Why the Yanks won’t sign Joe Mauer

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At a position typically short on heavy hitters, Joe Mauer stands out. Over the past three seasons he has posted a .392 wOBA, the best among catchers. Jorge Posada comes pretty close with a .391 mark, but Mauer has about 500 more plate appearances over that span. Behind them, the list gets a bit thin. Only five catchers have produced over 10 WAR from 2007 through 2009 — Brian McCann, Russell Martin, and Victor Martinez in addition to Mauer and Posada. When a team finds a heavy hitting catcher, it is in their best interest to hold on tightly.

Photo credit: Kevin P. Casey/AP

This is why I still believe that the Twins will work out an extension with Mauer. There’s just too much at stake for the team. If Mauer leaves, then what? They’ve already locked up the complementary talent, Denard Span for the next five years, Justin Morneau for the next four, and even Michael Cuddyer for the next two. What is the complementary talent, though, without the star? Furthermore, what better use for revenue generated from their new stadium? It seems all signs point to an extension.

Of course, just because the signs point one way doesn’t mean it will happen. Anything can still happen at this point, and that includes Mauer hitting the free agent market this winter. If that’s the case he’ll command more than $100 million, and possibly get closer to $200 million. With numbers that large, it’s clear that the big market teams will play the largest role in the bidding. Some are already connecting the two parties.

If Mauer does hit the free agent market, though, I don’t expect the Yankees to outbid the Red Sox for him. They’ll make a play, of course, but I don’t expect them to use their resources that way. Yes, Mauer is one of the most valuable players in the game, but the Yankees have spent the past three or so years filing their farm system with catchers. After all that, why go and use an enormous portion of your resources to sign one in free agency?

As it stands, the Yankees have $144 million locked into the 2011 payroll before they work out contracts for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. They’ll also have arbitration cases for Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. In other words, they could be near $185 million for just 13 players — and that doesn’t include Javy Vazquez or Andy Pettitte. At that point they’d probably need at least one starting pitcher. Other needs could crop up during the season, including left field.

Yet at catcher the Yankees would have Jorge Posada under contract for one more season. They’d also have Jesus Montero with a year of AAA under his belt, and Austin Romine with a season of AA — and possibly with some AAA experience. Below them they feature a number of low-level catchers, too, including J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez. Signing Mauer to a six- or seven-year deal would render these developing players essentially useless to the organization. Wouldn’t that render a waste the past few years of focus on catcher?

None of this downplays the immediate impact Mauer would have on the Yankees. As the second best catcher over the past three years heads into his sunset years, he would be replaced by the best. It would allow the Yankees to trade Montero for a pitcher, filling one of the rotation vacancies. It would also give them more time to let the other catchers develop, perhaps also using them as trade bait — or even as a oft-used backup in order to help limit Mauer’s workload. For all these reasons, I’d never rule out the Yankees signing Mauer.

Rather than adding another nine-figure contract to the ledger, though, I think the Yankees will focus on pitching and left field, once again, next winter. They’ve put a lot into developing a next generation crop of catchers, so why would they make such an enormous outlay to sign one in free agency, when players are at their most expensive? Why not use that money to sign a player at a thinner position? That’s what I think the Yankees will do. I’d love to see Mauer in pinstripes, but given the current structure of the organization it appears their money would be better spent elsewhere.

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  • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

    Well said. IF and that’s a huge if, Mauer leaves Minny the Yanks have other needs. He’ll get one hell of a huge contract something the Yankees likely can’t give with all their commitments.

    He’ll be nice but the next catcher will mark the age of the Jesus.

    • lardin

      Just playing Devils Advocate: What if the Yankees signed Mauer and traded Montero plus Phil or Joba to the Giants for Matt Cain or to another team for a young cost controlled pitcher?

      Just a thought, but in general I agree with the main post….

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        So Mauer(with $200 million contract+ Cain or Montero+Phil or Joba+ $200 million to play with?

        I’m taking option B all day long. That $200 million could turn into Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee. Also, you’re saving money on Montero+Pitcher being cheaper than Cain.

        • lardin

          Just a thought, I was using Cain as an example though.. But I agree, all things being equal I’d rather have CC’s best friend (Lee), perhaps CC doesnt opt out if thats the case, and the Yankees have CC and Lee for the next 5 years or so..

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            It’s certainly a good point. In your scenario you’re replacing a few unknowns (with ridiculous upside©) with a couple of full fledged MLB stars, which you always have to consider.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Perhaps; that’s a decent option. Here’s a counterargument:

        On April 19, 2011, Joe Mauer will turn 28. Jesus Montero will still be only 22. Yes, we’d be getting Mauer’s prime, nothing wrong with that, but Montero has the capacity to equal him in net offensive production and we’d get potentially the entire 13-20 year career of Montero instead of just the 7-9 year remainder of Mauer’s.

        Just something to think about.

        • Luke

          “…but Montero has the capacity to equal him in net offensive production…”

          Let me get this straight. You think that Montero has the capacity to equal the success of possibly(Piazza wasn’t too shabby in his hayday) the greatest offensive catcher of all time? Lay back on the kool-aid.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            There are several scouts who have said the same thing. The other main comps are Miguel Cabrera and Frank Thomas. Yes, 3 future HOF’s.

            It ain’t Kool-Aid.

        • Jared

          You would rather take the possible production of prospect over one of the best hitters in the game in his prime? My twelve year old cousin in unhittable in little league so he will Definatly be a cy young winner by your logic. As a red sox fan and a general fan of baseball I hope he stays in Minny. The last thing we need is Mauer to sign a 200 million dollar contract with the yankees, or sox and ruin what little parity there is left in the league.

