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Article: Thinking the Unthinkable: Trade Joe Mauer?

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#21 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:26 PM

It's really, really hard to be "not that productive otherwise" when Joe Mauer is the best player in baseball at avoiding getting out (highest OBP).

Remember, kids... The most important thing in baseball is not getting out. Everything else is secondary.

And for the love of God, never quote RBI as an indication of performance. It's worse than useless.


Well, if not getting out (OBP) is the best measure of offensive performance, then Joe Mauer must be the best offensive player in the league.


No, because there are other players that make outs at nearly the same percentage while also slugging at a much higher rate.

The poster I replied to used RBI and compared Joe Mauer to Austin Jackson. Anything more than a cursory glance at each player shows just how ridiculous that comparison is and that Mauer is obviously the superior player.

#22 Boom Boom

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:30 PM

[quote name='Brock Beauchamp'][quote name='Boom Boom'][quote name='Brock Beauchamp']It's really, really hard to be "not that productive otherwise" when Joe Mauer is the best player in baseball at avoiding getting out (highest OBP).

Remember, kids... The most important thing in baseball is not getting out. Everything else is secondary.

And for the love of God, never quote RBI as an indication of performance. It's worse than useless.[/QUOTE]

Well, if not getting out (OBP) is the best measure of offensive performance, then Joe Mauer must be the best offensive player in the league.[/QUOTE]

No, because there are other players that get out at nearly the same percentage while also slugging at a much higher rate.[/QUOTE]

If only Mauer slugged as well as Miguel Cabrera he might have driven in 139 runs.

#23 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:37 PM

If only Mauer slugged as well as Miguel Cabrera he might have driven in 139 runs.


It worked for Mike Trout.

Oh, wait...

#24 y2jjj54

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 12:51 PM

I wouldn't trade him because I do not believe the pohlads would spent the money saved on the team. All they would do is pocket the savings and our payroll would drop.

#25 Mike Sixel

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:13 PM

It is an interesting point that as tv revenue increases, the cost of producing the team does not. So, keeping the percent applied to payroll constant just means more profit.

Edited by mike wants wins, 16 October 2012 - 01:15 PM.


#26 nicksaviking

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:22 PM

Losing Mauer's contract isn't going to help this team. Terry Ryan isn't suddenly going to be OK with signing top pitchers to 4-5 year deals just because Mauer's money is off the books. He'll still angle for his ulcer-free 1 year deals, which obvioulsy doesn't not bring top talent to town.

Also, as a poster above briefly mentioned, if Mauer's salary comes off the books, the payroll will decrease. No way will there be an additional $23 million to play with. Mauer is an asset beyond the diamond and his salary is reflective of the multiple revenue streams he brings to the team. If Mauer is gone, those revenue streams are also gone and the front office will be ordered to take it out of the payroll.

#27 Paul

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:39 PM

Any team that wouldn't entertain moving Mauer after back to back 90+ loss seasons is crazy. Mauer's contract is only justifiable if you are getting elite offense (sorry 75 RBIs from the #3 hole isn't elite), defense (not even close), or at least superior performance in one of these catagories teamed with intangible benefits (highly questionable).

Breaking down the offensive performance, Mauer really isn't significantly more productive than Austin Jackson or David Murphy. He walks more so his OBS is higher but he's really not that productive otherwise and he's batting in the heart of the order.


...And for the love of God, never quote RBI as an indication of performance...


Just think how many RBIs Mauer would have if he had Joe Mauer batting 1st and Joe Mauer batting 2nd.

#28 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:31 PM

You don't trade Mauer. You build around Mauer. First of all, what are the chances you are going to make out better than your trade partner in a Mauer deal? Slim. In almost all sports trades, the team that won the trade is the team that got the best player in the deal. Who are we going to get in return that's a better player than Mauer?

Second, let's say we do get a prospect that actually develops into a superstar (though most do not). Eventually he'll want to be paid huge money too. Then what do you do? Deal him for prospects because he's not worth it?

For years the fan base complained endlessly was that the Twins were basically a farm team for the Bostons and New Yorks of the world. Now there's a cry to return to that?

