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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Megdal: Joe Mauer and the Mets

Hey, don’t get all worked up just because Mauer passed former-Met Sandy Alomar in career hits (1237) tonight.

So Joe Mauer, catcher for the Twins, was placed on waivers. On Twitter, I suggested that Mauer would be a tremendous addition for the Mets, though it will obviously not happen. Briefly, to stipulate why:

1. The Mets cannot afford to add salary, and Joe Mauer earns $23 million per season through 2018.

That is all. The rest is moot. This isn’t happening. There are other aspects to this: the Twins may simply be fishing Mauer out there to see if there’s a great deal for them; there’s no guarantee they’d simply turn Mauer over to the Mets if they claimed him.

But I found it really interesting to hear some of the pushback on why, if the Mets had owners capable of allowing the team to operate at a payroll more consistent with the New York market (or even the smaller markets, like Philadelphia or Boston), it still wouldn’t be a good idea to add Mauer for nothing other than assumption of his contract.

And boy, I couldn’t disagree more. Not because I believe in making moves to make a splash, consequences be damned. I don’t. And not because I believe long-term contracts aren’t risky. I do, and they are.

Repoz Posted: August 29, 2012 at 11:09 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: August 30, 2012 at 05:37 AM (#4222010)
Mike Trout and the Phillies
   2. TerpNats Posted: August 30, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4222040)
Look at what making moves for the back page of the tabloids did for the Yankees in the '80s. Or, should we say, did to them.
   3. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: August 30, 2012 at 08:35 AM (#4222042)
But the idea that he hasn’t been a durable player doesn’t hold up to scrutiny against his peers.

Mauer’s games played since 2008: 146, 138, 137, 82, 120 (with a month left).

That's a bit misleading, Howard. Mauer's games played at catcher since 2008: 139, 109, 112, 52, 62 (with a month left). His "durability" is helped with games at 1B and DH, particularly this season.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 30, 2012 at 08:39 AM (#4222047)
Jonathan Papelbon and the Dodgers
   5. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: August 30, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4222051)
Benny and the Jets
   6. HowardMegdal Posted: August 30, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4222071)
That's a bit misleading, Howard. Mauer's games played at catcher since 2008: 139, 109, 112, 52, 62 (with a month left). His "durability" is helped with games at 1B and DH, particularly this season.

From what I understand, this is simply a choice made by the Twins in 2012, rather than some new necessity. But you're right, if he can't return to playing 90-100 games at catcher, his value drops considerably.
   7. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4222114)
From what I understand, this is simply a choice made by the Twins in 2012, rather than some new necessity. But you're right, if he can't return to playing 90-100 games at catcher, his value drops considerably.

FWIW, I was surprised to learn that Brad Ausmus did not visit the disabled list until his age-41 season.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4222149)
jason

not having to run the bases really saves on the knees
   9. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: August 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4222165)
not having to run the bases really saves on the knees
Zing!
   10. clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: August 30, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4222262)
Jonathan Papelbon and the Dodgers
done. no takebacks.
   11. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 30, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4222271)
I know it sucks for a supposedly big market team to take it slow but the Mets need to be patient and hope that they can build around a talented young rotation. Matt Harvey is looking like a front end starter, Jon Niese has taken a step forward, and Gee looks like a capable back/middle of the rotation starter. The Mets still have a few interesting guys in the minors and should eventually be able to increase payroll significantly. But there's really no way they can be good next year.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4222282)
though it will obviously not happen. Briefly, to stipulate why:

1. The Mets cannot afford to add salary, and Joe Mauer earns $23 million per season through 2018.

That is all


Mauer also has a full no-trade clause and its hard to fathom why he'd want to go to the Mets if he even approves a trade away from his hometown team.
   13. HowardMegdal Posted: August 30, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4222453)
Mauer also has a full no-trade clause and its hard to fathom why he'd want to go to the Mets if he even approves a trade away from his hometown team.

