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Mauer contract a big risk the Twins had to take

Mar 21, 2010, 7:18 PM EDT

Joe Mauer’s new eight-year extension is worth $100 million more than any other contract the Twins have ever handed out and committing to pay a catcher $23 million per year through his age-35 season in 2018 represents a massive amount of risk.
With that said, it was a no-brainer.
First and foremost, if reasonably healthy Mauer should be worth the $23 million per season for most of the deal. Through his first five full seasons in the majors Mauer was worth an average of $22 million per year according to Fan Graphs’ player valuation system, including $26 million in 2008 and $36.6 million while winning the AL MVP in 2009.
As a catcher with previous knee and back injuries Mauer is at a far higher risk to decline or age poorly than most players, but it’s tough to worry too much about how the deal might look come 2017 or 2018 when the Twins’ new ballpark is opening next month. After all, Target Field was built in large part to help the Twins increase their revenue and payroll enough to support retaining star players as they neared free agency.
As a 27-year-old native Minnesotan and former No. 1 overall pick coming off an MVP season Mauer fits the “star” bill about as well as humanly possible, so if ever the Twins were going to over-commit this would be the time. Ultimately even with Target Field they’re likely to remain in the middle of the payroll pack, so $184 million is a scary number, but it’s certainly a fair deal relative to the eight-year, $180 million contract Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees last offseason.
Plus, it would have been sad if the people of Minnesota burned down Target Field after just one season.

  1. ClementeLegend - Mar 21, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    Ooops! I guess the scout was wrong

  2. AJ Gallo - Mar 21, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    That’s a good deal for Mauer and the Twins. Congrats to Mauer. The Mauer-to-the-Yanks for so-and-so rumors can now thankfully stop.

  3. Jeff - Mar 21, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    So, another dollar or two on the ticket price. This is why I don’t go to professional sporting events anymore.

  4. mj passe - Mar 21, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    the entire state of minnesota can now take a big sigh of relief. we’re looking forward to seeing Joe play until he gets grey hair

  5. adam - Mar 21, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    boo..hoo. get over yourself.

  6. Parker - Mar 21, 2010 at 9:49 PM

    Yes, because another dollar or two is such a burden over a handful of games…

  7. smokehouse - Mar 21, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    “That’s a good deal for Mauer and the Twins”…..are you freak’n loony?
    They play in a taxpayer financed stadium, they will raise ticket prices on these very same taxpayers. They also sell seating licenses to the same taxpayers. They charge $25.00 for parking, $8.00 for a beer, $6.00 for a hot dog and $7.00 for a pepsi or coke. For you fans in the Twin Cities, enjoy your ride. Support your home team, just like they support you. Mauer and the Twins have taken you for a ride. Suckers.

  8. The Common Man - Mar 21, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    Agree entirely, Aaron. So relieved that this got done. Now who will the Yankee and Red Sox fans openly covet.

  9. D-Luxxx - Mar 21, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    You know, I’m sure you could find one or two exceptions to the rule, but almost ALL professional sports are played in taxpayer financed stadiums (in the U.S. at least). Besides, if we’re suckers, what are you doing here? Just trolling is my guess.

  10. 2cents - Mar 21, 2010 at 10:57 PM

    I was guessing the Yankees would take a shot at $160m for six years. Wonder if the Yankees rumor pushed things along?

  11. ClementeLegend - Mar 21, 2010 at 11:08 PM

    Let’s face it… It was Yankee fans that were coveting him. Red Sox fans knew they would be outbid.
    Now Yankee fans can go back to soley lusting after Carl Crawford

  12. ClementeLegend - Mar 21, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    You mean the rumor in your head?
    I mean I seriously doubt the Twins needed help moving forward to lock up Joe Mauer.

  13. Brandon - Mar 22, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    This is such good news for not only the Twins but to all teams besides the Yankees and Red Soxs.
    And all you are gonna hear for the next few weeks is them Newyorkers constantly moaning and complaining cause they couldn’t buy the best catcher in the MLB instead of just training one.
    Mauer never wanted to be in New York you arrogant cake eaters. Have fun with all your 30 somethings that you are paying much more than what Mauer is getting.

