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Thread: Article: Thinking the Unthinkable: Trade Joe Mauer?

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Article: Thinking the Unthinkable: Trade Joe Mauer?

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

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

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    Senior Member Triple-A
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    I never did understand the thinking of no deferred money on Mauer's contract. It certainly would be helpful to have more money available for payroll in the present.

    Webster would probably fit into the rotation immediately for the Twins. It might be nice for the Twins to include a mid-level prospect (possibly an outfielder if Elsbury is traded) so we could get a couple more players such as catcher Blake Swihart (a top 10 catching prospect who would be blocked by Mauer), and maybe one of their middle infield prospects (they have a bunch) or pitcher Brandon Workman, who also might be ready soon at age 24.

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    Pixel Monkey MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
    I never did understand the thinking of no deferred money on Mauer's contract. It certainly would be helpful to have more money available for payroll in the present.
    I believe the exact opposite. Mauer should be getting ~$30m right now with his contract tapering to ~$15m at the end of the deal. That way the Twins have the most flexibility to field a competitive team during his entire career, not just parts of it. When the Twins are getting the most production from him, they need less players to complement him and can afford to pay him a larger portion of the salary. The end of that contract is going to be an albatross to the team's financials. Deferred money only compounds the problem.

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    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    He's not going to get traded, nor would he accept a trade.

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
    I never did understand the thinking of no deferred money on Mauer's contract. It certainly would be helpful to have more money available for payroll in the present.
    I believe the exact opposite. Mauer should be getting ~$30m right now with his contract tapering to ~$15m at the end of the deal. That way the Twins have the most flexibility to field a competitive team during his entire career, not just parts of it. When the Twins are getting the most production from him, they need less players to complement him and can afford to pay him a larger portion of the salary. The end of that contract is going to be an albatross to the team's financials. Deferred money only compounds the problem.
    Except that, currently Mauer's contract would eat up 23-25% of payroll (assuming a $90-100 million payroll), while by the last couple of years of the contract one would expect payrolls in general to have risen at a rate comparable to what they have over the past half decade, so Mauer's pay would, over time, account for a smaller percentage of the total nut. Of course, this assumes that at some point the Pohlads start giving Ryan more money every year to spend on players instead of less every year.

    I guess I see pros and cons to both front-loading and back-loading long term contracts. In Mauer's case, I'm fine with a level contract that overpays him a bit in the first year or two when Target Field was brand new and attendance was expected to be high, regardless of how good the team was. By the end of his contract, he probably will no longer be worthy of megastar salary, but then by 2018, I'm not sure $23 million will be still reflect the going rate for a megastar.
    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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    Pixel Monkey MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyB View Post
    I never did understand the thinking of no deferred money on Mauer's contract. It certainly would be helpful to have more money available for payroll in the present.
    I believe the exact opposite. Mauer should be getting ~$30m right now with his contract tapering to ~$15m at the end of the deal. That way the Twins have the most flexibility to field a competitive team during his entire career, not just parts of it. When the Twins are getting the most production from him, they need less players to complement him and can afford to pay him a larger portion of the salary. The end of that contract is going to be an albatross to the team's financials. Deferred money only compounds the problem.
    Except that, currently Mauer's contract would eat up 23-25% of payroll (assuming a $90-100 million payroll), while by the last couple of years of the contract one would expect payrolls in general to have risen at a rate comparable to what they have over the past half decade, so Mauer's pay would, over time, account for a smaller percentage of the total nut. Of course, this assumes that at some point the Pohlads start giving Ryan more money every year to spend on players instead of less every year.

    I guess I see pros and cons to both front-loading and back-loading long term contracts. In Mauer's case, I'm fine with a level contract that overpays him a bit in the first year or two when Target Field was brand new and attendance was expected to be high, regardless of how good the team was. By the end of his contract, he probably will no longer be worthy of megastar salary, but then by 2018, I'm not sure $23 million will be still reflect the going rate for a megastar.
    There are negatives to each way of doing it but payrolls aren't going to jump that much in the 6-7 years it takes for Mauer to finish out his contract. We'll probably see a swing of $4-5m but that's still considerably less than the $7-8m in differential I'm talking about by front-loading the contract.

    With the inevitable decreasing attendance as the new stadium smell wears off, the Twins are going to have a hell of a time competing with a 35 year old Joe Mauer consuming $24m while producing a .750 OPS. When he's an .850-.900 OPS player at catcher, he plays close to the level of his $24m contract. When he's a .750 OPS player manning first base and DH, that $24m is going to hurt the team.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Mr. Ed's Avatar
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    I saw that the Boston paper again speculated the Sox should go after Mauer this off season. He'd put up some pretty nice numbers banging the ball off the Green Monster.

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Brock, are you taking in to account the $35-40 million in additional revenue each team stands to receive from the new national TV rights deals signed with ESPN, Turner and FOX a couple of months ago? I think they kick in starting in 2014, if I recall correctly. If the Twins keep to their practice of spending half their revenues on payroll, that's an additional $17.5-20 million per year from that revenue source alone (and one could argue that, since they incur no additional operating costs to gain that additional revenue, there's no reason they shouldn't allocate more of it to salaries, but these are the Pohlads, after all, so we won't expect the impossible).