Yes, though that wouldn't mean the Mets couldn't try and persuade him. But like I said up top, this was an exercise in whether, under different circumstances, they should, rather than a predicted or likely course of action.
   14. Loren F. Posted: August 30, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4222542)
Yes, though that wouldn't mean the Mets couldn't try and persuade him. But like I said up top, this was an exercise in whether, under different circumstances, they should, rather than a predicted or likely course of action.


I predict there will be many, many opportunities for similar exercises in the future. Unfortunately for Mets fans.
   15. billyshears Posted: August 30, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4222632)
I know it sucks for a supposedly big market team to take it slow but the Mets need to be patient and hope that they can build around a talented young rotation. Matt Harvey is looking like a front end starter, Jon Niese has taken a step forward, and Gee looks like a capable back/middle of the rotation starter. The Mets still have a few interesting guys in the minors and should eventually be able to increase payroll significantly. But there's really no way they can be good next year.


I've been really down on the Mets recently. I don't think the talent is there at the minor league level, I don't think they have been sufficiently aggressive in acquiring amateur talent and I think they have taken a non-committal approach at the major league level which has reduced the probability they can become a very good team in the foreseeable future. Let's suppose the Mets had taken he following actions: (1) traded Jose Reyes at last year's trade deadline, (2) instead of throwing $10 mil at the roulette table in the offseason trying to build a bullpen, they signed Yoenis Cespedes (or Jorge Soler or Yasiel Puig) and (3) capitalized on Dickey's great first half by trading him for prospects at this year's deadline. Does anybody think the Mets are better off as they are than if they had made those moves?

This regime is too smart to trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, but other than the Beltran/Wheeler deal, I don't think you can point to one transaction they have made which has expedited the arrival of the next good Mets team, or enhanced the probability of the next good Mets team arriving in the foreseeable future. There just isn't any evidence of real vision, or a discernible plan other than "Don't do anything stupid." Sadly, that's actually an upgrade for us though.
   16. The District Attorney Posted: August 30, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4222827)
Certainly can't dispute #2.

#1 can only be disputed if you think there was any chance the Mets could have been in position to make a market-value offer to Reyes. I tend to think the chance was "if the Madoff thing magically goes away before November", which although it was not technically zero chance, might as well have been. But I'm not sure we know that to be a fact. If there was a reasonable expectation they could offer Reyes a fair deal -- not even the winning bid, just a plausible one -- then I can justify keeping him.

I don't think I agree with #3. If this were the Houston Astros, then sure, trade anyone over the age of 27 who does anything right, because the fans have zero expectations anyway. But when you've decided not to do a total tear-it-down rebuild, I don't think you can then trade what at the time was the best pitcher in the league because he wasn't young enough.
   17. billyshears Posted: August 30, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4222886)
But when you've decided not to do a total tear-it-down rebuild, I don't think you can then trade what at the time was the best pitcher in the league because he wasn't young enough.


I think the question is why weren't they in total tear-it-down rebuild mode? The Mets aren't in a situation where they will become a contender in reasonable time if they make a good move or two, they get a couple lucky breaks and their prospects follow a reasonable development path. For the Mets to become a contender in the next 2 years (or to have been a contender this year), they need/needed a ton of unlikely events to occur. They got those breaks in the first half, but they turned into a pumpkin fast enough for the front-office to have transitioned to sell mode before the trade deadline. Given the long odds facing the Mets in their path to contention, they absolutely have to maximize every resource they have. That includes maximizing the present value of veteran players by trading them to contending teams to whom that present value is at a premium. Any constraints on taking actions of that nature are just going to make it less likely the Mets become good any time in the next few years.
   18. The District Attorney Posted: August 30, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4222930)
I don't really see it that way. We had a discussion on this a little while back... some things have gone wrong lately (Thole and Ike seriously struggling, Johan on the verge of being written off), but it is probably at least counterbalanced if not more by the things that have gone right (Wright returning to superstardom which is HUGE, Murphy being able to hack 2B, the four non-Johan rotation spots looking pretty good with Dickey/Niese/Harvey/Gee). I still think it is on target to be a relevant team in a year or two, built around Wright as a star and a generally balanced lineup.

