Tuesday, November 24, 2009

AL MVP Joe Mauer - A future Yankee?

Even this Yankee fan can concede that Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer deserved the AL MVP award over Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. In fact, I wrote back in September the reasons why Mauer was worthy of the honor. So yes, Mauer earned that award. He didn't just have one of the greatest years by a catcher ever, but he got his team into the playoffs - the one thing critics held against him earlier in the year.

And Mauer deserved to win it unanimously; the only award Miguel Cabrera, who got one first-place vote, deserved this year was for highest blood alcohol level at 6 a.m. (Speaking of which, I was in a defensive driving class last week to get my 10% car insurance discount, and I asked the instructor if, with that level, Cabrera would still be drunk during that night's game. The answer was yes. Yeah, that's an MVP performance, alright!)

At any rate, Mauer winning MVP, and Zack Greinke winning AL Cy Young over CC Sabathia, doesn't bother me. Look, I'd rather the Yankees have the World Series championship than the MVP any day of the week. Remember how joyless it was when A-Rod won MVP in 2005 and 2007, after those disappointing postseasons?

Besides, at the risk of sounding like an arrogant Yankee fan, Mauer will be in pinstripes soon enough. Yes, I'm calling it - Joe Mauer will be a New York Yankee in 2011, when he is a free agent. There will be one year left on Jorge Posada's contract then, but my guess is that he will be the DH, as Mauer takes over behind the plate.

Yeah, yeah, I know how Mauer is a local guy who wants to stay close to home. And that the Twins, with their new stadium, will want to keep him. I still say he will be a Yankee. How often has it happened in recent years that the Yanks targeted a free agent they wanted, only to have him reject the Yankees? Unless you count Andy Pettitte running off to Houston, which is a bit more complicated than that, the last time I can remember free agents dissing the Yanks for elsewhere were John Smoltz and Roger Clemens turning the Yanks down in 1996. And the Rocket had a change of heart two years later.

Remember, CC Sabathia supposedly wanted to go to the West Coast. Johnny Damon was never going to betray the Red Sox to be a Yankee. Mark Teixeira was going to go to Boston. Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens were going to stay in their Houston hometowns forever. Carl Pavano (okay, bad example!) could have gone to Detroit or Boston. And guess what? They all became Yankees. The siren call of pinstripes - not to mention the money - was too much to resist.

Besides, the thing is about being a Yankee is that it puts you in a whole other level of superstardom. Joe Mauer has arguably been the best all-around player in the league for years, but he will only get the attention he deserves if he puts on the pinstripes. Will Mauer get the ads Derek Jeter does if he stays in Minnesota? No. Will Mauer host SNL or get to introduce artists at the American Music Awards as a Twin? Doubtful. Even a Minnesota paper speculates about the endorsements wooing Mauer to the East Coast:
Million-dollar endorsement deals, from Nike to Gatorade to automobiles to razors — as New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has — could be worth double and even triple what they would be playing in Minnesota.

I could be wrong on this - wouldn't be the first time! - but I think Mauer will become a free agent next year, get swept off his feet by the pinstripes, and be catching CC Sabathia's first pitch in 2011. Why wouldn't he want to be a Yankee? Playing for the Bombers is the stuff dreams are made of! (That sound you just heard is Squawker Jon's slow burn over my proclamation!)

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Jonmouk71 said...

Mauer may indeed become a Yankee and the sounds you'll likely hear are all those who bemoan the Yankee spending as "bad for baseball". Yet no one thinks there is anything wrong with the Red Sox trading three nobodies for all-star Victor Martinez; the Phils getting Cy Young Cliff Lee for four nobodies; or even the Mets trading five stiffs to the Twins for Santana.

Riddering said...

As much as I would love to have Mauer on the Yankees I'm not so sure it's going to happen. First of all, there's a question of how long he'll stay behind the plate. I know he's a great catcher but does he have the body to last in that position for 5+ years?

Secondly, the Yanks have more catcher prospects than any other position. I'm not saying this would stop them but if guys like Montero and Romine keep developing why would the Yanks go big on Mauer when they could instead plunder the OF market or save some cash for King Felix later on?

