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Article: Joe Mauer's Future

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#1 Matthew Lenz

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:00 AM

It's no secret that Joe Mauer is in the final year of his eight year, $184 million contract extension signed in 2010. It's also not a secret that Mauer isn't the player he was in 2009 or in the years leading up to that MVP season. What does seem to be a secret, is what thoughts "Falvine" has on Mauer's future past the 2018 season. There are really only three options.1. Stay with the Twins
Personally, I think this is the most likely scenario. He's from here, his family is here, he's spent his entire career here, his personality and demeanor (although frustrating to fans) fits well with the "Minnesota nice" mantra, and the Twins are starting to become contenders. So what will it take for the Twins to keep him here?

Since his move from catcher (2012), Mauer has played 813 games as a first basemen, which is good for 13th most among 50 qualified players. In that same time he has provided a 14.7 WAR which is good for 10th best:
  • The "good": He's staying healthier, he's getting on base (6/50 in BA and 5/50 in OBP), and he's become one of the best defensive 1B in the game (#1 in UZR in 2017 among 21 qualified players).
  • The "bad": He'll be 36 in April of 2019 (only six qualified players were 36+ years old in '17), he provides no power as a 1B/DH (42/50 in SLG from 2012-17) and despite being healthier he's still good to miss at least 20 games/year not including the days provides no defensive value as a DH.
I think it's fair to assume that 2017 is the ceiling of what we can expect from Mauer in 2018 and beyond, although he has been lights out so far this season. Looking at salaries for players who are currently 36+ years old, 2017 and 2018 contract agreements, and salaries of other first basemen around the league, I would be looking for the Twins to give Mauer a two- or three-year deal at $8-$10 million/year not including incentives or player/team options. Again, I believe him signing with the Twins is the most likely scenario.

I came up with the $8-$10 million range from looking at the following data.

Yonder Alonso signed with the Indians for $8 million per year. Compared to Mauer he provides a little more power, less OBP, and a lot less defense. He's younger, coming off a career year, and also fits the "launch angle" ideal that so many hitters are trending towards. Ultimately, my opinion is that the pros and cons of both players provide a similar value to a team although the type of value they provide are different. I think that provides a sort of baseline going into next offseason.

I also looked at players who signed in the 2016/17 offseason who were 36+ years old and although the median salary was $7.75 million a few of those guys are getting paid $13 & $16 million. If I were to include 35+ year olds, which is technically how old Mauer will be at the start of the 2019 season, the median is at $8 million and includes Yadier Molina (a career-long Cardinal) getting paid $20 million. Although the median is lower, I think the higher deals give Mauer/Shapiro some room to negotiate an above the median salary. Especially if Mauer performs similarly to how he did in 2017 and/or is able to hit like he currently is for a majority of 2018.

2. Sign Elsewhere
I don't see this happening, but obviously this is a possibility. Assuming Mauer only has a few more years in the big leagues, he could be looking for a team to win now. Now being 2019 or 2020. Depending on what the Twins front office does in free agency over the next couple of years the Twins may or may not be legit World Series contenders. I hate to say it, but with Greg Bird not being able to stay healthy the Yankees may have an opening at first base that would be a good fit for Mauer. Teams like Houston, Boston, the Cubs, Dodgers, Indians and Nationals are also obvious contenders, but currently have a player who is under contract at first base.

3. Retire
From what I have read/heard, there have not been any rumblings that Mauer is ready to hang them up. Doesn't mean it's not something to consider. Honestly, I almost think Joe would be more apt to retire than he would be to sign somewhere else. Moving somewhere else obviously would mean either moving his family or moving away from his family, which I don't think he would want to do.

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#2 ThejacKmp

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:17 AM

Let's take it a bit further and look at the huge Mauer contract:

 

2017: Mauer has 2.3 WAR. WAR is worth $10.5 mill. Mauer is worth $24.15 mill
2016: Mauer has 0.9 WAR. WAR is worth $10.2 mill. Mauer is worth $9.18 mill
2015: Mauer has 0.2 WAR. WAR is worth $9.6 mill. Mauer is worth $1.92 mill
2014: Mauer has 1.6 WAR. WAR is worth $7.7 mill. Mauer is worth $12.32 mill
2013: Mauer has 5.2 WAR. WAR is worth $7.2 mill. Mauer is worth $37.44 mill
2012: Mauer has 4.5 WAR. WAR is worth $6.2 mill. Mauer is worth $27.9 mill
2011: Mauer has 1.2 WAR. WAR is worth $7.4 mill. Mauer is worth $8.88 mill.