The issue is that we are missing two big pieces -- a megastar OF, and an ace SP. But if we ever start spending money, we can address that. We may even be able to address it by having a deep farm system where we can afford to trade several prospects for one guy.
   19. zack Posted: August 30, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4222932)
C: Thole/Shoppach Strict Platoon
1B: Davis
2B: Murphy
3B: Wright
SS: Tejada
LF: Baxter
CF: Nieuwenhuis
RF: Mr. X

SP: Dickey
SP: Niese
SP: Harvey
SP: Gee
SP: McHugh/Hefner?

RP: Parnell
RP: Santana
RP: Mejia
RP: Wheeler
RP: Francisco
RP: Byrdak

Obviously not a championship team, but with a serviceable RF and good health that would be a wild card competitor. Flores has had a strong year as a 20 year old in the Eastern. Wright/Tejada/Davis/Harvey/Wheeler/Flores could be the core of a pennant team in the near future.

I might have gone full-nuclear, but I think it's a 50/50 call. They'll need luck to be good, but you need luck either way.

Who the hell is Zach Lutz?

Edit: I mostly agree with the DA's office, but I think in addition to the megastar OF, an up-the-middle defender who can also hit above his position would be more important than an ace SP. Depends on how long Dickey can last and Harvey/Wheeler.
   20. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 30, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4223002)
I think competing in 2013 is a tad optimistic but I think if this management team is half as good as they are supposed to be, they shouldn't have too much trouble making the Mets a competitor in 2014. The considerable payroll flexibility should help them out quite a bit. Right now, the Mets only have Jon Niese under contract for 2014.
   21. Mark S. is bored Posted: August 30, 2012 at 05:37 PM (#4223003)
Wheeler and Santana as RP? Never happen. Santana will be starting if he's healthy. And Wheeler will be starting in AAA until he's ready to start in the majors. Also, I'd expect Duda to start in LF over Baxter (assuming Bay is gone). I expect Nieuwenhuis to continue to struggle significantly in the majors due to his high strikeout rate (over 30% of his PAs were strikeouts).

   22. formerly dp Posted: August 30, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4223026)
I haven't been in the chatters much, and haven't been watching too many games in August, so maybe this has been discussed already, but: Rauch has been really, really good the last two months. He should be listed in zack's #19, no? .392 OPS against in July, and .323 (!) in August-- 7 hits allowed in 17.1 IP.

Flores is having quite a season-- last time I checked his numbers, he was struggling at AA, but he obviously turned it around. Would feel better if he was walking more, but at least we're finally starting to see the power. Curius to know how he's handling 2B, looks like he has split time between there and 3B.
   23. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: August 30, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4223034)
C: Thole/Shoppach Strict Platoon
1B: Davis
2B: Murphy
3B: Wright
SS: Tejada
LF: Baxter
CF: Nieuwenhuis
RF: Mr. X

SP: Dickey
SP: Niese
SP: Harvey
SP: Gee
SP: McHugh/Hefner?

RP: Parnell
RP: Santana
RP: Mejia
RP: Wheeler
RP: Francisco
RP: Byrdak

Obviously not a championship team, but with a serviceable RF and good health that would be a wild card competitor


This is a 83 win team, in mean expected outcome. If this is your fantasy, reality will be a #####.
   24. formerly dp Posted: August 30, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4223052)
One more thing: Mejia has been working as a starter these last few weeks-- with good, but not overwhelming results. I'd have to think he's in the mix for next year's rotation as well.

I don't expect them to compete in 2013, but they will have a really nice rotation, with some amount of upside in Harvey and depth in the minors, in Mejia and Wheeler. That's a good thing to build around. Also, as I pointed out in the other Mauer thread, Ike Davis has been one of the best 1B in the league since June. OPS by month:
April: .550
May: .496
June: .926
July: .794
Aug: .904

I'm hesitant to attribute too much of April/May to Valley Fever, but at the same time, his performance was so abominably bad that it seems to make sense. Though it also seems like Citi is killing him, for whatever reason.
   25. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 30, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4223095)
I'm hesitant to attribute too much of April/May to Valley Fever, but at the same time, his performance was so abominably bad that it seems to make sense. Though it also seems like Citi is killing him, for whatever reason.

