• Mauer Making a Statement?

    The Twins have played 18 games this year, and Joe Mauer has been in the starting lineup for every single one. That's right you might not have noticed, but the embattled catcher has not taken a day off this season after missing half of the 2011 campaign due to various ailments.

    This is the longest Mauer has even gone into a season without stopping to rest, and it's not like the early schedule has been particularly forgiving, with only one day off and plenty of travel. Granted, Mauer has been catching much less frequently than normal -- he's been behind the plate for only 10 games -- but nevertheless, this iron man stands in stark contrast to the guy who last year drew the ire of media, fans and reportedly even some teammates for his inability or unwillingness to stay on the field.

    It seems that No. 7 is making a statement.

    Fortunately, his bat is starting to back up that message. Mauer stumbled out to a slow start, batting .242 with a .675 OPS and nearly as many GIDP (4) as RBI (5) through Minnesota's first nine games. Since the start of the Yankees series, however, Mauer is hitting .382/.475/.471 with three doubles and five walks. He's stopped putting everything on the ground and he's even stolen a couple bases an indication that his legs are feeling pretty good. He's struck out just three times in his past 46 plate appearances.

    Mauer's overall production hasn't been extraordinary, but it's extremely encouraging to see him pushing his batting average up over .300 and consistently taking quality at-bats. April is historically one of his quieter months, so if he can continue to heat up as the weather does the same, he could find himself once again grouped with the league's top hitters.

    The Twins have already had plenty of things go wrong this year, but getting Mauer back on track was always the top priority. It appears that he's well on his way, and Ron Gardenhire deserves credit for moving him around and keeping him fresh enough to take the field each day.
    This article was originally published in blog: Mauer Making a Statement? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 43 Comments
    1. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
      TwinsGuy55422 -
      Having Mauer on the field everyday is great. Even when he is not playing at an MVP level, he is still far better than most. I think he will continue to heat up as the season goes along.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Is there a non-zero chance the Twins could trade Mauer's albatross contract???? Without trading the contract, this team will have little chance of competing until Joe is gone. Terry Ryan needs tons of payroll flexibility to make up for his laundry list of mistakes due to his old school thinking.
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Mauer making a statement is only part of this. Of course you want a top tier offensive player in the lineup as much as possible. Gardy is doing what he can to ensure he is in the lineup every day. Looking at the flexibility of the bench is a key component to this.
    1. twinks2012's Avatar
      twinks2012 -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinswon1991 View Post
      Is there a non-zero chance the Twins could trade Mauer's albatross contract???? Without trading the contract, this team will have little chance of competing until Joe is gone. Terry Ryan needs tons of payroll flexibility to make up for his laundry list of mistakes due to his old school thinking.
      Terry Ryan's laundry list of mistakes? I think he did pretty well with the money he had this off-season...It would of been nice to get a solid starting pitcher addition, but that's just not easy to do on the free agent market dealing with the money and years they want to give.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      "Is there a non-zero chance the Twins could trade Mauer's albatross contract????"

      Is there a non-zero chance that Twins fans will ever stop complaining about this contract when the guy was highly UNDERPAID for years and years and then had ONE bad year at the beginning of the contract?

      "Without trading the contract, this team will have little chance of competing until Joe is gone."

      This is just false. The Twins could compete spending as much as they are now . . . the problem is that they are spending too much on terrible-to-average pitchers.
    1. jeffk's Avatar
      jeffk -
      Is there a non-zero chance that Twins fans will ever stop complaining about this contract when the guy was highly UNDERPAID for years and years and then had ONE bad year at the beginning of the contract?
      For a small-market team part of winning is underpaying guys and then moving on. Overpaying him now to somehow make up for the value we got from him early in his career may be good for Joe, but it's bad business for us.

      Having said that, I don't really mind that much overpaying one excellent franchise player. But there's no point in pretending that he is likely to earn every dime of that contract, even if he plays well.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I think it is great he's on the field, and his legs do look fresh. Quite a bit of his WAR is due to his running better. His XBH however, needs some work. He's being outslugged by 8 qualified catchers, I don't even want to look at dh/1B stats....He needs to hit better for the money, he just does. At this price (more than 20% of the entire budget), he needs to be better. But, I agree, great, great sign that he's on the field every day.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      $23m/per and he gets praised because he's managed an iron man streak of three weeks?
    1. deanlambrecht's Avatar
      deanlambrecht -
      Quote Originally Posted by jeffk View Post
      For a small-market team part of winning is underpaying guys and then moving on. Overpaying him now to somehow make up for the value we got from him early in his career may be good for Joe, but it's bad business for us.

