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Article: Thinking the Unthinkable: Trade Joe Mauer?

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#41 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:53 AM

[quote name='USAFChief'][quote name='one_eyed_jack'][quote name='USAFChief']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?[/QUOTE]


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.[/QUOTE]

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.[/QUOTE]

---In the Twins situation, it doesn't make sense to trade Sano and Gibson for anyone. Too many holes to fill to give up too much for any single player. You could add Verlander or Trout to the current Twins, and it's still not a very good baseball team. However, if the Twins were a really good team, and adding a player of Mauer's caliber would push them into the league's elite, then sure, I'd consider giving up top prospects for him.

#42 ericchri

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:05 AM

Any reason Mauer shouldn't be the leadoff hitter? I see a lot of people suggest #2, but I'm not sure why that makes more sense than leadoff. His OBP warrants as many at-bats as possible, I would think. But instead we get the same old "your best-average hitter is your #3" that the Twins have been running out there for as long as I can remember. Yeah, he's not a base-stealer, but I'll take someone being on base as often as possible over someone who's on-base less often but occasionally steals a base.

I like the notion of the original post. If Boston says "I'd like to talk about Mauer" you have to listen. Honestly, I don't see much reason not to listen to anybody asking about anyone. "Interested in Sano, Buxton, and Gibson? Sure, what are you offering?" After you've heard them out you can always say no, but why not listen? I'd be really surprised to find out TR wouldn't even hear somebody out, even if I don't expect a whole lot of actual transactions. I won't speculate as to what's a fair offer, it's way outside my depth, but Mauer does seem like a good fit for Fenway.

#43 Jim Crikket

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:19 AM

While Mauer could probably serve as an adequate leadoff hitter in a pinch, I think he'd be just as "out of position" there as he is at #3. To me, he's always been just about the perfect #2 and current management's aversion to just putting him there every night is one of my biggest frustrations with current field management. You have leadoff hitters who get on base with some frequency and have above average ability to steal 2B. In Mauer, you have a guy who (a) doesn't strike out much, (B) hits behind the runner well, © gets on base himself at a league-leading pace most years. That means your #3 hitter should come up with a runner on 3B and 1 out or runners on 1B and 2B with no outs an awful lot in the first inning of games. Instead, with lesser hitters at #2, your heart of the order is split from your leadoff man by a frequently wasted out.

Mauer gets a lot of bashing around here and I suppose when you've managed to time your career-best season just one year before potentially hitting free agency, resulting in a near-obscene contract, the bashing comes with that territory. But he's been mismanaged by field staff and, from all appearances, by medical/training staff, as well. I do think he was too slow to embrace the idea of playing a few more games at positions other than catcher, but even that was as much field management's fault as his own.

In the end, I would love to see Mauer spend his entire career with the Twins. But as others have stated, he is not going to single-handedly lead the Twins to championships. So either you commit to adding legitimate talent around him now, however you have to acquire that talent, while Mauer's still in his prime years and can legitimately help your team reach those lofty goals or you give serious consideration to seeing what other teams would offer for him. Keeping him around just to sell a few more jerseys and t-shirts in your gift shop is a waste of his time and the team's money.

I think Terry Ryan is smart enough to know that and that's one reason I'm really anxious to see what the GM does over the next couple of months.
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#44 SweetOne69

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:27 AM

Any reason Mauer shouldn't be the leadoff hitter? I see a lot of people suggest #2, but I'm not sure why that makes more sense than leadoff. His OBP warrants as many at-bats as possible, I would think. But instead we get the same old "your best-average hitter is your #3" that the Twins have been running out there for as long as I can remember. Yeah, he's not a base-stealer, but I'll take someone being on base as often as possible over someone who's on-base less often but occasionally steals a base.

I like the notion of the original post. If Boston says "I'd like to talk about Mauer" you have to listen. Honestly, I don't see much reason not to listen to anybody asking about anyone. "Interested in Sano, Buxton, and Gibson? Sure, what are you offering?" After you've heard them out you can always say no, but why not listen? I'd be really surprised to find out TR wouldn't even hear somebody out, even if I don't expect a whole lot of actual transactions. I won't speculate as to what's a fair offer, it's way outside my depth, but Mauer does seem like a good fit for Fenway.


