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Thread: How Overpaid is Joe Mauer?

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
    Fan Graphs statistics are not gospel. That is a highly theoretical number, and citing it as fact seems disingenuous for someone who is casting stones at another writer.

    I personally don't believe Mauer, at his current rate of production, will be worth $20 million to the Twins this year. And I certainly don't think he'll be worth it if he's still hitting this way and playing 1B/DH exclusively in four years.
    This.

    Statheads at Rotoworld and FanGraphs (like Gleeman) are seemingly using a Braille-based method of analysis and/or had their cable and sat dishes shut down. Mark Twain was at his facetiously sardonic best when he said there were three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies and statistics. Satiating stat hound's rotisserie team performances has become more important than actually getting down to the nub of a player's true worth to a team. There simply have to be flaws in the numbers or Billy Beane would have one at least one World Series in the last 15 years, right? (StormJH1 nailed it- JD Drew is demonstrably NOT a borderline HOFer, therefore, the numbers have to be flawed). Additionally, there appear to be posters here on Twins Daily that remain in denial and are unwilling to believe their own lying eyes at what they are actually observing. Don't take Souhan's word for it, he followed his usual MO, made some strong observations and surprisingly, has since equivocated on Twitter and KSTP. The usuals trashed him for the bomb-thrower he usually is, despite the fact that he, for once, actually got some aspects of the situation right. Instead, read unbiased national baseball writers and analysts for their take on the situation, every time one of those types writes at all negatively about Mauer and the Twins, they get the same treatment from the usual local suspects.


    I think Nick's opening statement needs to be repeated- repeatedly- the Sabre-stats are a very useful tool for analysis, they are not sacrosanct or divinely inspired, let alone the Final Word. I can honestly say as a Twins fan I want this situation to resolve itself and nothing would make me happier than Mauer reverting close to his career averages, but the move to Target Field and past history suggests against it ever happening- and I can think of at least 6 catchers just off the top of my head that would be more valuable to the team today than Mauer- and at a fraction of the price. At least Souhan got the ball rolling, we now have laid a foundation to determine ballpark figures for Mauer's pay for performance and his pay for marketing.
    Last edited by jokin; 05-31-2012 at 11:04 PM.

  2. #122
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Please name those 6 catchers. But I am likely to go back to ignoring the overpaid-Mauer crowd.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    This.


    I think Nick's opening statement needs to be repeated- repeatedly- the Sabre-stats are a very useful tool for analysis, they are not sacrosanct or divinely inspired, let alone the Final Word. I can honestly say as a Twins fan I want this situation to resolve itself and nothing would make me happier than Mauer reverting close to his career averages, but the move to Target Field and past history suggests against it ever happening- and I can think of at least 6 catchers just off the top of my head that would be more valuable to the team today than Mauer- and at a fraction of the price. At least Souhan got the ball rolling, we now have laid a foundation to determine ballpark figures for Mauer's pay for performance and his pay for marketing.
    I guess I didn't read all this in Nick's statement. I got the impression he was talking about the player value stat, and I think that's fine.

    I don't think that the stats crowd believe that Mauer is performing to norms or trying to find hidden value. Most wouldn't argue that he's been as valuable as he has in the past, but I think that most of us would argue that he's more valuable than the booing fans, or even a large portion of the mainstream media think. Much of this is because, imo, HR are far overvalued.

    I actually liked the Souhan article. If you're going to talk Billy Beane, you really should understand that many, many teams have now copied his approach and have far more money with which to do it. Obviously, there's more to it than just stats as they tell you what a player has done, but not what he will do. However, it's worth pointing out here that almost all of this discussion is about what Mauer has done this season (or points to evidence) and the fact is that he's done a lot more than watching a single at bat or even a few games can tell you.

    Rangers fans certainly don't need stats to tell them Josh Hamilton is valuable, obviously, but the stats won't lie to them there either.