I'm not really concerned about Davis. For one thing, he's been getting better as the season progresses. In addition, his overall numbers are poor in part because his BABIP is around .250 this year and he had been around .325 prior to this season. Even with his struggles this year, he is a career 116 OPS+ hitter about to enter what should be his prime.

One more thing: Mejia has been working as a starter these last few weeks-- with good, but not overwhelming results. I'd have to think he's in the mix for next year's rotation as well.

I think next year's rotation is going to be Dickey, Harvey, Niese, Santana, Gee or McHugh with Wheeler the first guy up when the time comes. Mejia has the pretty ERA as a starter, 1.94, but he's allowed almost as many unearned runs as runs allowed. His K/BB ratio is poor and the only thing he has really done well with is not allowing homers. He has stalled in my opinion. He's still young but I need to see more from him. He reminds me of Pelfrey in that he's got that one great pitch but hasn't developed another reliable one.

I'm not as down on Santana as most. Sure he was awful in his last 5 starts but he was doing quite well prior to that. I think he'll have a decent to good season next year.
   26. Conor Posted: August 30, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4223114)
I've pretty much written Mejia off as a starter at this point.

Is it just me or does Harvey throw harder than he was "supposed" to? He's consistently hitting 95, and he hit 99 on the gun in the 6th inning last night. He was supposed to throw hard, but I don't recall reading he could throw quite this hard. His stuff has been really impressive to me. His average FB velocity so far is 94.5; if he had enough starts to qualify he'd be tied for Matt Moore for 4th in the majors. I'm not saying he'll do that in the long run, but I was surprised to see him throw this hard.

Mets really need an OF who can hit. (3 of them would be nice) Dickey is an ace right now; I have no idea how to project him going forward.

I'm not as down on Santana as most. Sure he was awful in his last 5 starts but he was doing quite well prior to that. I think he'll have a decent to good season next year.


Yeah I think I agree. I'm not really sure what to expect out of him next year, but him putting together 2 awesome months to start the season gives me some hope for next year.
   27. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:07 PM (#4223126)
Is it just me or does Harvey throw harder than he was "supposed" to? He's consistently hitting 95, and he hit 99 on the gun in the 6th inning last night. He was supposed to throw hard, but I don't recall reading he could throw quite this hard. His stuff has been really impressive to me. His average FB velocity so far is 94.5; if he had enough starts to qualify he'd be tied for Matt Moore for 4th in the majors. I'm not saying he'll do that in the long run, but I was surprised to see him throw this hard.

To be completely honest, I was surprised that his minor league numbers weren't better after watching an entire game for him for the first time yesterday. I remember the announcing crew saying that he was basically bored with minor league ball this year but I was more than impressed with his mound presence yesterday. I know that's a scouty thing to say and I've probably been influenced with the results but he just looked like he knew what he was doing out there.

Sickels, before the season started, said that he "can be a number two starter." I know that isn't an insult but I can't imagine that you'd need more stuff than he has to be a number one starter.

BTW, how has Robert Carson looked so far? He's a lefty with a 95 MPH fastball so he's obviously intriguing but he's never put up great minor league numbers.
   28. Karl from NY Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:15 PM (#4223131)
Right now, the Mets only have Jon Niese under contract for 2014.

And Bobby Bonilla.
   29. Conor Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4223141)
To be completely honest, I was surprised that his minor league numbers weren't better after watching an entire game for him for the first time yesterday. I remember the announcing crew saying that he was basically bored with minor league ball this year but I was more than impressed with his mound presence yesterday. I know that's a scouty thing to say and I've probably been influenced with the results but he just looked like he knew what he was doing out there.

Sickels, before the season started, said that he "can be a number two starter." I know that isn't an insult but I can't imagine that you'd need more stuff than he has to be a number one starter.


I pretty much agree with all of this. He's a young pitcher and he's only made 7 starts so I don't want to get carried away or anything, but he sure looks like he has #1 starter stuff, if nothing else. It sure seems like he gets a lot of swings and misses with his fastball. Just checking on fangraphs, he has a swinging strike % of 12.9%, which if he qualified would be second (to Francisco Liriano, so this stat isn't everything).