If you only consider his ability to get on base and take a lot of pitches, then yes he would be a good leadoff hitter. But you usually want someone with good speed/base stealing ability to lead off, which Mauer is not. I suppose an argument for leading off could be based on they way the Yankees use Jeter. Jeter isn't a typical leadoff hitter either and his stats are very similar to Mauer's.

#45 ericchri

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:48 AM

Jeter is exactly who I was thinking of when I posted that. I guess it comes down to a philosophical thing, but when comparing Mauer's ~.410 OBP to what the Twins have to offer as an alternate (~.350 for Span, ~.330 for Revere), I think the difference is severe enough to warrant pretty serious consideration. If we had someone who could post a .380+ OBP and steal 30+ bases, I'd probably agree they should use that guy as leadoff, but with the options they have right now (obviously could change), I'd vote for Mauer.

#46 Jim Crikket

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:01 AM

For me, the difference is that I don't think Jeter is as well suited to be a #2 hitter as Mauer is, so you might as well let Jeter lead off even though he's not an ideal leadoff hitter either. Additionally, while it may not look like it at the moment, usually Jeter also has a more potent group of hitters coming up behind him than Mauer does, which makes the ability to steal bases less important for the Yankees leadoff hitter than it does for whoever leads off for the Twins.

Edited by Jim Crikket, 17 October 2012 - 10:03 AM.

I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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#47 ThePuck

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:23 AM

Mauer batted .372/.500/.514 with RISP (that's an OPS over 1.000). His BA, OBP and OPS with RISP was higher than Miguel Cabrera's. He also hit .397/.521/.569 w/RISP and 2 outs. For the season, in overall hitting, he was 4th in BA, 1st in OBP and 10th in OPS for the AL. Those numbers scream #3 batter...even without the HRs.

People say he's too passive with RISP...that he'd rather take the walk. They think Willingham did better in that situation. Well, with RISP, Willingham had 205 plate appearances. He hit .287/.424/.535 and had 8 HR and 73 RBI. I've posted Mauer's line with RISP earlier in this post. He had 13 less plate appearances with RISP and only 1 less RBI. Yes, Mauer walked 40 times with RISP, but WIllingham walked 34 times with RISP. Willingham also stuck out 46 times w/RISP while Mauer struck out 22 times with RISP. Who did better w/RISP? Mauer.

#48 Dave T

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 03:51 PM

The Twins have lost 90 games for two straight seasons, and if you think it will be better next year, my answer is, it all starts with pitching. The Twins don't have any proven starters outside of Diamond, and he's not an ace. He's a solid #3-#5 pitcher. The Twins are in rebuilding mode.

As for Mauer, I have no beef with his contract or his performance. He earns his money. He's not exactly a good fit for a rebuilding team though. Furthermore, as has been pointed out by others, he'd probably hit .400 playing for Boston. If Boston were willing to overpay for him, I'd do it. But why would Boston do that? They're rebuilding too.

#49 ThePuck

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 04:14 PM

'P.S. I thought that an OPS of 1.000 really defined an "elite" batter.'

No one in the Majors had an OPS of 1.000 or higher this year in the...not even Cabrera with his Triple Crown. Does that mean we had no elite hitters in the Majors this year?

In the last 4 seasons, only 7 players have done it (only two have done it more than once in those 4 seasons...Pujols and Cabrera). In those 4 seasons, the most in one season was 4 (2010). Do we really have that few elite hitters in baseball? Not only that, one needs to take into account position. Is the players elite when considering the position he plays?

#50 johnnydakota

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:20 PM

if the twins trade joe , they need to look at texas, there in the win now mode, and they have a pair of kids at 3b and ss in olt and profar,who are blocked in the rangers org.and with hamilton coming off there payroll joe might look attractive,if we trade joe we need to trade justin to tornto for there AAA catcher dárnaud, yes we might have to throw in a few prospects like escobar hernandez or florimon but it would give us some solid players for the future... if ownership is not going to go for it in 2013 , they might as well build towards 2014 - 2015, so we might as well trade willingham to pittsburg for there prize pitching prospects cole and taillon, then span to the reds for hamilton (ss) and cingriani as long as we hold on to our top 5 prospects i am fine trading all the others except gibson....so either go after shields and another top of the rotation starter this year and 3 more quality relievers and maybe another quality middle infielder,or tear it down and look to the future

#51 jm3319

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:35 PM

Mauer batted .372/.500/.514 with RISP (that's an OPS over 1.000). His BA, OBP and OPS with RISP was higher than Miguel Cabrera's. He also hit .397/.521/.569 w/RISP and 2 outs. For the season, in overall hitting, he was 4th in BA, 1st in OBP and 10th in OPS for the AL. Those numbers scream #3 batter...even without the HRs.