 

Thus far Mauer has been worth $121.79 million in all but the final year of a $184 million contract. 

 

He needs a pretty big throwback season to make the whole contract worth it. If WAR is worth $10.5 million this year he'd need a 6.0 WAR season. So far he has 0.6 WAR and is on pace for 8.8 WAR. Let's rewrite this narrative and make that contract worth it!

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#3 Tom Froemming

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:18 AM

This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared in the blog section over the offseason. We felt like the discussion was worth revisiting this afternoon in the wake of Joe collecting his 2,000th hit.

 

Another Twins Daily piece from the offseason that's worthy of mention is John's Report from the Fort that made it sound like Mr. Mauer intended to stick around awhile longer. Also, Andrew put together a nice overview on some things that need to happen for Mauer to return to the Twins in 2019.

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#4 highlander

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:23 AM

A 3 year $30 million deal to get him close to 3,000 hits. Cement his HOF career.
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#5 ThejacKmp

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:33 AM

Twins have no obvious internal candidate to replace Mauer. They'd need two of the following three things to happen for Mauer to not make sense in 2019:

 

1.) Miguel Sano shows he absolutely cannot play 3B but is a big enough bat to demand full-time DH.
2.) Brent Rooker is ready for the bigs but cannot play corner OF.
3.) Logan Morrison hits 40 homers and needs to play everyday.

 

#1 seems like a huge stretch - the Twins don't have an obvious 3B candidate to replace Sano unless you want to play Escobar every day and the Twins have every reason to keep Sano at 3B and maximize his value as long as he's not putrid.

 

#2 seems unlikely since Rooker should at least be a capable 4th OF and also has a long way to go to be a sure-fire MLB player. I can see him needing at bats in the second half of 2019 easily. Being a for-sure guy in spring training? Unlikely.

 

#3 seems most likely in spite of Morrison's struggles. However, it seems more likely that Morrison hits okay and can be the LH half of a DH platoon next year. Perhaps platooning with Rooker/Sano?

 

I can't see any reason the Twins don't go year to year with Mauer going forward. Or sign a two-year deal with an understanding that he may be in a platoon at 1B with Rooker/Sano in the second year of that deal.

 

Three years from now may be a different story. Mauer'd be 39 and the Twins would have Diaz etc. on their way up (or potentially Dozier at 1B if they resign him). But sign him! Two years, $15-$18 million. He's not going to want to break the bank and it's time for Twins fans to deal with an underpaid Mauer.

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#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:42 AM

If he's good this year, I think we'll bring him back on a 2/24mish deal. It's a little more than he might get on the market but he's the face of the franchise so he'll get a bit more.

 

Right now with both Rooker and LoMo looking rough I'm not sure the Twins can move off a high onbase guy.

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#7 Kelly Vance

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:51 AM

 

Let's take it a bit further and look at the huge Mauer contract:

 

2017: Mauer has 2.3 WAR. WAR is worth $10.5 mill. Mauer is worth $24.15 mill
2016: Mauer has 0.9 WAR. WAR is worth $10.2 mill. Mauer is worth $9.18 mill
2015: Mauer has 0.2 WAR. WAR is worth $9.6 mill. Mauer is worth $1.92 mill
2014: Mauer has 1.6 WAR. WAR is worth $7.7 mill. Mauer is worth $12.32 mill
2013: Mauer has 5.2 WAR. WAR is worth $7.2 mill. Mauer is worth $37.44 mill
2012: Mauer has 4.5 WAR. WAR is worth $6.2 mill. Mauer is worth $27.9 mill
2011: Mauer has 1.2 WAR. WAR is worth $7.4 mill. Mauer is worth $8.88 mill.

 

Thus far Mauer has been worth $121.79 million in all but the final year of a $184 million contract. 

 

He needs a pretty big throwback season to make the whole contract worth it. If WAR is worth $10.5 million this year he'd need a 6.0 WAR season. So far he has 0.6 WAR and is on pace for 8.8 WAR. Let's rewrite this narrative and make that contract worth it!

all of which ignores that he is the face of the franchise, puts butts in seats and sells #7 jerseys. Ever been to a Twins game? They are everywhere

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#8 IndianaTwin

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 11:52 AM

What? Mauer’s contract is about to run out? How come nobody told me?
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#9 SarasotaBill

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 12:53 PM

Morrison's 2017 WAR was 3.7.