    • http://www.bomberbanter.com/index.html BomberBanter.com

      I tend to agree that the Yankees are heading toward a player development era rather than a free agent signing era. Not that the Yankees are shying away from FA, but they prefer home grown talent. I think the FA signings are more to do in a pinch, to fill an immediate need

      • Jared

        yeah definately shying away from FA signings except for the CC, Burnett, Tex spending spree on 2009. only 400 mil on three players, but yeah they dont sign free agents.

        • ray-ray

          Old news pal.He’s right and you know it!It’s your red sox who were the big spenders.And the yanks only dumped one weak draft(last year)and have all their picks intact this year!!Keep up the good work Cash!!!

  • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Well said, I agree with all of this. Joe P. is on fire.

    • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Curious to see the reaction around here. I feel like the prevailing opinion has always been that the Yanks would sign Mauer if he were to become available, but I bet there will be a whole lot of converts after reading this.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      I can’t believe that Rony Seikaly and Harold “Baby Jordan” Miner weren’t able to stop Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant there. That’s shocking, absolutely shocking.

  • Phil McCracken

    Probably all depends on what happens with Crawford.

    If he stays with the Rays or goes elsewhere, I’d expect the Yankees to take a stab at Mauer

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    I would love Mauer, but it just doesn’t make sense. The best thing to happen, for the Yankees, is for him to resign with the Twins. Was last years power a one year fluke or not? How long is he going to catch for? If he has to move positions, where does he go? He’s a great player, but just doesn’t fit. Just because he’s on the market, and he’s great, you don’t go get him.

    If Peyton Manning were a free agent, would the Patriots try to sign him just because he’s great? Of course not. Now I’m not calling Montero (or Romine) Manning or Brady, but overall my point stands. Mauer is simply not a need.

    • Jared

      texiera a need? nope swisher was signed to play first base. And mauer is a once in a generation talent, check his career number. Last year he had a big jump in power but the rest have always been stellar

  • http://www.facebook.com/adorador Ray Fuego

    I personally never wanted the yanks to sign Mauer. Yes, he’s awesome but Montero has so much promise, we should let him develop. If things don’t work out Cash money always has something up his sleeve.

  • Chip

    If the Twins let Mauer get away in free agency, the state of Minnesota should immediately kick them out and get a new team. Seriously, I’m from Twins country and he’s literally the only real sports star in the state of Minnesota right now and really has been since Garnett left

    • lardin

      No Love for Favre?

      • Chip

        Ahh, you got me there. Favre could win a super bowl in Minnesota and not be on the same planet as Mauer just because he came in and killed the Vikings for so many years.

    • bexarama

      wasn’t this the case with Santana too? I know Santana was traded but still.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Johan Santana: not white

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

          Wrong. He’s German.

    • Mark

      Farve,All-day,Mauer,Morneau,Antwain Winfield,Who you got? Nathan..

      • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carls064/freealonzo freealonzo

        Ricky Rubio baybeee!!

  • Tbord

    Montero could find a position elsewhere. Romine could be traded away, or kept as a backup for now. The other catchers could be brought up through the system slowly, and deployed as needed (or traded). If Mauer were available, the Yankees would be crazy not to make a run for him.

    • Chip

      Too much risk in my opinion. Long-term deals for catchers are scarier than long-term deals for pitchers. Besides, like Joe said, it would be an inefficient use of resources and we have insane catching depth as it is. Plus the backlash would be ridiculous and it wouldn’t lead to Cash’s stated goal of being more efficient.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      I’ll echo some of the concerns others have had regarding power (though I think it’s real and it will stick), but more importantly, Joe Mauer, as awesome as he is, may really handicap the team with the contract he’d no doubt pick up on the open market.

      Say you sign Mauer in 2011. It’s almost a given Jeter will be re-signed as well. We’ll put the AAV on that at $20 mil for four years (just throwing a figure out there). For the next four years you’ve locked in Jeter, A-Rod, Tex and Mauer for at least $90 million dollars. This doesn’t even include CC, AJ, the arbitration numbers for Joba, Hughes, the bullpen, Cano or the outfield.

      If Mauer breaks down at catcher, he’ll be moved to DH. You’ve also removed a spot for Montero or Jeter, A-Rod assuming they struggle defensively over the next few years and need a natural spot to move to to preserve some production (a big assumption, i admit). It’ll also take 8 years or more to sign Mauer, certainly at over $20 mil. per. That could be trouble in terms of us re-signing our younger guys or pursuing other guys if we have a lot of money tied up in a few guys (most of whom are getting up there in age, too).

      We need to take into account not only what Mauer would provide in terms of production for the team, but also how it affects the flexibility of the roster and in future budgeting. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. Even the Yankees can’t just operate carte blanche.

      • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        so then the small market red sox wont sign him?

    • Texman25

      this is what im hoping they do………montero will dh in the future and romine will catch. Romine is so overshadowed by montero, and his bat is only getting better. Besides, catchers aren’t supposed to be amazing hitters, and if romine has a solid bat plus montero getting a lot of rest at the dh spot while backing up, we could have a good team in like 3 years.

      • jonny V

        In two years the yankees pretty much have no more flexibility at the DH. It will be played by some mix of Arod, Posada (if still a yankee) and Jeter.

  • BG90027

    I agree that Mauer becoming a Yankee is a longshot, but I’m not sure I agree with all of your reasoning. Twins will clearly try to retain him, but if he wants to test the open market and isn’t willing to give the Twins a discount, I doubt the Twins would be willing or able to match the offers he’d get.

    As far as the Yankees interest would go, Its hard to think that they wouldn’t be. If Montero were a sure bet to stay behind the plate, I’d agree with you but its hard to think that Romine, Murphy (not a sure bet to stay at C himself), or Sanchez would deter interest in Mauer.