#29 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:37 PM

Any team that wouldn't entertain moving Mauer after back to back 90+ loss seasons is crazy. Mauer's contract is only justifiable if you are getting elite offense (sorry 75 RBIs from the #3 hole isn't elite), defense (not even close), or at least superior performance in one of these catagories teamed with intangible benefits (highly questionable).

Breaking down the offensive performance, Mauer really isn't significantly more productive than Austin Jackson or David Murphy. He walks more so his OBS is higher but he's really not that productive otherwise and he's batting in the heart of the order.

Defensively Mauer is VERY versitile but isn't an elite catcher. He's valuble because, when healthy, he can play C, 1B, OF, & DH. This alone makes him an above average defensive option but not elite.


The intangibles are interesting. He obviously is a local guy with a huge fan base (even though it skews 16-34 and female) but he isn't a beloved figure like Puckett was nor would he be considered a clubhouse leader at all. The other thing that's hard to prove given the various factors is he doesn't seem to make the team better. He's kind of like Kevin Love in that way. He's a great player but the team isn't more successful when he plays versus when he doesn't.

Overall, I by no means think Mauer is horrible or shouldn't be the highest paid player on the team but, I think at $23 million per season you should be getting elite production somewhere and the Twins aren't.

I think they need to be open to moving just about anyone on the roster and Mauer is no exception.


---Kevin Love is a terrible comparison. You cannot expect a guy barely old enough to drink legally to win in the NBA while surrounded by a bunch of stiffs and a clueless coach. That doesn't mean he can't make a team more successful.

#30 Mike Sixel

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:40 PM

Nope, we now realize that the team will not spend money to build around this superstar while he is still a superstar. There is zero evidence they will spend the money to fix the pitching this year, and there are no players two years away from starting either, so why would they spend the money then? If they will not put good players around him, why keep him?

#31 Jim Crikket

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:54 PM

You don't trade Mauer. You build around Mauer. First of all, what are the chances you are going to make out better than your trade partner in a Mauer deal? Slim. In almost all sports trades, the team that won the trade is the team that got the best player in the deal. Who are we going to get in return that's a better player than Mauer?

Second, let's say we do get a prospect that actually develops into a superstar (though most do not). Eventually he'll want to be paid huge money too. Then what do you do? Deal him for prospects because he's not worth it?

For years the fan base complained endlessly was that the Twins were basically a farm team for the Bostons and New Yorks of the world. Now there's a cry to return to that?


I don't think anyone is suggesting there's a "cry for" trading Mauer. I know I'm certainly not.

However, I don't think that means having a discussion of the pros and cons of such a trade should be off limits either.

I think the first place I ever heard the theory that, "the team who gets the best player in a trade wins the trade," theory was from Colin Cowerd. Hardly a source I put much stock in.

In baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, there are any number of examples where a rebuilding team that has multiple needs will trade a "big name" player to fill those needs. The A's have done it often. Sometimes it works out for them, sometimes it doesn't. You also don't necessarily know that the "best player" at the time of the trade will turn out to be the best player over the longer term. How do you think Atlanta liked the way that trade of Doyle Alexander to the Tigers for a 20-year old John Smoltz worked out for them?

Again, I don't necessarily think you're wrong about the best approach this offseason being to build around Mauer rather than trade him. In fact, I happen to agree with that approach. I'm just not so ready to completely dismiss the possibility of a trade as I used to be.
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#32 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:44 PM

You don't trade Mauer. You build around Mauer. First of all, what are the chances you are going to make out better than your trade partner in a Mauer deal? Slim. In almost all sports trades, the team that won the trade is the team that got the best player in the deal. Who are we going to get in return that's a better player than Mauer?

Second, let's say we do get a prospect that actually develops into a superstar (though most do not). Eventually he'll want to be paid huge money too. Then what do you do? Deal him for prospects because he's not worth it?

For years the fan base complained endlessly was that the Twins were basically a farm team for the Bostons and New Yorks of the world. Now there's a cry to return to that?


I don't think anyone is suggesting there's a "cry for" trading Mauer. I know I'm certainly not.

However, I don't think that means having a discussion of the pros and cons of such a trade should be off limits either.

