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Updated: August 29th, 2012 9:21pm
Mackey: Why place Joe Mauer on waivers? Because everyone is doing it

Mackey: Why place Joe Mauer on waivers? Because everyone is doing it

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by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- If nothing else, Wednesday's news and subsequent speculation of Joe Mauer being placed on trade waivers by the Minnesota Twins sparked several variations of the same question:

Why?

For starters, the July 31 trade deadline is really just the non-waiver trade deadline. Teams can still trade in August, but the process is more difficult. Teams must place players on waivers first.

If the player passes through without getting claimed, he can be traded anywhere. If the player is claimed, his team can do one of three things: Negotiate a trade with the claiming team, award the player (and his salary) to the claiming team, or, most commonly, pull the player back.

So, why Mauer? After all, he does have a full no-trade clause.

Because the Twins, like many other teams, make it a habit to put nearly every player on the 25-man roster through waivers every August, regardless of whether they intend to actually trade that player.

"Every August we do it," general manager Terry Ryan said. "There are some strategic reasons why, there are some not. ...

"Thirty teams do the same thing every August."

Those strategic reasons may include, but are not limited to the following:

• Just in case an offer is too good to pass up. If the Dodgers call 30 minutes before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline and offer three top prospects for Justin Morneau, the Twins would be handcuffed if they hadn't passed Morneau through waivers yet.

• As a blanket policy that all players are placed on waivers no matter if the team intends to trade them or not. This is the policy adhered to by the Twins front office.

• As a smokescreen to disguise who they really want to trade.

• To help gauge interest. If 10 teams put in a claim on a player, the Twins -- or any other team -- would know how many teams might have interest in acquiring him.

"We do the same thing every August, and we'll do the same thing next August," Ryan said.

"You do it. Sometimes you do it with a purpose, sometimes you don't. You just put people through. It's as simple as that."

Does this mean the Twins are trying to trade Mauer?

"We aren't. Whoever said we were? Nobody... Whoever said we were trading Joe Mauer?"

So, again, why put everyone on waivers?

"Flexibility," Ryan said. "Why not? What's the harm? ...

"You can't trade a guy in August unless you have trade waivers. We couldn't trade Danny Valencia without trade waivers."

But is this a sign the Twins are thinking about trading Mauer at some point down the road?

"I'm not saying we did or didn't (put him on waivers)," Ryan said.

"Every club in the game does the same thing. There are going to be future Hall of Famers that have been on the waiver wire this August. And there will be next August and next August and next August. ...

"If I didn't go through the process, I should be fired. I'm the general manager. You put people through trade waivers. Every general manager does it, and if you don't you're stupid. It's as simple as that. You'd be an idiot not to put your roster through trade waivers. And I'm not saying 25 guys. But almost all of us at least put 20 to 25 through. Plus it's just a paper move and it makes sense to do it."

Ryan cited Chuck Knoblauch, Marty Cordova, Paul Molitor and Kirby Puckett as examples of other Twins players who have been placed on August trade waivers in previous years.

"They're all out on trade waivers... All the time. You just put them through. It doesn't matter."

Usually it's kept private.

This week, it wasn't.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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