      Having said that, I don't really mind that much overpaying one excellent franchise player. But there's no point in pretending that he is likely to earn every dime of that contract, even if he plays well.
      We're not a small market team any longer, from a $$ perspective. We're decidedly in the upper half, even with this year's lower (starting) payroll.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      He's hitting .389 with RISP. And slugging .667. Do those numbers mean nothing to the Mauer haters? There are four guys hitting well on this team. Why not focus negative attention towards the rest of the batters and the vast majority of the pitching staff.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      shanewahl, 8 catchers are outslugging him, does that mean nothing to you? And, I'm not a hater, I'm a fan...
    1. MileHighTwinsFan's Avatar
      MileHighTwinsFan -
      Let's be clear - Joe Mauer is and will be the face of this franchise for the balance of his contract. He knows it, Gardy knows it and management knows it. While probably every piece will change around him in the next two years, I fully expect him to be in the lineup almost everyday as the one constant that will bridge this franchise to the future. Like Killebrew, Carew, Puckett/Hrbek before him - Mauer is who people will come to watch, win or lose, as the Twins rebuild. I am not surprised in the least that he is playing everyday and playing at a high level.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      He's playing quite well, although it would be nice to see a little more power production. It's still early, and I expect we'll see more doubles flying around the park. But the anti-Mauer folks (Dan Barreiro, please pick up the white courtesy phone) will cherry-pick any failure as proof that he's crap and unworthy of his contract. He's a great player and with his legs under him this season, i think he's going to prove it all year. With Doumit available to catch, it's far less painful to have Joe plays a little 1B, DH, etc. and hopefully it will keep him able to play a lot more games.

      That said, if Mauer is trying to prove anything, it won't be seen by a lot of the haters until a) he drives in a ton of runs (still too many people who rely on the RBI to show who a "good" player is), b) hits more home runs (chicks dig the long ball?), and c) plays a full season appearing in 140+ games. But I'll be perfectly happy if he plays a lot, hits like Joe Mauer, and quietly gives a big ol' middle finger to the critics.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      The key point isn't where he ranks right now in SLG (and that's not his stat to watch anyway, he's a BA/OBP guy). It's that he's healthy and Gardy is finding a way to get him in the lineup every day. My contention might actually be that they are making a statement that they shouldn't. I would have no problem with him missing a game every 20. He is still catching at least half the time, so a true day off would not be a bad thing.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I do agree with Seth, that he should not try to play every game. I don't agree with Seth that walking and hitting singles adds up to $23MM worth of player, not on a team with a $100MM or less payroll. He does need to SLG more also.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I do agree with Seth, that he should not try to play every game. I don't agree with Seth that walking and hitting singles adds up to $23MM worth of player, not on a team with a $100MM or less payroll. He does need to SLG more also.
      +1 all around.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      olHe'll get his SLG via doubles. He's 29. to a large extent, he is what it is at this point. I don't think it's fair or right to expect him to be something that he isn'tjust because of the contract that was signed 2 years ago. I don't want him to change the approach that has made him a future hall of famer.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I do agree with Seth, that he should not try to play every game. I don't agree with Seth that walking and hitting singles adds up to $23MM worth of player, not on a team with a $100MM or less payroll. He does need to SLG more also.
      It's clear at this point that Mauer is not going to be worth $23M to the Twins. There's not much use in further hand-wringing about his salary. I'm not sure why every discussion about him invariably needs to circle back to that complaint.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      It's clear at this point that Mauer is not going to be worth $23M to the Twins. There's not much use in further hand-wringing about his salary. I'm not sure why every discussion about him invariably needs to circle back to that complaint.
      That is correct!
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      It's clear at this point that Mauer is not going to be worth $23M to the Twins...
      How do you know? If you mean from a business perspective I believe you are clearly wrong. If you mean from an on the field perspective it seems debatable. (I suggest those who believe no other team would pony up for Joe haven't been paying attention to the market.) If you mean from a humanitarian point of view I agree with you. No human is worth that kind of dough because genetics allow them to play the game that they love better than everyone else.
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