The Los Angeles Dodgers have shown that they have no problem trading for players with big salaries.
Los Angeles has acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez this season. All four players are owed a combined $292.5 million after 2012.
With L.A.'s willingness to take on the big contracts of underperforming stars, could Joe Mauer be the next player on the Dodgers radar?
The Twins have reportedly placed their star catcher on waivers. Minnesota could be looking to gauge the market for Mauer, who has yet to live up to his contract.
The former AL MVP signed an eight-year deal worth $184 million, before the start of the 2010 MLB season. Mauer was rewarded after having his best season as a pro. He hit .365 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI in 2009.
Since then, Mauer has failed to perform like one of the top players in baseball. After missing half of last year due to injuries, he finished the season batting .287 with just three home runs. While his average is above .300 this season, his power numbers are still down. Mauer has eight homers and a .425 slugging percentage in 120 games.
Along with Mauer's production, the Twins winning percentage has also dropped. Minnesota finished in last place in 2011, and is in the cellar of the AL Central once again.
If they're not winning games, the Twins might feel it's time to rebuild and shed this large contract from their payroll.
The Dodgers could still use some help on offense, and Mauer would give them an upgrade at catcher. A.J. Ellis has exceeded expectation with the Dodgers, but the 31-year-old catcher is not in the same class as Mauer. The Dodgers also lack a star catching prospect in the farm system.
Los Angeles might not have to give up a lot for the Minnesota star. Since he makes so much money, L.A. could possibly trade for him by just sending a few prospects to the Twins.
There's a chance that Minnesota isn't looking to move Mauer. It's a standard practice for teams to place a lot of their players on waivers, even if they have no intention of moving them.
However, the Twins would likely consider dealing Mauer if another team claimed him. He's a fan favorite, but he would provide Minnesota with substantial payroll relief.
The Red Sox have been rumored to be a team interested in Mauer. Boston has reportedly tried to acquire the catcher in the past, and they have some money to spend after making their blockbuster trade with L.A.
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