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  1. The Twins will need Mauer to take a 25-30% discount. The only realistic scenario for that is if the Twins make a deep run in the playoffs with this team this year or in 2010. Players of Mauer’s talent (are there any?) are more interested in winning than cash. The Yankees are very likely to make a bid at the winning the whole thing during that same timeline. With Mauer’s value projecting even higher as a lefty hitting in Yankee Stadium, I think the $160M-180M is something they would be happy to part with in order to establish a new Yankee Dynasty in the new decade. Being on a dominant team for the prime of your career is something Mauer is unlikely to turn down. And I’m sure he won’t mind being the highest player in the game (and he’s worth every dime).

    Comment by ochozero — August 31, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  2. “unless Mauer really loves the area and takes a team friendly deal”

    Unless? He was born in Minnesota and has built a log cabin in the Minnesota woods. I’d say he seems pretty attached to the area. I think he’s very likely to stay — possibly for a lower than market value price, but I think the Twins will also do everything they possibly can to keep him around.

    Comment by Summer — August 31, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

  3. If you are the Yankees and you look at your catcher situation, Posada has been an absolute rock at one of the hardest positions to replace, producing 35 WAR over the last 8 seasons. But he is 38 and they are going to have to find a replacement for that production pretty soon…

    Players of Mauer’s ability come on the market extremely rarely, and he plays a position the Yankees will have a huge hole at. If you are the Yankees FO, you see one of the situations where the best strategy is to outbid everyone else by 25m or more and sign him no matter what. If you end up overpaying him, that’s fine, since the main upside of having a 200m payroll comes from being able to use brute force to close on the opportunity to get guys like Arod, CC, Tex, when the chance to get them comes along. If they don’t spend the 30, 35m a year it takes on Mauer, there are not that many other places for them to spend this money. There are only a limited number of places for them to improve. (obviously this is entirely contingent on him staying at catcher)

    Comment by Lawrence — August 31, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  4. Mauer will sign about a 5 year extension this offseason. Something around 5/110M. That will leave him in a position to get one more huge huge contract before he hangs ‘em up.

    Playing where friends and family can watch him play every night means something to him and he’ll have more than enough money to live extremely comfortably in Minnesota.

    That said, If the Twins don’t extend him this offseason while they have exclusive negotiating rights, he’ll be gone after 2010.

    Comment by JimCrikket — August 31, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  5. $30MM/yr for a catcher? No one is going to pay that. It would be better to try and estimate what he’ll bring in free agency instead of estimating what his ‘value’ is worth to a team.

    Even if he is far and beyond all the other players in MLB when you look at the offense and defense he brings to a team, doesn’t it matter that he only brings it to 120 or so games a season? Yeah, he helps you win games, but only 120 of them. Then after that, you have your uber-scrub backup catcher helping you lose the other 40. How does that factor into a player worth?

    Comment by sabernar — August 31, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

  6. This is just silly speculation.We all know that no team is going to be signing a catcher with history of injuries to a 30+ mil/year deal. A-Rod in his prime got what, 25? As a shortstop with prodigious power, basically the most talented player of the decade.The other factor here is the economic climate. There is just no way 30+ happens. If the Angels or someone does give him a silly-big contract that just hurts the teams/owners. It would set a new precedent that would be unsustainable. If Mauer gets 30, what does Upton get?

    Comment by Max — August 31, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

  7. WAR is a counting stat.

    Comment by Nick — August 31, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

  8. WAR is a counting stat. A guy who gets to 6 WAR in 120 games is just as valuable (in fact, slightly more valuable if you have a decent replacement option) as a guy who gets to 6 WAR in 162 games.

    That said, I do think that R.J. is slightly overlooking Mauer’s re-injury potential (knee and back injuries, speculation about him being too tall for the position). Also, I don’t think a guy like Mauer is going to get paid something like $30 million a year – his true market value. Some of Mauer’s best attributes – positional value, defense, OBP – are still undervalued in the free market. Up until this year, he’s never had more than 85 RBI or 13 HR in a season. Fair or not, those types of numbers are going to hold him back from a megadeal should the opportunity come next winter.