    Eyes do lie, though. For example, one of the biggest complaints about Mauer, especially early in the season, was that he wasn't getting hits with runs in scoring position. You can actually look these numbers up, as there are places that keep records of these kinds of things. At the time, Mauer's numbers with RISP were actually far above his season totals, and they still are. For my part, if I had only watched the games and not looked up the numbers, I'd have actually been in agreement with people that were saying he was terrible with RISP.

    The other thing a lot of us (those of us especially tempted by statistics!) said was that it was cautionary to judge his entire contract on the first portion of the season. I'd say it's still early to do that, and to some degree we've been proven right. The triple slash line you quoted on the front page has improved in every area. Does this mean he's Joe Mauer we hoped for or that his contract value will be met? No. His groundball rate is especially concerning, as many have written about, and might inform the rest of his hitting.

    Overall, though, my point throughout this thread is that there's too much simply "eyeballing" of Mauer going on and that much of the Twins woes are being laid upon him unjustly, and that frankly, he's still a very valuable hitter. If you've thought he was very valuable in the past, he's still very valuable now, and it might surprise people to know that this is not his worst season (even throwing out last year). It's one of his worst three, but probably not his worst.

    As for catchers having better years, I'd agree there are certainly some: Molina, Ellis, and Pierzynski, all of whom are having career years and playing catcher full time. Though I'd be hard pressed to say I'd prefer them over Mauer long term (for different reasons: Molina's not cheap either and might be having the best season he'll have), Ellis at 31 is cheap but his numbers seem to be a bit of an anamoly, and AJs got to be about done) . I'd have a hard time choosing 6 that are hitting better than Mauer this season.
    Last edited by Alex; 06-01-2012 at 07:30 AM.

  4. #124
    Twins Moderator MVP Riverbrian's Avatar
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    Joe Mauer... One of the Sweetest Swings in the Game... Athletic enough to play multiple positions well in my opinion... One of the best players in the game. I can't say enough good things about Mauer.

    However, he is vastly overpaid for his overall production and I would have paid it and with the chance to do over. I would have paid it again. The baseball market just works that way.

  5. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanewahl View Post
    Maybe morons like Souhan aren't aware that 20 and 23 are close numbers?
    Are you kidding? With that difference, we could have had another Jason Marquis.

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    I guess I didn't read all this in Nick's statement. I got the impression he was talking about the player value stat, and I think that's fine.

    I don't think that the stats crowd believe that Mauer is performing to norms or trying to find hidden value. Most wouldn't argue that he's been as valuable as he has in the past, but I think that most of us would argue that he's more valuable than the booing fans, or even a large portion of the mainstream media think. Much of this is because, imo, HR are far overvalued.

    I actually liked the Souhan article. If you're going to talk Billy Beane, you really should understand that many, many teams have now copied his approach and have far more money with which to do it. Obviously, there's more to it than just stats as they tell you what a player has done, but not what he will do. However, it's worth pointing out here that almost all of this discussion is about what Mauer has done this season (or points to evidence) and the fact is that he's done a lot more than watching a single at bat or even a few games can tell you.

    Rangers fans certainly don't need stats to tell them Josh Hamilton is valuable, obviously, but the stats won't lie to them there either.

    Eyes do lie, though. For example, one of the biggest complaints about Mauer, especially early in the season, was that he wasn't getting hits with runs in scoring position. You can actually look these numbers up, as there are places that keep records of these kinds of things. At the time, Mauer's numbers with RISP were actually far above his season totals, and they still are. For my part, if I had only watched the games and not looked up the numbers, I'd have actually been in agreement with people that were saying he was terrible with RISP.

    The other thing a lot of us (those of us especially tempted by statistics!) said was that it was cautionary to judge his entire contract on the first portion of the season. I'd say it's still early to do that, and to some degree we've been proven right. The triple slash line you quoted on the front page has improved in every area. Does this mean he's Joe Mauer we hoped for or that his contract value will be met? No. His groundball rate is especially concerning, as many have written about, and might inform the rest of his hitting.

    Overall, though, my point throughout this thread is that there's too much simply "eyeballing" of Mauer going on and that much of the Twins woes are being laid upon him unjustly, and that frankly, he's still a very valuable hitter. If you've thought he was very valuable in the past, he's still very valuable now, and it might surprise people to know that this is not his worst season (even throwing out last year). It's one of his worst three, but probably not his worst.