    I think a lot depends on Montero’s season at AAA, how Hughes and Chamberlain pitch in ’10 and what that means to their need for starting pitching in ’11, and how Granderson and Cano do. You can pick up decent production from LF relatively cheaply. If Montero doesn’t look like he’ll stay at C, they feel more confident what they’ll get from a ’11 rotation which includes both Hughes and Joba, and Granderson’s offense doesn’t rebound and/or Cano doesn’t continue to improve offensively, I could see a higher than expected interest in Mauer.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Think about it this way, though:

      Given the current Yankee organizational outlook, including all the future monies we’ve already contractually guaranteed to the various players in our org AND the prospects/potential of the players in the farm system, if this winter you could choose to either give

      A.) an 8 year, 184M contract (23M AAV) to C Joe Mauer
      B.) a 5 year, 115M contract (23M AAV) to P Cliff Lee

      Which is the better choice? Assume both players are still producing at their current levels of production. With Posada-Montero-Romine-Murphy-Higashioka-Sanchez in the org for the one spot at catcher and CC-AJ-Joba-Hughes-McAllister-Nova-Bleich-Ramirez-Brackman (plus POSSIBLY Andy or Javy if they’re resigned) in the org for the 5 spots in the rotation, might not it make more sense to spend the 20-25M per year on another elite pitcher instead of another elite catcher?

      We need 5 starters and have only 2 legit frontline starters (CC and AJ), 2 legit frontline potential starters (Joba and Hughes, who aren’t finished projects yet), and a small handful of decent back-end options with a few high-upside but super-raw/far away guys behind that. Meanwhile, catcher is stacked.

      No, none of those guys in our catcher pipeline will produce at Mauer levels, but the gap between, say Mauer and Montero is probably significantly smaller than the gap between Lee (or Webb, if healthy) and whomever else we’d get to be the 5th starter, even if that 5th starter is Javy Vazquez or Andy Pettitte.

      It’s complex, IMO. I can see reasons to decide to not spend the money on Mauer when we have other more pressing areas to firm up (including LF, which hasn’t been mentioned yet).

      • radnom

        No, none of those guys in our catcher pipeline will produce at Mauer levels, but the gap between, say Mauer and Montero is probably significantly smaller than the gap between Lee (or Webb, if healthy) and whomever else we’d get to be the 5th starter, even if that 5th starter is Javy Vazquez or Andy Pettitte.

        Montero’s a great prospect and all, but this statement is way too speculative. Ignoring the fact that he hasn’t taken a single swing at the major league level, you’re also ignoring the large (greater than 50% according to most scouts) chance that he doesn’t stick at the position. Acquiring Mauer is the wrong move for many reasons, but this is clearly counting eggs before they are hatched.

        Unrelated, but why does everyone assume it will be a bidding war? If the Twins can’t sign him to an extension he is getting Santana treatment.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Acquiring Mauer is the wrong move for many reasons, but this is clearly counting eggs before they are hatched.

          But that’s the thing, we’re going to have to make the decision on what we think Montero will be based on the limited information we’ll have this winter in order to decide what to do with Mauer (if he hits the market, which I still think he won’t).

          We don’t get the luxury of waiting to see, we have to go out on the limb and make the decision in 8 months.

      • BG90027

        I’d never give Mauer or any other catcher that kind of contract. I just wouldn’t be willing to go 8 years and bank on his durability as a catcher. So yes, between those options I’d go with the Lee signing.

        If Montero improves defensively and looks like he’s going to stick behind the plate, I’m probably not interested at all in Mauer either. We should be in a better position to judge at the end of the year. I don’t think the catching depth below Montero should be a factor though unless Romine takes a huge jump offensively in ’10.

        I think its unlikely that Mauer becomes a Yankee. I’m just saying that if Montero doesn’t look like he’s going to stick at C and starting pitching isn’t a major need, then I think you can envision a scenario where Mauer would be the most attractive free agent to NY. For me that scenario is strong doubt about Montero sticking at catching, Hughes or Joba having a very good season as a starter, CC staying healthy, Burnett staying healthy and pitching like a #2, Pettite or Vasquez pitching well and wanting to come back on a year to year basis and the loser of the Hughes/Joba starting comp looking deserving of the #5 slot in ’11. That doesn’t seemed that far fetched.

      • WIlliam

        I agree with your post, but no way is Lee getting 23 mil. He’s more like a 20 mil guy.

  • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

    Before I shell out 200 mil for Mauer I’d like to see more than one season with 13+ HR’s. He’s a ridiculously good player, no doubt. I just want to see if he will come close to his ’09 power production this year.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Agreed. And if he doesn’t stay at catcher, a few of his seasons so far don’t profile that well elsewhere.

  • mike c

    signing mauer would just be a vulgar display of power. he should stay in minnesota and play for them. unless boston goes for mauer, the yankees should stay out of it

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      unless boston goes for mauer, the yankees should stay out of it

      And even if Boston does go for Mauer, we should be in it only to drive the price up and push into their payroll flexibility as much as possible. We shouldn’t be in it to trump their offer and sign him ourselves, though.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      unless boston goes for mauer, the yankees should stay out of it

      That should not play into the Yankees minds at all, on any decision they make.

      And the Sox undoubtedly will be in on Mauer, moreso than the Yankees if he gets free.

    • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

      This makes no sense imo. Our moves should be dictated by what the Red Sox do?

    • bexarama

      if he leaves Minnesota, if the only reason not to sign him is “it’d make the Yankees look vulgar in their power,” that’s not a good reason. We looked pretty disgustingly powerful in the offseason between 2008 and 2009 and oh, what happened? We massacred the American League on our way to a World Championship. I’d take that again.

      Now, there are other reasons not to sign Mauer. We don’t know if that 28-HR season was a fluke. He had a ridiculously high HR/FB last year compared to his other years. We might feel it’s not better for the organization. But I really don’t understand – and I don’t mean this in an offensive way – Yankee fans playing coy with money.

