Monday, March 22, 2010

The Joe Mauer Contract - What it Means

Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer hits a double in the third inning against the New York Yankees in game 1 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium in New York
Congratulations to both the Twins and Joe Mauer in finding the common ground a working out a deal that appears to be a win-win. The eight-year, $184 million deal contains metrics that sound more like new government legislation than a contract for playing a game.  It shows a level of trust and dedication by both sides that should ripple throughout all of Twins Territory.

Here are the five biggest results and considerations of what this new deal really means:
  1. Mauer is clearly the most valuable player in the league, especially as an all-around player. His defense is nearly as strong as his bat, and in a position notorious for .250 hitters, having Joe there is a significant statistical advantage for the Twins. As long as he's catching, that advantage is worth the dough.
  2. I believe that Mauer still has upside to his hitting. Really. He's 27, and arguably has not hit his prime yet. As his power numbers continue to grow, he has the legitimate chance to be the first Triple Crow winner since Carl Yastrzemski.
  3. This deal locks the Twins down financially. Given their payroll, they'll need to get it all done with this lineup. As we've seen with the Nathan injury, that can be tenuous. Other injuries will render this team an also-ran, as there is no room to move.  We're all in with this line up.
  4. This deal paves the way to a George Brett-like engagement for Joe beyond his playing days. Given his love of the game and of this market, I hope that comes to fruition.
  5. While the contract will be debated as to who won and lost, the biggest winners in all of this remain the Twins' fans. We get to see the best player in baseball, live and in person, for the next eight years.


  1. While I agree that Mauer is best player in the AL, Albert Pujols would like a word with you regarding the "best player in baseball" moniker...

  2. Hey Kev,

    While I won't disagree that Pujols is a stud (and has been for a decade), I think the differential that Mauer brings against an average catcher vs. the one Albert brings against an average 1st basement might tip it to Mauer. Likewise, from a purely defensive standpoint, I think Mauer brings more into the field.

    Good insight - thanks for posting up.

  3. You might not realize that Pujols is by far the best defensive first baseman in the NL. If you look at advanced metrics, Pujols rang up 12+ Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP, which accounts for position scarcity) last year and has been over 10 the past 3 years, while Mauer had only 8.8 WARP last year in his MVP season.

    Don't get me wrong, Mauer is fantastic and solidly the MVP of the AL, but I think a lot of people just don't appreciate that Pujols isn't just the NL MVP, he's unbelieveably, historically, exceptional.

  4. Kev,

    Didn't Albert only win one gold glove?

    As far as the WARP goes, you got me there. That is a great metric to look at the comparison. I tip my hat to you, and to Bill James.


Please feel free to include any thoughts you may have. Know, however, that kiddos might be reading this, so please keep the adult language to yourself. I know, for me to ask that language is clean is a stretch...