The Twins aren't going to trade Joe Mauer for a closer

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Mauer bat.jpgNature abhors a vacuum and apparently baseball writers abhor a lack of news:

Mauer still has more leverage than Pat Williams on a teeter-totter,
but as negotiations have lagged, Mauer’s hesitancy to accept a
record-setting contract offer from his hometown team has made his
signing less than a sure thing and raised this previously unthinkable
question:

“Won’t the Twins have to trade him if he refuses their best offer?” . . .

 . . . a combination of modern baseball logic and Twins history
suggests that if the Twins’ decision-makers can’t sign Mauer, they will
be obligated to trade him . . . A trade could yield a closer to replace Joe Nathan and would protect
the franchise in the future from having one player on their roster
consuming 20 to 25 percent of their payroll, a formula that rarely
works in baseball.

Joe Mauer for a closer?  Well, you drive a hard bargain, Twins, but I suppose Theo Epstein may bite the bullet and trade, say, Jonathan Papelbon for him.  OK, Papelbon and a second or third tier minor league catcher to fill your organizational needs, but that’s his final offer.

Back here in the real world, the only thing trading Joe Mauer will “protect” the Twins from is from having to make ushers wipe down the upper deck seats before home games, what with the fact that no fans will ever show up to sit there.

The Twins are almost certainly going to sign Joe Mauer. If they don’t, they’d be better off simply letting him walk while engaging in kabuki theater to make everyone think that he was the bad guy than shipping him out for what, at this point, wouldn’t be quite the haul everyone thinks it might be.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.