Mackey: Joe Mauer's All-Star status has nothing to do with oblique
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With Joe Mauer being placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, there's a narrative floating around that needs to be squashed.
Now that Mauer is sidelined for at least two weeks with a strained right oblique, that means he officially will not take part in the All-Star Game at Target Field.
It's true, Mauer will not take part in the All-Star Game. But his absence will have nothing to do with the oblique injury.
Even after a recent three-week hot streak that culminated with a two-RBI double on Tuesday night, Mauer is in the midst of the worst statistical season of his 11-year career - worse than the "bilateral leg weakness" season in which he hit just .287/.360/.368 in 82 games.
Entering Wednesday's games, here's where Mauer ranked in some key categories among qualified first basemen:
.271 batting average (13th)
.342 on-base percentage (15th)
.353 slugging percentage (26th)
2 home runs (28th)
17 doubles (11th)
28 RBIs (26th)
38 runs scored (11th)
0.3 Wins Above Replacement (21st)
If Mauer remained healthy over the next two weeks, it's possible he could have stayed hot and bumped that batting average up over .280, that on-base percentage over .350 and those RBIs up near 40. But those are far cries from his career averages. And those numbers certainly wouldn't have been worthy of bumping Miguel Cabrera (.311/.364/.540, 14 HR, 65 RBI), Edwin Encarnacion (25 HR, 66 RBI) or Jose Abreu (26 HR, 67 RBI) from the list.
Is it possible he would have been given preferential treatment as a hometown player with a fantastic 10-year track record? Perhaps. But that treatment is usually reserved for legacy players (see: Cal Ripken) who are much older than 30. And even then, as with Derek Jeter, fans usually have the final say there.
Mauer's best path to the All-Star Game - and to fulfilling his $23 million salary - was to hit .320/.400/.460 with a bunch of doubles like he usually does.
This season, he hasn't done that. And that's the reason he won't be playing in the All-Star Game - not the oblique.