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Thread: How Overpaid is Joe Mauer?

  1. #21
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    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.

  2. #22
    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.

  3. #23
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    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.

  4. #24
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    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. 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/ 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.

  5. #25
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BD57 View Post
    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.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highabove View Post
    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.

  7. #27
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    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

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
    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.

  9. #29
    Twins Moderator All-Star twinsnorth49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    Just wishing it weren't true doesn't make it go away.
    Neither does bitching and moaning about it with apparently no point.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    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. 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/ 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.

  11. #31
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    Alex is wise.

  12. #32
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #33
    Mauer will be fine, just simmer.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHtwins View Post
    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.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    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.

  16. #36
    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.

  17. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by BD57 View Post
    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).

  18. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffk View Post
    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.

  19. #39
    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
    Last edited by chuuke; 05-15-2012 at 01:20 PM.

  20. #40
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    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.
    Lighten up Francis....

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