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Where Have You Gone Joe Mauer?

August 10, 2014

A rehabbing Joe Mauer played a full nine innings at Class A Cedar Rapids on Friday. Ron Gardenhire sais everything went well in Mauer’s 3-for-5 outing and that Joe is fine and just suffering from “general soreness”.

General sorness? What new mystery ailment is this for The Franchise? Seriously. People like me get general soreness, people like Joe Mauer are supposed to be able to stand in the field and play a game of baseball without becoming generally sore. My fingers are crossed that this episode of “general soreness” doesn’t progress to another flare-up of Mauer’s 2011 “bi-lateral leg weakness”.

When baseball history gets written, one thing I know for certain is that no one is ever going to mistake Joe Mauer for Cal Ripken, Jr.

So now the Twins, in spite of another remarkably pathetic and embarrassing season, are faced with an interesting dilemma and a potentially fun one for fans and armchair managers like me. Durable Joe is expected to join the major league team tomorrow in Houston which means that our rookie first baseman, slugger, 24-year-old Kennys Vargas, is pretty much expendable. Do the Twins put Mauer back into the everyday lineup and sit Vargas on the bench and give him a couple/three at bats a week? Do they move Vargas down to AAA? It’ll be interesting to find out what the team does.

I miss Joe Mauer. The old Joe Mauer that is. I’m not sure what happened to him, but at only 31-years-old he’s obviously nothing like the player he once was when he was winning Gold Gloves, MVP awards and batting championships. Some people blame his years behind the plate as taking too big a physical toll and others blame the design of Target Field. I don’t know what to blame but it sure does seem like something is wrong. And it’s taking a toll on the team. Balance Mauer’s huge contract on one hand and his complete lack of power and offensive production on the other, and he becomes a detriment to the team. He’s kind of like a really attractive and personable anchor hanging off the end of a sleek sailboat on a windy day. The Twins can’t face the media nightmare they’d experience if they released him and no Major League Baseball team would ever touch him in a trade and take on $23 million a year for the next four years (unless he were packaged with one (or more?) of the top-ranked prospects we have in AAA) so I think Joe Mauer should simply retire. Let the fans and armchair managers grumble and gripe about the worst contract in the history of baseball for a few months and get it off our chests and then we can all settle down and get excited again about what the future might bring.

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