    If you're right about no more of an overall swing in payroll from now through 2018 than $5 million a year, there's something terribly wrong in Twinsville.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

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    Pixel Monkey MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Brock, are you taking in to account the $35-40 million in additional revenue each team stands to receive from the new national TV rights deals signed with ESPN, Turner and FOX a couple of months ago? I think they kick in starting in 2014, if I recall correctly. If the Twins keep to their practice of spending half their revenues on payroll, that's an additional $17.5-20 million per year from that revenue source alone (and one could argue that, since they incur no additional operating costs to gain that additional revenue, there's no reason they shouldn't allocate more of it to salaries, but these are the Pohlads, after all, so we won't expect the impossible).

    If you're right about no more of an overall swing in payroll from now through 2018 than $5 million a year, there's something terribly wrong in Twinsville.
    I was speaking about "megastar" player salaries, not overall payroll. I should have made that more clear.

    Anyway, I think this just depends on which side of the fence you fall... For me, I believe it's a more sound practice to pay a player relative to expected performance than it is to pay a flat rate.

    Either way, deferred money is the worst option possible. I can live with a flat salary but deferred money is a terrible idea no matter how you look at it. You're mortgaging the future for today and that's not a sound business practice.

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    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
    He's not going to get traded, nor would he accept a trade.
    I've read that Mauer's agent asked for an "opt out" in the Twins contract during negotiations and the Twins refused. Seems to me that either Joe or his agent were considering the possibility that the Twins might become non-competitive during the course of the contract and that Mauer might, in that case, prefer to consider other options. Back to back seasons like the Twins have just endured might seem to be exactly the kind of scenario that they were concerned about.

    As I wrote, I don't expect a trade to even be considered by the Twins. That said, I wouldn't assume Mauer would necessarily refuse it if it did occur, especially If the Twins are out of contention by midseason again this year and the Red Sox are contending. If I were him, I'd certainly be open to that possibility and I can't imagine why he'd be any less receptive.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

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    The King In The North All-Star Nick Nelson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Brock, are you taking in to account the $35-40 million in additional revenue each team stands to receive from the new national TV rights deals signed with ESPN, Turner and FOX a couple of months ago? I think they kick in starting in 2014, if I recall correctly. If the Twins keep to their practice of spending half their revenues on payroll, that's an additional $17.5-20 million per year from that revenue source alone
    Of course, since every team is receiving the same amount, it doesn't give them one ounce of comparative advantage. All that money is likely to do is inflate contracts across the league.

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    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
    He's not going to get traded, nor would he accept a trade.
    I've read that Mauer's agent asked for an "opt out" in the Twins contract during negotiations and the Twins refused. Seems to me that either Joe or his agent were considering the possibility that the Twins might become non-competitive during the course of the contract and that Mauer might, in that case, prefer to consider other options. Back to back seasons like the Twins have just endured might seem to be exactly the kind of scenario that they were concerned about.

    As I wrote, I don't expect a trade to even be considered by the Twins. That said, I wouldn't assume Mauer would necessarily refuse it if it did occur, especially If the Twins are out of contention by midseason again this year and the Red Sox are contending. If I were him, I'd certainly be open to that possibility and I can't imagine why he'd be any less receptive.
    The only reason a player asks for an opt out (see: CC, and ARod) is that they then have the leverage to make even more money down the road by holding the team hostage IF they prove to be worth the money, it has nothing to do with them thinking the team may not be competitive.

  13. #13
    The biggest problem is that the Twins gave up Wilson Ramos to Washington for reliever Matt Capps in 2010. Donít see Drew Butera as a legitimate replacement as catcher and Chris Herrmann probably isn't the guy either.

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    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.

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    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    Mauer is fine, but if the Twins want to get their money's worth they need to move him to #2 in the lineup. Mauer himself needs to get his defense fixed. I'd really like for him to get back to the best catcher in baseball as the title currently belongs to Posey.

  16. #16
    Should Twins consider trading Mauer?? Of course...but must receive a top level pitching prospect, and more (maybe a replacement catcher that would be better than Butera).

    Will the Twins consider trading Mauer??? I doubt it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    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.
    I like the part where you tried to use RBI's to explain how Mauer was an "elite" offensive player or whatever you were trying to say.
    I also liked the part where you compared him to David Murphy.


  18. #18
    Pixel Monkey MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    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.
    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.

  19. #19
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
    Of course, since every team is receiving the same amount, it doesn't give them one ounce of comparative advantage. All that money is likely to do is inflate contracts across the league.
    I agree, Nick. However, since Mauer's contract calls for a level salary throughout the remaining years, none of the increased revenue will go toward increases in Mauer's own salary so his share, as a percentage of total payroll, should drop. The point I was attempting (perhaps poorly) to make is that, for that reason, I don't see his contract likely being as big of a weight for the Twins to carry in the later years as would be the case without the TV revenue boost.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

    ~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

  20. #20
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer Boom Boom's Avatar
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    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.

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