What will the Twins' next manager do about Joe Mauer?
Here's a thought: Douse him in gasoline and chase him with matches.
Hear me out.
The reason he was told to pack away his catcher's mitt was because he kept getting hurt and there was a belief sticking him at first and having him DH would mean fewer injuries and more games played.
He had 11 home runs in 2013, just four this season. He had eight more doubles and a .324 batting average in 2013. He hit .277 in this just-completed debacle of a season, when we were told he was "recovering" from "a clearly diagnosed brain injury." Brain injuries are "bad," but they're nowhere near as bad as being set on fire. You will probably die if you get set on fire.
Face it, the guy is brittle wherever you play him. Maybe the danger of the flame will motivate him to step out of the hot tub and into the batter's box.
Since this blog originally posted, there have been a slew of tweets asking if I'm some kind of maniac for suggesting Mauer be set on fire. News flash: You can catch fire anywhere. Your kitchen, a forest fire, a place where they make flamethrowers.
Richard Pryor set himself on fire freebasing cocaine in his home. It. Can. Happen. Anywhere.
And remember what happened to Michael Jackson? He suffered a career setback when his hair caught on fire while filming a Pepsi commercial. Soda pop!
The only way to truly cut down on the possibility of Mauer being set on fire is for him to wear an asbestos suit, which is as much a health risk as his "concussions." And that's not going to happen.
So why not put a little pep in Mauer's step? Maybe he'll get his batting average back over .300 if he's in "oh, no, I'm soaked in gasoline and will be set ablaze" mode. And maybe that $23 million a year Mauer makes won't be as much of a waste of money as it is when it goes to a middling first baseman who is not being threatened with real, physical harm. And - there's no maybe here - he would be easier to trade if he feels he is in mortal danger from the fire and won't play for the Twins.
As for current catcher Kurt Suzuki, give him a first baseman's glove and he can rotate between first and DH with Kennys Vargas when Mauer is catching. Or just sit Suzuki when Mauer catches. Can fire work here, too? I don't know, but after four straight losing seasons, I'd be willing to find out.
Bottom line here: The new manager has to stop the Mauer coddling and let him know he's gonna burn, baby, burn if he doesn't get his infernal butt out there. I am a grown man making this argument.