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Twins Daily Roundtable: The Looming Mauer Decision

Twins Daily Roundtable is a weekly series. As part of this series, a question will be posed to the site’s writers and they will respond in 200 words or less (Some writers don’t like to stick to this limit). This will give readers an opportunity to see multiple points of view and then add their own point of view in the comments section.

Joe Mauer continues to climb the all-time Twins leaderboard as fans have seen him reach some impressive milestones over the last calendar year. Moving forward, there are plenty of questions about what next season will bring for Mr. Mauer. His massive contract extension expires at season’s end and there’s no telling how much longer Mauer will play.

This week’s roundtable discussion question is: “What will Joe Mauer decide about next season?”
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
John Bonnes
Joe Mauer will decide he wants to play, because he loves to compete. The Twins will decide they want him back, because there are not going to be a lot of top flight first-base-type sluggers available on the free agent market. Plus, the Twins weren't adept at getting on base this year (.314 OBP, 9th in the AL), so Mauer remains a good fit.

However, I anticipate some drama, at least privately and probably publicly, around the two sides coming to an agreement. This will be the fourth significant negotiation between Mauer and the Twins: there was the draft negotiation, the long-term deal that bought out his initial free agent year, and the $23M-per-year long-term deal. In all three of those, Mauer never advertised that he was willing to take any kind of hometown discount and pushed the team to its limit. (It's almost, again, like he loves to compete.) So I expect him to ask for more guaranteed years and more guaranteed money than the Twins will expect, and I wouldn't be surprised if we hear rumors of him being courted by other teams, or that an agreement isn't reached until later in the offseason.

But ultimately, I think a one-year deal or a team-friendly two-year deal will get done. That might be my heart overruling my head. Or maybe my head is assuming that hearts will hold sway over heads on both sides of the negotiation. Either way, I hope this goes the way of "heart."

Seth Stohs
Short answer: He'll do whatever he wants.

Longer answer: If he wants to play, he'll be signed by the Twins for a 1-2 year deal. He could retire if he no longer enjoys it, but clearly, he's been healthy again the last couple of years and he still contributes to the Twins in multiple ways.

Tom Froemming
The deeper we get into the season without an announcement, the more I feel like Joe is going to play in 2019.

The Mauers are going to be welcoming the third child into their family sometime around Thanksgiving, and I'm sure that's going to play a huge role in what Joe decides about his future. I believe him when he says he hasn't really thought about it or come to a conclusion yet, but I think there will be strong interest, from the Twins, in a reunion.

It's impossible to know what's really going through his head, but I think if the Twins make any kind of honest effort to bring him back, as I expect they will, he'll be back.

Ted Schwerzler
I genuinely think that Joe returns to the Twins in 2019. I initially believed there was room for a 2- or 3-year deal, but think he'll sign a one-year pact this winter. If everything goes well, I could see him returning in 2020 as well. At the end of the day, he's an ideal leadoff hitter, and remains among the best defensive first basemen in all of baseball. The Twins should be doing what they can to push him into returning, and it'd be a good thing for them if he obliges.

Cody Christie
I’m not sure what to think after some of the decisions made by the front office this week. Falvey and Levine might decide they want to keep him around or they could decide to go in another direction. Mauer could find himself waffling through multiple emotions as well.

Joe Mauer has the potential to be in the conversation of best Twins player of all-time. According to FanGraphs WAR, only Harmon Killebrew (59.3 fWAR) and Rod Carew (56.9 fWAR) have amassed more career value in a Twins uniform. Mauer might never catch those two or live up to the legend of Kirby Puckett but he’s still a once in a generation talent.

I think Mauer’s competitive side wins out and we will see him back with the Twins next season. Like any player, I believe he wants to make the Hall of Fame and he will need to continue to put up numbers for multiple more seasons to pad his resume. That being said, I think he only plays for another season or two.

SD Buhr
I’ll make this short. I think Joe Mauer retires.

I think the current front office will decide they want to move on from having Mauer as their primary first baseman, they will communicate that to him, and he will choose to retire rather than accept a reserve role.

Is it what I would do? No. If I were Mauer, I’d have my agent shop me around for a regular spot with a potential contender, so I could get my ring. But, from all accounts, that’s not what Mauer is likely to do.

