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Mauer deal has other catchers licking their chops

Mar 22, 2010, 2:46 PM EDT

Joe Mauer getting the Twins to fork over $184 million has the other top catchers in the American League dreaming about their next contracts.
Victor Martinez of the Red Sox is an impending free agent, so removing Mauer from next offseason’s catching market could have a huge impact on him. Alex Speier of WEEI.com speculates that “Mauer’s deal might create greater urgency” for Boston to lock Martinez up long term before he can even hit the open market.
Martinez naturally told Speier that Mauer “deserves every penny he got” while adding that the Red Sox know he’s willing to engage in contract talks before the season starts. However, he added that “nothing” has been initiated along those lines yet with just a couple weeks remaining before Opening Day.
A direct comparison is misleading because Mauer is clearly superior to Martinez both offensively and defensively in addition to being four years younger, but Martinez is definitely an elite catcher and has to be thinking that he’s one good, healthy season away from cashing in for at least half of that $184 million.
Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki is thinking along those same lines, albeit jokingly, responding to news of Mauer’s huge contract by saying “I think I’m half as good as him” before correcting himself with “no, he’s not human.” Suzuki will be arbitration eligible next season and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that “the A’s are expected to explore a multi-year deal soon.”

  1. BC - Mar 22, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    I’m definitely 1/100th as good as Mauer. I think I’ll ask my boss for $200,000 per year.

  2. Joey B - Mar 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    “but Martinez is definitely an elite catcher and has to be thinking that he’s one good, healthy season away from cashing in for at least half of that $184 million.”
    He’s a nice player, but there is no way he is getting $92M. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. He has about two years left of respectable catching, after which, he’s a 1B or DH. If he got $52M/4, I’d be a little surprised. I doubt the RS will pay him that (preferring the draft picks), so I doubt anyone else will either.

  3. YANKEES1996 - Mar 22, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Agreed, I think that Martinez is going to have to count on the Red Sox panic to get a good contract but it has NO chance of it being a Maueresque contract. I have no idea why Suzuki would be licking his chops because of Mauers’ deal he has less of a chance than Martinez. There is not going to be a huge market for either one of these guys mainly because they are not the same player as Joe Mauer. Martinez has the best shot at a good contract but it may not even be with the Red Sox.

  4. APBA Guy - Mar 22, 2010 at 6:41 PM

    Kurt Suzuki is a fun guy to watch, with amazing energy, great rapport with the young pitchers (at 26, he’s like their big brother), and a little pop and speed combination you don’t often see in a backstop. He’s a nice catcher and a great teammate.
    What’s that worth in Oakland over 8 years? This year will be a big year in answering that question, as his OPS went up slightly last year (I know, I know, but it is a useful shorthand statistic) to .734 from .716 but had a troubling OBP decline to go with the SLG increase. Mauer’s OPS was 1.031 last year.
    But here’s the really bad part. Mauer is actually 6 months younger than Suzuki.
    Ouch.
    I’m guessing the A’s do something like 4 years and $11M.

  5. Yuri Ottahier - Mar 29, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Suzuki
    can only improve with age
    like a fine saki

  6. brian - Mar 30, 2010 at 3:45 AM

    That’s what we live with.

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