People say he's too passive with RISP...that he'd rather take the walk. They think Willingham did better in that situation. Well, with RISP, Willingham had 205 plate appearances. He hit .287/.424/.535 and had 8 HR and 73 RBI. I've posted Mauer's line with RISP earlier in this post. He had 13 less plate appearances with RISP and only 1 less RBI. Yes, Mauer walked 40 times with RISP, but WIllingham walked 34 times with RISP. Willingham also stuck out 46 times w/RISP while Mauer struck out 22 times with RISP. Who did better w/RISP? Mauer.



I could not agree more. People hate on Mauer for taking a walk instead of getting a hit which is a stupid criticism. The site below show's Joe at 28th overall in RBI% and Willingham at 86. Just providing more info to back you up.

http://www.baseballm...=desc&MinPA=100

#52 70charger

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:26 PM

Mauer batted .372/.500/.514 with RISP (that's an OPS over 1.000). His BA, OBP and OPS with RISP was higher than Miguel Cabrera's. He also hit .397/.521/.569 w/RISP and 2 outs. For the season, in overall hitting, he was 4th in BA, 1st in OBP and 10th in OPS for the AL. Those numbers scream #3 batter...even without the HRs.

People say he's too passive with RISP...that he'd rather take the walk. They think Willingham did better in that situation. Well, with RISP, Willingham had 205 plate appearances. He hit .287/.424/.535 and had 8 HR and 73 RBI. I've posted Mauer's line with RISP earlier in this post. He had 13 less plate appearances with RISP and only 1 less RBI. Yes, Mauer walked 40 times with RISP, but WIllingham walked 34 times with RISP. Willingham also stuck out 46 times w/RISP while Mauer struck out 22 times with RISP. Who did better w/RISP? Mauer.


I really hope people are paying attention to this kind of thing. The fact is that confirmation bias and negativity domination rule the narratives we tell ourselves about baseball players. This holds probably moreso for baseball players given that a very good hitter doesn't get a hit 7 out of 10 times. Mauer is a dominant player.

But back to the topic at hand. I think it's also correct to say that Mauer doesn't fit that well on a rebuilding team. If the Twins are going to blow it up and start over, they don't have a real use for Mauer. I don't think anyone who gets it really thinks that that is the best course of action (and yes, you know who you are), and so the best course of action is to build around Mauer with free agency, trades, etc. But you always listen to what's on offer.

#53 ThePuck

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:29 AM

[quote name='70charger'][quote name='ThePuck']
I really hope people are paying attention to this kind of thing. [/QUOTE]

Thanks. I think if people looked at him honestly instead of looking at his income and THEN basing what he should be doing on that, they'd have a truer view of him. That contract didn't magically change the type of hitter he's been through most of his career into the 2009 version. He had a great year last year, he really did, and yet he's scapegoat to some. I will never understand that thinking.

#54 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:08 PM

If your owner and GM want an $85 million budget, Mauer's contract is an issue. Mauer is probably worth the money in a vacuum, but is he worth it if his contact leaves you only 60 million or so on the other players. If one pitcher and one other hitter make, say, 10 million each, that leaves you around 45 or so million for the rest of the roster. That makes your margin for error extremely tiny on those other 20 plus players.

#55 ThePuck

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:23 PM

If your owner and GM want an $85 million budget, Mauer's contract is an issue. Mauer is probably worth the money in a vacuum, but is he worth it if his contact leaves you only 60 million or so on the other players. If one pitcher and one other hitter make, say, 10 million each, that leaves you around 45 or so million for the rest of the roster. That makes your margin for error extremely tiny on those other 20 plus players.


You need to be able to draft well, develop well, and be willing to part with the other players before they get too expensive. TB has built serious teams with around 60M and less over the last 5 years while playing in a much tougher division and taking in a lot less revenue

#56 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:00 PM

One team has been able to do it, and the Twins do not show a willingness to trade veterans until too late. Also, that team stunk for years, picked in the top five over and over to build up their system. They also run the team differently in terms of how they platoon and shift their defense. Nothing is similar other than budget. Like I said, it leaves a tiny margin for error.