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Joe Mauer is on waivers and someone should claim him

Aug 29, 2012, 12:31 PM EST

Joe Mauer high five AP

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Mauer cleared waivers this afternoon.

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Joe Mauer, like so many other stars this month, is on the waiver wire, having been placed on revocable waivers by the Twins. Odds are that he’ll go unclaimed, and even if he doesn’t, it’s highly, highly unlikely that he’ll be traded. For one thing, he has a no-trade clause. For another, it doesn’t sound like the Twins have any real desire to move him.

If, however, a team could get Mauer for free, I’d be in favor of the move. Mauer’s contract is still a risky proposition going forward, but the concerns about it have always been overblown. One thing that makes it more attractive: it’s not backloaded. While most stars get increased salaries as the contracts go along, Mauer is earning exactly $23 million in each of the eight years of his contract, which runs through 2018.

Of course, Mauer has been quiet in the power department since his MVP campaign in 2009. Target Field has a lot to do with that, though. This year, he has five homers and 15 doubles in 58 games on the road, compared to three homers and 11 doubles in 62 games at home. Put him in an environment in which hitting long flyballs would do him more good, and I imagine that Mauer would hit more long flyballs. One of the game’s most talented hitters, he’s definitely capable of suiting his approach to his ballpark.

There is the injury risk, but Mauer appears well on his way to playing in 135 games for the fourth time in five years. Used primarily as a catcher, his all-around game makes him worth his salary even if he’s not a 20-homer guy. If his knees do force him off the position during the back half of his deal, then $23 million per year might be excessive. I still think he’d be at least a $15 million-$20 million player as a first baseman or third baseman, though.

We’ve already heard from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that the Red Sox won’t claim Mauer, so that probably means that nobody will. He’s almost certainly still be a Twin come Opening Day. The Red Sox, though, could do a lot worse. Mauer isn’t Adrian Gonzalez, but he’d be a stellar alternative as a No. 3 hitter.

  1. JB (the original) - Aug 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    You’ve been drinking the Pohlad Kool-Aid again….
    What has changed for the Twins? They figured out that they paid Pujols money for an Ichiro batter, and that that just won’t work unless you have a Yankee/Angel/Dodger payroll.
    The starting pitching is a disaster, and when Terry Ryan is talking about being open to resigning Pavano again (since they’ve already admitted they won’t be hitting the FA SP pool), that isn’t going to improve much, if at all. This team will be wretched for the next year and probably two. If they can move Mauer without eating payroll, they have to do it.

  2. pilonflats - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Really???

  3. paul621 - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    If not for the headline, I’d have no idea what your position was in this article.

    • sometogethernow - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      If, however, a team could get Mauer for free, I don’t think I’d be in favor of the move.

      This sentence does seem to contradict everything else in the rest of the piece.

      Also, “An Ichiro hitter for Pujols money”?! I get the point you’re making, but come on.

      • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        Ugh. I had changed the way I worded it and then forgot to delete the rest.

  4. fuddpucker - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    See, all the players use the PED’s until they get the big, fat GUARANTEED contract. After that, they stop using PED’s and go back to being human again. Rich humans.

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