I think the first place I ever heard the theory that, "the team who gets the best player in a trade wins the trade," theory was from Colin Cowerd. Hardly a source I put much stock in.

In baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, there are any number of examples where a rebuilding team that has multiple needs will trade a "big name" player to fill those needs. The A's have done it often. Sometimes it works out for them, sometimes it doesn't. You also don't necessarily know that the "best player" at the time of the trade will turn out to be the best player over the longer term. How do you think Atlanta liked the way that trade of Doyle Alexander to the Tigers for a 20-year old John Smoltz worked out for them?

Again, I don't necessarily think you're wrong about the best approach this offseason being to build around Mauer rather than trade him. In fact, I happen to agree with that approach. I'm just not so ready to completely dismiss the possibility of a trade as I used to be.


---Well, it's a sports cliche that has been around a long time and has been repeated by many because it's largely true, the fact that Cowerd was one of them notwithstanding.

No, the topic of trading Mauer should not be off-limits. However, I can't picture a realistic scenario where it would be a worthwhile thing to do. Sure, you can find examples like Smoltz, but how many prospects actually develop into Hall of Famers?

If Boston were to get really stupid and offer the sun, the moon and the stars for Mauer, OK, fine. But more likely, it will be turn out to be something like what we got for Santana or the Rangers got for A-Rod that will be viewed as pretty disappointing in a couple

#33 snepp

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:39 PM

Just think how many RBIs Mauer would have if he had Joe Mauer batting 1st and Joe Mauer batting 2nd.


He'd draw a walk to load the bases for Willingham.

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#34 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:32 PM

While I don't think the Twins will or should trade Joe Mauer, I would hope that coming off two 90-plus loss seasons that our GM takes every call with the intent of never fielding a 90-loss team again. So I'll play along...

Xander Bogaerts is a lot like Sano. I'd love to have them both. Maybe Bogaerts moves to 3B. Maybe that moves Sano to RF. It's all good. The best story about Xander is that their was a tryout in Aruba and the Red Sox liked his brother, Jair. After signing Jair (or agreeing to sign him), he told them they should think about signing his brother. They asked which one he was. He told them his brother wasn't there because he was home sick. All the Red Sox needed was one look...

Blake Swihart is a name that wasn't mentioned. If the Red Sox acquire another catcher, though, Swihart may become available. He would immediately become the Twins best catching prospect.

I would take either of these hitters, plus Webster or Barnes and one other mid-level prospect for Baby Jesus. But there are a lot of reasons I'm not a GM... and this might be one of them.

#35 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 09:15 PM

I think it's an open question if another team would be willing to TAKE Mauer.

- He's owed $23M per season for each of the next 6 seasons.
- Next year will be his age 30 season.
- He no longer has a full time defensive position, although I suppose he could handle first base every day, and possibly could handle 3b or an OF position. In any case, he almost certainly will never catch full time again.
- He has a rather extensive and chronic injury history.
- He's had only one truly elite offensive season in his career, and that looks more and more like an outlier. He's managed a .500 SLG once in the last six seasons. The statheads will pooh-pooh the idea that RBI mean anything, but I doubt very many people inside professional baseball feel that way. I'm almost certain not many GMs feel that way.
- There's an argument to be made that Mauer puts butts in seats at TF, but that argument looses steam if he's not in Minnesota.

Ask yourself this...were Mauer on another team, would you be clamoring for TR to be sending Gibson and Sano to another team to acquire him?

#36 flpmagikat

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 09:38 PM

Maybe, if the team wasnt so awful already.

#37 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 10:33 PM

I think it's an open question if another team would be willing to TAKE Mauer.- He's owed $23M per season for each of the next 6 seasons. - Next year will be his age 30 season. - He no longer has a full time defensive position, although I suppose he could handle first base every day, and possibly could handle 3b or an OF position. In any case, he almost certainly will never catch full time again.- He has a rather extensive and chronic injury history.- He's had only one truly elite offensive season in his career, and that looks more and more like an outlier. He's managed a .500 SLG once in the last six seasons. The statheads will pooh-pooh the idea that RBI mean anything, but I doubt very many people inside professional baseball feel that way. I'm almost certain not many GMs feel that way.- There's an argument to be made that Mauer puts butts in seats at TF, but that argument looses steam if he's not in Minnesota.Ask yourself this...were Mauer on another team, would you be clamoring for TR to be sending Gibson and Sano to another team to acquire him?



