RAB’s Joe Pawlikowski wrote the article I had been wanting to write but never got around to completing. Well, he wrote it better than I probably would have, but nonetheless, he’s spot on:
If Mauer does hit the free agent market, though, I don’t expect the Yankees to outbid the Red Sox for him. They’ll make a play, of course, but I don’t expect them to use their resources that way. Yes, Mauer is one of the most valuable players in the game, but the Yankees have spent the past three or so years filing their farm system with catchers. After all that, why go and use an enormous portion of your resources to sign one in free agency?
As it stands, the Yankees have $144 million locked into the 2011 payroll before they work out contracts for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. They’ll also have arbitration cases for Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. In other words, they could be near $185 million for just 13 players — and that doesn’t include Javy Vazquez or Andy Pettitte. At that point they’d probably need at least one starting pitcher. Other needs could crop up during the season, including left field.
Yet at catcher the Yankees would have Jorge Posada under contract for one more season. They’d also have Jesus Montero with a year of AAA under his belt, and Austin Romine with a season of AA — and possibly with some AAA experience. Below them they feature a number of low-level catchers, too, including J.R. Murphy and Gary Sanchez. Signing Mauer to a six- or seven-year deal would render these developing players essentially useless to the organization. Wouldn’t that render a waste the past few years of focus on catcher?
What more is there to say? The Yanks DO have a budget, albeit worlds higher than every other team, but there is a ceiling. Allocating a significant percentage of their available resources to sign someone when they have been focused on developing high level talent themselves is a foolish decision. Joe did a great job of capturing this logic and I offer him my thanks for doing so.
The NY Daily News’ Bill Maddon threw more gas on this fire yesterday:
Unlike most other teams, however, the Yankees have both the financial resources to afford the MVP catcher as well as the surplus of talent it would take to acquire him should the contract talks reach an impasse and the Twins elect to put him on the trade market. Indeed, if there is one area where the Yankees are rich in prospects it is catching where Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are rated by most scouts as can’t-miss major leaguers. The question is, which of them – if either – will be the one to succeed Jorge Posada.
A bunch of scouts were discussing just that Tuesday night before the Yankees’ game with the Houston Astros at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Their consensus was that the 20-year-old Montero’s bat alone will likely get him to the big leagues by next season, but in the long run the 21-year-old Romine has the complete package – bat, arm, mechanics, makeup – to be a top quality all-around catcher – for someone.
“But in my opinion,” said one scout, “the next catcher for the Yankees will be Joe Mauer. Imagine if the Twins don’t sign him and he goes out there on the market next winter with both the Yankees and Red Sox in need of a catcher? That will be the wildest bidding war in baseball history, and don’t think his agent doesn’t know it. And if they (Twins) decide to trade him, the Yankees have the better pieces to get him.“
“Said one scout”. Not to be mean or bitter, but there’s a reason why he’s a scout and not a GM. The Yanks DO NOT need a catcher. They have Posada, for better or worse, for two more years and as we already mentioned, a solid pipeline of catching talent on the come, lead by Montero. Not to mention, there’s that little issue of money. It’s always about the money.
Now, back to NYBD’s Mike Silva and the line that had my skin crawling:
Mauer deserves the big stage of New York.
Holy crap. That’s the last thing this guy deserves. He deserves to remain in his backyard, with family and friends and being the face of a very good, talented and competitive Twins franchise for the next decade a half. Why does Silva think that Mauer deserves New York? Because it’s bigger, more crowded, can afford to pay him more? It’s a dangerous word, deserve.
“Deserves”. This one word gets Yankee fans in so much trouble. It implies a God-given right. We tend to think that we, the Yankees, deserve the best players because we’re New York, because we have the most money to spend, because we’ve won 27 World Series titles, etc… We don’t deserve anything more than what we go out and earn. Wins, respect, whatever. Joe Mauer doesn’t “deserve” New York anymore than New York “deserves” Joe Mauer. This is exactly the sort of sentiment that gives Yankee fans the reputation they have (well, along with the cast of Jersey Shore and guys like this, to the right).
You know who deserves Joe Mauer? The fine people of Minnesota.
UPDATE 3/19/10, 11:45am
Mike has a rebuttal.
Will I apologize for saying Mauer, or any other great player, deserves New York? Never. Why should great players be denied this environment? Why shouldn’t they be rewarded for their talents with sports immortality?
OK then. These types of guys don’t need NY to validate their skills.