Mauer and the Monster?
Evan at “Fire Brand of the AL” wrote a story yesterday about the possibility of Joe Mauer coming to “Beantown”.
The possibility could also extend to New York, and a few other teams in need of a catcher, who also possess deep pockets.
The Red Sox have those “deep pockets,” and the Yankees do even more so.
The Red Sox need a catcher, and the Yankees might this season too. And if not this season then definitely very soon after.
Whether I would want the Red Sox to surrender the prospects needed to require Joe Mauer–even as great as he is– is another story. Mauer is one of the absolute best players in baseball. And even if the Twins cannot afford to keep him (although they may possibly ante-up), I don’t know that trading away multiple prospects AND paying Mauer $20 million is a great idea. Especially with the volatility of the catching position. Although, Mauer would not be locked up until his late 30′s, rather his early 30′s.
So who knows if this would even be an issue. But Mauer has had a few durability questions already, so it isn’t too far out of the realm of possibility that he will need to shift to another position–ultimately decreasing his overall value.
But this is really just about the scenario of a great hitter like Joe Mauer playing “Pepper” with the Green Monster. And how great that would be to watch.
Joe Mauer is a great hitter. A great hitter regardless of position. It isn’t just the batting titles that he has won that makes him great. It is the ability to get on base via the walk PLUS the ability to win a batting title. And Mauer is actually above average in the power department, even though his home run totals might indicate otherwise.
And of course, as I have mentioned before, Mauer is now a catcher, which makes him even greater.
But Mauer goes to the opposite field a lot, something other great hitters have taken advantage of when they called their home Fenway. Wade Boggs being the most obvious comparison, as his hitting ability was pretty close to what Mauer’s style of hitting happens to be. Both have won batting titles, both draw a good number of walks, both can hit the ball well to the opposite field, and neither hit all that many home runs.
So Joe Mauer can hit the ball well to the opposite field. 19.2% of Mauer’s balls that were hit in the air, in 2008, went to left field. 23% went to center. And only 4% of Mauer’s flyballs were pulled to right field.
So you can see how I am giddy just thinking about the possibility. Mauer doesn’t possess an incredible ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark, and that is no different hitting the ball the other way. So Mauer would benefit greatly from the Monster’s kindness. More routine flyballs would turn into doubles, but very few balls would be kept in the yard, that otherwise would have left at an average stadium.
I can think of few scenarios less intriguing within the game of baseball than that of “Mauer and the Monster.” I don’t know that it would be worth 3-4 good prospects, but I know that it would be a privelege to watch.