Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The value of Joe Mauer

Sounds like Joe Mauer will return soon, May 1 would be a good bet.  The Twins haven't been spectacular thus far, but they could have done a lot worse than 7-7 without Joe Mauer.  Perhaps the absence of Joe Mauer has made people realize just how valuable he is to the Twins.  He is the heart of the Twins offense and defense.  Mauer is perhaps more valuable to his team than any other player in all of baseball.  He is simply irreplaceable.  Catchers who get on base 40% of the time and who have gold-glove defense and who throw base stealers out 40% of the time, don't grow on trees.  I don't think Mike Redmond and Jose Morales have thrown out a single base stealer this year. 

Justin Morneau has already won an MVP and finished second another time, so it's safe to say that many consider Morneau as the Twins MVP.  But Joe Mauer should have won the MVP both those years.  The problem is that he isn't a 30 HR hitter and his RBI numbers don't look pretty.  But he is always in the top 3 in on-base percentage, he takes extremely good at-bats, and he's the only American League catcher to win a batting title (and he's done it twice!) .  Honestly, Joe Mauer has a great shot of not only making it to the Hall of Fame, but as being the best catcher ever.

I'm not sure how much of an effect a catcher has on how a pitcher pitches, but it will be interesting to see if the pitching improves with Mauer back behind the plate.

Joe Mauer is signed through 2010, and I am hoping the Twins will give him a contract extension before he becomes a free-agent.  I'm sure the Twins would pay him gobs of money (which they should have due to a new ballpark), because he is the face of the franchise and he is Minnesotan.  He practically is Mr. Minnesota.  But I'd hate to see what would happen if he did reach free agency and the Yankees or Red Sox offered him a 7 year contract which would pay him $25 million a year...

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