    As for catchers having better years, I'd agree there are certainly some: Molina, Ellis, and Pierzynski, all of whom are having career years and playing catcher full time. Though I'd be hard pressed to say I'd prefer them over Mauer long term (for different reasons: Molina's not cheap either and might be having the best season he'll have), Ellis at 31 is cheap but his numbers seem to be a bit of an anamoly, and AJs got to be about done) . I'd have a hard time choosing 6 that are hitting better than Mauer this season.

    A very thoughtful and thought-provoking post, thankyou! I immediately take exception with your first thought, the search for perfect baseball statistics is much like physicists' search for a unified nuclear theory, assigning theoretical values to subjectively-derived numbers still has a long way to evolve. And understanding some of the conclusions that are reached can be as difficult a mental exercise as understanding quantum mechanics. In your second paragraph, I would counter that booing Twins fans are expressing and channeling their displeasure with management through the iconic, "Face of the Franchise". Is there a level of disconnect there by ignorant Twins fans? Absolutely! But, Gleeman is one of many statheads that tried to find hidden value last year and continue to whistle past the burning house, not accounting for his current approach at the plate, (ie, bat speed, Joe's negative swing plane, his apparent preference for walks, his apparent unwillingness to consider alternate approaches to attack the current "book" on him, GB/FB, etc.) and the troubling production results. To your great credit, you are one who acknowledges there are reasons for concern.



    Regarding Molina and the concept of "cheap"...uhhhh....he's making less than 1/3 of Mauer's salary....$7Million...I think the Twins theoretically could do something productive with the excess $16 Million. His extension moves him to $15 Million, which is where he tops out for his career, still less than 2/3rds of Mauer's take, and Molina's contract ends in 2017.


    I wasn't necessarily talking about catchers that are having better years, but rather, catchers I'd rather have now than Mauer, with the implication left wide open regarding current age, potential, durability characteristics, power and timely hitting and fielding and leadership qualities. That made it easy to throw out 6 names I'd rather have w/o researching it. Molina, Ellis and AJ were on my quick list. Carlos Ruiz is also on it, and that was way before I became aware that he was having a career year, he & Molina are widely regarded as 2 of the 3 best defensive catchers in the game and Ruiz only makes $3.7 Million. Based on this year's admittedly outlying performance, he probably still has at least 3 years left in the tank and his career numbers put him in the middle of the pack statistically for HOF catchers. Ruiz is also universally praised by the pitchers for whom he catches for his abilities to manage a game. I know we differ greatly in the value of power to a club, give me bigger-sticks McCann, Napoli and even Wieters (who is the other top defensive catcher) over Mauer, all about the same age or younger. (These 3 also have a higher WAR since 2009 than Mauer). I'd also consider the still-relatively unproven young guys over Mauer, Montero and Posey, big upside is still there, both 25 or younger.

    That's up to 9, no one on the list currently makes half of Mauer's salary and I guess that's the primary reason I threw out that supposition, none of these guys will soon likely reach a salary of $13 Million (besides Molina, McCann comes the closest, he might have topped out), let alone $23 Million.
    Last edited by jokin; 06-01-2012 at 04:25 PM.

  7. #127
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    For whatever it's worth, here are lifetime OPS of the great "singles hitters".

    Pete Rose .784
    Rod Carew .822
    Wade Boggs .858

    Joe Mauer .871

    The other three didn't play an a primarily defensive position, either.

  8. #128
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    @Jokin,

    Gleeman and I think similarly on this, at least from what I can tell in a recent appearance he had on PA's show, where he said these numbers aren't Mauer numbers and that Mauer isn't worth $23 million.

    We're going to have to agree to disagree on why fans are booing as there's just no hard evidence, but I wasn't speaking to just that. It's always seemed to me that Mauer's type of hitting has always been undervalued to some extent by the large fan base and media, imo, even when he wasn't making $23m. I'll also say that I think the local mainstream media's lock-step with that notion has not helped Mauer, either.