      • mike c

        we don’t need an MVP at every position… especially when we have the jesus, and at least one open spot in our rotation next year

        • bexarama

          we don’t need an MVP at every position

          I wasn’t arguing that we do (though let’s face it, this wouldn’t hurt). I was saying that shying away from Mauer because it would make us look too powerful or whatever would be totally silly. We are not the Red Sox, we do not play Sisters of the Poor while having tremendous resources. This is a good thing.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      +1 for the Pantera reference.

      • rafael

        I thought it was from the Exorcist.

  • http://www.retire21.com Mike R . Retire 21

    If Mauer hits free agency and if an AL team signs him, they become the Yanks’ #1 competitor for the AL title. He is such a huge difference maker. He would make the Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Mariners or White Sox SO much better. I sincerely hope he stays with the Twins.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Wouldn’t that make the Twins their #1 competitor now though?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Meh, not really. Joe Mauer virtually singlehandedly kept the Twins in title contention the past few years despite a horrid pitching staff. If Mauer had guys who could keep runs off the board, the Twins probably would be our #1 competitor now.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

          Mauer’s great and all but he’s ONE GUY. This isn’t basketball where LeBron and a bunch of 7th graders can get you to the playoffs. You need a number of solid guys. The Twins are a better overall team than people give them credit for.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            This is what I meant above though. He’s just one guy on a very solid team, and isn’t really head an shoulders above the rest of the great players in baseball (other than last year maybe). Ted Williams and Barry Bonds at their peaks were better than Mauer, and have 0 titles between them. Baseball is just different in that regards.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Okay, “singlehandedly” is the wrong word. But what Mike R . Retire 21 was saying, I think correctly, is there are several teams who are currently solid, well rounded, talented teams in the AL (like Boston, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Seattle, Texas, Detroit, Chicago) with good pitching staffs. If Mauer leaves Minnesota (who isn’t really a true World Series contender because their pitching sucks) and joins one of them, his impact is big enough that he can take a team with good pitching and make them a contender on equal footing with the Yankees.

            He’s like Mark Teixeira to us. Yes, we wouldn’t have won without CC and AJ, but Tex is what put us over the top from Boston/Tampa/Anaheim. His heart of the order bat was the oomph we needed.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

              Totally agree with that. But you also have to consider some of the same issues of payroll flexibility (maybe even more so) with those teams. Tampa Bay is almost automatically out of that sweepstakes. Not sure Detroit can add another $20-25 mil. for the next eight years, particularly if the economy there falls even more perilously. Who knows with the ownership situation in Texas.

              I think it would then be a race between Seattle, Pacific Coast Time Zone Angels of Schwarzeneggistan, Chicago and Boston. All of those clubs could probably add a contract like Mauer’s with enough flexibility to operate with relative ease. He could definitely put those teams over the top.

              In fact, it almost seems like the Angels have been shying away from FAs and stockpiling picks. They already have a solid lineup with a lot of guys still cheap and under team control for a few more seasons. Maybe they’re loading up to sign a big gun like Mauer.

              • WIlliam

                Just a thought, but the red sox are currently at a 170mil payroll. If they sign Maur, and resign/ sign guys at DH and SS, then they could be in the 190 mils in 2011! That would be within 10 mil of the Yankees. It might be worth it for them to sign Maur, just for that to occur. Imagine. If Jeter decided to give a discount, and both Hughes and Joba were in the rotation, we could be the same as the red sox in payroll.

                • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

                  They’ll have Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, possibly Beltre, Lowell, Papelbon, Beckett and Ortiz off the books at that time. There’s a decent chance not a single one of those guys is re-signed.

                  In millions

                  Martinez: $7
                  Varitek: $3
                  Beltre: $10
                  Beckett: $12
                  Lowell: $10
                  Papelbon: $9.35
                  Ortiz: $12.5

                  That totals over $63 million possibly coming off payroll at the end of 2010. Considering Varitek and Lowell are dead weight, Papi is a shell of his former self, Martinez may not have the capacity to even catch by 2011 and will be the 1B/DH, it’s fair to assume their payroll will be lowered considerably.

                  The only guys I see returning are Beckett and Martinez. That should give them around $35 million to play around with.

                  I don’t think they’ll be near the Yankees.

                • WIlliam

                  I guess, it was a nice thought though.

                • brian91388

                  Papelbon won’t be a free agent after this year, he will still have another year until free agency. He will almost certainly get even more money in 2011. Beckett will probably be re-signed, reports are that they are close, and it will be at least 16-18 million a year. But still, the Red Sox do have a lot of money for next offseason, and 2011 is when their top prospects will first break through. Although I think the Red Sox will contend this year, they are a very scary team going foward after this season.

                • WIlliam

                  What prospects are you speaking if. Westmoreland is probably out, Kelly is sill in A-ball, and Iglesias won’t be ready for a few years.

                • phoenix

                  they have some scary pitching depth. and if those overblown contracts come off the books, they can really improve their team. of course when the yankees have the overblown contracts of older players expire and the good pitching and catching prospects, expect big names to start coming in!

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    None of this is gonna matter when we’re famous singers.

  • theyankeewarrior

    I want Mauer to sign with the Twins the same way I wanted Santana to be traded to the Mets. It keeps our resources intact and keeps an elite player away from Boston.

    At this point, I don’t care where he ends up, as long as it it NOT playing against us 18-25 times each season with a red B on his helmet.

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    So what you’re saying is, this picture will never come to be:

    http://i346.photobucket.com/albums/p403/getcarter2517/JMNYY.jpg (safe)

    • bexarama

      that’s a beaaaaautiful picture, I must say.

    • Tom Zig


    • Reggie C.

      jinxed. now its sure not to happen.

  • nmc

    I think that the Yankees should go after Mauer if he’s available. There’s no guarantee that Montero will be able to stick behind the plate. Even if he does, I’d still take Mauer.

    Frankly, it’s unlikely that Montero will ever be as good as Mauer is. Talents like Mauer are extremely uncommon, and while Montero is projected to be everything that Mauer is, he still stands a statistical likelihood to not be.

