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  • Thinking the Unthinkable: Trade Joe Mauer?

    This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com.

    This is what happens when the offseason rolls around and I really have no rooting interest among the four remaining MLB teams in the respective League Championship Series. I write 2000 words about something that will never, ever happen. At least that’s what happened to me Sunday.

    But it’s not my fault. I’m blaming my fellow Knuckleballs blogger, Eric, and this Sunday morning Tweet:

    @
    ERolfPleiss
    Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says Red Sox should target Mauer and/or Morneau this winter. #MNTwins http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2012/10/13/few-ideas-shore-red-sox-roster/npiJ3r49NrtnhnGInPoQ1L/story.html …

    Having nothing better to do, I clicked the link to Cafardo’s article, which goes through several possible moves the Red Sox could make to get their team back on track, starting with trading for Joe Mauer. Cafardo mentions that the Red Sox are reportedly a bit gunshy about taking on more expensive long-term contracts and wonders if the Twins would eat some of his salary. On the other hand, if you’re the Twins, the only reason to deal Mauer would be to get out from under that contract. Putting those factors together, you quickly conclude that any such deal is beyond unlikely and bordering on unthinkable.

    But this is the offseason and what’s the offseason for if not to think about the unthinkable?

    I’m not surprised to see a Boston writer bring up Mauer’s name as a possible target for the Red Sox. In fact, given how old and fragile the Yankees line up is looking, I’d be shocked if Mauer’s name didn’t appear in more than one New York writer’s “How to Fix the Yankees” column in coming weeks, as well.

    Joe Mauer (Knuckleballs photo)

    But there are any number of logical reasons why Joe Mauer won’t be going anywhere. Local boy. Popular with local fans. Historically great hitting catcher. Huge contract. No-trade clause. The list goes on.

    But if you’ll promise not to misinterpret this as an article suggesting that Mauer either should or will be traded, let’s at least take a look at whether there are any circumstances under which Terry Ryan might actually consider a discussion.

    Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that Boston GM Ben Cherington places a call to Ryan and asks the simple question, “Can we talk about Joe Mauer?”

    Understand, it’s unlikely that question would even be asked. Cherington is unlikely to be looking to take on $23 million per year long-term contracts. Still, as Cafardo points out, Mauer would fit nicely in to a line up that would accommodate a catcher/1B/DH like Mauer. He might also set some kind of modern-day record for doubles in Fenway Park. Bringing in a legitimate superstar would send a strong message to Red Sox Nation that the team has no intention of taking several years to rebuild their brand. And let’s be honest, the Red Sox can afford to pay Mauer his money. They freed up a lot of payroll space with their late-season deals and if they decide to let David Ortiz walk away, they’ll have even more money to play with.

    So just maybe the Red Sox could see themselves calling about Mauer. But should the Twins even answer that call? That answer may not be as obvious as many fans think.

    The Twins gave Mauer an excessive contract before the 2010 season because they could not afford, from a public relations standpoint, not to sign him at any price he and his agent demanded. Opening a new stadium built largely with public funding, with virtually every seat bought and paid for through season tickets (and a waiting list of people willing to replace any holder who drops out), there was no way the Twins could allow themselves to be seen as letting the local hero get away because they didn’t want to pay for him. For the first time in franchise history, money really didn’t matter.

    But those days are nothing more than a misty memory today. The Twins are coming off of consecutive seasons of more than 95 losses and attendance is dropping. Put those factors together and it wouldn’t be unrealistic to expect the Twins to slash payroll for the second straight offseason. Today, money does matter. Paying one player $23 million dollars when your total payroll is $110 million is one thing. Doing so when your total payroll is $85 million is something else, altogether.

    Still, it’s not like the Twins are destitute, either. With the money coming off the books after the past season, Terry Ryan has enough payroll to work with to make improvements to his team. There aren’t a lot of top of the rotation pitchers out there, but there are plenty of more reasonably priced arms on the market and he even has a couple of trade chips he can afford to flip for pitching if he wants to go that direction. Also, despite what some folks might think, Joe Mauer is still really, really good at baseball and he’s likely to stay good for a number of years. You don’t just give that kind of talent away for a handful of magic beans (or in this case, for just a few million dollars of payroll space).

    What this all means is that if, as Cafardo suggests, Cherington asks TR whether the Twins would eat any of Mauer’s contract, the answer would be (or at least should be), “hell no!” But what if Boston agrees to take on that contract?

    Conventional wisdom in these kinds of trades is that the team trading a big contract either gets high level prospects back by eating some salary OR gets marginal prospects back while dumping the entire contract. That’s considered “fair return.”

    Yet the Red Sox themselves managed to not only unload more debt owed to
    less talented players on to the Dodgers a couple of months ago, but got legitimate talent back in return, as well. They should be congratulated for that. They should also be reminded of that when they call the Twins about Joe Mauer. “Fair” is a relative term. “Fair” depends on how badly you want what I have. If you don’t want Mauer that badly, that’s fine. If you do, then shut up about “fair” and let’s get serious.

    There are 3-4 players in the Red Sox system that the Twins would have to target as possible players they’d need in return. I’m not any kind of expert on minor league players, but fortunately I know how to read things written by people who are. I also have a pretty good idea what the Twins need (then again, who doesn’t at this point?).

