After more than a month of continued symptoms and multiple setbacks the Twins have shut down Joe Mauer for the season due to the concussion he suffered on August 19.
General manager Terry Ryan told reporters today that Mauer has been making progress recently and the shut down wasn’t caused by a setback, but with only a week remaining in the season the Twins simply felt there was no point to bringing him back.
As a Twins fan that makes plenty of sense to me, although unfortunately as the team learned from Justin Morneau’s concussion comeback a few years ago taking an entire offseason to rest doesn’t necessarily mean the symptoms won’t return once the baseball activities start up again.
Mauer was having one of his typical seasons before the brain injury, hitting hitting .324 in 113 games and throwing out 43 percent of steal attempts. In his absence Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann have been splitting time behind the plate and Mauer’s future position defensively will be an offseason-long topic of debate in Minnesota.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.