Amateur Signing Bonuses: Twins

Time to take our amateur signing bonus series to the Land of 10,000 Lakes…

  1. Joe Mauer, $5.15MM (2001)
  2. Miguel Sano, $3.15MM (2009)
  3. B.J. Garbe, $2.75MM (1999)
  4. Adam Johnson, $2.5MM (2000)
  5. Ryan Mills, $2MM (1998)

It's funny looking back at it now, but the Mauer vs. Mark Prior debate was huge back before the 2001 draft. Both were legitimate first overall talents, but Prior was considered more of a sure thing and certainly closer to the big leagues. The Twins opted for the hometown kid with that first pick, and all he's done is develop into one of the two or three best players on the planet. Mauer debuted in 2004 as a 21-year-old and hit .308/.369/.570 in 122 plate appearances, though knee issues dampened his coming out party. He returned the next year fully healthy and hasn't stopped hitting since. Minnesota's franchise player is a .327/.407/.481 career hitter with four All Star appearances, three batting titles, and an MVP to credit. I'd say they got their $5.15MM worth.

The Twins faced heavy competition for Sano last year, most notably from the Pirates, but they were able to sign him to that huge bonus in December. He turned just 17 this past May, hitting .307/.379/.491 in 241 rookie ball plate appearances this season, his pro debut.

Garbe, Johnson, and Mills were all high-priced busts. Garbe, the fifth overall pick in '99, hit just .231/.314/.311 in more than five-plus seasons in the Twins' farm system, eventually getting traded to the Mariners for Pat Borders in August 2004. He's been out of baseball since 2006. Johnson was the second overall pick in '00 and managed to reach the big leagues with Minnesota for all of 26.1 innings (10.25 ERA) in 2001 and 2003. His minor league career consists of a 5.02 ERA in 747.1 innings, and he wound up in an independent league after the Twins released him in January 2005. Mills, taken sixth overall in '98, posted a 5.79 ERA in 480.1 minor league innings and never reached the big leagues. He's been out of baseball since becoming a minor league free agent after the 2004 season.


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24 Comments on "Amateur Signing Bonuses: Twins"


theyankeefanatic
4 years 9 months ago

why didn’t the Yankees sign Miguel Angel Sano…i hope they don’t come to regret this later…maybe they should spend more money on the internation free agents before that window of oportunity is close off to them…

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

you’re right, they don’t spend enough money.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

But I’m really happy he’s on the Twins…

Nice guy, good player with all of the tools and is probably just a fraction of a notch down from being what everyone expects Manny Machado to be. Expect Sano to make it to Beloit by the end of next season. I’m really excited for him.

theyankeefanatic
4 years 9 months ago

so they wouldn’t have to spend so much money on free agency…it might have a great impact in bringing down the overall cost of free agents…and wouldn’t that be good for all teams…?

start_wearing_purple
4 years 9 months ago

So you want the yanks to corner the market on international free agents so they won’t corner the market on FA… uh huh…

twins33
4 years 9 months ago

To add to that, I’m pretty sure that they’re capable of doing both if they wanted to.

4 years 9 months ago

Ummm ok? The Yankees spend a bunch on international scouting, where did Jesus Montero come from. They have one of the best international scouting departments in baseball. And we signed Wilmer Romero so be happy with that…

moonraker45
4 years 9 months ago

The twins didn’t opt for the home town kid, don’t make them sound like geniuses for passing over prior. Prior went out and said he wouldn’t sign with the twins, forcing their hand to take Mauer. In retrospect it worked out nicely for the twins, but it was Prior’s decision not the twins brass

TwinsVet
4 years 9 months ago

The Twins also had concerns about the ability to sign/retain Prior long-term.

There were several factors in going for Mauer over Prior, but it’s not like they sighed with disappointment when they went the road they did. They were never huge on Prior, and he simply made a tough decision much easier for them.

twins33
4 years 9 months ago

I honestly think the Twins were leaning towards Mauer anyway, but it is true that Prior didn’t want to play for them. I think that just made their decision much easier. Thankfully Prior was a jerk like that.

rawfisidog
4 years 9 months ago

Absolutely NOT true! Mauer was identified real early and due to his elite athletic talent. Good enough to be FSU quarterback, start in any backcourt in the land in basketball, and his baseball skills are off the charts. Scouts, talent evaluators and the like knew about Mauer long before the draft and he was the consensus top pick. Prior, a heralded and well publicized college pitcher, was seen as a sure thing who was less than a year away from contributing in the majors, if not an immediate impact pitcher. The two talents should not be confused. Prior did not turn down the Twins. There was confusion about his salary demands which were substantial, but no statements nor innuendos were made that would stop the Twins from signing Prior, if they desired, at his price. The decision came down to pitcher versus everyday player. It should be noted that Mauer signed a lucrative pact himself and subsequently has done quite well in salary negotiations, having not given an inch nor a penny toward his own hometown team. When looking back at slam dunk #1 picks in baseball’s amateur draft, Mauer ranks with right there with Griffey and Arod. One doesn’t need to be a fan of the teams nor players to recognize their elite talents.

