The more time I dedicate to writing, the quicker you guys will realize how much I despise Jim Souhan's writing. I don't read Souhan's articles much anymore, usually only clicking on a link when someone feels I'd care enough to read it, but anything he writes about baseball makes me cringe. He knows nothing of the newer stats, and like most aging sportswriters he simply refuses to change his ways. That creates several factually incorrect statements, and the more annoying, totally off base opinions he has.
Souhan's most recent article was simply ridiculous. I'd link it here but if you haven't read it yet I don't want to put anyone through the misery. It was filled with terrible similes, like always, baseless, incorrect facts, and his totally off-base, crazy opinions. I will be using some quotes directly from the article, so if you want to keep your mind sane, just skip the italicized parts.
"If the Twins signed Mauer to a deal worth $25 million a year -- which might be what it takes -- what might they have to pay to keep Morneau, who was considered the more valuable player until last season?"
Considered the more valuable player by whom? You and your other misinformed aging sportswriter buddies? Well, clearly, considering Morneau was awarded the 2006 MVP when both Mauer and Jeter were more valuable by quite a large margin and the voters are, well, you and your misinformed friends.
The voting process is ultimately a joke, which is why the MVP each year is hardly ever the actual MVP. Last year was a fluke more so than a sign of things to come in regards to both Pujols and Mauer winning deservedly. To say Morneau was considered more valuable seems laughable at best, but even if we pretend for a minute that Morneau was better than Mauer, guess what? Nothing needs to be done if you give Mauer $25MM per year. Morneau is signed through 2013, so the Twins would not have to worry about how much money Morneau was worth again until 2014. Factoring in the real life scenario that is, in fact, that Joe Mauer is much more valuable and has been for a few years now means Souhan is incredibly off base.
Look at it from their perspective. The franchise has survived the early retirement and subsequent death of Puckett; eight consecutive losing seasons in the '90s, $20 million payrolls; the trade of Johan Santana; their owner volunteering the franchise for contraction; and Lew Ford.
You think that is our front-offices perspective? To always remember that even after making horrible mistakes they eventually built a winner? As big as Puckett was in this state, Mauer is bigger. Hometown hero drafted #1 overall and helps carry the Twins to the brink of greatness... it sounds like a book more so than what it is, the truth. I'm sure Bill Smith and Co. routinely have meetings in which they say "Hey, we've given away franchise players before, we can do it again!" Absolutely not, Jimmy. Sorry. The Lew Ford comment made me smirk, so I guess that was kind of funny, but the rest of that paragraph reeks of idiocy.
"The worst scenario for the Twins would be watching Mauer leave in free agency. That would be far more damaging to the franchise than a productive trade of even their most popular player."
What? Why are we just assuming any trade of Mauer would be productive? This is the game GM who traded Johan Santana, Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett in a one year span, and all we have to show for those three now: Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, JJ Hardy, Jon Rauch and an extremely young, yet declining pitching prospect in Deolis Guerra. As a fan, I would much rather enjoy a full season of Mauer, especially since they are legitimate contenders for the first time in a while. The Twins would obviously get two draft picks if Mauer signed elsewhere, and if used correctly two early draft picks could replenish the system just fine.
For that reason the actual 'worst-case scenario' would be to trade Mauer to Boston or the Yankees for players on the verge of breaking out only to watch them stop developing while Mauer wins World Championship after World Championship in pinstripes.
Regardless of what actually happens with Mauer, to suggest they trade him because he hasn't signed a contract extension three weeks prior to opening day is ludicrous. If Mauer remains unsigned near July I will assume he's going to test the market, and we can argue if it makes sense to trade Mauer then. Too many variable over the next four months are going to make this Souhan article look ridiculous, which is why it's such a poorly constructed idea for an article during the spring.