Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hypothetically Speaking: The Joe Mauer Contract Extension

Now that Joe Mauer has been named the 2009 AL MVP, the focus shifts to the real drama now: will the Twins sign Mauer to a contract extension?

For those Twins fans fearful that this year's MVP award will make it more difficult to keep Joe Mauer past 2010, General Manager Bill Smith tried offering some soothing words Monday.

"Do you think if he finished second, the price was going to come down?" Smith said, cracking a smile. "So no, Joe said it perfectly: 'Today, let's celebrate the MVP Award, and we've got time to work on the other stuff.' "

To be sure, it didn't take validation from the writers to establish Mauer's soaring value. He's a two-time Gold Glove catcher, a three-time American League batting champ and now, an MVP. All this at age 26, with a four-year, $33 million contract set to expire after next season, just when the Yankees and Red Sox figure to be shopping for new catchers.

No wonder it took the national media fewer than five minutes to begin peppering Mauer with contract questions during a teleconference.

"I knew I'd probably run into a question like that," Mauer said. "I've always said it will take care of itself when it needs to."

So, let's take care of some of that contract stuff for Mr. Mauer. There is no better time than now to get the contract extension done!

Here are the goals for each side:

The Twins

1. Lock up Joe Mauer long term

2. Don't eat up too much payroll

3. Hometown discount!!!!!

The Joe Mauer Camp

1. Big money contract

2. Stay in Minnesota

So how about this deal for Mauer and the Twins?

(6 years/$120 million)
with a $24 million dollar option for 2016 (7 years/$144 million)

Here is the contractual breakdown:

2010: $15 million
2011: $18 million
2012: $19 million
2013: $21 million
2014: $23 million
2015: $24 million
2016: $24 million (club option)

Why it works for the Twins:

1. Keep Mauer in Minnesota

2. Prevent him from hitting the open market

Why it works for Mauer

1. Stays in Minnesota

2. Becomes highest paid catcher in baseball

****** ******

For Joe Mauer, this deal represents his strong desire to stay in Minnesota long term and help put together a winning product there. Sure, he could have gotten a bigger and longer contract on the open market (7 years/$150 mil, 8 years/$160 mil), but given the Twins payroll flexibility, this deal would represent a massive commitment for them. It does help that the Twins are moving into a new stadium in 2010 because without the added revenue, there's virtually no way that a deal like this could have been offered. $20 million annually is not too shabby for the former frugal spending Twins.

If the Twins payroll stays around the $90 million mark, then they will be committing a large portion of their payroll to a catcher. I don't think any baseball fan out there is too fond of this idea, but quite simply, Mauer is worth it. He is one of the best players in baseball and represents so much to the Twins organization.

(Jorge Says No! on Facebook)

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Bill@TDS said...

I'd be ecstatic with that. 6/$150m might be closer to what it takes. On the open market, the Yankees or Sox could easily go to $30/yr.

A Star Trib reporter said there are "indications" a deal may be done by Christmas, which is all BS at this point, but I can hope. :)

Mitch said...

He definitely deserve to get what he's worth. Thanks for sharing good points here. Congrats to Joe too! By the way, this free goodies will surely make your day great!

Anonymous said...

Now how do you factor in the ten-year, $300 million that the Red Sox and Yankees will bid up to for him?

Graves said...

I love the Twins and I love Joe Mauer, but there is no way and I literally mean NO WAY that anyone--even the Yankees or Red Sox--would pay him $30 million/ year. Especially not over 10 years.

If Teixeira didn't land $30 million, Mauer won't.

Mauer plays a position that is prone to injury and rapid decline of skills with age.

He's already had back and knee issues in the past.

Odds are he'll have to be moved from a full-time catcher in the next six-years or so.

$30 million for a DH doesn't make any sense, does it?!

I still think he re-signs with the Twins for 6-years/$100 million

Bryz said...

I don't know if the Twins would backload the contract that much, since Mauer's ability will likely decline as he gets older and he'll probably be more injury prone (hard to think he could have MORE injuries).

Jorge Says No! said...

The only way to counter a strong offer from the yankees or red sox is for mauer to have a STRONG desire to stay. That desire could trump everything

And 30 mil per is crazy. I'd say mauer will get in the mid twenties and be a trailblazer bc of it. Will the twins be able to backload the deal? Who knows? It depends on how much they can spend upfront on mauer with the added revenue from target field

scottiedawg said...

