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Thread: How Overpaid is Joe Mauer?

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by StormJH1 View Post
    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.

  2. #42
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    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...

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by cr9617 View Post
    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.

  4. #44
    @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.

  5. #45
    "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.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    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.

  7. #47
    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.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by one_eyed_jack View Post
    ---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.
    Last edited by Highabove; 05-15-2012 at 10:41 PM.

  9. #49
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    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.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mchans24 View Post
    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.

  11. #51
    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.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by headcheese View Post
    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.

  13. #53
    whatchu kno about dat, whatchu kno about dat, whatchu kno about dat, ay joe knows all about dat!!

  14. #54
    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.

  15. #55
    Speediest Moderator All-Star snepp's Avatar
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    tw91, did you get lost on the way to Rubechat?

  16. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
    tw91, did you get lost on the way to Rubechat?

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

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by puck34 View Post
    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?

  18. #58
    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.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcompton1 View Post
    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!

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mchans24 View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Alex; 05-15-2012 at 11:13 PM.

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