I think many of you are quick to dismiss this idea. While trading Mauer would certainly hurt in the short term it might be the best long term option. We aren't going to be competitive in 2013 (unless TR all of a sudden decides to spend on FA). We are going to be a transitioning team in 2014. 2015 we might be competitive but 2016+ is looking potentially very strong.
In 2013 & '14 Mauer is going to be at his peak but will be wasted on bad teams. By the time 2015 rolls around he will be 32 years old. He probably will be out from behind the plate full time and his hitting could very well be starting to slide. Now you've got years 32-35 of Mauer while you are actually good but he is not (this is all relative of course, he could still put up OK numbers but probably not near his MVP days that he is getting paid for).
The real kicker here is the payroll flexibility. We will be paying Mauer $23M for what almost certainly won't be $23M worth of production. We will have so much money wrapped up in Mauer that we won't have much money to go out and sign (or re-sign) that piece we need to put us over the top.
While in the short term trading Mauer would be a big PR hit in the long term the payroll flexibility combined with hopefully a very competitive team in 2015+ might making it beneficial.
First, Mauer isn't going to waive his no-trade clause so it's probably a moot point. But look at this years FA class. Where would the Twins spend the money in the future? They might lock up young prospects like Sano on deals that buy out their first few years of free agency but if they trade Mauer, I think it would mean that they are set at payrolls around 70-80m. I don't think they'd ever. use FA to sign a guy like Anibal Sanchez