This was the first test for the Boston Red Sox, the first chance for general manager Ben Cherington to demonstrate what his newfound commitment to "discipline" in player acquisitions truly means.
The Minnesota Twins placed catcher Joe Mauer on trade waivers Monday, according to a major-league source. But the Red Sox, after purging more than $275 million in contract obligations last week, did not claim Mauer. No team did.
The Sox intend to be more disciplined, as Cherington suggested after the team sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, right-hander Josh Beckett and left fielder Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Passing on Mauer, a player who once was their Holy Grail, indicated that the Red Sox are indeed serious about showing more restraint.
Mauer, 29, has about $142.5 million remaining on his contract, including $138 million from 2013 to '18. Boston did not want to take on that much money so soon after busting out of payroll jail, according to a source with knowledge of the club's thinking. But they had to be tempted to claim Mauer, don't you think?
Heck, even though the Red Sox passed, they could explore a deal for Mauer in the offseason -- particularly if they clear additional salary, perhaps with a trade of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Red Sox could do worse than Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway as their catchers of the future. But Mauer could fill the role that Victor Martinez occupied during the final two months of 2009 and all of 2010, playing catcher, first base and designated hitter.