But with a growing family, financial security and being at risk of further head injuries, I suspect that he will hang up the spikes, rather than accept a role where he’s watching as much as (or more than) playing.

If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links:
Grading the Front Office
Grading Molitor
Closing Time
Prospect Promotions
Hall of Fame Impact

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107 Comments

There was a quote from him saying he was not asked....


Link?

Link?

Slightly earlier than the actual deadline but I doubt it changed.

https://www.twinciti...o-trade-clause/

Never saw anything about the waiver deadline so not sure about that part, but I'd assume more of the same.
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

Slightly earlier than the actual deadline but I doubt it changed. https://www.twinciti...o-trade-clause/
Never saw anything about the waiver deadline so not sure about that part, but I'd assume more of the same.


Thanks.

If I'm Joe... I've come so far with such a short time to go. 

 

I wouldn't waive those 10-5 rights for any amount of money... And any amount of money isn't going to be paid to even come close to a last temptation for Mauer. 

 

If I'm Joe... I'm retiring as a Twin, It will be the only team I play for! This is extremely rare in this day and age and admirable. 

 

If I'm the GM... there is no way I would trade Joe and there is no way I even suggest it to his agent and there is no way that I would even ask Joe to check the temp of the water.

 

If I'm the GM... I'm starting to think about where his statue should be placed outside the stadium and also making sure that the sculptor makes it taller than the tiny Calvin Griffith statue. 

    • Jerr, big dog, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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Bill Brown69
Sep 05 2018 10:45 PM

 

he's not even close to playing in 120 games at first base two of the last three years......

 

Since 2012 he has played in at least 120 games every year. There is where manager comes in. I posted 120 games at 1B and 0 at DH. 120+ bench bat for 42!

I think he'll re-sign for one year. Wonder what he'd be willing to take though? He's at the stage where he may not deserve more than 6M. If he would have had another repeat of last season than he'd be worth more.

Money isn't an issue for the Twins next season, but that doesn't mean they should overpay him for his age 36 season when he's not playing 120+ games at 1B. Love the guy though. If he retires, I really enjoyed watching him play.
    • Devereaux likes this

If I'm Joe... I've come so far with such a short time to go. 
 
I wouldn't waive those 10-5 rights for any amount of money... And any amount of money isn't going to be paid to even come close to a last temptation for Mauer. 
 
If I'm Joe... I'm retiring as a Twin, It will be the only team I play for! This is extremely rare in this day and age and admirable. 
 
If I'm the GM... there is no way I would trade Joe and there is no way I even suggest it to his agent and there is no way that I would even ask Joe to check the temp of the water.
 
If I'm the GM... I'm starting to think about where his statue should be placed outside the stadium and also making sure that the sculptor makes it taller than the tiny Calvin Griffith statue.


If I’m the GM, I start thinking about returning the Twins to relevance, stat.
    • Mike Sixel and jud6312 like this
As to back on topic, it depends on what you want.

If your goal is a farewell, feel good tour for Mauer, then take the safe route, which few will criticize, and give Mauer a one yr contract. Accommodate Joe Mauer and his fan base, but deprioritize winning.

If, however, your goal is to compete at the highest levels, find a full time first baseman who moves you toward that goal.

My personal option would be Donaldson at third, Sano at first. It might bomb spectacularly, but it also might succeed spectacularly. Mauer offers no such upside.
    • Mike Sixel and jud6312 like this

 

If I’m the GM, I start thinking about returning the Twins to relevance, stat.

 

Oh I'm looking.:)

Joe certainly has his limitations but given the current 40 man position players - he is one of the better hitters and fielders on the team.That probably says more about our roster but we have so many holes to fill I am inclined to bring him back for another year - maybe we go year to year. I don't want to pay him $12-$15M though - I am hoping for $5M - $8M. 

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diehardtwinsfan
Sep 06 2018 07:08 AM

 

So your theory is, Mauer said “no” to a trade?

As I said, that’d be well within his rights. Just don’t turn around and tell me he cares about the Twins. I’ve been told repeatedly that the Twins were smart to trade expiring contracts. Well, there’s one that didn’t leave.

 

My theory would be that no one wanted him. Which contenders needed 1B help that Joe would have been an upgrade?

