The Minnesota Twins reportedly put catcher Joe Mauer on trade waivers Tuesday. (John Froschauer / Associated…)
Joe Mauer was born and raised in St. Paul, Minn. He played high school ball there and spent all nine seasons of his major league career with the Twins, earning an American League MVP award and making four playoff appearances along the way.
And now the Twins reportedly have put him on trade waivers?!
Fox Sports is reporting that an anonymous major league source says the team placed their star catcher on waivers Tuesday, giving teams until 10 a.m. PDT Wednesday to place a claim on him.
That's the kind of thing that happens when a team has the worst record in the American League (52-77) and an extremely well-paid player -- hometown hero or not -- appears to be underperforming.
Not that Mauer is having a bad season at all. He's batting .309 with 66 runs batted in and eight home runs. But those numbers don't quite live up to those of his MVP season in 2009, when he batted .365 (leading the American League in that category for the third straight year) with 96 RBIs and 28 home runs, all career highs, while leading the Twins to the AL Central title.
He signed an eight-year, $184-million contract extension just before the 2010 season, and while the Twins went on to win their division again that year, they are now facing the distinct possibility of back-to-back last-place finishes.
That's no good. Maybe it's time to start over. And one way to do that would be to dangle Mauer (and his massive contract) out there and see what they can get in return. Everyone keeps talking about how the Boston Red Sox, longtime Mauer suitors, have cleared up plenty of salary space. Or perhaps the Dodgers' spending spree still isn't over.
Or maybe the whole thing is a horrible idea, and a home-grown star is just what the team needs at a time like this.
Good thing I'm not the one making these decisions.
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