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Joe Mauer Rumors
10:00am: The Red Sox won't claim Mauer, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
7:17am: The Twins placed Joe Mauer on revocable waivers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Red Sox, who recently freed themselves of more than $260MM in future salary obligations, have long-standing interest in the catcher, Rosenthal reports. Mauer has full no-trade protection and approximately $142MM remaining on his contract through 2018.
Teams routinely place their players on waivers, so this isn’t an indication the Twins are looking to move Mauer. They recently placed Justin Morneau on waivers but declined to let him go when he was claimed. If Mauer goes unclaimed, the Twins will be able to complete a trade just as easily as they could have before the current waiver period began at the beginning of August.
If a team claims Mauer, the Twins will have three choices. They can let him (and his contract) go to the claiming team, they can complete a trade with the claiming team, or they can pull him back off of waivers. American League teams will have claiming priority on Mauer, whose waivers expire at 12pm CDT today.
Mauer's record-setting eight-year, $184MM extension assures him of a $23MM annual salary through 2018. The 29-year-old has a .309/.403/.425 batting line with as many walks as strikeouts (70) in 522 plate appearances this year.
The three teams American League teams with waiver priority over the Red Sox have young catching of their own and payrolls that rank among the lowest in the sport. It would be a surprise if the Blue Jays (J.P. Arencibia, Travis d'Arnaud), Royals (Salvador Perez) or Indians (Carlos Santana) submitted a claim on Mauer.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire joined 1500 ESPN's Talkin' Twins show last night and said the Twins are attempting to put together a team that can win even if Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau aren’t ready for Opening Day. “I think that's a pretty good idea,” Gardenhire said. “If we have those guys back on the field, which I believe we will… we'll have a heck of a baseball team." Here are more details on the Twins’ offseason plans, via Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com:
- The team has made offers to some of its current free agents. The Twins are “making a mad effort” to sign Michael Cuddyer and they’d “love to have” Jason Kubel back. However, re-signing both players isn’t necessarily realistic.
- Matt Capps struggled in 2011 and could bring the Twins a compensatory draft pick in 2012, but the team is working to re-sign him. Gardenhire would like to bring the right-hander back because he’s a “great teammate and a good pitcher” who pitched through pain in 2011, even though the results weren’t there and “people got frustrated with him.” The 28-year-old posted a 4.25 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 65 2/3 innings in 2011 and his peripheral stats were significantly worse than they were in 2010.
- Gardenhire said his entire 2012 rotation is “not necessarily” on the Twins roster just yet.
The Tigers' magic number for clinching the AL Central is nine after Brandon Inge's walkoff blast against the Twins this afternoon. Red-hot Detroit has won eight games in a row and the team looks like a sure bet to reach the postseason for the first time since 2006.
Let's round up the latest from the division…
- Intra-divisional trades made been a big part of the Tigers' success, writes Lynn Henning for the Detroit News. Jhonny Peralta, Delmon Young and Wilson Betemit have all come to Detroit from AL Central rivals over the last two seasons.
- Brayan Pena wants to keep playing for the Royals and is happy to remain a backup catcher, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
- Following last night's game, Mark Buehrle told reporters that he plans to work out this offseason as if he'll be pitching next season, but he doesn't know if a contract will get worked out with the White Sox. You can watch the video on CSNChicago.com. Buehrle will be a free agent for the first time in his career after the season, and he's hinted at retirement in the past.
- Ozzie Guillen, for his part, thinks Buehrle will pitch in 2012. "Oh, he's staying," Guillen tells ESPN Chicago. "I talk to him every day and he never mentions [to] me anything about retirement. I think this kid's got a lot left to give [to] baseball. I think this kid can help a lot of big league ballclubs. Believe me, I don't think he's retiring."
- In that same piece, Guillen also reiterated his commitment to the White Sox, saying he wishes to manage the club in 2012 and for "the next 20 years."
- Joe Mauer talks to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (video link) about his season, his future behind the plate and the Twins' struggles. Two days ago, more than 3,000 MLBTR voters said the Twins have been baseball's most disappointing team this season.
- "That's a good question for the off-season," said Indians GM Chris Antonetti when asked about manager Manny Acta's club option for 2013 by Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Acta will be in the final year of his three-year contract next season, and Antonetti made it clear that he's pleased with the job his manager has done.
- Tigers manager Jim Leyland told Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that they're "thrilled" about the Delmon Young acquisition. "It's worked out pretty good so far, and when he steps in that batter's box he's a man," said Leyland. "He's going to get his rips and has a pretty good idea how to hit and what pitchers do."
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
Twins GM Bill Smith told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are totally committed to arriving at Spring Training in top physical form. The Twins’ chances in 2012 revolve around Mauer, who had knee surgery in December, and Morneau, who is recovering from concussion symptoms. Here are the rest of Olney’s notes from around MLB…
- Mauer has discussed a ‘rigorous’ training program with the Twins’ staff.
- The Twins will also have to restructure their bullpen and decide how Tsuyoshi Nishioka fits into their plans this offseason.
- The Mets are expected to listen to offers for David Wright, who would presumably draw interest from the Rockies and Angels, among others.
- Rival teams are in awe of the Royals’ collection of promising position players, Olney writes. Kansas City is still waiting for its pitching prospects to develop.
One major league source told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that a lot of lefty relievers were blocked by teams and never got through waivers in August. The price tag on most of them was steep so most teams bit the bullet and decided to go with what they had. The Giants were one of those clubs as GM Brian Sabean opted to stick with Javy Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt. Here are some other highlights from Cafardo's column..