    Any discussion with the Red Sox about Mauer would have to start with the Twins dumping his entire contract AND getting at least one of the following players in return:

    Allen Webster
    : 22 year old right-handed starting pitcher that the Sox got from the Dodgers in the Crawford, et al, trade. He’s got a mid-90s fastball and strikes out nearly a batter per inning. He pitched in AA this season and should be a AAA arm to start 2013. He was the #2 prospect in the Dodgers organization prior to the trade.

    Matt Barnes
    : Righty starting pitcher was the Sox first round pick out of UConn in 2011 and covered both levels of A-ball in 2012. Barnes also has a mid-90s fastball and strikes out a ton of hitters. He’s likely to be a year behind Webster in terms of being Major League ready, however.

    Garin Cecchini
    : 21 year old 3B had a .305/.394/.433 split in high-A ball in 2012. He also stole 51 bases in 57 attempts. He hasn’t shown a lot of power yet but hits a ton of doubles. With Will Middlebrooks perhaps entrenched at 3B for the Red Sox, Cecchini could be blocked unless he’s converted to a 2B. The Twins could use help in either spot.

    Speaking of third basemen being blocked by Middlebrooks, the Red Sox top prospect is reportedly Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts is playing shortstop and the Sox hope he can stay there but scouts have doubts about whether he will be able to do that. They think he will more likely need to move to 3B or, perhaps even more likely, a corner OF spot or 1B. He was just 19 years old through the past season but has already shown both an ability to hit for average and power through Class A and even in a month of games at AA. It sounds like Boston has their own version of Miguel Sano, but it’s unlikely they’d trade him for anyone. I wouldn’t.

    With Cecchini and Bogaerts knocking on the door, maybe Boston should consider trading Middlebrooks?

    A step below these guys would be someone like Henry Owens, who is a 20 year old string bean of a pitcher with what appears to be a lot of potential. He’s 6’7” and a bit over 200 pounds and only throws in the low 90s at this point. But he had 130 strikeouts in 101.2 innings at Class A in 2012 and that would certainly move him to the top of the Twins’ starting pitching prospects list in a hurry.

    If the Twins could score one of these top prospects from Boston in addition to shedding Mauer’s contract, Ryan could then be free to have conversations with his peers about Major League level pitching without being as concerned about salary. Would a trade for someone like James Shields (who has a $9 mil club option with the Rays in 2013) then be something worth considering?


    Terry Ryan (Knuckleballs photo)

    But even if Ryan and Cherington could come to some kind of agreement, what about that pesky no-trade clause in Mauer’s contract? Would he even consider giving approval? Let’s just say I no longer believe it’s necessarily a certainty that he’d say “no” to such a deal.

    On the one hand, Joe’s a very private person and it would seem that moving to a large-market team that is as dysfunctional as the Red Sox has been would be counter-intuitive. On the other hand, he’s a really big fish in a mid-market fishbowl and you wonder if he might not welcome the opportunity to be just one of many mega-stars in the New England sports scene. As Cafardo points out, Mauer also lives in Fort Myers in the offseason. Guess who, besides the Twins, has their Spring Training facility in Fort Myers? Yep… the Sawx.

    Let’s also be honest about something else. Despite the colossal belly flop of a season that the Red Sox had in 2012, if you were Mauer and were weighing the Sox against the Twins as to which organization was more likely to field a Championship level team over the remaining six years of your contract, there’s no doubt who you would see as being more likely. Boston may not always make the right decisions, but their clear goal every year is to win it all. And every year, they make moves they believe will give themselves a better shot at doing so. You simply can not say that about the Twins.

    Joe Mauer is not a naïve little boy any more. Family is important. But he already lives in Florida half the year and the life of a MLB ballplayer during the season doesn’t leave much time for family anyway. With Boston training in Fort Myers, I think they might just be one team he would consider waiving his no-trade deal for.

    So, IF the Red Sox call… IF Terry Ryan will listen… IF the Red Sox would take on the entire contract… and IF the Twins could also get a top prospect (or two?) in return… would Mauer agree to a trade?

    Let’s just say that if, like me, you are one who never wants to see Joe Mauer in anything but a Twins uniform, we should probably hope it doesn’t come down to that last factor.

    - JC

    [EDIT: CORRECTIONS made to originally incorrect statements concerning the timing of Mauer's contract. Thanks for pointing out the error, Winston Smith.]
    This article was originally published in blog: Thinking the Unthinkable: Trade Joe Mauer? started by Jim Crikket
    Comments 55 Comments
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      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 get out at nearly the same percentage while also slugging at a much higher rate.
      If only Mauer slugged as well as Miguel Cabrera he might have driven in 139 runs.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      If only Mauer slugged as well as Miguel Cabrera he might have driven in 139 runs.
      It worked for Mike Trout.

      Oh, wait...
    1. y2jjj54's Avatar
      y2jjj54 -
      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.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      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.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      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.
    1. Paul's Avatar
      Paul -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      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.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      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?
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      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.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      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?
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by one_eyed_jack View Post
      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.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by one_eyed_jack View Post
      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
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
      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.

    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      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.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      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?
    1. flpmagikat's Avatar
      flpmagikat -
      Maybe, if the team wasnt so awful already.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      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.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      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.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by one_eyed_jack View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      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.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      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).
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by one_eyed_jack View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      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.
      ---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.
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