Even with all that, I have to say when Mauer was on the bench after Game 3 of the ALDS I was thinking to myself, "Don't worry. You'll be winning like that with the Yanks in no time." Mauer should be a household baseball name and maybe he will be--just so long as it's not with Boston. ;)

As for Mauer staying in Minnie: he's said he's looking forward to testing the market and so he should. If there was ever a time for the Twins to spend some money, it will be for Mauer.

John from Minneapolis said...

I'm not at all certain Mauer will stay in Minnesota, but I do think he's one guy for whom the money won't necessarily tip the balance.

These numbers are so crazy that we normal people can't even fathom them. But look at Mauer: he's already banked about $40 million in his short career. No matter who he signs with, he's certain to get in excess of $100 million -- maybe as much as $150 million.

So, okay -- if he plays in New York, he can make another $10, $20 or however many million off Nike and Gatorade ads.

BUT HE'S ALREADY MADE $200 MILLION!! Unless he's a complete moron, his great-great-great grandchildren will never have to work a day.

At that point, do you really need an extra $20 million?

I think that the lure of the pinstripes, in the sense of being part of a historic, championship organization, will be more of an enticement for Mauer than money. I think he really does want to play on a World Series team, and that will decide whether he stays in Minny or not.

Anonymous said...

This needs to stop. Because you know what, Yankee fans, Mauer's not coming to you. You can't have him, because the Twins can afford him, and since they CAN afford him, they will retain him. Check back in 7 years, then maybe you can try a 33 year old Mauer. That seems fair. But if the Twins can offer 120M to Santana, they can offer 140M to Mauer. We have a new stadium. We have payroll room. We're not THAT small market, despite what a lot of Twins fans will lead you to believe.

Do you realize that every move the Twins' front office makes has to be passively approved by Mauer? He wanted the team to do something in terms of trades this past season. I give you, Carl Pavano, Orlando Cabrera, Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay, JJ Hardy. We locked up his best friend, Justin Morneau. He was asked for input on our new uniforms, for gods sake.

Yeah, you joyless bastards can dream, but I suppose you'll just have to rely on one of the most catching rich farm systems in baseball for 7 more years. Or for Brian McCann. Whatever. I'm just sick of you trivializing breaking the collective hearts of an entire region of the country. Because that's what losing Mauer would do to us. He isn't important to just Minnesota, but parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas. We kept Kirby Puckett on one of the biggest contracts in history (WOW SAME AGENT AS MAUER), and we'll keep Joe. Screw you guys.

Myjah said...

Mauer isn't going to become a Yankee. Want to know why?

"I've had a chance to go up in the deer stand a few times, and everyone here knows that when you're up in the deer stand you think about a lot of different things," Mauer quipped. "Just about the type of year we had as a team, the run that we had. I think coming into the season, my goal personally was just to stay on the field. To be here sitting today and being the MVP is more than I could have ever imagined."

Yeah--up in his DEER STAND, probably by his log cabin in the middle of nowhere where he does things like mow his own lawn.

Do you really think Joe is aching to live/play in New York City so he can make even more millions of dollars?

The Twins will offer him the biggest contract in Twins history. With their new stadium, they can afford Joe. He'll stay in Minnesota by his grandparents (who come to every Twins game) and his deer stand. That's just the type of guy he is.

Andrew Donaldson said...

The Twins know that $20 million a year is the price of admission when it comes to a new contract with Mauer, and they also know they have no real choice but to offer it to him. Maybe that won't be enough--maybe he'll pass, and test free agency. But for Mauer to leave the Twins, it's probably going to take $30 million a year. For the best player in baseball--and the best catcher in the HISTORY of baseball (3 batting titles for Mauer in his 20s vs. none for every other catcher in the AL ever)--a $300 million contract probably isn't crazy. But if the Yankees are willing to money-whip him that badly, not too many of us Twins fans will blame him for taking the cash.

Rob A from BBD said...

I don't think you should be allowed to say something like this without mentioning why the Yankees would need to spend a ton of money on a catcher when their top hitting prospects are all catchers.

Jesus Montero, Austin Romine...Trade fodder?

Unknown said...

Good call... $184 mil says Mauer stays a Twin for a long long time.

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