The Possibility of Mauer in Pinstripes

Now, you may be thinking it’s more than a stretch to see the Yankees trading for any big name players this season, especially Joe Mauer. However, the possibility of seeing Mauer in pinstripes isn’t as unlikely as you might think.

Reality: Mauer is coming off his MVP season and with the Twins entering brand new Target Field and Joe Nathan going down with an elbow injury (likely for the season), the Minnesota front office is in desperate need for Mauer to ‘wow’ the crowd early in the season. Mauer batted .365 with 28 HR and 96 RBI last season as he won MVP, his second Gold Glove, and his third Silver Slugger Award. The 26-year-old catcher is entering the final year of his contract with his hometown club, and many people believe he will resign. Despite all of these facts pointing Mauer back to the Twins and signing a new contract, there are still a few factors that leave the Twins in doubt.

Reports have it that the Twins have already offered Mauer around a $20 mil/year deal, which he has not accepted. Jim Souhan of the StarTribune says that Mauer and his agent, Ron Shapiro, may push towards $25 mil/year or more. In this case, the Twins may not be able to afford that type of contract. Mauer has made $6.25 and $10.5 mil over the past 2 seasons, and will make $12.5 mil this upcoming season. [Doesn't this story sound familiar for the Twins? Yes, of course Yankee fans recall the Johan Santana to the Mets deal! Just a year removed from his Cy Young season, Santana was traded to the Mets for "soon-to-be-superstar" Carlos Gomez, "star in the making" Phillip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. Santana's deal looked very similar to Mauer's before he was traded ($8.75 and $13 mil)].

Possibilities: So what would it take for the Twins to even consider trading Mauer away? Think about this: The Yankees trade 20-year old catcher Jesus Montero, who supposedly isn’t the world’s greatest defensive catcher, a reliever with closer-type stuff, and a few other players thrown in. Joe Nathan has just gone down with a torn ligament in his elbow, and will likely be out for the season, and the Twins were the favorite to win the AL Central this season before he went down. He’ll be 36 after his contract expires next season, and who knows how he’ll respond to whatever injury he’s dealing with right now? So why wouldn’t the Twins want to get a cheap young gun who can save games? (not saying he’d be as good as Nathan, but hopefully better than Jon Rauch or Matt Guerrier).

If the Yankees could work out a deal to give Minnesota Jesus Montero, say a David Robertson, and a few throw in’s like a Kevin Whelan or Jonathan Albaladejo, wouldn’t it be worth it? I mean, let’s face it: Jorge Posada is nearing the end of the rope as the Yankee catcher, as his age is quickly catching up to him, as well as this being the last year of his contract. Minnesota could see Montero quickly becoming their catcher of the near future, and someone like the continuously-improving Robertson to secure the back end of the bullpen, along with a few other pitchers to help their uncertain bullpen for the future.

Even if you don’t think this would happen in a million years, it’s alright to dream, isn’t it?

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10 Responses to The Possibility of Mauer in Pinstripes

  1. theboogiedown says:

    Giv'um Joba and Jorge. I'm over all of the drama re: Chamberlain and Jorge would create about as seemless a scenario as the Twins could imagine if they were to let Mauer go.

  2. Rob Abruzzese says:

    I certainly think it's possible the Twins could trade Mauer, especially now, but I'm skeptical that a deal would involve the Yankees for a couple of reasons. First, if they dealt him because of the Nathan situation, I'd have to imagine they'd want cheap major league ready players. Montero fits this, but I'm not sure Robertson is a good enough reliever for them. They'd probably want Montero and either Joba or Hughes. The Yankees have resisted including that much in one package up to this point, I mean even the Granderson deal was a lot for them to give up in one deal and it would take more to get Mauer.

    The biggest reason though is that Cashman has repeatedly refused to deal prospects for a player he would just have to turn around and sign. It's why they didn't trade for Santana, Sabathia, or Halladay. I would say it's much more likely that for Mauer to be a Yankee via free agency.

  3. smurfy says:

    Man, Dan, you are cleverly devious. Gonna cure all the Twins problems and avoid any bleeding failures. For the Yankees, all in a stroke. You dream pretty rich.

    Sure hope, need an emoticon here for crossed fingers, that batting stat report of Jorge's bat maybe slowing down, and his power tailing off, is not an active trend with a strong delta*. And Joba or Robertson as closer, no they're gonna say is first they love Mauer and second who needs a closer when you ain't gonna win?

    Course, if Joba would show something, well, they may could be tempted, but Joba lovers here wouldn't.

    *the only hope I can think of, if you ever need it, is that his shoulder may have weakened his swing, specially righty, I would think. May have healed by now.

  4. Dan Reiner says:

    Well, boogiedown, I'm pretty positive they don't want Jorge. Rob, those are very good points that you make, but who knows when Cashman will pull something big out of his sleeve? And Smurfy, like I said, it's alright to dream. But as of now I dont think anyone, even the Yankees would take Joba in a big deal like that. His stats from last year and (even though its barely into spring training) aren't enough to be included as the major pitcher in a package.

  5. Lenny Neslin says:

    Jonathan Albaladejo will never be a part of a package for Joe Mauer. Ever.

    Also, Mauer means too much to Minnesota for the Twins to give him up.

  6. Rob Abruzzese says:

    I agree with Lenny, Albaladejo won't be included in any deal except one for cash considerations.

  7. Mike S. says:

    Don't see it happening, especially when you have two young catchers who, if they develop, can not only be good but under cost-control for a couple of years. Look at Cano. His production compared to cost control (his salary) has worked to the Yanks advantage. The Yanks have to free up $ to get Mauer. Where? They wouldn't give it to JD. They maintained a strict budget (if only some other entities would do that… cough-cough). Unlike when they had Pavano, Giambi, Abreu and Mussina coming off the books, who is coming off the books now for a deal? At year's end, you are looking into deals with Mo, Jeter and Girardi. Maybe Vazquez leaves via free agency and Pettitte retires, thus freeing money, but that money would then have to be reinvested in starting pitching. Teix, CC, AJ, A-Rod all have multi-year deals, Posada has a year left. Where is the money coming from? I'd love Mauer but don't feel it necessary to break the bank for him. If there were no catchers coming up in the system, then ok. But you have a couple there who could become good and (for a while anyway) at low cost.

  8. I too would be surprised to see Mauer in pinstripes, though I would clearly welcome it. The Twins will likely make a very strong push to keep him, no doubt playing upon his home-state roots despite Mauer's claim that he won't give the Twins a hometown discount. Plus, as Mike said, the Yankees will have other pressing needs. Pitching is certainly one (keeping Vazquez and/or Pettite; possibly acquiring another starter depending upon how Joba/Hughes progress). I'll add Carl Crawford's pending availability–despite Steve Lombardi's inane warning about Crawford's "street" persona. The Yankees right now could still stand to get younger and also ensure some productive speed is in the lineup, especially if Gardner doesn't become more than a fourth outfielder.

    We'll see, and it doesn't hurt to dream big now and then, especially for a premier player in Mauer. But I'd be very surprised to see him in The Bronx.

  9. Al says:

    Something tells me the Boston Red Sox may have their eyes and ears wide open as the drama with Mauer continues to unfold. Better him in pinstripes than in red socks. Go Yankees!

  10. smurfy says:

    Dan, watching Robertson today, my appreciation increased: you proposal seems now more legitimate, and they could be tempted by Montero, if they have decided they can't or shouldn't sign Mauer.

    I have one big fear about signing Mauer long-term: his back injury, couldn't that be a big risk to him catching?

    If Minny does want to hold Mauer, Heath Bell is available from the Padres.