    Comment by Mike I — August 31, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  9. Mauer is not going to get anything close to what he is worth in WAR terms, even from the Yankees. But its a moot point because Mauer will never hit the open market- the Twins will extend him this off-season. So that’s another ‘discount’ to factor in: one year security discount, plus hometown discount, plus injury risk discount, plus long-term deal discount. Plus, playing in Minnesota also results in a significant tax and cost-of-living discount compared to New York, Boston, or Los Angeles.

    The increased revenue from the new park easily covers the whole thing, even allowing for 50% to be taken as club profit.

    Comment by John — August 31, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

  10. Mauer will be offered an eight year, $200M deal when he hits FA by the Yankees and/or the Red Sox. The perfect storm that involves the two wealthiest teams both needing a front-line catcher will work in his favor.

    As for Upton, he’ll be the second $250M player in history. It works hugely in his favor that he hits FA at age 26.

    As for the people commenting on the economy, last year’s FA market provided a valuable lesson: the elite stars aren’t the ones who take the hit. Teams are getting smarter – They know that they can find 1-2 WAR internally, and so they’re eschewing the aging, bad defender types. That negatively affects the aging, fringy pitchers, and it negatively affects the Abreus and Burrells.

    But the money was there for Sabathia and Tex, and it was incredibly good money. And the same phenomenon will lead teams to pony up for Mauer, for Halladay, and players like them in the future.

    The best 1-2 free agents in a free agent class are seemingly completely insulated from the negative effects of the economy. They are so coveted, that they live in there only little bubble of future wealth.

    Comment by Jacob Jackson — September 1, 2009 @ 12:06 am

  11. Since I am a Tigers fan I wouldnt mind seeing Mauer leave the AL Central…

    But for the good of baseball I hope Minnesota resigns him… If the only 2 teams that can have the great players are NYY and BOS, then baseball needs to make some changes…

    Comment by Jeff — September 1, 2009 @ 12:37 am

  12. Agree with John. Just because his WAR value has him upwards of $30+ million doesn’t mean that is what he’s going to get. If it did, why the hell is Pujols making just north of $14 million this year? I don’t disagree that is what he’s worth but nobody, especially a C whose had some injury problems, is going to get a $30 mil/yr contract in this age. Twins will extend him in the off-season.

    Comment by Caleb — September 1, 2009 @ 1:10 am

  13. “Just because his WAR value has him upwards of $30+ million doesn’t mean that is what he’s going to get. If it did, why the hell is Pujols making just north of $14 million this year?”

    He makes 16m, and that’s because he signed a 7 year deal before ever hitting arbitration. On the free agent market Pujols WOULD be paid for his “value”, and I’d think that if he could become available today he’d be in line for at least 10/300.

    Comment by Ari — September 1, 2009 @ 7:47 am

  14. I agree with those who say $30M is crazy. He’ll be extremely lucky to get $25M.

    Also, two of the Yankees three best position prospects are C’s, so I don’t see them being as gung-ho for Mauer as some may think.

    I bet he re-ups in Minnesota, which would be good for baseball.

    Comment by snapper — September 1, 2009 @ 7:47 am

  15. At the same time, one of the Yankees’ best positional prospects is (at least currently) a catcher. While they’re still discussing moving Montero, he is at least nominally the future of the catcher position. And he’s no Mauer (who is?) but he can rake.

    Comment by Xavier — September 1, 2009 @ 8:38 am

  16. “WAR is a counting stat. A guy who gets to 6 WAR in 120 games is just as valuable (in fact, slightly more valuable if you have a decent replacement option) as a guy who gets to 6 WAR in 162 games.”

    This is incorrect.

    There are a few hidden assumptions in this line of thinking: That replacement level has no value — it does. That replacement players are entirely free — they’re not. And, of course, that rosters are can be expanded infinitely — they can’t.

    Look at it this way — a player who produced 6 WAR playing in every game is like a 120-game 6 WAR player PLUS 42 free games of replacement level. That’s a significant edge.

    Comment by Xavier — September 1, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  17. The year 2000 value of Arods 25.2 mil per year 10 yr. contract adjusted into 2009 dollars using the inflation rate is 31.51 mil per year, right around what his extension was last year. It is not hard at all to imagine Upton, Mauer, or Pujols making that kind of money.