    Aside: It's a big reason I was glad to see Souhan's article and his change of tone. I especially like that he seemed genuinely upset about the poorly chosen headline for the article. Some of these guys, though (including Souhan), have been outright rude to people who have a different opinion on the value of statistics in baseball than they do, so I'm not surprised with the vitriol with which some people view their writing. It's very tough to win someone back when you tweet about fans of sabermetrics needing to get off their mom's couch in their basement.

    As for Mauer's approach and his preference for "walks," that again goes to what we, individually, value. I prefer a walk to a lot of things that a hitter can do. Mauer currently has a 70% chance of getting out when he puts the ball in play, so a walk is better than %70 of the alternatives. His "approach" also got him 4 IBB this season, putting him on pace for something close to his highest of any season, and that's often with Willingham hitting behind him! A lot of people complain that Mauer's "approach" to take the first pitch allows pitchers to throw him a first pitch strike "all the time." Mauer sees first pitch strikes 52.6% of the time. Only 17 hitters in the entire MLB see fewer first pitch strikes. 17! for I know I've discussed this before and that it wasn't a particular stat you talked about, but it definitely illustrates the reason people need to look at the numbers in some cases simply watching an at-bat.

    Finally, as for other catchers that you'd rather have now, well, sure. It's very easy to see who it would be worthwhile to have in hindsight (and yeah, I jumped lines with Molina), but that could be done with several of the Twins players, and for that matter, players on any team.

  9. #129
    Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
    If the Twins were certain of Mauer bouncing back, Joe Nathan is retained, moving the payroll up to $109 mil. This would leave more than enough room to re-sign either Cuddyer or Kubel (the logical choice for me is Kubel, but retaining Cuddyer would still bring the payroll in under $120 mil), AND, remember, we already made room to sign Willingham, Carroll and Doumit under the $120 mil cap and/or fill at least one of the holes at 3B and 2B by trading Liriano/Valencia/Casilla/1 excess SP/prospect(s).

    This is what a team would do if it wasn't paralyzed.....
    First of all, you're really defensive about someone calling your comments melodramatic. They were- this team is not "paralyzed." Hindered, sure, but calling them paralyzed fits very squarely within the definition of being melodramatic.

    Second of all, though, and more importantly, you really are living in a fantasy world talking about the $120 million payroll the Twins supposedly would have had. Even before the team was awful in 2011, ownership said that payroll was too high and they intended on dropping it. I have no idea why you think that $120 million is the appropriate number because I don't think there's any evidence anywhere to support that it should be that high.

    Third, Joe Nathan didn't want to sign with the Twins. With the money being equal (or even slanted in favor of MN), Nathan wanted to play for whoever would give him the best shot at a world series. MN can't compete with Texas in that department this season and Nathan doesn't have many years left. He was gone anyway. And Cuddy and Kubel didn't want to stay here, either. Kubel really didn't try to hide the fact that he would be leaving via FA.

    Fourth, who do you think the Twins could have received by trading Liriano, Valencia, Casilla, or other starting pitchers or prospects? These guys carry VERY little trade value, and for good reason. No one would want them on their team. So they aren't going to trade a starting caliber 3rd baseman or 2nd baseman. Not to mention, who would fill the SP void? Have another rookie take a shot in the rotation? Not that I don't love having Swarzak and Manship take their turns in the rotation....

  10. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by DL450 View Post
    First of all, you're really defensive about someone calling your comments melodramatic. They were- this team is not "paralyzed." Hindered, sure, but calling them paralyzed fits very squarely within the definition of being melodramatic.

    Second of all, though, and more importantly, you really are living in a fantasy world talking about the $120 million payroll the Twins supposedly would have had. Even before the team was awful in 2011, ownership said that payroll was too high and they intended on dropping it. I have no idea why you think that $120 million is the appropriate number because I don't think there's any evidence anywhere to support that it should be that high.

