There is a hawk making its rounds in an increasingly blue sky here in Golden Valley. Way above the hawk is a flock of geese, flapping slowly. It must be a training run for the goslings hatched this spring.
A few miles away, there is less peace. Once again, the Twins' fan base is stirred up over a lineup absence from Joe Mauer, which reached its fifth day in the homestand finale vs. Detroit.
There are many theories as to what the Twins should do to solve the problem:
*A gentleman with a connection to a Pohlad family member (not Jim) sent an e-mail with the information that his connection feels as if Mauer's image with the fans has been damaged beyond repair - and that he wants the Twins to put Mauer on waivers.
As I've messaged this "source'' and numerous members of the get rid of-Mauer crowd this summer, Mauer has a no-trade contract with seven years remaining at $23 million per ($161 million total).
Which means: He does not have to accept a trade, nor does he have to accept a waiver claim. And to make it clear, there is no financial penalty to Mauer (or financial relief to the Twins) if he chooses to turn down a trade or a waiver claim.
And if he were to accept such a claim, there's no team that would make one, since the Twins then would have the option of accepting the claim and sticking the other club with the entire $161 million bill for a player with an uncertain future as an asset.
Mauer will not be moved through a waiver claim. And if the Twins were to find a team this offseason to which Mauer was willing to accept a trade, they would have to eat a huge portion of what remains on his contract and not receive much in return when it came to players.
*An oft-repeated proposal from disgruntled fans is that Mauer should restructure his contract, accepting far less in future seasons so that the Twins would have more millions to retain or to add helpful players to the roster.
This is not the NFL. There is no restructuring of contracts to lower numbers in baseball.
There are extensions, where on occasion the final year of a deal is absorbed into a new contract, but the MLB Players Association remains a strong union and stands behind this tenet:
Contracts negotiated in good faith and fully guaranteed aren't renegotiated downward.
Mauer could feel guilty and pledge a few million annually to, say, the Twins Community Fund, but the IRS might have a problem with a team attempting to acquire a player with funds siphoned from its charity arm.
*There has been outcry from reporters covering the Twins on a daily basis that Mauer must accept that he remains the face of the franchise ... bruised, battered, tomatoes tossed at it, but still the face.
In this role, reporters insist that he should make himself available routinely - to offer those famous Joe quips not only on what's ailing him, but on team matters in a crisis situation such as currently exists.
Yeah, that's going to do it - that's going to put some life in this pitching-poor, punchless, injury-ravaged, free-falling collection ...
If only Joe Mauer gives more candid answers to the accusation that he's "soft,'' and if only he's willing to break down his injuries, his non-production and his team's general failings ... then look out for these Twins.
Guess what? Mauer is the second coming of Harmon Killebrew when it comes to offering details on himself or his team.
Later in life, you could have long and insightful conversations with Harmon, but in my brief time interviewing him in dugouts before games or clubhouses after games, The Killer would offer clichés, chuckles and not much else.
When Harmon died this year, Sid Hartman joined in the sadness of Minnesotans, but he also would finish most every eulogy by grousing, "As a reporter, he gave you nothin'.''
Mauer is what he is as a personality. Who cares?
The problem is that he's not close to what he was as a player when the Twins gave him the contract less than 18 months ago.
The Twins don't need Mauer to be more emotional in the clubhouse. The Twins don't need him to offer more insights into himself and his team to reporters.
They need him to do two things: A) Play more; and B) resume producing when he plays.
The rest of this is nonsense.