Source: Twins' Mauer, Morrison clear waivers
CLEVELAND—Less than a week into August, the Minnesota Twins already have passed first basemen Joe Mauer and Logan Morrison through waivers, according to a person with direct knowledge.
Had either player been claimed, the team awarded the claim would have been responsible for the remaining salary on those players' contracts.
The Twins also would have had the option of either revoking the waiver placement or working out a trade with the team that was awarded the claim.
Because both players cleared waivers, the Twins now are able to discuss a potential trade with 29 other clubs, although only contenders would figure to hold interest. A trade would have to be worked out by 10:59 p.m. Central time on Aug. 31 for a player to be postseason-eligible.
Mauer, who has a full no-trade clause on his expiring eight-year, $184 million deal, is still due $6.92 million through season's end.
The 35-year-old franchise icon said last week after the non-waiver trade deadline passed that he had not been approached by the Twins about waiving his no-trade provision, but the Twins could approach him at any point in the coming weeks if a potential deal shows promise.
Mauer entered Monday's play hitting .275 with three home runs, a .357 on-base percentage that was the second-lowest of his career and a .367 slugging percentage that ranked last among his 15 big-league seasons.
Morrison, who turns 31 later this month, has $1.66 million left on his 2018 contract plus a $1 million club buyout on a 2019 option at no less than $8 million. His base salary of $5.5 million this season includes bonuses of $500,000 each for reaching 450, 500 and 550 plate appearances.
His 2019 option value would increase to $8.5 million with 500 plate appearances this season or $9 million with a $1.5 million buyout should he reach 550 plate appearances.
The 2019 option vests into a guarantee of $9.5 million should he reach 600 plate appearances this season.
Eight of Morrison's 15 home runs this season have come since June 23, in his past 86 at-bats, on either side of a 10-day stint on the disabled list with a hip impingement. Entering Monday's opener of a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians, Morrison had 343 plate appearances.
He needed to average just 2.1 plate appearances over the Twins' final 52 games to trigger the first $500,000 bonus. Fully vesting his 2019 deal would require him to average 4.9 plate appearances the rest of the way, which appears highly unlikely.
During his recent power surge, Morrison was slugging .512 but his on-base percentage was .269 in his past 93 trips. For the season, the late February signee is batting just .195 with the worst park-adjusted OPS of his career.
Other Twins veterans who could draw trade interest this month include closer Fernando Rodney, right-handers Ervin Santana and Jake Odorizzi, setup man Addison Reed (signed through 2019) and newly acquired infielder Logan Forsythe.
Any deal involving those proven commodities would require the same August waiver period steps listed above.
Right-hander Michael Pineda, not quite 55 weeks removed from Tommy John surgery, threw two scoreless innings with a walk, a hit and three strikeouts Monday in the Gulf Coast League. The ex-Yankee, who is signed through next season, touched 94 mph and pitched at 91-93 mph. ... Class A Fort Myers right fielder Alex Kirilloff was named Florida State League player of the month for July. The 15th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Kirilloff hit .396 and slugged .614 last month for the Miracle after being promoted in June from low-A Cedar Rapids, where he was Midwest League player of the month in May. ... Rookie outfielder Johnny Field, 26, was recalled to fill the roster spot of Robbie Grossman, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained hamstring. Field hit six homers in 169 at-bats for the Tampa Bay Rays before the Twins claimed him off waivers last week. ... Second-round catcher Ryan Jeffers and recently acquired right-hander Jhoan Duran were named player and pitcher of the week in the Midwest League. Jeffers hit .538 with three homers in seven games, while Duran tossed 13L innings without allowing an earned run after being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Eduardo Escobar deal.