    • nicksaviking likes this

 

The Twins could use some of the large amount of money available next year but are these numbers good enough for the 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 he may ask for?.:

 

MLB current rankings:

 

Runs  - 49 - 153rd (for a lead off hitter)

SB's-  0 - 381st

HRs - 5 -  292nd 

AVG. - .277 -51st 

OBP -.347 -56th

RBI -  39 -  200th

SLG. - .375 -135th

WAR -.9 - 212th

OPS -.723 -  113th

BB   -43 -94th

 

Is there better options for the team to look at ?.

 

If he asks for $12-15M he will be told no. (and laughed at behind closed doors, probably) There will be precisely zero market for him at anything near that number. To other teams, he's probably only looking at offers in the $5-7M range. To the Twins he would be worth slightly more in that he has greater value to them as the lifelong Twin, the hometown kid, etc. Frankly, I'd be rather surprised if he got an offer higher than 1 year at $6M from another team.

    • Jerr and caninatl04 like this

I honestly believe that Mauer has been a drag on the whole team for several years. Twins must "cut bait" after this awful season which started with promise and will end in total disarray. Mauer is as much symbolic as anything and as long as he stays with the team the worse than simply mediocre Mauer era will continue. Twins better start '19 with no Mauer and, by the way, no Molitor.

    • jud6312 likes this

 

Joe Mauer is not the problem on this team. Start with ownership and the front office. Next year should be a definite and substantial move forward. If not.....then look at ownership. Any successful entity would.

 

Look at ownership? There's zero indication that the Pohlads are interested in selling the team, and there's absolutely no way they could be forced to sell. Acting if there's a way to "change" ownership is a waste of time.

 

The front office is still pretty new. This ain't football where the system is set up to enable 1 year turnarounds. The moves they've made have all made sense when they've made them (even the Buxton decision is defensible, just brings different sets of problems), and the FO can't control player performance or injuries. Right now they seem to be drafting well and making reasonable FA choices. Panicking and going for FO reset is how franchises really flail and fail.

 

Logan Morrison is having his worst season as a pro. Brian Dozier fell off the table this year. Sano & Buxton have both been injured for long stretches (and ineffective for others). Castro got hurt. Santana got hurt. Polanco got suspended. These are not things that FO can really control...

    • Bill Brown69 and caninatl04 like this

I honestly believe that Mauer has been a drag on the whole team for several years. Twins must "cut bait" after this awful season which started with promise and will end in total disarray. Mauer is as much symbolic as anything and as long as he stays with the team the worse than simply mediocre Mauer era will continue. Twins better start '19 with no Mauer and, by the way, no Molitor.

Yeah, I'm sure once Mauer is gone, this team will turn right around.
    • Tomj14 and caninatl04 like this
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nicksaviking
Sep 06 2018 08:36 AM

I'd bet a discussion about the possibility of a limited role in 2019 has been discussed and I think he retires instead. It would seem odd that there isn't going to be a farewell tour, but this is Mauer after all, he's never seemed too comfortable when a microphone is put in front of him. He'd probably prefer to go out quietly.

 

He will have played less than 100 games at firstbase 2 of the last three years. He has never once played in 140 games in any season in his career. Ever. Three of the last five years he hasn't started 100 games.....

 

Where do people come up with starting 140 games, given that?

It's just sort of a best-case plan.That's where you start.If he gets dinged, then the plan changes.

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FormerMinnasotan
Sep 06 2018 08:54 AM
While Mauer has had a great career here I don’t want him back. First off he’s past his prime and would be lucky to bat over .300, has even more diminished power, and has some considerable concussion concerns. If the Twins bring him back we all know they’ll over pay for the home town kid. If he was even 5 yrs younger I’d want to resign him, but now he’s past his prime and probably won’t be a part of any potential contending teams in the near future. Holding on to Mauer now is nothing more than holding onto the nestalga of the Mauer of old, nothing more.

 

So.... if he is not good enough for the Twins, why in heaven he should be good enough for the Red Sox or another perennial contender?

 

Mauer smacking the green monster would had been a valid fantasyc.2009-2010 ;)

 

Just saying this to each of you who pointed it out: You missed my final sentence.

 

"Have maintained he would have hit .400 there in his prime."