    Third, Joe Nathan didn't want to sign with the Twins. With the money being equal (or even slanted in favor of MN), Nathan wanted to play for whoever would give him the best shot at a world series. MN can't compete with Texas in that department this season and Nathan doesn't have many years left. He was gone anyway. And Cuddy and Kubel didn't want to stay here, either. Kubel really didn't try to hide the fact that he would be leaving via FA.

    Fourth, who do you think the Twins could have received by trading Liriano, Valencia, Casilla, or other starting pitchers or prospects? These guys carry VERY little trade value, and for good reason. No one would want them on their team. So they aren't going to trade a starting caliber 3rd baseman or 2nd baseman. Not to mention, who would fill the SP void? Have another rookie take a shot in the rotation? Not that I don't love having Swarzak and Manship take their turns in the rotation....

    1) Thanks for the psychiatric eval, Dr. DL450. Where do you need me to send my health insurance info for billing?

    For the umpteenth time, the Twins have repeatedly demonstrated that they had no contingency plans for their now obviously-failed "master plan" for the direction of the franchise as it transitioned to the 3 Million-in-annual-attendance-new-stadium, higher-payroll-justifying, "compete with the big boys", ball club. Are they competing, reloading or rebuilding? pitch-to-contact defensive small-ball or swing for the fences Blue-Jays-style?, silly, patchwork, non-spring training AAA pitcher now starting and new waiver wire of the week castoff immediately inserted into the starting lineup, etc., etc.

    2) The only fantasies in this thread are your suppositions on what the payroll "should" be. I don't know the "appropriate' payroll number, I proposed a "what-if", financially realistic payroll with the intent for the club to immediately address and repair the damage from the disastrous 2011 season; and I would request that you cite the specific quote from management stating that they were publicly intending on cutting payroll after the 2010 season. IIRC, the payroll cut announcement came near the end of the 2011 season, indicative of the club's intention to surrender being competitive for the short-to-intermediate term, paralyzing the club in place with overpaid, underperforming assets seemingly to keep fans in the seats with "name" players until they developed a new plan to dig out of the hole. There is a string of evidence in the past on what percentage of the gross revenues the club committed to put back back into the team (and there was publicly stated intent and precedent for a certain level of "overages" if the proposed salary bump could potentially put the team over the top).......Plus the promises from the club to put more % of the revenues into the team based on building the new park...

    3) You must be Joe Nathan's agent or are a clairvoyant, in addition to a psychiatrist, please cite your evidence and sources for your insider info. Please cite same for Cuddy, and to a lesser extent, Kubel. The Twins publicly made a lowball offer to Cuddyer. I'm guessing they lowballed Nathan also. But thanks for helping me make my point, a team that is confident, and not paralyzed by their situation can make solid proposals to these guys and impress on them that they will remain competitive and give them solid reasons for treating 2011 as an aberration from the previous decade's continued record of success. (They proved they have a paralysis of thought by absurdly paying top-dollar to a closing pitcher Capps (probably as a PR move) when there is no need to pay little more than minimum to a closer on a losing team (if that is, in fact, how Twins management actually perceives themselves, confusion reigns).

    4) Again, strong theories require strong evidence. I think you are wrong about Liriano, and Valencia/Casilla might have been intriguing enough with a club in a position of need wanting a cheap stop-gap. Without naming a lot of names, every year there are scores of players, better than the Jamey Caroll/Brandon Inge type of expendable players, available for a variety of reasons, if the price is right. I certainly wasn't suggesting that Robinson Cano or Miguel Cabrera were available. I would argue there are always players at those positions that can be had above Caroll/Inge and way below Cano/Moutsakis- remember JJ Hardy, we got him for a highly expendable player. I already posited who the FA SPs should have been to fill the void, read my entire post. I'm sure you would agree they all would have been far more successful in Twins uniforms than Marquis, Manship, Swarzack, DeVries, Duensing, et al. have demonstrated as SPs.
    Last edited by jokin; 06-04-2012 at 07:04 PM.

  11. #131
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    Oh good grief, are we back to the "paralyzed" claims again?

    Merriam-Webster defines 'paralysis' as "a state of powerlessness or incapacity to act." The Twins are not powerless to act due to Mauer's contract.

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