    That being said, you also have to account for how you’re affecting the environment by signing Mauer. You lose a draft pick, but you also keep Mauer away from other contenders that need catchers (Phillies, Sox, Rays? etc).

    I vote sign Mauer and trade Montero. But I wouldn’t go for Matt Cain. I’d go for someone younger. A Kershaw-type. While that may be an unpopular opinion, I honestly believe that when a great player is on the market and you can get him for what he’s actually worth (and Mauer is worth the dough, unlike Jason Bay, unlike Matt Holliday, etc.), you should get them, prospects be damned. Don’t overpay, but don’t be afraid to pony up the dough for a once-in-a-generation talent like Mauer.

    • mike c

      hello $300m payroll

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      I guess it all depends on your views on Montero.

      I think he’s ALSO a once-in-a-generation talent. I may be wrong, but that’s what I think.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Agreed. If he’s Mike Piazza, he is. Mauer in 2009 was off the charts good, but in the rest of his years he was just great. Piazza’s bat>>>>>>>Mauer’s bat.

        • Reggie C.

          I hear you. Lets see Mauer repeat that level of power in 2010. His OPS could drop 100 points and still finish on par with his best offensive season (2006). I’m nearly a believer though.

      • Guest

        Well, we know Mauer is a once-in-a-generation talent who we know has already succeeded at the major league level, frankly, like no other catcher has succeeded before.

        We think Montero is a once-in-a-generation talent who we think think will succeed at the major league level. With baseball players, there is a big difference between knowing and thinking. Ask Royals fans about Alex Gordon.

        That said, I don’t think we should sign Mauer primarily for the resources argument Joe laid out above. Three years from now, we would be paying 4 position players on the wrong side of 30 (including a catcher and a short-stop) over 20 million dollars a year. The mind boggles.

        • Guest

          I should of course note that Mauer has excelled for a much shorter period of time than the Bench’s, Piazza’s, etc; and as such, has not yet put together a career than can tough theres. (Plus, he has had only one really strong power year).

          That said, what he has done in these first four years at that position (2 Batting Titles?!?), is awe-inspiring.

          • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

            Heh, I’m glad you included that addendum. As amazing as Mauer has been so far in his career there’s no guarantee of how long he can remain behind the plate. Hopefully he has a long and storied career as a catcher but I’m not ready to crown his ass yet. ;)

          • bexarama

            yup. This. He’s an incredible talent, but people are already acting like he’s a first ballot HOFer, and that he was the best catcher of the last decade. He’s not (yet) and he wasn’t.

            • Reggie C.

              And that’s why Montero’s got to show that last season was no fluke (SSS). Damn i wish Montero had another 200 ABs to further cement his case as the minor’s best hitter.

            • Ted Nelson

              Who is the best C of the past decade?

              In a few years Mauer will be first ballot.

              Might he get hurt? Yes. Might Montero get hurt? Yes.

              Is Joe Mauer LeBron James? No, it’s not basketball and he’s not a magic bullet solution. Is he Alex Rodriguez, though, pretty much. Not only is he a Silver Slugger at a premium position, he’s a Gold Glover too. He’s a deserving MVP. Probably the best position player FA since A-Rod.
              It might not be best for the Yankees to sign him. But to pretend he’s not a great baseball player is ridiculous.

              • bexarama

                The best catcher of the last decade? It’s Posada. Easily. Mauer wasn’t in the big leagues at all until 2004, where he got 124 PA. He wasn’t particularly notable until 2006. Four years of overall excellence don’t beat ten years of overall excellence when we’re talking about decades.

                That said, I am not trying to pretend he’s not a great baseball player. Read more of this thread and you’ll see I’m defending him against people who are basically like “meh” to him. I just think it’s silly to act like he’s the Catcher of the Decade!!! He will probably end up being the catcher of the next decade.

                • Ted Nelson

                  That’s fair. In the five full seasons he’s been in the league, though, he’s been the best C. Can’t ask too much more. In another 5 years we’ll probably look back on him as the catcher of the last decade.

              • WIlliam

                Joe Maur offensively is not better then Arod. Period. NO fucking doubt about it. His value is boosted due to his position, but even then he’s no arod. He has to actually play every game, and maintain his 2009 power numbers. Then we can start to have this discussion

                • phoenix

                  dont compare him to arod until he hits 54 home runs in one year (he has one year over 13… and that was 28) and he can hit in over 130 rbis. he has the average and the defense and the position scarcity, but he is by no means alex rodriguez

  • Tbord

    Hypothetical: Twins cannot reach a deal to sign Mauer: Yankees offer any three or four players in the farm, except Montero. Does Hal open the wallet?

    • Reggie C.

      According to Joe P., the Yankees shouldn’t. And i gotta agree. I still think Cliff Lee is the more likely target of Yankees dollars, especially if Joba and/or Hughes disappoint via ineffectiveness or injury.

      The front-office has committed significant dollars to have ready a catcher post-Posada. Montero’s nearly ready. Defense be damned. I can live with Mike Piazza v.2.0. I like Cervelli. I think JR Murphy will have a top 100 MLB prospects list-worthy debut. Gary Sanchez supposedly has a ridiculous bat plus pop time to 2B , hence the $3 MM.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

        1.8 seconds on the pop time, I hear. He also supposedly has a solid bat, but his size may move him off the position in the future as he bulks up. He’s a kid, so let’s hold off on projecting him.

  • Tom Zig

    I don’t particularly care if the Yankees don’t sign Mauer. I mean I would absolutely love it if they did, but if he decided to stay in Minnesota, I wouldn’t be heart broken. I would on the other hand be heart broken if he signed with Boston. There are very few moves (like only 2) that I worry about Boston making. This would be one of them. Although Mauer doesn’t fit the Boston mold of douche-beardedness.