    The Yankees, for all their spending last offseason, still have a payroll around 200 Million. If they fielded a 200 million dollar team in the old yankee stadium, who is gonna argue that they can’t field a 250+ million dollar team in the new park?

    I predict they sign all three players.

    Comment by Wrighteous — September 1, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  18. Technically that wouldn’t be “fair value” for Pujols. He hasn’t been below 7.7 WAR according to fangraphs since 2002 (and barring an “off month” for him, won’t discontinue that in 2009). Even if he “only” projects out to being +7, that’s about $35 mil in today’s market according to here, and will increase going forward. So for fair market value, you’d be looking more at $350 million over 10 for Mr. Pujols as a base, and that is me assuming regressing towards the end. He won’t get that; the only team who would give it to him is the Yankees, and they just locked in Teixeira, so I doubt they’ll be gung-ho for Pujols after 2010. And by 2010, I mean more like 2011 (can’t the Cards just use his option and push this all back another year?).

    So from this, let’s check some other big $ signings from non-Yankee sources:

    A-Rod: 2001, 10 year, $252 mil (traded to NYY)
    Manny: 2000, 8 year, $160 mil
    Cabrera, 2008, 8 year, $152.3 mil
    Helton, 2001, 11 year, $151.5 mil (not a huge burden relative per year, still providing value, 133 OPS+, on pace for +3.2 WAR)
    Santana, 2008, 6 year, $137.5 mil
    Soriano, 2007, 8 year, $136 mil

    So performance-wise, his contemporary is A-Rod, but you can’t build a winning team using FA market fair value (0 WAR ~ 40-122, 55 WAR ~ 95-67, 55 WAR = $275 mil). So obviously, not many teams that would be willing to use up 1/3rd of their budget on one player and leave themselves with $60-$100 million to get those 48 other wins needed to make the postseason. So what will make or break Pujols? Mauer after 2010 will. If Mauer goes off to Boston/Mets/Cubs/Detroit/Philly, financially and need-wise his most likely 2010 suitors for a huge chunk of money, well, Pujols will likely get something closer to A-Rod, inflation adjusted to around 300-320 mil. Mauer stays in Minnesota for less, and it could crush Pujols’ value relative, possibly down to 8 year / $180 mil. It’ll be an interesting business/economic case study, as he’s possibly overplayed his fair market.

    Comment by Joe R — September 1, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  19. I think the real question is if the Twins can afford to NOT sign him. Not because he is really good, but because of the revenue he brings in. He is the face of the franchise, not signing him would most likely make the twins lose more money per year. Twins aren’t stupid enough to not sign him. They will pay the price, and it will be worth it.

    Comment by Jason Ellingson — September 1, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  20. Mauer is having a huge year but his value does not compare to Pujols. The latter has been more valuable throughout his career and is less of an injury and attrition risk. The real risk with Mauer isn’t so much that he’ll have a catastrophic injury (though its certainly more likely than Pujols), but rather that the wear and tear of catching will erode his offense and defense much sooner than if he played another position. Or, a series of injuries will force him to move from the catcher position. Either way, a long-term deal is problematic.

    Of course, Mauer will still get a long-term deal, but even on the FA market the risks would have a substantial impact on what he could get. Certainly not Pujols money (whatever that may be).

    Comment by John — September 1, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  21. I see the Yankees in the market for Mauer more to drive his price up on their rivals more than anything, the Yankees are set at C. Signing Pujols will effectively block every potential corner IF prospect for 1/2 a decade, and that will suck once Teix, A-Rod, and Pujols do what everyone does and become old.

    Comment by Joe R — September 1, 2009 @ 10:07 am

  22. Montero isn’t a catching prospect.

    Comment by Tim — September 1, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  23. Xavier,

    Your argument works in general, but not with a catcher. Every team needs a backup catcher and will pay him the minimum salary or something similar. So that is a cost they will be paying whether or not the catcher plays 150 or 120 games.
    A catcher playing 120 games should actually be a point in his favor. Mauer is 16th in the league in games caught, despite missing the first month of the season, and has also added value by DHing in practically every game he doesn’t catch, something that (to my knowledge) no other catcher does.

