Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Catching Up

It's been quite around these parts lately, but frankly there just hasn't been a whole lot to write about. Let's quickly catch up on a couple Twins tidbits.

* A small blurb near the bottom of Charley Walters' Sunday column in the Pioneer Press reads as follows: "It's unclear what it will take for Joe Mauer to re-sign with the Twins before he can become a free agent after next season. A little birdie says, though, that any offer for fewer than seven years won't do it."

Now, it's worth noting that historically any statement in a Walters column that is sourced to "a little birdie" has often been a baseless fabrication, but the sentiment here seems to be on track. The Twins can't reasonably afford to pay Mauer the same annual salary that a team like New York or Boston might be able to, so odds are they will have to win him over with length. I suggested in the GM Handbook that the Twins sign Mauer to an eight-year, $150 million deal, which would essentially add up to a seven-year extension since my proposed contract tears up the end of his current deal and begins next season.

That might seem like an awfully lengthy deal, particularly for a catcher, but it's worth noting that Mauer would still only be 34 such a contract expired. There are few scenarios in which I can imagine the Twins would want to let Mauer leave before he reaches that age, and even in the event that he does begin to wear down as he reaches his mid-30s, I think that's something the Twins should be willing to stomach in return for locking up a likely Hall of Fame player during his prime years at a reduced cost.

* Speaking of Mauer, I'm guessing there are a number of female fans around this fine state that are wishing this would have happened to him rather than a division rival's studly marquis player.

* Doubtlessly any Twins fans who were forced to endure Chip Caray's awful play-by-play during Game 163 and the ALDS this year will surely be pleased with this news.

* I believe that last night marked the deadline for offering arbitration to free agency eligible players, but as I write this I've not yet heard whether or not the Twins offered to Carl Pavano. My assumption is that they did, since he's a Type B free agent and the reward of receiving a supplemental draft pick should he sign elsewhere more than outweighs the risk of having to pay him around $7 million on a one-year deal (which might not even really be a bad thing).

11 comments:

lookatthosetwins said...

I'd be pretty extatic with 8/150. I'm just not sure that it would be that attractive to Mauer. I think if he was a free agent right now, I think he'd get 150 in 6 years, and still be young enough (32) to sign another big contract when he hit free agency again. Obviously, he isn't a free agent right now, and securing a big contract now instead of waiting is obviously worth something, as is staying in Minnesota. How much are those things worth to him? I have no idea.

Like I said, I'd be very happy with 8/150. Even if he does have to be moved from behind the plate at some point, it is unlikely he wouldn't be worth much more than that over 8 years. It would take some serious decline for 19/yr to not be at least reasonable for his age 34 season. I think your worst case scenario (well, not WORST case, but close) injuries move him from behind the plate within the next couple years, and also take away his new found power. He'd still be only slightly overpaid. Best case scenario - he continues to play like last year, and is worth 150mil in 5 years, with the rest just being cake.

I just don't see the risks coming close to outweighing the benefits of that scenario, even from just an on-the-field standpoint. Add in the hometown poster-boy fan favorite club house leader stuff, and it looks even better.

Nick N. said...

You're right that $19/year is less than Mauer would get on the open market, but it's not unreasonably low and I'd think that the Twins could sell him on it based on the extra year of security, the contract length, the fact that Minnesota is his hometown, and -- perhaps more than anything -- the team's need to keep a little payroll flexibility in order to attain/retain key players and stay competitive.

Anonymous said...

I understand that this isn't the NBA but why isn't he looking for a Lebron type contract, a few years, big bucks, option to walk if the Twins don't make the team competitive? This is really not the MLB PA's preferred look but Mauer could break the mold.

Anonymous said...

Arbitration deadline is today, December 1st, not last night.

Steve-No said...

Wow. If Pavano doesn't land with the Twins for 2010, that was yet another ill-informed trade on Mr. Smith's behalf. Who is this guy trying to emulate? Terry Ryan or Kevin McHale?

Billy, if you're going to give up Pino to get Pavano, make an effort to keep the guy. Otherwise, how is that trade worthwhile?

Mauer or no Mauer, with moves like these depleting the Twins' young pitching crop, they don't stand a chance.

Elite pitching wins in the postseason and the Twins can't afford enough elite pitching to win in Oct. and beyond unless they grow it.

Nick N. said...

Arbitration deadline is today, December 1st, not last night.

Gotcha. Thanks for the correction.

If Pavano doesn't land with the Twins for 2010, that was yet another ill-informed trade on Mr. Smith's behalf.

What? Pavano was a big part of the reason the Twins vaulted the Tigers for a division title and even he leaves presumably the Twins will get a draft pick since I imagine they'll offer him arbitration. I don't think there's any reasonable way for a Twins fan to view that move as an "ill-informed trade."

lookatthosetwins said...

Yeah, a sandwich pick is pretty close in value to Johan Pino. Plus a half year of good pitching which helped us capture the division title. I'm not a huge BS fan, but that was one of the better moves he's made.

VicLady said...

I'm still having a hard time thinking about 2010. Haven't gotten over 2009.

Steve-No said...

Nick-

Sure, Pavano was effective for a third of the Twins' season and, yes, he helped them clinch the division (That's why I want him back for next year). But I've seen the Twins win the division several times this past decade. It doesn't do anyhting for me anymore when the are swiftly escorted out of the playoffs in the DS.

So when BS makes a trade like this that compromises the sustainability of his starting pitching prospects and doesn't strive to get the piece we got in the trade for at least one more year, I call that nonsense.

For example, yeah, the Brewers had CC for half a season. What did that get them? A first round exit from the playoffs and they lost LaPorta and Brantly (and Zach Jackson).

BS is treading dangerous water with the moves he's making. And I expect nothing but the same mediocrity out of this team as long as he's in charge.

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