    • phoenix

      whats the other move? and yes i think he will and should stay in min.

  • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

    This post articulated a lot of the thoughts floating around in my head about Mauer and the Yankees. Could they sign him if he hit FA? Of course. Should they or would they? That’s more complicated to answer but the facts of how the budget is being handled these days and the construction of the team and farm system lean towards no.

    I know a bird in hand is better than two in the bush, yadda yadda yadda. But Montero isn’t in the bush any more. He’s stepping out.

    • Jared

      how many MLB at bats does he have? lets plan his HOF speach just yet

  • mikebk

    if we were to sign mauer and trade montero why is the automatic assumption we do it for pitching and not some young position player?

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Ok, I’ll bite. Most of the positions are locked in. The only logical spot is a corner OFer. Montero himself would probably provide better value. Beyond that, the player traded would probably already beat least in their first or second arb. year and about to get expensive, or are already costing a fair amount. Possibly CF and move Granderson but that seems unnecessary at this point.

      It’s rare that you see position prospect for position prospect trades go down, let alone big ones. Wallace-Taylor is the only one I can think of.

  • steve s

    I know Mauer is a great talent but still the next time he hits 30 HR or knocks in a 100 runs or scores 100 runs will be the first. Jesus will be considered a bit of a disappointment if he didn’t reach those numbers more than a few times before he is 27 years-old.

    • bexarama

      30 HR = semi-relevant to a player’s offensive ability
      100 RBI = not very relevant to a player’s offensive ability
      100 R = not very relevant to a player’s offensive ability

      • steve s

        To say RBI’s and Runs are not very relevant to a player’s offensive ability is not entirely accurate either. If you want to argue it’s been given too much weight historically when there are other metrics around these days that are more revealing that is ok by me. Those numbers are certainly relevant to Mauer’s ability to stay in the line-up and relevant to figuring out if it’s worth giving up a guy like Jesus for him.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          Well he’s a catcher, so he’s not going to be in the lineup every day. But consider the OPS+’s of the follwing eight Twins players with over 200 PA’s last year.


          That’s why Roger Pedacter is dead! I mean, that’s why Joe Mauer didn’t score 100 runs last year. He led the league in OBP by over 30 points. He gets on base plenty, his teammates fail to knock him in, not his fault.

          • steve s

            If he’s healthy he should be playing 150 games and DHing when he’s not catching. It’s part of the calculus in deciding whether to break the bank and give up a potentially comparable talent for him.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              Do you want him to pitch the other 12 games too?

            • bexarama

              Right… so you want to absolutely ride a guy with some injury history at an extremely physically demanding position as hard as possible? I remember toward the end of the season, in that essential four-game series with Detroit, he CAUGHT in both games of a double-header. Dude wants to play. It just might not be the smartest idea to exhaust him.

          • bexarama

            thank you for answering this for me.

            Mauer led all of baseball in BA and OBP. He led the American League in SLG and OPS (some guy named Albert Pujols led baseball in those). You should be happy if that happens to a player on the Yankees.

            RBI and R don’t really prove anything. Look at the rest of that Twins lineup. You’re really gonna cast doubts on Mauer because of 4 RBI?

            Now, his SLG may decrease next year because he had a freakishly high HR/FB%. There are a number of reasons not to sign him. But he’s still an incredible offensive player at a premium position.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      If Jesus, at 26, wins the triple slash triple crown, he will be far from any kind of disappointment.

      • WIlliam


  • JB

    I wouldn’t get to high on Montero just yet. The catcher position seems to be one of the toughest to project. Just look at the latest Sprots Illustrated article with Weiders on the cover. More busts than on a mantle in the Lourve (I make really bad jokes…).

    I really believe he should, and will, re-sign. That’s where he belongs. BUT – if he does go FI, then we should sign him. Great catchers come along very rarely, and he is supposedly a great guy as well.

    Now I’ll get slammed for this, but I’ve seen Montero’s swing, and I don’t like it. I think he’ll get eaten up by off-speed stuff at the big league level. Too disconnected. I hope I’m wrong…

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      I read the article on catchers, and that was busts relative to when the catchers were drafted. Montero wasn’t just drafted, he has advanced thru the minors at a dominating pace. It’s not an apples to apples comparison.

      As far as seeing Montero’s swing, I’m guessing you haven’t seen him nearly enough to make an accurate assessment. Considering all of the professional scouts have zero doubts about his hitting ability, I’m unconcerned as far as his swing.

    • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

      Eh, it’s not like we’re super high on his catching ability, we’re !VERY VERY! high on his hitting ability. We’re just hoping he plays a sustainable catcher position because that would be of greatest value to us.

      In terms of his swing, most scouts are in love with it and so am I.

  • Ted Nelson

    I agree that Mauer to the Yanks is less likely than media pundits will likely make it out to be.

    I also agree with those who say Cliff Lee should probably be the Yankees first target next offseason. Starting pitching in general needs to remain a priority. Lee would be perfect to replace Pettitte.

    However, if you’re looking at Montero behind the plate and Crawford in LF or Mauer behind the plate and Montero in LF… You get a Gold Glove/Silver Slugger/MVP catcher, and potentially a much better bat in LF. I think that might be worth the $10 mill or so more Mauer will make than Crawford (for the Yanks’ payroll it’s a marginal increase, not what it would be on a small market club). Posada becomes a DH/C or trade bait, Nick Johnson a DH/LF/1B utility bat or trade bait. Cervelli trade bait. Romine and Co. trade bait or back-up candidates. Depending on how the season goes–I know it’s blasphemous–maybe Joba replaces Mo in 2011 and that frees up some $.

