The Minnesota Twins, according to reports, have placed star catcher Joe Mauer on trade waivers. This does not mean that Mauer, who has enjoyed a resurgent 2012 campaign, is going anywhere.
As is the case with virtually every major league player in the month of August, Mauer is run through waivers. This is done for many reasons, including trying to gauge how much interest there is for a given player on the market, but is also sometimes used to distract other clubs. Let’s say for example that the Twins really want to trade Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe is young and cost-controlled, plus he has good power and can play multiple positions. Chances are good that he’ll be claimed and Minnesota’s trade possibilities are then limited to just the team awarded the claim. Many times, clubs will put a clock on players on waivers at the same time, in hopes of sneaking one or two of them through, which would allow those players to be dealt to any club.
People seem to be losing their heads here because it’s Mauer and he has those sideburns, and that contract, and he’s from the Twin Cities, and he does those commercials. Heck, even Joe Posnansky, who certainly knows better, fanned the flames of panic this morning, tweeting “Joe Mauer placed on trade waivers less than two years into most celebrated contract in memory. Baseball’s a tough business.”
Yes, it’s possible that the Twins regret giving all that money to Mauer, but this contract is a long way from being classified as an abject disaster and the Twins, despite their struggles over the past two years, don’t appear to be interested in blowing up their roster. After all, the only significant subtractions from the major league club that have happened via trade during the past two seasons are Delmon Young and Francisco Liriano. Just last week, Justin Morneau was placed on waivers and claimed. The Twins could have easily parted ways with a quick $14 million per year, but they pulled Morneau back and kept him.
The Twins have some serious overhauling of the roster to do and having a spare $20 million or so each year would help with that, but they made a commitment to Mauer unlike any the club has ever made before, in terms of total dollars, total years, and average annual value. No way they have so much buyer’s remorse already that they’d part ways so soon. Not with that fancy new stadium that Mauer helped to build.
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