August Waivers Rodeo—American League

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Claiming any of the following players will be hazardous to one’s payroll.

Let’s have a look at American League players who’ll get through waivers for one reason or another.

Mark Teixeira, 1B—New York Yankees

If Teixeira’s contract were due to expire in the near future, someone would claim him and the Yankees wouldn’t let him go. If he was claimed now, they still wouldn’t let him go, but they’d at least briefly consider it. He’s owed $22.5 million annually through 2016 when he’ll be 36. He’s going nowhere.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B—New York Yankees

Yeah. You claim A-Rod. You’ll have A-Rod at 37 with $104 million coming to him from 2013 through 2017.

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B—Boston Red Sox

His numbers are down, he’s owed $127 million through 2018 and he’s becoming the great player whose teams always miss the playoffs.

Carl Crawford, LF—Boston Red Sox

Yah. A-Rod has a better chance of being claimed.

Josh Beckett, RHP—Boston Red Sox

There would undoubtedly be factions in the Red Sox front office that would vote to let him go if he was claimed. Now he’s day-to-day with back spasms which, along with his poor pitching and not-so-charming personality, make him even more toxic with $31.5 million owed to him in 2013-2014. He also has 10 and 5 rights to block any deal but I think he’d love to get out of Boston by any means necessary.

Brandon Lyon, RHP—Toronto Blue Jays

He’s owed $5.5 million for 2012.

Adam Lind, 1B—Toronto Blue Jays

No one claimed him in June when the Blue Jays had to get him through waivers to send him to the minors earlier in the season; he’s hit better since he was recalled, but with $7 million guaranteed next season, he won’t be claimed especially since he’s not on the disabled list with a back injury.

Yunel Escobar, SS—Toronto Blue Jays

Add the Blue Jays to the Braves as teams that the talented Escobar has aggravated to the point that they want to be rid of him. His contract pays him $10 million in 2013-2014 and he has an option for 2015. He’ll get through and might be traded.

Alexei Ramirez, SS—Chicago White Sox

His hitting numbers have taken a nosedive and he’s owed $27.5 million through 2015.

Travis Hafner, DH—Cleveland Indians

He’s got a limited no-trade clause and presumably the team that claims him will be responsible for his $2.75 million buyout, but someone might claim him and hope that he can stay healthy for the last two months of the season (he’s sidelined with a sore back now) and perhaps provide some DH pop.

Casey Kotchman, 1B—Cleveland Indians

As a defensive replacement, there’d be a team to take him.

Joe Mauer, C—Minnesota Twins

He’s getting $23 million annually through 2018. If anyone claimed him, the Twins would pull him back; doubtful anyone will.

Justin Morneau, 1B—Minnesota Twins

With $14 million owed to him for 2013 and that he’s hit better recently, a team might claim him and the Twins would pull him back. If they trade him, it will be in the winter.

Carl Pavano, RHP—Minnesota Twins

No one’s claiming him, but if he proves himself healthy by the end of the month, he’ll be traded.

Jeremy Guthrie, RHP—Kansas City Royals

He’s a free agent at the end of the year and a contender (or a team that thinks they’re a contender—see the Red Sox of Boston or Blue Jays of Toronto) could use him for the stretch.

Jeff Francoeur, RF—Kansas City Royals

He’s owed $6.75 million for 2013. By the time his career is over, Frenchy might’ve played for 12-15 teams. That’s where his career is headed and it’s a major fall from being a Sports Illustrated coverboy and pegged a future megastar.

Bruce Chen, LHP—Kansas City Royals

He’s got a contract for $4.5 million for 2012, but eats innings and can be effective. He’ll get through and will be in decent demand via trade.

Roy Oswalt, RHP—Texas Rangers

Oswalt refused to pitch a third inning of relief on Sunday even though manager Ron Washington asked him to. He’s been mostly bad and is now causing a problem. For a small-town, “humble” guy, he’s doing a great impression of Terrell Owens. The Rangers will keep him around in case they need him, but no one will claim him.

Michael Young, INF/DH—Texas Rangers

As much as he’s respected, the final year of his contract on 2013 pays him $16 million and he’s been bad this season. If he’s claimed, the Rangers would be willing to let him go. He’s got 10 and 5 rights and won’t waive them.

Coco Crisp, OF—Oakland Athletics

The A’s have plenty of outfielders and Crisp is owed $8 million for 2013.

Vernon Wells, OF—Los Angeles Angels

His contract—$42 million for 2013-2014—is toxic.

Dan Haren, RHP—Los Angeles Angels

Haren has a $15.5 million club option and a $3.5 million buyout; he’s having back problems and has been mediocre all season.

Ervin Santana, RHP—Los Angeles Angels

He’s been bad, has a $13 million option that won’t be exercised and a $1 million buyout.

Chone Figgins, INF/OF—Seattle Mariners

Figgins has $8 million guaranteed next season and has batted under .200 in each of the past two seasons. You claim it, you got it.


The Twins’ Spoiled Fanbase Boos Joe Mauer

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If Joe Mauer wanted to be the prototypical superstar diva who uses his contract and no-trade clause as a hammer to force the hand of his front office, he could do that.

It wouldn’t take much of an effort for Mauer to inform the Twins that he has no interest in moving out from behind the plate; that he doesn’t want them to trade Justin Morneau and if they do it’s not going to be in the interests of Mauer becoming a first baseman; that he isn’t going to sit by as a good soldier in the prime years of his career and endure a long rebuilding project; that if his input into who the GM, manager and teammates are isn’t taken into account, he’s going on a PR blitz with friendly reporters who are looking to accumulate the readership that coincides with being the mouthpiece for an unhappy team star.

Mauer could make the Twins’ lives difficult because he has an immovable contract, is the hometown hero and the team is going to be awful for the foreseeable future.

He hasn’t done that. Mauer’s been the good soldier and played positions other than catcher. Last season he played right field in an emergency when they were short on position players.

But in today’s game against the Brewers at Target Field (still in progress as of this writing) Twins’ fans inexplicably chose to take their frustration out on Mauer when he hit a single that would’ve been a double if he hadn’t been playing with a sore hamstring.

Later in the game, Mauer was removed with a different injury, a bruised quadriceps.

Much like the demands he could place on the club with his status and the financial commitment they’ve made to him, he could also look at the team circumstances and choose not to play due to any injury from a headache to a hangnail to something he made up so he could just relax. (Carl Pavano could help him with that.)

He’s not doing that either. The 25-39 Twins are done for 2012. They’re going to clean house of several veterans and may be facing the prospect of a new GM and new manager after this season.

But Mauer’s going nowhere.

As heavy as Mauer’s contract is and as much as people scoff at the idea that anyone who signed a guaranteed $184 million deal provided a “discount”, the fact is he took less money to stay with the Twins when he could’ve gotten more on the open market—by definition a discount. If he were the type of person who was thinking of himself above all else and behaved in the manner suggested above, he could sabotage a rebuilding effort. To boo him is indicative of a spoiled fanbase that has gotten so used to winning that they forgot what it was like being a Twins fan for much of the decade following their 1991 championship and the club was a similar toxic wasteland to what they are now. From 2001-2010 they were in contention every year and were a few bad breaks away from a championship or three until last season.

It’s gone sour; they’re stuck with each other; what was once a happy story of a player eschewing the allure of the big city and a record-breaking contract is now degenerating into an unhappy union trapped by the equivalent of a prenuptial agreement in the form of the contract he signed to stay. They can’t trade him. The team’s terrible. The fans are acting like brats.

This gets worse before it gets better.