- The Mariners re-upped GM Jack Zduriencik this week and Cafardo wonders if Seattle will be in the mix with Prince Fielder this offseason, even though they already have Justin Smoak at first. It's hard to predict how much the M's will be willing to spend and it's possible that the four-year, $36MM deal given to Chone Figgins in December 2009 could make ownership gun-shy.
- The Twins didn’t seem to have anything major working for Joe Nathan at the deadline, but they asked him to waive his trade-veto rights just in case and Nathan declined. Nathan's future with the club is uncertain as he heads into free agency but he has a shot at staying if he accepts a hometown discount. It's unlikely that the Twins will pick up his $12MM option this winter. The club can buy him out for just $2MM.
- Cafardo writes that Brewers rightfielder Corey Hart would fit nicely with the Red Sox. However, it seems likely that they'll lose Fielder this summer so they probably won't entertain a deal involving Hart.
- Twins GM Bill Smith says that Joe Mauer will be a catcher for the foreseeable future, but he continues to leave the door open for a possible shift of positions down the road. There are also no plans for the Giants to move Buster Posey elsewhere, according to Sabean.
Evan Longoria is back in the cleanup spot and his eighth-inning homer led the Rays to a win against the Rangers today. Here are some links from around the Major Leagues…
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that he doesn't plan to move Joe Mauer from behind the plate when he returns from the disabled list. "He signed an eight-year deal to catch in the big leagues for the Minnesota Twins," Gardenhire said. "So we're trying to get him back as a catcher. If it doesn't work out when he comes back, then we're going to have to figure somewhere else."
- Tom Verducci of SI.com crunches some numbers and says the Twins are done. The Cubs and White Sox aren't much better off if you ask Verducci.
- A's GM Billy Beane told catcher Kurt Suzuki that he wants him to avoid collisions at the plate, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. Across the bay, Giants catcher Buster Posey will miss the rest of the season with a leg injury after a home plate collision.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told AJ Cassavell of MLB.com that there's no mistake he hasn't learned from in his first year as L.A.'s skipper.
- Royals manager Ned Yost told Dick Kaegel and Adam Holt of MLB.com that the Royals haven't had serious discussions about converting recently-demoted closer Joakim Soria to the rotation.
Some news from the Twins, as they wrap up a four-game series in Baltimore tonight…
- The Twins may eventually regret dealing Wilson Ramos to the Nationals for Matt Capps last summer, but Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post writes that Minnesota appreciates the depth that Capps has provided at closer with Joe Nathan struggling.
- Should the Twins consider moving Joe Mauer to another position? MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince argues no, since Mauer's full value comes from the fact that he can deliver MVP-caliber numbers from the premium position of catcher. Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune argues yes, since the rigors of catching every day may already be taking a toll on Mauer's hitting. "Would you rather have Mauer serving as a pretty-good-hitting catcher who needs plenty of days off and occasional trips to the disabled list, or a great-hitting corner position player who plays 160 games a year? I'll take the latter," Souhan says.
The latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark…
- Stark tackles the topic of whether Joe Mauer can and should pursue his goal of staying at catcher for the life of his eight-year contract. Manager Ron Gardenhire was realistic about it, admitting that a position change is worth thinking about if Mauer continues to have leg and knee issues.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti explained that if the team remains a contender at the trade deadline, "we'll be looking to acquire guys," rather than trade players like Grady Sizemore.
- Rooting for the Yankees to acquire Brett Myers this summer? One NL scout told Stark, "If he's in the AL East, he's a fifth starter." For more on the Astros' trade chips, check out my post from this morning.
The Twins' 4-8 start might be easier to handle if their starting second baseman hadn't broken his leg and their MVP catcher wasn't on the disabled list. Here's the latest on the Twins, with a heavy focus on Joe Mauer, who went on the DL yesterday with bilateral leg weakness:
- Tom Verducci of SI.com runs through the list of ailments Mauer has suffered as a big leaguer and suggests the Twins may have to consider moving Mauer to a new position to keep his bat in the lineup.
- So when would the position switch occur and where would Mauer go? Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests it could happen next offseason and argues that the outfield is the most logical alternative to catching for Mauer. Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel will become free agents after the season, so the Twins' outfield will likely have a different look next year. Delmon Young could cost $7.5MM or more through arbitration, so the Twins could consider trading him or Denard Span. Alternatively, the Twins could try Mauer in center field, a position scouts believe he could handle, according to Rosenthal. I don't see that happening if the Twins want to reduce the wear and tear on Mauer's body.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs points out that learning a new position midseason won't be easy for Mauer and suggests that he may have to DH when he comes back this year, even if that means Jim Thome gets pushed from the everyday lineup.
- Prince Fielder tells Yahoo's Tim Brown that he has "eliminated" distractions about his upcoming free agency, since he realizes it's just baseball and nothing he needs to get nervous about.
- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would like to add a right-handed hitting backup to complement Eric Hinske, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter). Back in December, I considered some options that fit that description.
- Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wonders what might have happened if the Twins hadn’t signed Joe Mauer to a $184MM extension last spring and MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes helps identify some teams that would have been bidding on Mauer as a free agent.
- When the Astros front office constructs its Opening Day roster, options are a factor, GM Ed Wade told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. For a complete list of out of options players, click here.
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald suggests we should "check back often" on Matt Albers (Twitter link). Earlier tonight, the Red Sox shot down a report suggesting that the right-hander is Japan-bound.