there is no question that he did not provide the value we expected. Whether it was juiced baseballs or juiced baseball players we needed to see at 25 HR per year and more RBI.$8M, is probably on the high side.$6M is more in my comfort zone.  

 

That table is a creation of my own but it's based on reputable sources. Fangraphs lists a player WAR and calculates what each point of WAR is worth per year. From there it's just multiplication and addition. Feel free to check the math but I did it twice and got the same numbers. Not sure about your 2013 point either. Mauer had an .880 OPS and played 75 games at C. That's pretty valuable even if it isn't 120 games at C.

 

No one is saying the contract paid off. If you read the chart, it says that Mauer has not provided the value of the contract. Says it pretty explicitly. He'd need a 6.0 WAR season (basically Joey Votto) to make the contract with it. He'd basically have to play pretty near the level he's playing right now all year.

 

My point is that he's close to being worth the contract (conservatively assuming he ends up with 2.0 WAR he'd end up being $40 million under the contract - which averages out to like $5 million/yr) and that's with a pretty-close-to-worst-case scenario: concussions forced him from catcher 3 years before we expected and cost him basically two years without being a big enough injury the Twins got insurance money.

 

P.S. For fun, I also looked at 2006 to 2010. On a $33.4 million contract, Joe Mauer produced $164.51 million of WAR. That's pretty insane.

 

P.P.S. If Mauer puts up 2.0 WAR season, it's be worth $20 million+. Now he's not going to get that because the upside isn't there and the downside isn't but $8 million is really low. I'd see $10-$12 million and think the Twins could be getting a nice bargain.

 

P.P.P.S. Are you suggesting that Joe Mauer is on steroids? That seems pretty unlikely

 

As of this moment Mauer is second in the majors in BA, second in the majors in OBP and seventh in the majors in OPS. 

 

Can we take a minute to say how crazy it is that his OPS is 7th with no HR or 3Bs? I know it's small sample but even so, you'd think that enough guys would've hit 5-8 HR and be ahead of him. Speaks to the insane OBP he's been putting up this year.

People are convinced this is the real Joe Mauer, but not convinced this is the real Buxton?

 

I think we need more than 10-15 games to know what either might be, but I could be wrong. 

 

Like it or not, the game is about more than just OBP. He plays (more accurately, how they expect him to play in the next year or two) first base, how he plays relative to:

 

1. Other options for the Twins

2. Other first basemen

 

is how his future should be judged.

 

IMO, we aren't enough games into this season to have any real idea yet.

    • KGB and ewen21 like this
Photo
killertwinfan
Apr 17 2018 04:03 AM

I understood your point and I am sure your math is accurate.I was pointing out that the dollar link to WAR could be a flawed approach because he wasn't actually worth $37M in 2013.Joe on steroids now?I highly doubt it.In 2009 when he hit 28HR? I have no idea. Could be juiced baseballs, could be something else. It certainly is an outlier of a season in terms of home runs and is very well timed when you are trying to earn that big contract!

 

 

That table is a creation of my own but it's based on reputable sources. Fangraphs lists a player WAR and calculates what each point of WAR is worth per year. From there it's just multiplication and addition. Feel free to check the math but I did it twice and got the same numbers. Not sure about your 2013 point either. Mauer had an .880 OPS and played 75 games at C. That's pretty valuable even if it isn't 120 games at C.

 

No one is saying the contract paid off. If you read the chart, it says that Mauer has not provided the value of the contract. Says it pretty explicitly. He'd need a 6.0 WAR season (basically Joey Votto) to make the contract with it. He'd basically have to play pretty near the level he's playing right now all year.

 

My point is that he's close to being worth the contract (conservatively assuming he ends up with 2.0 WAR he'd end up being $40 million under the contract - which averages out to like $5 million/yr) and that's with a pretty-close-to-worst-case scenario: concussions forced him from catcher 3 years before we expected and cost him basically two years without being a big enough injury the Twins got insurance money.

 

P.S. For fun, I also looked at 2006 to 2010. On a $33.4 million contract, Joe Mauer produced $164.51 million of WAR. That's pretty insane.

 

P.P.S. If Mauer puts up 2.0 WAR season, it's be worth $20 million+. Now he's not going to get that because the upside isn't there and the downside isn't but $8 million is really low. I'd see $10-$12 million and think the Twins could be getting a nice bargain.

 

P.P.P.S. Are you suggesting that Joe Mauer is on steroids? That seems pretty unlikely

 

 

I understood your point and I am sure your math is accurate.I was pointing out that the dollar link to WAR could be a flawed approach because he wasn't actually worth $37M in 2013.Joe on steroids now?I highly doubt it.In 2009 when he hit 28HR? I have no idea. Could be juiced baseballs, could be something else. It certainly is an outlier of a season in terms of home runs and is very well timed when you are trying to earn that big contract!

 

What's your argument for him not being worth it in 2013? He put up 5.6 WAR. For context, that would put him around Pedroia, Rizzo and Lindor territory last year. That's pretty solid company. I know he played 113 games but 75 were at catcher and were gold glove quality. Definitely worth $37 million with that offense at catcher.