   30. zack Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:37 PM (#4223142)

This is a 83 win team, in mean expected outcome. If this is your fantasy, reality will be a #####.


It's deliberately optimistic. But 83 mean win is absolutely a wild card contender, which was my point.

And that's with a real outfielder, who remains to be acquired. The point was just that this isn't the astros, with a few breaks and some good off-season moves they could be in the playoffs next year.

I didn't include Rauch because he's a free agent. No option, right?
   31. formerly dp Posted: August 30, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4223147)
I didn't include Rauch because he's a free agent. No option, right?


That's right-- I read his contract status wrong when I posted above. My bad.
   32. billyshears Posted: August 31, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4223448)
To be completely honest, I was surprised that his minor league numbers weren't better after watching an entire game for him for the first time yesterday. I remember the announcing crew saying that he was basically bored with minor league ball this year but I was more than impressed with his mound presence yesterday. I know that's a scouty thing to say and I've probably been influenced with the results but he just looked like he knew what he was doing out there.

Sickels, before the season started, said that he "can be a number two starter." I know that isn't an insult but I can't imagine that you'd need more stuff than he has to be a number one starter.


Harvey has looked outstanding. In his ESPN chat yesterday, Keith Law mentioned that Harvey projects as a future ace if he can maintain the level of stuff that he's displayed in the majors so far. I'm also a bit surprised that Harvey's minor league numbers weren't better, but he always maintained a strikeout rate of over a batter an inning. His major league component stats aren't really much better than his minor league component stats. Obviously, maintaining one's performance after a promotion to the majors is tremendously difficult, but we don't know if Harvey's performance in the minors was held back by some directive to throw 20 changeups a game or something like that. Also, I find that published scouting reports tend to lag a bit - I never thought Pelfrey threw as hard as he was reported to, and I think too many of his reports were based on his college velocity. On the other end of the spectrum, maybe Harvey has just been getting better and the reports never caught up (fingers crossed)?
   33. formerly dp Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4223635)
Keith Law mentioned that Harvey projects as a future ace if he can maintain the level of stuff that he's displayed in the majors so far.


That would be huge.

In response to Russlan and conor, I think the team just has to let Mejia start and go from there. I don't think he'll be ready to be in the rotation in early 2013, but coming off surgery, the results this year have been encouraging. He's another guy who advanced quickly and has been in the system a while, so it's easy to forget that he'll only be 23 at the start of next season-- only half a year older than Wheeler.

Flores is up to .323/.374/.506 at AA-- that's a nice season for a guy who just turned 21. He should finish with over 50 extra-base hits this year. Havens fell off a damn cliff though, and Marte had a pretty terrible season.
   34. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 31, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4223658)
From what I understand, this is simply a choice made by the Twins in 2012, rather than some new necessity.


The Twins picked up Ryan Doumit in the offseason because they felt that Mauer could no longer catch 120+ games per season and stay healthy. The Twins have more access to Mauer's health data than anyone else, and while their use of the health data that they have has been suspect, to say the least (ask Gleeman), I see no logical reason to conclude that the so-called "choice" was a true choice on their part.

-- MWE
   35. DL from MN Posted: August 31, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4223729)
Mauer could no longer catch 120+ games per season


That's probably true, but I also think they're not pushing him this season since they've been out of it since May. There's a big grey area between 120 and 75.
   36. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: August 31, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4223962)
In response to Russlan and conor, I think the team just has to let Mejia start and go from there. I don't think he'll be ready to be in the rotation in early 2013, but coming off surgery, the results this year have been encouraging. He's another guy who advanced quickly and has been in the system a while, so it's easy to forget that he'll only be 23 at the start of next season-- only half a year older than Wheeler.

It is important to remember that he is still pretty young and it's nice to see that he has shown the ability to get strikeouts previously in the minors. That said, I need to see more from him before I can really get excited about him. At this point, I expect more out of Familia and Wheeler than I do Mejia. I do agree with letting him start and really don't like that he's been jerked around quite a bit.

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