Ten years? Ten? Ala ARod? Gulp.
There have been rumors of a 10-year contract with Joe Mauer for weeks now, and it gained steam recently with Mark Rosen's report that a 10-year framework was in place.
Ten years is tough to swallow for anyone but the blindest fans. I'll admit, at first that number caught me off guard to the point where I was ready to write about it being irresponsible. And there is plenty of internet and radio chatter about whether the Twins can commit that long of a contract to a catcher. After a little examination, I've found two points that temper my concerns:
1) Mauer would likely get that long of a contract on the open market anyways, and probably for more money. Or at least he would if the Yankees were involved.
Over the previous two offseasons, the Yankees signed:
- a 28-year-old (Mark Teixeira) to a 9-year deal worth $22.5M per year and
- a 32-year-old (Alex Rodriguez) to a 10-year deal worth $27.5M per year
Would a 10-year deal for $250 million be out of the question? Probably not. And if the expectations of a $20 million per year deal are accurate, it would look like a bargain.
The easy rebuttal is that he's a catcher, and catchers break down. You can give those deals to non-catchers, but not to catchers. Which brings us to the next point...
2) Even if he moves from catcher, Mauer's bat plays anywhere.
Does moving him from catcher decrease his value? Absolutely. But if he needs to move to any position other than first base or designated hitter, he's still not a payroll drain. For instance, if he moves to second base ala Craig Biggio, he's basically Chase Utley. If he moves to third, he's a step below Rodriguez.
And he's enough of an athlete that he should be able to move to those spots. He's not your prototypical paunchy catcher. You're talking about a guy that turned down the quaterback job at Florida State to sign with the Twins. He won't play centerfield or shortstop, but that's about where the limitations end.
So the 10-year deal, while a little shocking, isn't crazy. In fact, I suspect his side will want opt-out clauses lest the recession ends and payrolls go crazy. For the Twins, it's certainly a risk. But rarely do winners win without taking a risk.
So gulp hard and press on.