1) If RBI and SLG are your metrics for an elite offensive season, do you believe that Rod Carew only had 1 elite offensive season in his career?
2) Yes, some people continue to look at RBI as a key indicator of a player's worth. There is also still a Flat Earth Society.

#38 kab21

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 11:09 PM

You keep Mauer. There really isn't much to discuss. There are already enough complaints that payroll is too low but if you don't have Mauer then you have to go out and buy more overpriced 30+ year old FA's that are declining. Money is not a problem for the Twins right now. the problem is that spending a lot in FA is a terrible return on your investment. Even worse than Joe Mauer making too much.

#39 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 01:07 AM

I think it's an open question if another team would be willing to TAKE Mauer.- He's owed $23M per season for each of the next 6 seasons. - Next year will be his age 30 season. - He no longer has a full time defensive position, although I suppose he could handle first base every day, and possibly could handle 3b or an OF position. In any case, he almost certainly will never catch full time again.- He has a rather extensive and chronic injury history.- He's had only one truly elite offensive season in his career, and that looks more and more like an outlier. He's managed a .500 SLG once in the last six seasons. The statheads will pooh-pooh the idea that RBI mean anything, but I doubt very many people inside professional baseball feel that way. I'm almost certain not many GMs feel that way.- There's an argument to be made that Mauer puts butts in seats at TF, but that argument looses steam if he's not in Minnesota.Ask yourself this...were Mauer on another team, would you be clamoring for TR to be sending Gibson and Sano to another team to acquire him?



1) If RBI and SLG are your metrics for an elite offensive season, do you believe that Rod Carew only had 1 elite offensive season in his career?
2) Yes, some people continue to look at RBI as a key indicator of a player's worth. There is also still a Flat Earth Society.


My metrics for a truly elite offensive season include BA, OBP, and SLG. Combining all three--not just two--makes a season truly elite. Makes a PLAYER elite, particularly if he can keep it up for more than a season or two. Good, or even really, good, isn't the same as elite.

Thinking RBI are a KEY indicator of a player's worth isn't what I said, but even that would make more sense than thinking RBI have NO VALUE WHATSOEVER. Getting on base, in and of itself, is not the goal. "Not making an out" is not the goal, either. Crossing home plate is the goal.

BTW, Carew did have only one truly elite season in his career. He also had a long career with several really good seasons, and a couple really, really good seasons, followed by a long and graceful decline into retirement where he was still respectable and piling up numbers. Hence, he's a HOFer.

It's also worth noting you ignored about 90% of the post, including the question at the end.

#40 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 06:47 AM

Rod Carew also averaged 37 stolen bases a year in his last 5 years with the Twins (1973-1978). He was a table setter and he was very effective at it.

Could Mauer do that? He can get on base but I don't think that his steals will ever approach 30 (this year's total of 8 tied for 2nd highest in his career).

If the speed isn't there, you look for power -- especially in a man with Mauer's physique.

And his power is declining. It isn't just the lack of home runs -- on average, he'll probably have about 10 a year. But his doubles are also down from 2010.

Offensively it looks like 2012 is most similar to 2008 for Mauer. The big difference is, of course, on defense.

Could Mauer have another offensive year like 2009 left in him? I suppose it is possible but he'll have to do it without the benefit of the Metrodome.

I'm on the fence about trading Mauer -- primarily because of the same concerns that other posters have that the Twins won't reinvest the savings.

But I also have a personal conviction that the Twins will never be a championship team with Mauer as a member. Not unless they invest in some other highly paid player who can change the character of the team and provide a different type of leadership.

P.S. I thought that an OPS of 1.000 really defined an "elite" batter. Mauer has topped that in only 2009. He has had some other very good seasons but they don't meet that "elite" definition. Interestingly Carew also had one year of an OPS over 1.000 (I was a little surprised to see that he had even that).

Edited by JB_Iowa, 17 October 2012 - 06:56 AM.