 

As far as steroids, that's ludicrous. Mauer was in line for a big extension no matter what, that year aded some dollars but wasn't the reason he got a big deal. It also wasn't a contract year, he was a year away from free agency. If you look at those home runs in 2009, almost all of them were in the first five rows in left and left center field. He hit most of them at home and took advantage of the Metronome having a short field. Also, you just don't know Joe if you think he was on steroids. There's no player in baseball I'd be more shocked to hear was on roids than Mauer. He only drinks milk.

 

I'm violently opposed to saying anyone was on steroids (ball juiced is ridiculous since it wasn't juiced for just Mauer) unless you have more proof than "He hit 28 home runs one year and never hit more than 13." That's irresponsible, even for an opinion.

Photo
killertwinfan
Apr 17 2018 06:55 AM

Because no one got paid that much in 2013.  

What's your argument for him not being worth it in 2013? He put up 5.6 WAR. For context, that would put him around Pedroia, Rizzo and Lindor territory last year. That's pretty solid company. I know he played 113 games but 75 were at catcher and were gold glove quality. Definitely worth $37 million with that offense at catcher.

 

As far as steroids, that's ludicrous. Mauer was in line for a big extension no matter what, that year aded some dollars but wasn't the reason he got a big deal. It also wasn't a contract year, he was a year away from free agency. If you look at those home runs in 2009, almost all of them were in the first five rows in left and left center field. He hit most of them at home and took advantage of the Metronome having a short field. Also, you just don't know Joe if you think he was on steroids. There's no player in baseball I'd be more shocked to hear was on roids than Mauer. He only drinks milk.

 

I'm violently opposed to saying anyone was on steroids (ball juiced is ridiculous since it wasn't juiced for just Mauer) unless you have more proof than "He hit 28 home runs one year and never hit more than 13." That's irresponsible, even for an opinion.

 

 

Because no one got paid that much in 2013.  

 

Huh? Just because no one got paid that much in 2013 doesn't mean that no one was worth that much. Players can have extra value beyond what they're paid if they perform well. 

 

In fact, this most regularly happens with star players. By stats and on-court performance, Lebron James and Kevin Durant are worth two and three time what they're paid in the NBA but because of the cap, they get paid less that that. Your third center who gets paid $5 million is getting way more than his value - that's the result of collective bargaining.

 

Baseball isn't as drastic as the NBA because of the lack of a cap but owners are constantly using their leverage to drive salary down. I'm not going to get into collusion this past offseason but it has clearly happened in the past. Guys like Kershaw, Harper, Trout etc. produce way more than they are paid, even with astronomical salary.

 

Mauer in 2013 is similar. He was early in a contract that was set up so that, in an ideal world, he would exceed the yearly value on the front end and come up short on the back end. The concussion changed that but it's not weird that he would exceed the $23 million on the front end of the contract. 

 

People are convinced this is the real Joe Mauer, but not convinced this is the real Buxton?

 

I think we need more than 10-15 games to know what either might be, but I could be wrong. 

 

Like it or not, the game is about more than just OBP. He plays (more accurately, how they expect him to play in the next year or two) first base, how he plays relative to:

 

1. Other options for the Twins

2. Other first basemen

 

is how his future should be judged.

 

IMO, we aren't enough games into this season to have any real idea yet.

 

Oh this is not the real Joe Mauer. He'll certainly fall back to earth. But this fast start makes me feel better about him being able to replicate last year's stats. For one thing, he's bankrolled these games. For another, he's having great at bats so it meets the eye test.

 

Agreed that the big thing is what the Twins other options are.

 

1) They don't have strong internal candidates unless Rooker goes nuts and Sano can't play 3B etc.

 

2) The free agent market looks pretty barren - Mauer might actually be the best candidate at 1B since he's certainly above Matt Adams, Lucas Duda, Chris Carter, Pedro Alvarez, Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Parmelee (the 1B free agents I located). DH has Victor Martinez, Evan Gattis and Nelson Cruz hitting the market. I don't see the Twins making a move on one of those three, though perhaps Cruz or Martinez might be interesting.

 

Hard to see a better external candidate and internally, there seems to be a place. Depends on the money but Joe doesn't seem like he'll demand a ton and it's in the Twins best interests not to try to screw him. If he wants to play and is reasonably effective I'd see a 1 or 2 year deal for sure. 

 

EDIT: I'll take that back. Lucas Duda might be an equivalent option to Mauer at 1B. He is perennially underrated and underpaid. $3.5 million this year for a guy who hit 30 bombs last year and put up an .818 OPS. He hits lefty too so that makes it tougher too. Joe has more OBP and better D but they're not dissimilar value wise. I still don't see the Twins going after him since Joe means more and Duda is a bit redundant as a strikeout-prone three outcomes guy. But worth saying that Duda is not on the same replacement level as those other guys.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

Similar Articles


by Tom Froemming , 18 May 2018
Photo


by Tom Froemming , 13 May 2018
Photo


by Tom Froemming , 05 May 2018
Photo


by Jamie Cameron , 03 May 2018
Photo


by Tom Froemming , 01 May 2018
Photo