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Mauer gets shot, and I really don't care

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • February 23, 2011 - 8:31 AM

I've done some homework on the possibility of the Twins trading ace Francisco Liriano, or signing him to a long-term deal.

After talking to a few people, I believe that the Twins have no intention of trading Liriano - or signing him to a long-term deal.

Liriano will start the season with the Twins. The only way they'd trade him this season is if they fall out of contention and a contender makes a great offer for him.

The fact that they had trouble even agreeing on a one-year deal for Liriano this year is one of the many indications that the Twins aren't going to give him big money long-term, at least not right now.

The Twins are over budget, so if Kyle Gibson continues to impress and the other starters stay healthy this spring, they could deal one of their righthanders - Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn or Kevin Slowey - before the end of spring. My guess would be Slowey going to a National League team.

-If Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hadn't casually mentioned that Joe Mauer was getting a shot to lubricate his surgically-repaired knee, we may not have ever found out about it.

Mauer hates talking about his injuries, and has been remarkably successful, in an era when most sports news breaks with minutes, at downplaying his ailments.

But Gardenhire did mention that Mauer received a shot in his knee and on Wednesday morning Mauer confirmed that he will receive a series of four shots.

I don't think there is any reason to be alarmed in terms of this season. Remember, the year Mauer missed all of April because of a back injury, he went on to win the MVP. I think keeping him from behind the plate in spring training is a good idea.

Long-term, this is the latest sign that a 6-5, 230-pound catcher may not last forever at the position. While he needs to play catcher to help justify his $23-million a year salary, I highly doubt that his knees will last too many years at the position.

Michael Cuddyer is likely in his last season as a Twin. Jim Thome could be gone after this season. (He told me the other morning, ``I know this doesn't go on forever.'' The Twins will have to make a decision on Jason Kubel after this season. And Delmon Young is a volatile stock - he could become an All-Star...or relegate himself to DH duties if he has another poor season in the field. And none of this even considers the possibility of further problems for Justin Morneau.

So there will be openings for Mauer to play in the field if he has to shift from catcher in the next few years. I don't see it happening in the next two seasons, but at some point, those knees are going to get tired of squatting beneath all that weight.

-Gotta love David Kahn. After trading for Anthony Randolph, he explains that the Wolves need Randolph to match up with Western Conference power forwards like Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin.

Because, you know, when it's the seventh game of the Western Conference finals, that Randolph-Gasol matchup could be vital.

My god. Kahn's brain may be headed to the Western Conference finals, but the team he put together is putting together the most embarrassing season in the history of a frequently-embarrassed franchise.

Pau Gasol will be long gone by the time the Wolves have to worry about matching up with the Lakers in a big game. And by gone, I mean he may have perished due to natural causes.

-Another stunningly beautiful morning here at Hammond Stadium. The weather in Fort Myers has been incredible. Not trying to make you jealous, just expressing my appreciation for spring training. This is quite a gig.

-As I tweeted last night, Sunday Sports Talk generated huge ratings the last couple of books. Thanks to everyone who listens. This Sunday, partner Tom Pelissero will be in Indy at the NFL combine and I'll be in the press box at Hammond Stadium. The show is 10-noon, and we'll have at least one Twins guest, and probably an NFL figure or expert.

-Because we couldn't get the games on TV last night at the Star Tribune rental house in Fort Myers, I was following them on GameCast with La Velle. Late in each game, here was my best guess:

-The Gophers would blow the lead.

-The Wild would gut out a victory.

-The Wolves would play a lousy fourth quarter and lose.

Now, I'm wrong a lot. Anyone who makes predictions and frequently states opinions is going to be wrong a lot. But these were pretty easy.

-My twitter name is Souhanstrib. I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 today with Phil Mackey and Patrick Reusse.

Again, thanks for listening, and reading.

 

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