If you are correct that: WAR is worth $10.5 mill then Morrison would not be paid $6.5 million for one year.

If the Twins paid any more than $7 million for one or two years, they would be paying for longevity as a Twin and not market performance.

 

 

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#10 SarasotaBill

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 12:53 PM

 

all of which ignores that he is the face of the franchise, puts butts in seats and sells #7 jerseys. Ever been to a Twins game? They are everywhere

There are many Carew jerseys. I recommend against signing Rod.

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#11 KirbyDome89

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:33 PM

This one is completely on the Twins. If they're willing to pay him anywhere near fair market value he'll be back. Personally I hope they do. I think the team is better with him at 1B and it would be gross to see him wear another uniform. 

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#12 Thrylos

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:39 PM

This should not be about Mauer, it should be about the Twins. 

 

If they feel that there is not a ready replacement out there, they should try to sign him for a one year contract, if he performs this season (and 11 games a season do not make 2K hits or not).

 

Fans prefer wins and world championships to the ghosts of their heroes past.

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#13 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:47 PM

 

A 3 year $30 million deal to get him close to over 3,000 2500 hits. Cement his HOF career.

FTFY

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#14 Darius

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:54 PM

He's not going anywhere.

People are kind of assuming that his career is over. I think he has a lot of productive time left. For my money, if you need a base hit in the bottom of the ninth with two down, there aren't a whole lot of guys I'd take over Mauer.....especially in our lineup (a lot d high K guys).

I think they'll work out a reasonable, team-friendly, 3-4 year deal and let him walk as a Twin on his own terms. I think it's on the Twins, though, because I don't see Mauer wanting to go anywhere chasing a paycheck at this point. Not when the Twins are looking like a top AL contender going forward.
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#15 Darius

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 01:59 PM

This should not be about Mauer, it should be about the Twins.

If they feel that there is not a ready replacement out there, they should try to sign him for a one year contract, if he performs this season (and 11 games a season do not make 2K hits or not).

Fans prefer wins and world championships to the ghosts of their heroes past.

Ghosts of heroes past?

He just nearly (should have) won a Gold Glove at a second position, and he's been hitting over .300 for with a great OBP for about a year now.

Sure, he's not winning anymore MVPs anytime soon, but good grief....and World Championships (plural - as if dumping Mauer and playing Rooker is the difference between us and the Astros)?.....maybe tone down the sensationalism a tad.

Edited by Darius, 13 April 2018 - 02:01 PM.

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#16 ewen21

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:21 PM

 

This should not be about Mauer, it should be about the Twins. 

 

If they feel that there is not a ready replacement out there, they should try to sign him for a one year contract, if he performs this season (and 11 games a season do not make 2K hits or not).

 

Fans prefer wins and world championships to the ghosts of their heroes past.

I would agree.  


#17 rdehring

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:23 PM

Way to early to know what fall will bring.If he has a healthy season and does relatively well, expect they will sit down and iron out a one or two year deal.Don't see either side wanting to go longer than two.  

 

Is Joe going to move his family away from Lake Minnetonka in the summer...no way.He re-signs with the Twins or retires.


#18 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:46 PM

Morrison's 2017 WAR was 3.7.
If you are correct that: WAR is worth $10.5 mill then Morrison would not be paid $6.5 million for one year.
If the Twins paid any more than $7 million for one or two years, they would be paying for longevity as a Twin and not market performance.


Morrison was signed for what he can contribute in 2018, not 2017, as that is the past.
Clearly the market doesn't think he can come close to repeating his 2017 numbers, which is understandable in his case.

#19 bighat

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 02:57 PM

Some talk about Joe's HOF chances on another thread. Thought I'd add some food for thought:

 

Johnny Bench had 2,048 hits

Mike Piazza had 2,127 hits

Carlton Fisk had 2,356 hits

Yogi Berra had 2,150 hits

 

Joe? He's already at 2,000 and will likely surpass all these guys. Yeah yeah, he's been at first base for a few of those games. I don't think that hurts him as much as some of you think.

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#20 RaymondLuxuryYacht

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Posted 13 April 2018 - 04:01 PM

 

This should not be about Mauer, it should be about the Twins. 

 

If they feel that there is not a ready replacement out there, they should try to sign him for a one year contract, if he performs this season (and 11 games a season do not make 2K hits or not).

 

Fans prefer wins and world championships to the ghosts of their heroes past.

Didn't realize you spoke for all fans.

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