Joe Mauer inked a 8-year contract with his hometown Minnesota Twins this past week worth $23 million a year starting in 2011 for a total guaranteed value of $184 million. If you play fantasy baseball you know that Joe Mauer is the best offensive catcher on planet Earth, but he is also one of the best defensive catchers, too, which separates him from the shortlist of quality catchers in the big leagues.
Despite being one of the highest paid players in the game, Mauer still generously gave the Twins a hometown discount and the IRS should make an exception and allow him to write off at least $70 million as a donation to charity.
A free agent player on the market of Joe Mauer’s caliber would have easily drawn $250 million – around 10 years at $25 million a year. He plays the most premier position in the big leagues and the value of a catcher that can produce offensively increases exponentially if they have any value behind the dish. Take players like Jorge Posada and Victor Martinez – a lot of catchers get productive years from time to time but not many have produced as consistently as these two guys make about $13mm and $6mm respectively, although Martinez will probably get a raise in the $13-$15mm per range after his current contract expires at the end of the 2010 season.
You can’t deny that New York and Boston positioned themselves very nicely to be able to pony up for the 2011 free agent class, which was highlighted, until now, by Joe Mauer. The signings of bargain bin filler players like Randy Winn and Adrian Beltre only cleared the path.
Any day a player can stick with a team that drafted and developed them is a great day for baseball and a great day for baseball fans. And even though some people are getting on Joe Mauer and the state of baseball given the size of this contract, don’t kid yourselves, Minnesota, he just did you a huge favor.