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — September 1, 2009 @ 10:41 am

  24. Excuse me, when the last time the Red Sox have signed a top-tier free agent? Think about their best players- Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Beckett, Papelbon, Bay, Ortiz, Lester- none of them were big-time free agent signings, like the yankees’ Rodriguez, Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett. The last bigtime Red Sox free agent signee was Matsuzaka, if that counts, then it’s JD Drew, if that counts, then Mike Lowell, and that was quite a while ago. Please don’t say that Boston is right up there with the Yankees in terms of economically bullying other teams in the free agent market- the Yankees are in a class of their own.

    Comment by Jordan — September 1, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  25. OK, I live in Minnesota and follow every Twins game. Most of you guys don’t understand something about Mauer- he’s not a normal “elite player”. The wear and tear of catching doesn’t effect his offense- he once said this season that being worn out helps him to not overswing. Another thing- Mauer is the purest hitter since Ichiro- he doesn’t try to hit home runs, he just makes solid contact every time, or takes a walk. Wear and tear doesn’t effect hitters that just try to make contact like Mauer. Also seperating Mauer is his patience at the plate, resulting in a huge OBP. And I don’t foresee him switching from catcher- this season it seems like he’s doing fine at catcher; he’s one of the best defensive catchers in the game. From what I’ve seen from Mauer, he should be able to have years just as productive as this year (maybe even more- he missed the firstmonth of this season) for another 5 or so years, and decline in production (but still be very valuable) for 5-7 years after that. I think he will be durable and productive and stay at catcher, making him a relatively safe player for a long-term contract. My prediction- Mauer, being the humble, down-to-earth, and loyal guy that he is, will take a 20-33% pay cut to stay in Minnesota after next season with a 6-year, $140 million contract.

    Comment by Jordan — September 1, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  26. “Excuse me, when the last time the Red Sox have signed a top-tier free agent? Think about their best players- Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, Beckett, Papelbon, Bay, Ortiz, Lester- none of them were big-time free agent signings, like the yankees’ Rodriguez, Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett. The last bigtime Red Sox free agent signee was Matsuzaka, if that counts, then it’s JD Drew, if that counts, then Mike Lowell, and that was quite a while ago. Please don’t say that Boston is right up there with the Yankees in terms of economically bullying other teams in the free agent market- the Yankees are in a class of their own”

    Thank you! Took the words right out of my mouth.

    I think the Sox are likely to try to extend V-Mart who is a good fit with the team, I hope Mauer re-ups with the Twins. Sure as a fan I’d love to see Mauer on the Sox but like others have said it would be better for the game as a whole if he stays in Minny.

    Comment by Michael_Q — September 1, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  27. People don’t realize that he has alot of family and friends that attend EVERY game. He has high school friends he hangs around with regularly. He still
    eats mom’s cooking on a regular basis. He grew up in Minnesota and knows what it would mean if he left. HE’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE!

    Comment by Syd — September 1, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

  28. Montero will definitely be moved. This is pretty much a consensus opinion among the professionals (i.e., Sickels, Goldstein, BA, etc.). He’ll be a 1B, DH.

    Comment by Mike I — September 1, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  29. You’re right, Xavier. Replacement level, in reality, is never free and you can’t always count on teams to put a replacement-level backup on the roster. However, in reality, a lot of teams (like the Twins, for example with Jose Morales) have above-replacement level backups (something like 1 WAR players) sitting on the bench or in the minors making the league minimum. These players wouldn’t be playing in the majors if the starters didn’t get hurt. So in this scenario, which is fairly common and depends on contextual factors, 120 games of a 6 WAR guy + 42 games of a 1 WAR guy > 162 games of a 6 WAR guy.

    Comment by Mike I — September 1, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  30. Cost of living discount? You’re right, gas is so expensive in the big city there, ya. And groceries….you can’t beat prices at the Pick N’ Save over there in Anoka there. Maybe he’ll just have to do the commute from New Jersey ya know. HAHAHHAHAHAHA!

    Comment by zygote — September 1, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  31. We get it, Joe’s a super guy: blue collar, church-going, all-American boy. What IS common among all the elite players in baseball history is their penchant for World Series rings. The 2009-2010 Twins, as they’re currently constructed, have the 4th best pitching staff IN THE AL CENTRAL. At the end of the day, do you think Mauer wants to catch CC Sabathia or Jeff Manship?

