He won the American League MVP in 2009, claimed the AL batting crown three times, and led the Twins to the playoffs in three of his 11 big league seasons.
And Twins fans seem to hate him. Maybe not hate, but they expect more of Mauer. They constantly express disappointment in Mauer. Blame his contract or his move to first base or the sudden downturn in Twinkie fortunes but there is a growing tide of resentment against Joe Mauer in the Twin Cities. Blame the local media or blame Mauer’s particular shortcomings as a player but, right now, it is getting tense for Mauer in Minnesota.
This isn’t fair, not to the rebuilding Twins or the face of their franchise. With the Twins window for contention not likely to crack within the next two years (at which point Mauer will be 33), the time is now to deal. Get his huge contract off the books and the weight of the world off his shoulders. It’s win/win.
But where will Joe Mauer land? Here are seven suitable landing spots for the former catcher and former MVP and future franchise cornerstone.
7. New York Mets
What better way to make a big splash then bringing in an expensive and divisive superstar earning a huge salary for a team with notorious money problems? Especially when that team already has two players in the same position that they can’t figure out what to do with.
But still – David Wright and Joe Mauer in the same infield? Dare to dream.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers
At this point, nothing with the Dodgers can be considered off the table. Why sink a mere $20 million into high-contact first basemen when you can sink FORTY?!? The Dodgers also get to practice the time-honored tradition of acquiring a player simply to keep him away from the competition.
5. Colorado Rockies
If Joe Mauer lacks power, Coors Field will fix him up right quick. Though his former running mate Justin Morneau is currently installed as the Rockies first baseman, Colorado would make room for a Hall of Famer to help speed up their rebuilding process. With all that green space to shoot for, Joe Mauer could well hit .400 with power while playing in the Mile High city.
4. Houston Astros
The Astros are going to spend money when the time comes. While attracting free agents to play in an empty building with an assortment of kids might be tough, pulling off a trade from their bounty of minor league riches is easy. The Astros get the leader and superstar they need as the rest of the roster fills out around Mauer.
He can dump cheap homers into the Crawford Boxes and lace doubles up the damn hill. Plus he looks quite winning in orange.
3. Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are off to a good start in 2014, thanks in no small part to Justin Smoak‘s .300/.400/.600 line with two home runs. But let’s be face facts – this isn’t the real Justin Smoak. If anything, send Smoak back the other way in a potential Mauer trade while his value is highest. Mauer is still an upgrade over unsustainable hot start Smoak because he’s much better looking.
2. Miami Marlins
2015 is just around the corner so the Marlins need to get busy winning so they can get busy unloading. Yelich/Mauer/Stanton as the 2/3/4 heart of a batting order? That will play nicely. Plus, they can turn around and trade him to one of the other six teams on this list in two short years. The perfect landing spot, really.
1. Boston Red Sox
This makes tooooooo much sense. Sure, they have Napoli and Ortiz to hold down the first base/DH slot. But Joe Mauer? In that ballpark, pinging 60 doubles off the Green Monster? With those fans appreciating him to within an inch of his life every night? A match made in heaven! They can always move money around to facilitate such a dream connection.