    One point of contention with the original article: who cares about the Cing depth in the system? If any one of those guys becomes the Yankees next everyday C, the rest are back-up candidates and trade bait anyway. If Mauer is a big improvement on those guys, then trade them all. Money, of course, being the issue that makes it more relevant. As others have pointed out, though, those C prospects could turn into arms and/or OFs via trade. I mean, I love having those strong prospects, but the time and resources spent developing them are sunk costs. That shouldn’t impact your decisions going forward. $/value should, though.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      You make a strong point that if Montero could play LF, a Mauer/Montero combo is better than a Montero/Crawford combo. That is a huge if though, and Mauer will cost at least twice what Crawford costs. I think you’d have to add Cliff Lee (or someone of his ilk) to the Montero-C/Crawford-LF combo. Then it’s more interesting.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, I see the “add Cliff Lee (or someone of his ilk) to the Montero-C/Crawford-LF combo” reasoning. Maybe you make up the difference, though, by trading Posada (assuming he has a good season), not signing Mo and giving Joba the reigns as closer, or trading Nick Johnson and trimming some organizational fat/hard lining Jeter/Mo in contract talks.

        If Cliff Lee doesn’t sign with the Yankees, I’m not sure how many other pitchers of his ilk are out there. Don’t know the 2011 FAs, but doubt there are too many Cliff Lee’s. If he re-signs or doesn’t want to sign with the Yankees, he’s not an issue. Also, I haven’t seen mention of a good defensive catcher saving runs for your pitching staff. Maybe Mauer is overrated defensively, but what’s his defensive WAR compared to a Posada, Piazza, or league average catcher? Is it possible to measure the impact a catcher’s game calling has on a pitching staff?

        At the end of the day, $10 million is 5% of the Yankees payroll. It’s analogous to a small-market team with a $60 mill payroll deciding not to bring in a good $6 mill catcher and move their prize catching prospect who can’t catch to OF for a measly $3 mill in extra salary (plus the Yankees are paying luxury tax, actually… I don’t know how much that is).

        • Ted Nelson

          I’m also assuming Montero is a bad defensive catcher, and maybe he’s not. Not to mention assuming he’s not a total liability in LF. Got to figure he at least has a strong arm, or he wouldn’t be a C. Maybe he could even play RF?

          • Ted Nelson

            In fact, in Yankee Stadium he might be better off in RF than spacious LF… Moving Swisher then becomes a cost-saving option along with Johnson. Could move Swisher + Johnson (losing a whole lot of walks) and pretty much make up the difference between Mauer and Crawford.

            • phoenix

              first, joba has lost a lot since his 2008 injury and no longer has closer stuff unless he suddenly wakes up one day in 2007 form. next, with no comparable to mo, hes not going anywhere if he can still lock down 40 saves with a 2 era (or lower). montero may be converted to another position, but mauer is older and probably as likely to eventually convert as well. i like the yankees catching dept and think it can hold up so that signing mauer isnt a necessity. a front line pitcher to compliment cc and aj, especially with andy and javy uncertain and joba/phil unproven, makes a lot more sense. a LF like crawford would be nice, but lets not count out gardner. he hasnt a full season in the mlb yet and might be capable of eeking out a .300 BA… which would mean at least 50 steals. personally, i think that starting pitching is the biggest priority, then LF, then closer, then worry about the infield aging. we have the catching depth to relegate that to low priority, no matter who is on the market. just because a good player is a FA doesnt mean you need to have him if you already filled that position.

    • WIlliam

      I know this isn’t the main point of your post, but Jorge Posada will never be trade bait, period.

      • phoenix

        or jeter or mo, as the above poster suggested.

        • phoenix

          also, i doubt they can walk away from their franchise players in jeter and mo, future HOFers, who have carried the team for the last decade and more. they want to see mo hold the save record, jeter get 3000 hits and maybe the hits record, and they want to see them do it in pinstripes.

  • ramez hanna

    there are players who come once in a life time . babe ruth,albert pujoh,joe demagio
    joe mauer is one of those player who shouldnt be evalauted by money
    and his presence will make the yankee unbeatable for years.
    i say this with a broken heart dont extend jeter and get mauer for the next 10 years

    • bexarama

      whooooah let’s give the guy like another year before we start comparing him to *Babe Ruth*

      • ramez hanna

        he doesnt need another year, he is already three times batting champion and mvp in his 4 or 5 years .it looks like he will be the batting champ for the next 7 or 8 years baring an injury.hitters dont lose it quickly as pitchers

    • WIlliam

      Maur had a year of a lifetime, otherwise, he is simply an all-star.

    • phoenix

      one player does not make them unbeatable. jeter will be extended and to think otherwise is a moot point. and u never NEVER give a CATCHER a ten year contract. he wont be even close to catching by the end of it!

  • Duece

    This is laughable. If Mauer becomes a free agent, the Yankees will be major players. To think otherwise is foolish.

    • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

      Contrary to the myth, the Yankees DO NOT have a forest of money trees.

  • nycornerstone

    frankie cervelli wasnt mentioned in a single post this kid will hit!

    • LI Kevin

      I was just thinking that.
      I like that kid.
      Good defense, arm, speed, attitude, cheap.

  • James

    How can you declare Montero as a once in a generation talent when he isn’t in the majors and might not even the best out of some of his peers in the minors, especially for a guy who will likely spend much of his time at DH (A less important position). What of Jason Heyward? Pedro Alverez? Mike Stanton? Buster Posey (who has the potential to hit and be a gold glove Catcher)? I’m all for over-hyping propects like Boston (coming from a Boston fan) but sorry, I don’t think the next coming of Jesus is coming anytime soon.

    • WIlliam

      First of all, the reaosn we are hyping Montero is because he has been reported by most scouts as the best hitter in the minors. We find that exciting since we haven’t had such a good position prospect since Cano. We aren’t dismissing Heyward, we just aren’t talking about him since Heyward is on the Braves, and this is a Yankees blog. Also, while Posey can hit, Montero can crush. There isn’t a comparison as of right now.

