Sunday March 21, 2010
In case you are the one baseball fan that has not heard yet, Joe Mauer signed an 8 year/$184 million extension with the Minnesota Twins today.
Many people are saying this contract is good for baseball because it proves that the small market teams can keep their big name talent.
1st let me say that I have an issue with calling Minnesota a small market team. Their DMA, or media market, is in the top 15 in baseball, unlike the Padres which is 29th according to Niellsen.
With their new stadium and new media contracts, the Twins revenues will rank in or near the top 10 teams.
Second, this sets a precedent that will make small market teams even less competitive.
Because no team can remain competitive for the long term with one player making such a large percentage of the ML payroll.
At $23 million, Mauer would make more than 33% of the Twins 2009 payroll of $65.299 million. Even at the $90-100 million that is being thrown around as their payroll of the future, 23 million is much more than 20%. With Mauer making $23 million, the Twins payroll has to be in the $115-$120 million range to make this contract tenable.
Otherwise it is still making up more than 20% of the MLB payroll for just one player and no team has been able to pay one player that much and stay competitive for more than one year.
According to Peter Gammons of ESPN, no team has ever made the World Series with one player making more than 20% of payroll and no team has won the World Series with one player making more than 16% of payroll.
To me the signing of Mauer will severely limit the Twins ability to contend in years to come.
To me this is not good for baseball. The Twins, long pointed to as a small market team that competes year in and year out, will likely not be able to compete after 2011.
Other small market teams forced to follow in the Twins footsteps by fan pressure to keep their top players, will not be able to compete either.
Today is a happy day for Twins fans and for the Mauer family, but a sad day for baseball as a whole.