Twins Notes: Ramos, Capps, Mauer

Some news from the Twins, as they wrap up a four-game series in Baltimore tonight…

  • The Twins may eventually regret dealing Wilson Ramos to the Nationals for Matt Capps last summer, but Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post writes that Minnesota appreciates the depth that Capps has provided at closer with Joe Nathan struggling.
  • Should the Twins consider moving Joe Mauer to another position?  MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince argues no, since Mauer's full value comes from the fact that he can deliver MVP-caliber numbers from the premium position of catcher.  Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune argues yes, since the rigors of catching every day may already be taking a toll on Mauer's hitting.  "Would you rather have Mauer serving as a pretty-good-hitting catcher who needs plenty of days off and occasional trips to the disabled list, or a great-hitting corner position player who plays 160 games a year?  I'll take the latter," Souhan says.


32 Responses to Twins Notes: Ramos, Capps, Mauer Leave a Reply

  1. JD 4 years ago

    That Joe Mauer contract is one of the worst contracts, if not the worst, in the history of baseball if they’re already going to have move him away from catcher in 2011.

    • j6takish 4 years ago

      If his knees are that shot, they can probably only move him to 1b MAYBE LF. Mauers entire value is tied to the fact that he is a catcher. 20+mm a year is a lot to pay for Billy Butler-esque numbers at 1b. That contract is about to get real ugly real quick

  2. Does Souhan not get that 120 games of Mauer catching along with 40 games of Drew Butera and an average corner outfielder is better than BAD catcher for 160 games and Mauer playing LF? Guess he’s not smart enough to get that.

  3. jwsox 4 years ago

    the thing is that capps while a decent pitcher is nothing special. And ramos was a stud prospect(more often than not top prospects at premium positions like catcher pan out) And with mauers leg issues he has had the past two season and two surgeries already it is a point to notice that long term and maybe even short term he NEEDS to move to a new position when his bat can stay out there every day. The thing working in the twins favor now is Thome, kubal and cuddyer are all gone next season. Freeing up DH, right and maybe even first if justin is moved there. I think mauer would makea great right fielder with that arm of his. No matter what he is worth something of vaule because of his bat where every you put it. I understand what he brings to the table as a catcher but his bat is more important to the club in the long running than him catching. Maybe they could work a deal and get montero from the yankees…Maybe Liriano+pitching prospect for montero.

    • Beauford 4 years ago

      There are concerns that Montero is defensively challenged at catcher…probably a 1B or DH.

    • ultimate913 4 years ago

      Montero has more of a 1B/DH future. His bat is certainly ready for the majors(.423/.423/.558 in AAA so far) but his defense is pretty bad.

  4. jwsox 4 years ago

    please explain? because A guy that if not catching should be able to play 150+ games bat around .310+ hit 15-30 home runs get on base at a .380+ clip and play good defense(he easily could play great d in right, left or first) is worth that contract any day

    • JD 4 years ago

      There’s absolutely no proof that he could put up those numbers over 150+ games, let alone be alone to play 150+ games in a season. A switch away from Catcher will help his durability, but he hasn’t been the most durable catcher either at this point in his career.

      He’s hit more than 15 home runs once in his entire career. He is not and has never been a big power guy. Above average power for a catcher, below average for a corner OF. Obviously his BA and OBP will translate just fine and he’s still great there.

      I have no idea how effective he’d be in LF/RF. I’d imagine he could do fine but it’d be hard to say either way given the fact he’s 28 and already has the wear and tears of playing catcher for a while. At 1B his value completely plummets for obvious reasons.

      Honestly sounds like Carl Crawford (the not so far 2011 version) to me without the speed and without the elite defense.

      Even best case scenario Joe lived up the deal, but with a position change you’re banking on a ton of variables where the new best case is he’s still overpaid all the way through 2018, just hoping it’s not overpaid to the point of franchise destroying through 2018.

    • stl_cards16 4 years ago

      Really? I bet you would say Matt Holliday is overpaid. He does exactly what you just described for 4MM/year less.

      • JD 4 years ago

        He’s worth every penny so far as Wonderboy said.

        Joe is dealing with a really serious injury. No idea how much it would affect him and if he could even play as an everyday corner OF. Holliday is actually above league average defensively.

        And the scales of the contract aren’t even in the same ball park.

        Holliday is 7/120.
        Mauer is 8/184.

        • stl_cards16 4 years ago

          That was the point, he threw out some numbers that Holliday is on the high end of. Expecting Mauer to match Holliday in anything but average would be pretty optimistic. Mauer’s contract will not be *good* if he is a corner outfielder, and even worse as a first baseman. Mauer’s contract could look more Werthesque.

  5. jwsox 4 years ago

    this was in reply to John D for some reason its not showing up under his comment sorry for the double post

  6. bjsguess 4 years ago

    Why would anyone consider Mauer a great hitting 1st baseman? Aside for 2009, his career has been very John Olerude like. Olerude was a very good player but not many consider him great.

    The BA and OBP are nice – but I tend to want more than 10-12 HR’s from first baseman. Especially if I am paying him over $20m/year.

    • His power numbers would go up switching from catcher to first base. He’d hit 25+ Hr’s.

      • InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

        What are you basing that off of? What did he have, 1 home run all of last season at Target Field?

