|$30 million estimate for Mauer plain silly|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on December 31, 2009
We know Joe Mauer is a valuable player, but is he worth as much as the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports may be the case?
One prominent industry source says it could take $30 million per season to sign Joe Mauer if the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox get into a free-agent bidding war for the Twins' all-star catcher after next season.
People will say outrageous things, and sportswriters (and other types of writers, of course) will quote them. It makes for a good story or at least a tidbit. But this is downright ridiculous.
First, let's take a look at a potential bidding war between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Mauer becomes a free agent after the 2010 season, but the Yankees owe Posada $13.1 million in 2011.
If you figure the deal is backloaded and Mauer "only" gets $23 million that first season (should he sign a contract worth $30 million in AAV), the Yankees would be paying $46 million at catcher. You could DH Posada, but his bat isn't good enough to play there consistently for an entire season for a contending team. That Mark Teixeira has first base locked up for a good number of years, as well.
Posada would be a very expensive part-time player. Getting in the Mauer sweepstakes is nothing the Yankees want, unless Posada retires, which is doubtful.
Victor Martinez is a free agent after the 2010 season, so it's possible the Red Sox could move on to Mauer, who is Martinez's equal with the bat and a better catcher. But why not sign Martinez to a reasonable deal worth about $10-13 million a season over four years? He will have built a familiarity with the Red Sox's pitchers by then and adjusted to playing in Boston.
But the Red Sox could spend big money on Mauer and receive an upgrade. It's definitely possible. But there won't be a bidding war between them and the Yankees. There's no way the Yankees will dedicate about one-seventh of their (guessed by me to be $210 million) payroll.
Especially when you consider Derek Jeter is going to sign a lucrative deal to finish his career in pinstripes, Alex Rodriguez will be getting paid huge bucks in the latter portions of his career, and that the Yankees are paying CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira about $45 million combined each season. Another expenditure of $30 million per season for a player is ridiculous for them to do.
Mauer's $30 million contract would represent about one-sixth of the Red Sox's payroll. They aren't crazy enough to sink that much money into one player. The Red Sox are going to fight for payroll flexibility.
So, what does the market look like for Mauer in the 2010-2011 offseason? If he wants to sign with the Twins, the ballclub would probably offer something in the neighborhood of $13-15 million per season. It will open a ballpark in 2010, which should bring some revenue to cover an expenditure that big.
The Mets may be out of the bidding because they are expected to sign Bengie Molina in the upcoming days. It's doubtful any of the other big-market teams, like the Cubs, Angels and Dodgers, will have the money to spend on Mauer.
The Orioles are frequently mentioned as potential landing spots for big-name free agents, but they already have Matt Wieters around which to build.
There are really no other places for Mauer to go, and logically it seems like there will be no mega-bidding war for Mauer between the Yankees and Red Sox.
This was just a sportswriter just rushing to publish something.