The Twins have passed two of their veteran hitters through the trade waiver process, as Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports that Joe Mauer and Logan Morrison both went unclaimed by any of the 29 other teams. Mauer and Morrison are now eligible to be dealt for the remainder of the season.
Mauer has a full no-trade clause that he could’ve used to block a move to another team, had he been claimed and the Twins elected to let the claim stand. Still, it was a moot point since other clubs weren’t likely to make a move for a player who is owed significant money (roughly $6.92MM by Berardino’s calculation) for the remainder of the season, particularly since Mauer is hitting only .275/.357/.367 over 348 PA.
Once one of the league’s best players, Mauer has become only a decently above-average offensive contributor in the latter stage of his career, with a .277/.360/.387 slash line since the start of the 2014 season. He has consistently managed to get on base despite declining power numbers, however, and is less than a year removed from a strong 2017 season. Mauer is also a well-respected veteran who would add to any clubhouse’s leadership.
As of last week, Mauer said he hadn’t been approached by the Twins about a potential trade, and it isn’t clear if Mauer would consider waiving his no-trade clause to join a contender — he said last winter that he would find it hard to play for any team besides the Twins. Since Mauer’s contract is up after the season, however, Minnesota could look to re-sign Mauer in the offseason while giving him a shot at a championship over the last two-plus months of the 2018 campaign.
Morrison signed a one-year, $5.5MM deal with the Twins last winter with a $1MM buyout of a club option year for 2019. That option vests if Morrison reaches 600 plate appearances, though that isn’t likely to happen given that the veteran first baseman/DH has struggled to a .195/.289/.387 slash line and 15 homers over 343 PA. Morrison is just a season removed from a big 38-homer, .868 OPS season with the Rays, yet he had to settle for his modest contract from the Twins after not receiving much interest in free agency. Morrison will face another crowded market of veteran bats on the trade market, and teams aren’t likely to show much interest in his services unless he gets hot at the plate.