Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Payroll, Joe Mauer, and the 20% Myth

I was reading LaVelle’s blog this morning and there was a friendly discussion in the comments (that isn’t sarcasm, the commenters were actually nice to each other unlike most comment wars on blogs) about whether or not its OK to spend 20% of your payroll on one person. Obviously it came up in regards to Joe Mauer.  LaVelle mentioned in one of his comments that the “rule” started when the Indians didn’t want to pay Manny 20% of their payroll so they let him walk to Boston.

I think if the Twins are willing to have their payroll in the 100 million dollar range, they can afford to pay Mauer 20-25 a year.  I see no reason why the payroll cannot be $100 million.  I’m sure there are some Twins fans who want to win the “Twins way” which is by spending no money, but we now have this fancy new stadium and are ready to play with the big boys.  Minneapolis is by no means a “small market”, small market has just become synonymous with “poor”.  We are one of the few metropolitan areas that has all four major sports. The others being: Chicago, Boston, New York, LA,Dallas, Denver, and Washington, DC.  (Might have missed a few, but you get my point).  The Twins used to be classified as a small market team because they got almost no revenue out of the dome, now they will have a cash cow in Target Field and should spend a good chunk of that money on Joe Mauer. 

I know a ton of Twins fans take solace in the fact that when we lose its only because the Yankees spend more money.  Well, they will always spend more money than us so they can continue to do so if it helps them sleep at night.  I for one would be happier if we lost because our GM or manager made bad moves.  You can fire them.  You can’t fire the owners.  The best thing for an owner to do is open up their pocketbooks and let the baseball people work. If Bill Smith says he can win a world series with 80 million, then give him 80.  If he says he needs 100 then give him 100.

So give Mauer 20% of our payroll, but we need our payroll to be north of 100 million to compete for a World Series title.  That is regardless of whether or not Joe Mauer is on the team.  It is just a reality of the game in this day and age.

8 comments

8 Comments so far

  1. sirsean December 2nd, 2009 10:02 am

    Atlanta has all 4 sports. And … LA doesn’t have a football team. And saying that Dallas has a baseball team is a bit of a stretch, I think.

  2. FunBobby December 2nd, 2009 10:10 am

    LA has USC. That is closer to a Pro team than the Lions, which is why I didn’t count Detroit. I count the Rangers for Dallas for the same reason I count the Wild for Minneapolis. Arlingtong falls within the Dallas Metroploitan area. Or Metroplex if you will.

  3. sirsean December 2nd, 2009 10:36 am

    Fair enough regarding Arlington/Dallas, though Arlington is 25 miles from Dallas and there appears to be another city between them, and there’s no public transportation between them. (I feel like that would be more meaningful if we weren’t talking about Texas.)

    And I figured you meant USC … but I think the only people who consider them a “pro” football team are USC fans and Notre Dame fans. I’m going to go ahead and say USC is not a professional football team.

    (The reason I didn’t count Detroit is because they’re essentially no longer a city.)

  4. Abe Frohman December 2nd, 2009 2:23 pm

    The Twins would barely crack the top ten in payroll if they somehow spent $100mil.

    Definitely a step up, but not exactly playing “with the big boys”

  5. sirsean December 2nd, 2009 2:27 pm

    True, but at the same time if they manage to continue getting even close to their marginal wins per dollar spent, they’ll be consistently winning 95+ games.

    Of course that’s virtually impossible. But it has to considered a good thing when a team jumps from the $60-70M doldrums up to $100M — both for that team, and for baseball as a whole.

  6. FunBobby December 2nd, 2009 2:39 pm

    I just used $100 million dollars as the watermark between “spending enough to win” and “Kansas City”. The watermark is probably closer to 125-130.

  7. sirsean December 2nd, 2009 2:52 pm

    I think it’s doubtful that the Twins will ever be one of the higher spending teams in the league — even though from the outside it looks like they should be able to afford it. (Yes, I continue to contend that the 5th highest attendance and 5th highest TV viewership in MLB should get you somewhere in the top 10 in revenue, and in payroll.)

    Top-5 in spending will probably be out of reach forever. Top-10, however, is in reach, and should make the Twins perennial pennant contenders, as opposed to just division contenders (which is what they are with bottom-10 spending).

  8. Payroll Hamilton December 15th, 2010 6:03 am

    It certainly is a reality of the game, and the way things work in today’s age. Money Talks, and you know the rest of the saying.

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