Monday, June 20, 2011
Pop quiz: Mauer’s healthPosted by Greg Simons
Signing any player to a long-term deal is a roll of the dice.
Signing a catcher to an eight-year, $184 million contract is playing Russian roulette.
Doing so in a market that isn't among the nation's largest is akin to playing the lottery and counting on winning to fund your lavish indulgences.
The mid-market Minnesota Twins inked Joe Mauer to that mega-deal mentioned above in March, 2010, with the contract terms kicking in this season. While Mauer had appeared in over 130 games in five of the last six seasons (and 109 in the sixth), won an MVP award the season before signing his huge contract and has been widely considered the best catcher in the game the last several years, the Twins still took on a significant amount of risk.
Mauer has had knee injuries and other bumps and bruises throughout his career. And the fact that he's a catcher comes with inherently-greater injury risks, as Buster Posey can attest.
The Twins are on the hook for the full $184 million, that's indisputable. But the question is, how much of that investment will the team recoup via Mauer's performance? Will he justify the deal, as so rarely happens with stratospheric free agent contracts? Or will he be yet another data point that these long-term pacts often hamstring teams, saddling them with injured and/or underperforming players in the later years?
Given we're talking about performance through 2018, let's examine the subject in a broad-based manner by asking:
I'll be back with the results Friday. Until then, have fun storming the castle!
Greg Simons finally, sadly has conceded that he won't have an MLB playing career. However, in his dreams, he's still the second coming of Ozzie Smith. Please don't wake him up, though you can e-mail him at gregbsimons AT yahoo DOT com.