  7. 0vercast 4 years ago

    I’ve been a H U G E detractor of the Ramos/Capps trade since the minute it happened. I can hardly stand to look at Capps because of how much I hate that it cost Ramos to get him. Ramos was one of my all-time favorite prospects, and the trade made no sense at the time because the Twins pen was loaded with soon-to-be high paid relievers like Crain, Guerrier, and Rauch, and there was no reason for desperation.

    However, with Nathan struggling and Capps getting the saves now and actually starting to pitch like a Twin instead of pitching like the little leaguer with the hardest fastball in town, “Here my fastball! Lets see if you can hit it!”, the trade is beginning to look a lot more tolerable, for me at least. It’s doesn’t look like a Bill Smith disaster in which he deserves to be fired for anymore, but merely a pretty bad trade that might end up hurting the Twinkies long-term.

    Who else would the Twins have closing while Nathan works out the kinks if not for Matt Capps? I think he’s learning and improving in the Twins system and becoming a pitcher rather than a thrower. His stock was jacked up by all the saves he got as a closer for NL bottom feeders, but he’s better than some are giving him credit for. All bias aside, to call him a “middling relief pitcher” or a “decent reliever” is selling him short.

  8. The Ramos trade was a necessary evil. He was the definition of an expendable prospect to the twins organization they tried to get more for him ie Cliff Lee but no one was biting because Ramos was having a down year. So they traded their expendable asset for less than they originally wanted but still on a position that they had a large hole to fill since Jon Rauch was the closer and was throwing poorly. In my opinion the Morales trade was the bad one they got nothing for him except for Drew Butera as the backup catcher since Morales was out of options. Butera is a great defensive catcher that a sub .200 hitter and Morales would have been a decent offensive catcher with ok defense and the ability to backup first and maybe third as well as DH.

    • cman 4 years ago

      Morales was a decent hitting catcher, but his arm was very weak by MLB standards. He got away with it in the minors, but at the major league level no way. Drew is a good to great defensive catcher but his hitting is so so bad.

  9. JD 4 years ago

    Joe Mauer is in the first year of a 8/180 contract.

    That number completely dwarfs almost everybody (although you mentioned some other really awful ones) on your list by a MILE. You could combine Ollie + Schmidt + Dreifort + Silva together and it’s STILL less than what Mauer is going to make from now through 2018. From now through 2018.

  10. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    It’s still a bad trade. You can’t judge moves in hindsight. There are good investments and bad ones no matter how they turn out. This was a bad trade by the Twins no matter what Ramos turns into.

  11. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    You can’t judge a GM in hindsight. There is a value on every player, no matter if they are in the minors or the bigs. Ramos’ value was much higher than a decent reliever at the time of the trade. Ramos was the kind of prospect to start talks for a good starter, not a set-up man.

  12. InLeylandWeTrust 4 years ago

    With how highly touted Ramos was, they should have landed a much better player than Capps. That alone makes this a loss for the Twins.

  13. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    Highest combined WAR of any two teammates in baseball. Matt Holliday was outstanding after his bad April.

  14. knucka11 4 years ago

    If you read the rest of Souhan’s column he is saying that, by removing the rigors of catching, Mauer’s numbers, specifically power, would improve to 2009 levels or beyond.

  15. j6takish 4 years ago

    If the Cardinals re-signed Pujols today for 100mm over 10 years, and in 6 months he has a career ending surgery, was it still a good decision? Of Course it is, just because the deal ended up backfiring doesn’t mean it was a bad decision at the time. Knowing what we know right now at this very second, Pujols at 10mm a year is an astronomical bargain, even if he ends up never playing another game. At the time of the trade, Matt Capps was a middling relief pitcher and Wilson Ramos was a blue chip prospect. It doesn’t matter how well he ever performs, it was a desperate bonehead move then, and its a desperate bonehead move now

  16. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    “Yeah but Mauer still brings more to the table in all of those players combined. If he switches positions he will just be a very expensive luxury.”

    that’s assuming he continues to hit as well as he has, which itself is no guarantee

  17. With Mauer, hitting is a guarantee. The only thing that’s not a guarantee with him is the time he has left as a catcher.

  18. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    even if hitting were a guarantee (it isn’t), hitting at a .380 wOBA clip isn’t. and if he’s only going to produce at that level or worse, he’s only going to be a very valuable player if he’s behind the plate. in left field or 1st base, that’s only a slightly above average bat. and who knows how his defense will be

    it’s a bad situation all the way around

  19. Yeah they would still only be him 10 million a year when it’s hughly expected he’ll cost 30 million

  20. CrisE 4 years ago

    Silly.

    Schmidt and Driefort were ages ago, and their absolute numbers pale in comparison to lots of modern era contracts. At the time, however, Darren’s $55m was a huge pile of money. Here’s a hint: MN has a lot more money to spend than teams did 20 years ago when Dreifort and Schmidt were signed. You can’t compare contract dollars across eras without some sort of acknowledgment of that.

  21. CrisE 4 years ago

    Souhan is an idiot, so there’s that.

    There’s no way to know, but there are some roster composition issues that make moving him anywhere in 2011 pretty hard. Maybe they can take this question up next winter, but unless something substantial changes he’s going to catch the rest of this year.

  22. PostMoBills 4 years ago

    If Mauer was an outfielder, he would have the 5th highest career OBP for all outfielders. He’s not a slightly above average bat out in the grass, he’d be one of the best.

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