The excellent blog Jorge Says No! has an interesting post up this morning looking at those players who make 20% or more of their team’s total payroll.
By JSN’s count, there are only four members of that club: Michael Young, Barry Zito, Brian Giles and Todd Helton. Giles back-doored into that club via the Padres’ payroll slashing. Young, Zito and Helton all represent wild to near-wild over-payments by their teams. The implication here is that having a 20% guy probably means that a low-to mid payroll team made a business mistake.
This is important, JSN notes, because there are three guys who play for such teams who could very easily become 20% guys if they’re retained and if the teams don’t make a commitment to substantially increase overall payroll: Prince Fielder (2012), Grady Sizemore (2012) and Joe Mauer (2011). JSN breaks each of them down in an effort to see if their teams would make that kind of commitment to them.
I’m going to make you click through for JSN’s results and analysis, but my view is that the Brewers will trade Fielder because (a) he stands to decline a lot as he ages due to his size; (b) Milwaukee can get some pitching for him now, I’d wager; and (c) and they can slot Gamel or Braun in at first base to take up the slack once he’s gone.
I think the Indians will try hard to keep Sizemore because in addition to him being very, very hard to replace, he’s popular with fans in Cleveland in a way that CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee or Victor Martinez never were.
Aaron certainly has more insight into this than I do, but it strikes me that if the Twins don’t lock up Mauer, they may as well ask for relegation to AAA. Hometown stud catchers who entering their prime as a new ballpark opens are kinda hard to come by. If the Twins let him dangle, their fans will never forgive them and it will be awful hard for anyone to take the organization seriously.
And yes, you absolutely go over 20% for him.