  • James

    btw the Jesus was in reference to Christ not Montero haha

  • Nick

    Montero is not a catcher. Austin Romine is not a fucking reason to not sign Joe Mauer. The main reason they won’t go after him is because he’ll command a really long deal, and he’ll probably be a 1B/DH for at least the second half of it, and those are two positions where the Yankees actually are overloaded. Gimme a break with this “catcher depth”.

  • http://Marco M. Pieck

    I’d love to see Mauer in a yankee uniform. But as many of you have said, there may be some very more important positions where $ can be better spent, when we have Montero and Romine knocking on the door already.

    In the case Mauer chooses to stay with the Twins. We are on the hunt for Crawford, Lee, and god knows who else next winter. Not to mention that Jeter, Mo, and Joe are for their final year this season.

    But lets just speculate a little bit. Lets say Mauer ends up with the yankees one way or another. Come on… Texeira, Mauer and A-Rod; the yankees would have probably the best 1-2…, and 3 punch in history. How opposing pitching teams go through a lineup including those 3 would be a “pain in the ass”. Not to mention the other great batters in the yankees lineup.

    But I guess like always – “time will tell”.

  • Hummingbird S.

    So you’re saying the Yankees shouldn’t go after Mauer ’cause they have some minor league catchers who might be good players if everything goes right. Not sure I agree with that kind of thinking.

    If Mauer hits the open market the Yankees should an will do everything they can to sign him because that’s the smart thing to do and they’ve shown that even with a budget they will go after an expensive position player if he deserves that kind of money (Tex).

    • phoenix

      not saying that montero and romine are better than mauer. theyre saying that spending that much on mauer when u have montero and romine is less wise than spending that much money on a starting pitcher and a LF and keeping montero and romine.

  • http://Jessy Jessica S.

    Tex – A.Rod – Mauer. Truly a fearfull combination put together in a lineup. Plus, defensively Mauer is an A+ catcher. But it’s certainly riskier to invest long term and big money in a catcher than any other possition in baseball.

    Say, in Montero and Romine, you’re probably not getting a Mauer. But most certainly you’re getting an above average catcher. Without any doubt you could take that gamble, and invest the money one would use to get Mauer in pitchinig, LF, RF…, and hey lets face it, Jeter is great, but he’s not getting any younger.

    I honestly like Cash’s plan to start building from within. And I love it, when it comes to a Free agents that deserves it – as Hummingbird refers to Tex, lets go for it. Had we any other deserving Yankee 1B raplacement for Giambi at the time? (Swisher? come on..) The answer is simply NO. Tex came at the right time. But is Mauer?

    Sorry, I simply don’t see him fitting in the greater good of the Yankees.

  • http://Marco M. Pieck

    Right. What’s not to love about Mauer? But with Montero, Romine, and investing in other positions you certainly make up for what Mauer would give you, and, I dare say – when adding all the pieces, you would get more of a packaget that doesn’t include Mauer, than one that does.

    It’s all about seeing the big picture here.

    Like I said – “time will tell”.

  • george

    to all yankee fans first and last the one thing we always need to do is keep the yankees strong and the red sux as weak as possible. If mauer hits free agency{something I think he will not do} . The only team the yankees can NOT ALLOW him to go to is the SUX. case closed!!!!!!!!!!! If he is a free agent then we have to sign him, trade montero and pick up some really good talent for him.

  • george

    sign mauer only if boston wants him as well. we can’t let him go to boston case closed!

  • letsgoyanks

    I think the Yanks should go after Mauer. We trade Montero and Romine, who are not sure things, and we get the best catcher in the league. Mauer hitting in the two spot behind Jeter and ahead of Teixera and Rodriguez becomes one of the best top of the lineups in baseball, and thats just his bat.
    We all know the way teams play aginst the Yanks, and that is to exploit Posada’s weak arm and steal bases like crazy aginst us. Almost all the teams nowadays are being built around speed,and by aquiring Mauer this strategy will bve useless aginst us because of his arm.
    When a talented, top of his position player like Mauer becomes availabele, you gotta go after him, and if it means sacrificing prospects than you do it. I love to see homegrown yanks, but i think in a situation like this you gotta take the sure thing.

  • http://jukeofurl.wordpress.com Juke Early

    Montero may develop into a primo hitter in the bigs. But based on reports form scouts & savvy observers, his defense & game calling will need to drastically improve. Up the middle strength is a constant requirement. As much as Posada has done at bat – who needs a rerun of downhill defense btp.

  • Prospects are just that

    Prospects are just that – prospects – until they can prove otherwise. Even if the Yankees develop 20 catching prospects, the chances of any of them becoming a full fledged perennial All-Star like Mauer are slim to none. The list of top picks gone dud are huge whether due to injury (Mark Prior) or just failed to meet their potential (Alex Gordon). Mauer may just be the best catcher of all time and you don’t just let that go because you already have $ committed or prospects with potential coming up. IF he becomes a free agent, expect a bidding war of astronomical proportions between the Sox and Yankees.

  • http://twitter.com/InversionCanada Teeter Hang ups

    Maybe one or two appearances… sure. I could see that. Probably five passed balls in those two games and eight SBs against… but I could see it… in like, an emergency situation or something. For example, both catchers on the roster get hurt in a game and theyre looking for an emergency catcher and someone mentions Montero used to catch in the low minors. Totally possible.

  • http://www.dessous-strumpfhosen-shop.de strumpfhosen

    I highly dought Yankees can afford mauer and Pujols. I mean their contracts will be 25-30 million a year, so 50-60 million a year for just both those players.

    Pujols has made an announcement to stay with the cardinals extension for the rest of his career. He is an awsome player, he values the team he loves over money. Mauer will also stay with the twins, because he loves them as a team. Papelbon is a possibility but red sox are going to extend him probably.

    Even if the Yankees did sign all those players, there would be a strike that would bring an end to the existence of the New York Yankees.

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