Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Joe Mauer: Baseball's biggest bust?

I was clicking through channels Monday afternoon when I stopped to watch the Angels-Twins game on MLB for a few minutes. The feed was from Minnesota and featured Twins announcers Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven.

I know Bremer well from my years in Minnesota -- he and I actually did a few radio shows together -- and I consider him a good announcer. Still, he made a few curious comments about the Angels' signing of Albert Pujols during the short time I had the game on.

I'm paraphrasing here, because I wasn't recording the game or taking notes. Bremer seemed to criticize the Angels for paying Pujols so much for such a long stretch, noting that Pujols will be an old man when the Angels are paying him huge sums next decade.

Though it's a valid point, it sounded odd coming from a broadcaster for the team that employs Joe Mauer.

Pujols has been one of the best hitters ever and has led teams to championships. He never has had anything but outstanding seasons, has avoided serious injury and plays a relatively low-impact position. While it would be a stretch to expect him to produce big-time at the end of his contract, he likely has many, many more great years ahead of him.

Mauer, meanwhile, has been a total bust since the Twins gave him an eight-year, $184 million extension before the 2010 season, and it's hard to imagine them getting anywhere near good value for their investment.

He batted about as soft a .327 as is humanly possible in '10 -- only 75 RBIs for a middle-of-the-order supposed stud protected by Justin Morneau -- and followed that with a horrid, injury-plagued 2011 season. He has barely hit the ball out of the infield so far in 2012.

With a mere 37 HR and 99 RBI for the Cardinals, Pujols was coming off the "worst" season of his career in 2011, which he capped by helping the Cardinals win another World Series.

Mauer? He never has had either 30 HR or 100 RBI in any season; in fact, he's only had one year with more than 13 HR and 85 RBI. He also has "led" the Twins to an 0-9 postseason record, driving in a total of 1 run in those nine games.

And yet the Twins threw $184 million at him. Since getting that deal, this alleged superstar has 12 HR and 106 RBI in 223 games.

Sabermetricians can throw all kinds of fancy stats at me, but sorry ... I want my $184 million ballplayers to drive in a few runs. Shoot me.

Unless he turns things around dramatically, he can only be considered one of the most overpaid, most overrated, least valuable players in baseball.

He is injury prone, he plays a high-impact position and he figures to be a broken-down 35-year-old when the Twins are on the hook for $23 million in 2018.

Yes, shame on the Angels for giving such big money to Albert Pujols.


  1. i couldnt agree with you more dude in fact i just searched asking if people thought he was a bust

  2. Mauer's never been a homerun hitter which impacts his RBI numbers. However, he is a .323 career hitter with 180 more walks than strikeouts. He also plays the toughest position in baseball and is a three time gold glove winner. You can certainly say he's not worth 184M due to his lack of HR power, but he's still ten times the player that, say, Alfonso Soriano is and Soriano made more money until last year.

    But if you really want the current biggest bust or waste of money, you can look at the White Sox. Adam Dunn is useless when he doesn't have a bat in his hand and he's even been useless in those situations since the start of last year.

    1. With that said, the Twins based their 184M on Mauer's 3009 numbers that saw him hit 28HRs. The fact that he has not come close to duplicating those stats has made him indeed a big waste of money. Yes, he hits for a high average and gets on base well, but he does not have the speed to play lead off and does not have enough pop in that bat to be placed 3rd or 4th. Mauer's 3 GGs have been based on fielding %, but his range factor continues to be below league average. He compares with Pedroia and V-Mart, both of whom make no where near 23M a season.

  3. Dunn arguably had the worst season EVER in 2011, so he certainly is bust material. The value of his contract is nowhere near that of Mauer's, however.

    I will have more on Mauer in a soon-to-come post.

  4. Mauer .323 career batting avg? It won't be by 2018. Not much of a argument. 3 batting titles. Good for him. His avg .265 9 hrs 55 rbis, equals bust.