5 Teams Who Should Pull Off Risky Joe Mauer Blockbuster before the Deadline
Rosenthal suggested the Boston Red Sox as potential suitors for Mauer. As of yesterday, that suggestion seemed like a plausible option.
The Red Sox had just unloaded upwards of $275 million in the Adrian Gonzalez/Josh Beckett/Carl Crawford blockbuster, making it easier to take on high-priced players now or during the offseason.
As of Wednesday, the Red Sox are not in on Mauer. Jon Heyman of CBSsports.com broke the news on his Twitter feed.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) August 29, 2012
Even though the Red Sox—a very logical suitor—are presumably out of the running for the talented catcher, there are five other teams that would be wise to put in a waiver claim on him.
While his power may be diminishing—making it a somewhat risky business venture—Mauer is still one of the better offensive backstops in the league.
1. Washington Nationals
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
We all know that the Lerner Family—the team owners—are graced with a large amount of money, and Mark Lerner went so far as to tell general manager Mike Rizzo that money would not be an issue at the July 31 trade deadline.
Keeping that in mind, the Nationals could offer the Twins a package that would include them taking on a sizable portion of the remaining $138 million on Mauer's contract.
This would allow them to trade less-talented prospects in the deal.
Such a deal would help both teams tremendously. The Nationals would be acquiring another offensive force that would help them pursue a World Series title this season, while the Twins would rid themselves of his albatross of a contract.
2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Harry How/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim find themselves 10 games back of the Texas Rangers and 4.5 games back of the surprising Oakland Athletics entering play on Wednesday, making it difficult to see them reaching the playoffs without a significant change.
While the bullpen is an area of need, catcher is a position that also needs to be addressed.
The combination of Chris Iannetta and Bobby Wilson simply hasn't gotten it done in 2012. Iannetta is hitting just .241/.340/.416 with six home runs and 18 RBI, while Wilson sports a line of .223/.289/.293 with two home runs and 11 RBI.
Mauer easily represents an upgrade over those numbers, while his veteran leadership and presence would perhaps give the Angels the stability needed to make a playoff push at the end of the season.
While money would be the biggest issue to overcome, we have to remember that the Angels are no stranger to dishing out big contracts—see Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
Harry How/Getty Images
Did you expect this list to NOT include the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Even after their midseason spending spree—Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Brandon League, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford—it seems as if the Dodgers could realistically add yet another weapon to the team.
Add in the fact that the team trails the San Francisco Giants by 3.5 games entering play on Wednesday, and you've got yourself yet another reason to think that a potential deal might happen.
While A.J. Ellis has performed quite well this season—.281/.384/.424 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI—Mauer is an even better offensive option.
The power numbers may be the same, but the overall run production that Mauer can provide clearly outweigh Ellis' capabilities.
I mean, the Dodgers are pretty much the New York Yankees of the National League at this point, right?
4. New York Yankees
Brian Kersey/Getty Images
Speaking of the Yankees...
We all know at this point that the Yankees are capable of shelling out money seemingly at will to acquire their guy. Well, this circumstance would most certainly be worth it.
Russell Martin has been atrocious at the plate this season, hitting a minuscule .195/.299/.362 with 14 home runs and 35 RBI.
Not signing Martin to a contract extension this past offseason seems to have been a smart move by general manager Brian Cashman, and it's likely that Martin may be playing his way out of New York by the time next season rolls around.
Mauer, a run-producer that doesn't rely on the long ball, would be a welcome addition to a lineup that lives and dies by the home run. With a 100-RBI doubles hitter in the middle of the lineup, the Yankees would easily overtake the Texas Rangers in having the most potent lineup in baseball.
If upper management is willing to revoke its plan to get under $189 million by 2014, then bringing Mauer to the Bronx becomes a lot easier.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Rays may be a bit of a surprise to most readers, but there may not be a better fit for Mauer at this point in the season.
The Rays offense is abysmal, and Jose Molina has done nothing to help the cause. He's currently hitting just .206/.274/.314 with five home runs and 22 RBI.
If the Rays can some how make the money aspect of the deal work, then general manager Andrew Friedman should jump at the chance of acquiring Mauer.
He would instantly change the landscape of the American League East, and would likely propel the Rays to a playoff spot this season.
The pitching is there in Tampa, it's just the offense that needs some work. Mauer and Evan Longoria would instantly form one of the more formidable one-two punches in the American League.