    Comment by Kacho — September 1, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  32. So let me get this straight, family guy/good friend/mom who is good cook = lack of desire to win World Series? No sale. The only comparison here is LeBron James. If they don’t win a championship next year, he walks. If the Twins don’t make the WS next year, he walks.

    Comment by Kacho — September 1, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  33. I don’t know what is funny about that. The difference in taxes alone for a >$100 million contract would be many millions of dollars.

    Comment by John — September 1, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

  34. FAIL.

    NY: Income State tax – 8.97%, Sales tax – 4%

    MN: Income State tax – 7.85%, Sales tax – 6.5%

    Difference for a $150M contract < "many millions of dollars" (and offset by the lower sales tax in NY)

    Comment by Kacho — September 1, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  35. The Mauer/LeBron comparison is most apt. The Twins will have to break the bank(in their relative terms) to extend him, but given a 7y/160 mil from MN or 8/180 from NY/Bos, Mauer would probably choose to stay in Minnesota.

    Comment by tgreenfield — September 1, 2009 @ 7:05 pm

  36. Mauer isn’t going to make 25-30 mill a year as so many pointed out for several reasons. Catchers are too injury prone, and he’s had significant injuries in the past, and if he returns to being a .320/15 hr guy with good defense it might still be a productive WAR but no GM in their right mind is going to pay a guy who hits .320/15hrs regardless of his position and how much WAR he’s worth 25-30 mill over 8 years. Especially considering the injury and wear related to the position he plays. I argued this to a guy in the trade value thread, but I would contend that over the length of a long contract a guy like Teixeira is more valuable than a guy like Mauer specifically because of his position, in spite of the fact that his position is actually worth less. Because there is so much more certainty, at least in my mind that a guy like teixeira will still be producing solid if not great #’s at the end of his contract. I have a ton more faith that a 35-36 year old 1st basemen is still able to contribute meaningfully to my team than I would a 35-36 year old catcher. Which makes him more valuable to me at least. Maybe mauer puts up posada like #’s well into his late 30′s and proves me wrong, but I much rather risk having a hefty contract of an aging player at another position because I a ton more faith that towards the back end of the deal they will still be earning a larger portion of what I’m paying them than a catcher.

    That kind of money invested for that long in a catcher would scare any GM I would think. Regardless of what he’s worth in present day value in terms of WAR. But I guess we’ll just wait and see depending on if the twins extend him.

    Comment by Scott — September 1, 2009 @ 7:27 pm

  37. You both make insightful points; a catcher that plays so few games is more valuable than a first baseman that plays the same number. Whether that makes the catcher position inherently less valuable is another subject entirely, and is probably dependent on the average backup catcher salary and how much else the backup catcher does (in terms of scouting, etc.)

    Comment by Xavier — September 1, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  38. Assuming no regression or attrition rates of course.

    Comment by Nick — September 2, 2009 @ 1:34 am

  39. I don’t think Pujols has the regression concerns that teams may have for Mauer. Lower stress position, played in 145+ games all but once in his career, and only going to be 30 (or “30″, possibly) in 2010.

    Comment by Joe R — September 2, 2009 @ 6:38 am

  40. “New York has a 4% state sales tax. All counties and some cities add local taxes ranging from 3% to 4.75%. The combined sales tax in Utica, New York, for example, is 8.75%. In New York City, total sales tax is 8.875%, which includes 0.375% charged for the service of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.”

    “As of July 1, 2008, an additional 0.25% Transit Improvement tax was phased in across five counties in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area for transit development. These counties are Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota, Washington. The Transit Improvement tax brings taxes in these counties to 7.125%. Saint Paul imposes an additional 0.5% tax, bringing the total to 7.625%.”

    It’s not at all offset. And as soon as you get to real estate…well it’s not as cut-and-dried as you seem to think.

    Comment by Xavier — September 2, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  41. Read this comment carefully – it’s not on topic it’s just a little something to give you a smile and say thanks for your hard work on this blog!

    What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens. :)

    Comment by Mckenzie Schutz — September 19, 2010 @ 1:19 am

  42. I don;t know how you find the time to write so well but here is a little something

    The shortest distance between two points is under construction. :)

    Comment by Lester Bedson — September 19, 2010 @ 11:50 pm

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