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Sunday Rockpile: Comparing the Troy Tulowitzki and Joe Mauer Extensions

With Albert Pujols putting the screws to St. Louis in a similar manner to the way that Joe Mauer did to the Twins last season, I thought it might be informative to compare the Troy Tulowitzki and Mauer extensions, as well as Internet reactions to the pair while we wait for Pujols to get his $250 million contract that will pay him until he's 40. 


Scope (duration of extension from point of signing)

  • Tulowitzki 10 seasons (2011-2020)
  • Mauer 9 seasons (2010-2018)

Advantage: Twins, barely

Age at end of contract:

  • Tulowitzki - nearly 36
  • Mauer - 35.5

Advantage: Rockies (Pudge Rodriguez notwithstanding, catchers don't tend to age well)


  • Tulowitzki - shortstop
  • Mauer - catcher

Advantage: Rockies (both are premium positions, but catchers usually have to move to first at some point, if SS's have to move, they'll typically move to a position that retains value)

No trade clauses:

  • Tulowitzki - may be traded once (before his 10/5 rights kick in) without player approval
  • Mauer - full no trade protection

Advantage Rockies

Average annual cost (FA seasons):

  • Tulowitzki - $19.833 million
  • Mauer - $23 million

Advantage Rockies

Now, go back to that first comparison, scope of contract, since as far as I can tell, it's the only advantage the Twins have. Mauer has a current lead in WAR value at the same age, but as I mention above, regression for catchers value tends to be sharper as they age than it is for other position players so the gap will likely narrow as the two players get older. The difference between extending a guy nine seasons from the date of signing and ten seasons is this:

Dave Cameron on Mauer:

$23 million a year values Mauer as about a 6 win player. Seems abou right to me. He's clearly better than Teixeira, and its the same deal.

on Tulowitzki:

The Rockies have taken on a substantial amount of long term risk for the right to sign Tulowitzki to a deal that is close to current fair market value. The only way it makes sense to do that deal now is if we're about to enter a four year period of significant inflation.

Matthew Carruth on Mauer:

In the end, if Minnesota had to cover a few extra million in order to keep Mauer in the Twin Cities, it's going to be worth it to them from a PR perspective and it's great for baseball that such a star is staying in his home organization.

on Tulowitzki:

Carruth actually hasn't said anything on Tulo. He's not a hypocrite yet, as far as I can tell, but I'm just including that one because FanGraphs in general seems to consistently set up double standards like this. After Mauer signs his contract, it's good business because of the PR of a mid-market team locking in a homegrown star, after Tulowitzki signs his extension, we have"The Worst Contract Extensions in History" article by Alex Remington.

The Platoon Advantage's The Common Man on Mauer:

2) However, in order to enjoy the benefits (drastically improved odds of making the playoffs every year, and happy fans) of having an otherworldly talent like Joe Mauer in the short term, you have to live with the long term risks.

3) The Twins smartly tacked this contract onto the end of Mauer's existing contract, giving the club more financial flexibility in this down economy, it only becomes more expensive, presumably, when the economy recovers and revenues are at their normal levels.

...While Joe probably wanted to stay all along, he and his agent really had the Twins over a barrel in these negotiations. The Twins, from a PR perspective, simply did not have the option of letting Joe walk away a year after opening a new tax-payer funded stadium, and a year removed from a well-deserved AL MVP award. He is one of the most popular players in franchise history, and nothing would have killed attendance in Year 2 of Target Field like a Mauer-less Opening Day lineup.

On Tulowitzki:

The Troy Tulowitzki deal is unfathomably irresponsible, given his injury history and the years he was already under control.

The real craziness, however, have been the contract extensions passed out like Halloween candy by Dan O'Dowd. Both Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez got huge guarantees long before they would have to hit the open market; and both players come with significant question marks.

So yeah, had the Rockies waited until Tulowitzki had them "over a barrel," and paid far more per season for a contract that would likely lock him in until he was closer to 40, they would have made the wise decision, however, since they signed him with years still under control, they were "unfathomably irresponsible". Good find, Rob Neyer, for your blog network. You've got a real winner of an analyst here.

one more,

Keith Law on Mauer:

too risky.

on Tulowitzki:

too risky.

So there's at least one consistent analyst out there. Law's good.



Other links:

Rockies second base prospect Russell Wilson won't be entering the NFL draft, but is still considering one more season of college football with N.C. State. Wilson will report to Spring Training with the Rockies. There is some wisdom for Wilson in keeping his options open for the time being since he's not a sure bet professionally in either sport. Rockies Assistant Scouting Director Danny Montgomery states in the radio interview from waterboy31321's FanShot, the Rockies are willing to let Wilson play out his options. The reason being that as athletic Wilson is, if he does click as a pro baseball player, he will be a tremendous asset.

Krieger: Carlos Gonzalez's magic gets deal done

Etkin: Reliever Miller returns to Rockies organization -Jim Miller was in the trade that brought Rodrigo Lopez to the Rox prior to 2007.