30 million for mauer is reasonable. He was worth 38 million last year (teixeira was worth 23). As Mauer is a catcher, extended years is questionable. 5/130 is a good offer. If the Yanks or Red Sox are willing to offer 7+ years at 25+ per year, the twins shouldn't match it.

Pulverized Concepts said...

OK, Mauer is the best player in baseball, BUT. . . if a gang of lesbian biker chicks kidnapped him tomorrow, his replacement wouldn't hit .000 and drop every pitch and throw the ball over the shortstop's head on every steal attempt. As we all know, the difference between a .300 hitter and a .250 hitter is one hit a week over the season. Practically speaking, Mauer isn't worth 20 or 25 million dollars more per year than another good catcher. And other teams would love to bid up his price and put the Twins behind a financial 8 ball for years to come. The Twins should come up with a deal that makes financial sense for them and if Joe doesn't like it wave bye-bye to him as he heads to one of the coasts.

Anonymous said...

i think thats a pretty fair value for mauer, despite some of the people saying he might pull 30 mill, no one is gunna pay a catcher 30 mill... not mauer anyways and hes hands down the best catcher, the yankees have the more urgent need for him and would like to see him go somewhere to win a ring even if that means him staying, hes a good guy, hes more in the 23-26 million range.. either way mauer deserves to get paid and will so justly.. good for u joe

Anonymous said...

Mauer said that he wanted to win. He wont do it in minnesota. he should go to New York where he can easily win a championship.

scottiedawg said...

In 2009, Mauer was worth 38 million over a replacement player, which is the group of readily available backup catchers or AAA catchers. The 38 million number is derived directly from how much Mauer is better than his replacement. And a replacement level catcher hits better than 200.

Anonymous said...

I think the Twins could lock him up for an average of $18 million per year by giving him the security of a 7-8 year contract. It won't take $24 million in any year of his contract to retain him.

Jorge Says No! said...

Just because Mauer was worth $30 million+ last season doesnt mean he should actually get $30 million on the opne market.

Sure he is the best catcher in baseball both offensively and defensively, but there are so many reasons why he should not earn $30 million.

1. he's a catcher (tend to break down)

2. is the power a fluke? (this was the first year where his power was truly on display)

3. Injury (mauer missed the first month of 2009, so there is risk involved on the injury front)

Anonymous said...

I've read before that the Twins should actually move him to 3rd base to help him have a longer career. Obviously, it's tough to do that now because he's a great catcher, but down the road, I could see him moving to third or first provided he doesn't have any significant injuries to his back/knees that would hamper his range.

If he isn't signed to an extension by the start of Spring Training, he'll be traded by the trade deadline. The Twins will receive a great package for him provided he signs an extension with the new team as part of the trade. As a Sox fan, I'd love to see him go to Boston, but it wouldn't shock me one bit to see him wind up with the Yankees.

Anonymous said...

8 years/$200 million

Tex got 8/180 and is older and not as good an overall player. Also, Mauer being 27 when the contract starts means he would have to catch until he was 35 or the same age as guys like Posada. Even if he only catches for 5 years and then goes to 1B for the final 3 years, he is worth the money.

Jorge Says No! said...

I dunno about the tex comparison. Even though they are similar in age they are two completely different types of players (both are defensive studs though)

1. Tex hits for significantly more power and plays a position that is most often identified with power hitters. Yes joe mauer hit for significant power this year but that was the first time in his career that he hit for that much power. And even with his phenomenal 2009 power performance, his numbers are still behind tex from a power perspective.

2. Because tex plays first instead of catching, his injury/breakdown risk is less than mauer's, which mitigates the yankees risk in signing tex.

3. Mauer hits for a higher average which is where most of his offensive power has come from in years past.

So is mauer a better player than tex? Debateable. The case can defintely be made that tex is the safer investment for the long term.

Anonymous said...

it's a pretty bad argument stating that mauer is a better overall player than tex. tex is consistently recognized as one of the best defensive players in the game year in and year out. mauer is also very good at his position but you certainly cant say he's a better overall player than tex when tex puts up 10 more homers and about 30 more rbi per season than mauer does. especially if mauer moved to first base he would not be worth nearly as much as teixeira is worth at first base as hes proven throughout his career. with that said i would LOVE to have mauer as catcher. i think he'll get a similar contract that tex got. dont believe that anything more would be worth giving a catcher albeit a great one. you never know when the injury bug will hit him again. actually it already has. pretty scary if you ask me.