Mauer said he hasn't heard anything about his future
BOSTON—Shortly before the Twins learned pending free agent Eduardo Escobar had been traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Joe Mauer was asked if he had been approached regarding his own status.
"That might be something for them (in the Twins front office)," the Twins' first baseman said on Friday afternoon at his Fenway Park locker. "Between the last time we talked (and now), I haven't heard anything."
The 35-year-old franchise icon, who recently passed Kirby Puckett for most career doubles in Twins history, has full no-trade protection in his eight-year, $184 million contract. On track to become a free agent for the first time this offseason, Mauer and wife Maddie also are preparing for the November arrival of the couple's third child.
"These types of decisions, I think most people think of just the baseball and not the big picture," Mauer said. "I have a lot more than just the baseball part. I think I've made it pretty clear over the years where I want to be and what I want to be doing and that really hasn't changed."
He said there had been no family summit to consider what he might say should the Twins approach him with a chance to jump into another pennant race somewhere. Mauer has played in just 10 postseason games—without winning a single one—since reaching the majors in 2004.
Asked if he had even spent much time pondering the question, the former No. 1 overall draft pick out of Cretin-Derham Hall High School shook his head and smiled.
"Not really, to be honest," he said. "I've just been worrying about winning tonight. That's just kind of how my brain works. I try not to worry about those things. Just try to figure out a way to beat the Red Sox tonight."
The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31 at 3 p.m. Central, but Mauer's deal will have $7.54 million remaining once the August waiver trading period arrives. At that point, he would need to clear waivers for the Twins to be able to work out a trade with more than just the claiming team.
Leverage is highest now, but it's instructive that Mauer has yet to be approached by Twins officials.
"That's the thing," he said. "I'm in a position different from a lot of guys too, where if something did come, I have the ability to say yes or no. That's kind of why I'm not worried about it so much, to be honest. I've just been thinking about trying to win tonight."
On track to become the fourth St. Paul native to reach the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Mauer has said since TwinsFest in January that he plans to wait until after the season to decide if he wants to play in 2019. He missed a month after suffering a concussion and neck strain on a tumble in Anaheim, Calif., in mid-May, but on either side of that has played at an encouraging level.
Entering Friday's play, he was batting .284 and reaching base at a .366 clip through 315 plate appearances. His defense at first base remains among the best in the game since moving off catcher full time after the 2013 season.
His name has been notably absent from trade rumors this month, perhaps because it's understood he is highly unlikely to approve a trade at this point in his career. He noted Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who has so-called 10-and-5 rights to block any deal, hasn't been traded either.
"Same type of thing," Mauer said. "Been with the team for a long time. He has that (right). I don't like to play what- ifs or do any of that, but I think everybody knows what my intentions are."
If somehow the Twins were able to work out a deal in the next five weeks, Mauer might be asked to open a negotiating window with his acquiring club to hammer out a contract extension. He didn't sound inclined to go through that process.
"I don't know," he said. "When I've negotiated contracts, it's always been in the offseason or before the season. I don't like to worry about things once the season (starts) except for winning that night. I try not to worry about all those other things."