I asked you for questions. You asked me questions. I’m giving you answers. End of transaction.

Intros are awkward.

I don’t think it’s terribly likely at this point. First of all, I don’t know how close was to on the cusp of being named to the team. Secondly, outfielders are far, far less likely to pull out of the game than say, pitchers — as we’ve seen over the past few days.

I think Andrew Benintendi or Giancarlo Stanton might probably get the nod before Rosario if the situation came up — though Benintendi did go on the bereavement list on Friday, so he’s almost certainly out — so that also might be a factor.

Paul Molitor suggested that guys opting out of the game might run up to and even through Sunday, so it’s possible we won’t know the exact active All-Star rosters until sometime that evening.

It feels like a copout, but I really think it’ll be Rosario-Buxton-Kepler. Now with that said, Jake Cave has been a revelation — small sample size alert! — and at the very least would make for a really, really strong option as a fourth outfielder. That probably leaves Zack Granite and Robbie Grossman out in the cold, but I think that’s a championship-caliber outfield layout talent-wise.

I think the two most likely to go are Lance Lynn and Zach Duke, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see the Twins claw to near .500 by July 31 and sit tight. Beyond that, the impending free agents — Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar — are as good of a bet as anyone to be moved.

The next few days — in and out of the All-Star break — are going to be huge for this team’s direction.

In 30 Rock, Jack Donaghy talks about the shower principle.

In short, he says it’s “moments of inspiration that occur when the brain is distracted from the problem at hand — for example, when you’re showering.”

When you’re trying desperately to write something, I think sometimes you can be too close to the problem. So walk away for a bit, completely take your mind off whatever you’re working on, and come back to it later with a clear(er) mind.

Or do like I do, and drink some scotch. What’s the old saying? Write drunk, edit sober?

Kidding. (Sort of)

I mean, that would be beneath the ideal-world outcome for Buxton, but let’s not forget that Upton was a really, really good player at his peak.

In 2007-08, Upton was worth 4.5 and 4.8 fWAR, respectively, and had three more three-win seasons after that as well. To that end, Buxton reaching that level would be a win.

But Upton finished his MLB career with an fWAR of 24.2, and I can’t help but feel like that would be a disappointment to almost everyone involved with the Twins — Buxton, fans, front office and so on.

Some of the similarities are striking, however. Upton stole 40 bases three times and Buxton clearly has that kind of speed, and the former was also a very good defender in center.

But Upton’s career path was sort of strange in that he completely fell apart before turning 30 — heck, he’s still only 33 — and if that happens to Buxton, it would only be a freak coincidence.

It looks like it would be Fernando Romero, who was terrific in his most recent start for Rochester before their All-Star break. He’s scheduled to start on Monday for the Red Wings, and last time out — on July 8 — he tossed seven innings of two-run ball with four hits, six strikeouts and no walks.

With the eventual returns of Ervin Santana, Michael Pineda and perhaps even Trevor May, this pitching staff could get crowded quickly. This is not a bad thing.

So here’s the deal — I’ve seen the tweets. I’m not entirely sure they’re all in good faith, but for some reason people keep saying Mauer could be traded.

And if that sounds like a subtle jab at the “people keep saying” crowd, it is.

Here are the four hoops that need to be leapt through for a Mauer trade to happen:

  1. He has to approve any deal.
  2. Someone has to actually be interested.
  3. The Twins probably have to pick up money to facilitate ANY deal.
  4. The PR hit will (probably) be deemed not worth it.

The deal probably dies at No. 1. Mauer has a pregnant wife and two kids at home, he’s playing in his hometown and really doesn’t have much to gain by winning a ring for being a non-key player on a *potential* World Series-winning team.

Mauer doesn’t strike me as a Don Baylor-in-1987 kind of player. I can’t really put my finger on why that is, but….yeah. Beyond that, a team has to be interested in taking him on.

The Yankees keep coming up, but consider this: for as “bad” as Greg Bird has been, he still has a higher wRC+ (108 coming into Friday) than Mauer (100). A marginal upgrade — if even that — just doesn’t make sense.

Not only that, but if the Twins are eating money and still not getting much back, why risk the PR hit?

Mauer’s staying put, friends.

I don’t think so. Even if they keep playing well, I think they’re going to ride the wave with the talent they have. They added quite a bit of talent in the offseason — very little of it has panned out — but if they get back into contention, it’ll be because of what’s in-house.

So I think their best chance of making any sort of waves in August and September is by getting back guys like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano at 100 percent — in addition to the aforementioned pitching potential.

In fact, they do have a team psychologist. His name is Rick Aberman, and his website can be found here. I can’t say for sure what players do for that, but I do know that Aberman is a near-daily presence in the clubhouse. I saw him there before Friday’s game, and can’t remember many games where I haven’t seen him.

I suspect how players handle it is different for each guy. For older guys and those on long-term deals, it’s easier to handle failure since a prolonged slump doesn’t mean they’ll be sent to the minors or worse yet, DFA’d/released. With that said, I’m sure young guys will lean on the veteran leaders at their positions to help them go through dry spells.

So this got a little contentious on Twitter this afternoon. Marc Topkin — a Rays beat reporter — posted an article on the Mount Rushmore for Tampa Bay. He went with Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, David Price and James Shields — a defensible choice, though I went with Chris Archer and also might have preferred Ben Zobrist over Shields.

Not a big deal.

But for the Twins? I went with Puckett, Killebrew, Mauer and Carew — just like my brother did in the above tweet — and that drove some people up the wall that I went with Mauer over Hrbek.

I was a big Hrbek fan as a kid, but his relatively short career and the fact that he played first base hurts his value when compared against Mauer, who is in his 15th season. That’s already one more than Hrbek played, with no guarantee that Mauer will retire.

It’s OK if you hate my four. Pick your own, and let us know in the comments what your Twins Mount Rushmore would look like!


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