 

:)

 

He might even be worse...he rarely hits the ball over the LFer, and with the LFer playing shallower, more of those soft liners to left might get caught instead of falling for singles.

 

Not the soft-liners I'm talking about. It's the ones he hits to within 30 feet of the wall. The ones that went out in the Metrodome but don't come close at Target Field. (he still hits a lot of those).

 

Not the soft-liners I'm talking about. It's the ones he hits to within 30 feet of the wall. The ones that went out in the Metrodome but don't come close at Target Field. (he still hits a lot of those).

Maybe.

 

But I don't think Target Field has anything to do with it.

 

Left field dimensions at the Metrodome: 343 to left, 385 to the power alley.

 

Left field dimensions at Target Field: 339 to left, 377 to the power alley.

 

The fence in Target Field is one foot higher.

 

He only had the one season where a good number of fly balls snuck into the left field seats at the dome. 

 

We're both speculating, of course, but I doubt playing in Fenway would have significantly altered his career numbers. Perhaps a few more doubles, and a few less singles. 

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yarnivek1972
Sep 06 2018 10:56 AM

As for Mauer...why was he the only expiring contract not traded this year? Did he exercise his no trade clause?

Entirely within his rights, of course, but what does that say about him?


Matt Belisle wasn’t traded.

😎
    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel and Tomj14 like this

I'd like to see the Twins bring him back.I think he can still be a positive contributor over the long haul of a season and if he's able to stay healthy.Whether that's for 1 or 2 years and at what price, I think that will be determined by how they do with offseason acquisitions.There's always room in the lineup for someone who can hit around .280.It's up to the manager to figure out how to handle that properly.I'm not confident about that side of things, though.

 

If I was Mauer, I might have already asked my agent to test the waters out there to certain traditionally-contending teams to gauge interest for 2019.He's certainly running out of time to be on a team that wins a playoff GAME, let alone a series, and that's unlikely to come if he stays in a Twins uniform.Why wouldn't he have done this prior to the trading deadline?Who knows.Maybe there wasn't any interest.But if he wants to cap off his career with a ring, that's a route he should look into.And I say that despite being a staunch proponent of loyalty to one team.

 

Whatever he and/or the team decides, it's been a ton of fun watching his career and I think we can all agree that we shake our heads at what could have been if he had been able to stay even 90% healthy throughout his career.

 

If your goal is a farewell, feel good tour for Mauer, then take the safe route, which few will criticize, and give Mauer a one yr contract. Accommodate Joe Mauer and his fan base, but deprioritize winning.

My personal option would be Donaldson at third, Sano at first. It might bomb spectacularly, but it also might succeed spectacularly. Mauer offers no such upside.

How does Mauer "deprioritize winning."? Which year? I see nobody ready in the system ready to take the job and no real free agents either.

I love your idea on Donaldson and Sano. Both have a history of injuries and not having a capable back up for that plan would be a complete failure of the FO.

In that scenario Mauer would be a great fit for 80 -100 games at 1B and DH.

 

Now if the Twins FO can figure out a way to improve on Mauer and have somebody(s) ready to fill in for injuries or if Sano has another year like this year, I would be 100% behind that.

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yarnivek1972
Sep 06 2018 11:15 AM

Look at ownership? There's zero indication that the Pohlads are interested in selling the team, and there's absolutely no way they could be forced to sell. Acting if there's a way to "change" ownership is a waste of time.

The front office is still pretty new. This ain't football where the system is set up to enable 1 year turnarounds. The moves they've made have all made sense when they've made them (even the Buxton decision is defensible, just brings different sets of problems), and the FO can't control player performance or injuries. Right now they seem to be drafting well and making reasonable FA choices. Panicking and going for FO reset is how franchises really flail and fail.

Logan Morrison is having his worst season as a pro. Brian Dozier fell off the table this year. Sano & Buxton have both been injured for long stretches (and ineffective for others). Castro got hurt. Santana got hurt. Polanco got suspended. These are not things that FO can really control...


Every pitch thrown by Matt Belisle, Tyler Kinley, David Hale. Every at bat by Chris Gimenez, Tommy Field, Gregorio Petit, Taylor Motter. These are things this FO CHOSE.


Note, I didn’t include Phil Hughes, because I believe Pohlad had to sign off on his DFA.
    • Mike Sixel likes this

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