  14. Bob R. - Mar 22, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    I am not sure that ticket prices are determined solely or even primarily by salaries, at least not directly.
    Imagine. A stadium with 50,000 seats. Management charges an average of $30/seat and fills on average 25,000. It charges $35 and fills 20,000. It charges $25 and fills 40,000. Which do you think it will charge?
    Now that team has a very popular ball player, say Mauer, and can fill 35,000 seats if it charges $30. It will probably raise the average ticket price to $30, but not because of the salary itself; rather because the product is more attractive. Are the fans suckers for paying more or are they getting more satisfaction for the increase in price? To say yes would be akin to calling consumers suckers for paying more to buy a Mercedes than a Focus. You might not do it, but it is worth it to some consumers.
    Naturally this is oversimplifying, but so is the view that higher salaries are automatically and directly responsible for higher ticket prices. If the Yankees had a 4th place team every year would they fill the stadium every game at the prices they charge? They pay the salaries because it helps them win which allows them to raise prices because fans will pay for the entertainment of watching a winner.

  15. PW - Mar 22, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    The same people that are complaining about the increase in ticket prices, or the increase in taxes are eithee; a. Yankee fans, b. people that weren’t going to a game this year, and, c. if they would have went to a game, wouldn’t have next year because Mauer wasn’t there. Imagine if they would not have signed him and NO ONE went to games next year because of it. Then who is paying for the stadium.
    Way to go Joe! and thanks Twins for keeping him, and not letting the evil empire get their way.

  16. MikeM - Mar 22, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    As a Yankee fan, I can say congrats to Mauer and the Twins. There is not a thing any baseball fan could ever say against Mauer, he is everything a player should be. If the money is there, he should get it and I am glad the Twins paid it. We would love to have him as a Yankee, but it is great to see a player like him lead his Hometown Team. Good Luck (Except in October please)

  17. 2cents - Mar 22, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Hey ClementeLedgend……Nope…I read that somewhere the other day. Something like, “Mauer will be a Yankee in 2011”. I’ll try to find it just for you. It was a rumor type “report” but still worthy to receive an honorable mention on the what if list.
    “After that portion of the conversation concluded, though, everyone casually agreed on one more point: They didn’t really want to see this man become a member of the Yankees or Red Sox. That just wouldn’t have felt right.”…Jason Stark,
    I’ll try and find the thing I read. I ain’t knockin’ the deal. Don’t care one way or the other actually. Lots of game in the game. I love all aspects…just sayin’

  18. jersey_soxfan - Mar 22, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    As a baseball fan, I am glad a so-called “small-market” team kept one of its star players. Of course, I think these guys are so over-paid. As a Red Sox fan, even I get sick and tired of hearing the rumors involving every star player one day being fought over by NY and Boston. Both cities’ fans have this entitlement mentality. Actually, NY is even worse than Boston in this regard. So, what future free agent will both teams’ fans openly pine for now?

  19. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 22, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee, you’re the next contestants on the…

  20. 2cents - Mar 22, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Ok…I found what I was looking for about the rumor in my head. Some guy named Craig Calcaterra posted a story on a blog called HardballTalk, on March 17th. Here’s the headline and you can search back for it if you’d like:
    “Scout: Joe Mauer will be the next Yankees catcher
    Wed Mar 17,2010 8:20 AM ET By Craig Calcaterra”

  21. michael in CT - Mar 22, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    When the Twins can`t afford him and he still can rake, the Yanks will simply trade for him at that time. They have done it before, so don`t be fooled, he can be made a Yankee when the Twins cry for help financially. Mid-market teams usually can`t afford to give big market contracts and keep them the whole contract. I can almost hear the Yankees coming to their rescue when his back gets cranky in his 30`s.

  22. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    You do understand that Craig was commenting on a story by a SCOUT who said that, Craig himself wasn’t.

  23. 2cents - Mar 22, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Of course! duh….

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