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

Mauer is not even close to one of the 2 or 3 best players on the planet…..wow. In the last 4 seasons, only once has he put up an OPS over .900 and only once has he played in 140 games. He had an insane 2009…other than that, he’s just a great player, not a top 5 in baseball. His catching defense is also pretty overrated. Very good one, but not the best in the league. Just so big for a catcher.

In any case, definitely a great pick, and money well spent….at least the draft money (one of the 5 most overpaid players in baseball now).

I remember Mills….man, I was definitely one of those people who thought he was going to be a star pitcher in this league for years to come…..crashed and burned on that prediction. Shows how crazy and unpredictable the MLB draft can be.

TwinsVet
4 years 9 months ago

You expect a catcher to play more than 140 games?

I’m sure you already know, but quantifying the impact of a catcher compared to any other position is almost like comparing a pitcher to a position player. To have 3 batting titles and an MVP from the catcher position is unprecedented. That makes him a viable part of the “best 2 or 3 players” conversation.

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

I do in the AL. Plus the reason he hasn’t played that many games isn’t cause he is a catcher, it’s cause he’s been on the DL nearly every year he’s been in the league. Not because he is a catcher. You can put him at DH if you want to keep him in games. In the last 6 years, V-Mart played in over 140 games 4 times.

Batting titles are meaningless first off. Mauer does have great OBPs so he is a star player, don’t get me wrong. But I can easily name 3 players better than him all-around in baseball.

Pujols, A-Rod, and Longoria just off the top of my head. There are others.

I agree, a catcher’s impact isn’t solely in his hitting….but again, Mauer is an overrated defensive catcher. He’s very good, but again not the best.

Calling Joe Mauer one of the 2 or 3 best players on the planet is like calling Zack Greinke one of the 2 or 3 best pitchers on the planet. Each had an insanely good 2009. Their years around it were VERY good….but again, not the best in the league.

winning meaningless awards (MVP) and winning meaningless batting titles doesn’t warrant a guy anything even as a catcher. Again, give me Pujols, even A-Rod, Longroia, Braun, Hamilton, Tulo, etc over Mauer. Heck, you can easily argue Morneau is better than Mauer overall as a player.

TwinsVet
4 years 9 months ago

You present the “case against” well. But the “case for” would include getting his kind of hitting production out of the catcher position – a job that beats on you physically and is typically light hitters.

Personally, I’m with you. But I just respect his name merits consideration for top 3.

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

If you take 2009 out though, there is zero case for Mauer being top 3 consideration. Heck, McCann deserve it just as much. One year of a 1.000+ OPS doesn’t merit consideration of a top 3 no matter what position you play.
I think Mauer merits consideration for top 10…..but people use the “but he’s a catcher” arguement way too much to make excuses for Mauer.
Heck, with Posey and Santana…..Mauer may not even be the best overall catcher in baseball in a year.
I’ll stop now though since this is a bonus thread and not about how incredibly overpaid Mauer is thread….again, it was a great, great draft pick and money well spent. Kind of makes you wonder why the Twins don’t shell out huge bucks more since the time they did it worked out perfectly. Lower draft picks are part of this though.

twins33
4 years 9 months ago

I’ll believe the Posey and Santana stuff when it happens. The same thing was said about Wieters and he’s way below Mauer’s level so far. Even if you look back at Joe’s earlier years. Joe was doing it better at a younger age than Wieters is right now.

I’d take Posey and Santana over Wieters though. They’re better than he is too, at least so far. They need to prove they can keep doing it, but they both have a shot at being just as good.

4 years 9 months ago

So who do you see as the best catcher in baseball?

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

Whoa there, I never said he wasn’t the best catcher in baseball. He is the best catcher in baseball.
He’s not one of the 2 or 3 best PLAYERS in baseball. Big difference.
Though I do think people underrate McCann and overrate Mauer a lot. Take out Mauer’s insane 2009, and they are very similar stat wise. McCann is actually younger too and much more likely to age well as a catcher.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

Sano is the perfect Minnesota Twins player. Great, great tools for a kid of his age.

Hermie13
4 years 9 months ago

And great, great tools for a kid his age makes him not a perfect player for which organizations exactly?

Dave_Gershman
4 years 9 months ago

Good point, I meant he is the perfect Twins type of player.

4 years 9 months ago

Are the Twins gonna keep Sano at SS? Because they already have Danny Valencia at 3B. Moving him to third means finding a new position for Valencia but, I’m sure both of them are a little bit too big to be playin the middle infield. I guess they’ll just keep Sano at SS.

twins33
4 years 9 months ago

They’re projecting him as a 3B or OF. He’s been playing 3B two times more than he has SS so far. It’ll probably be another two to three years before they have to worry about Danny vs. Sano.