A popular player can be a blessing for a team, especially when he's a "hometown boy". He becomes the face of the franchise, adorning billboards across the metroplex. He helps fill the seats of the stadium with many fans, friends and kids who can relate to the star and aspire to reach his heights. And, of course, he can use his impressive talents to be one of the best players in the game. Of course, it's not such a blessing when it comes time to deal such a popular player. Such is the case with former-Minnesota Twin Joe Mauer, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers this past offseason. He did have a disappointing 2012 season, though had to shoulder a significant part of the load considering the many injuries the Twins endured. Still, a .264 6 HR 64 RBI line is not what Mauer himself had envisioned last spring training, though he did play stellar defense. When the new regime took over in the front office and looked at the aforementioned production, they were faced with a quandry. Could they justify paying a quarter of their payroll to a single player when the team has so many needs to fill? What about trading Mauer and attempting to stock the affiliate farm teams with talent? Could they find a taker for his contract, and if so, who would they find to replace him? Surely the fans would revolt if they traded the St. Paul native away for prospects and the team was markedly worse for it. After some extensive negotiations, the Twins finally found an appropriate partner in the Dodgers. In a massive 12-player deal, the team packaged Mauer, along with closer Matt Capps and last year's free agent acquisition Josh Willingham in exchange for former 1st round pick Ed "Little Rat" Ellis, top pitching prospects Brad Peacock, Garrett Gould and Shawn Tolleson, a host of others. In the end, the face of the Twins was indelibly altered and, when news of the deal hit the streets of Minneapolis, fans were outraged. They were quickly asked to trust the new management as they had a plan to make the roster better and try to contend next season. Fans didn't have to wait long, as they were treated to another trade, this time with the Toronto Blue Jays, that same day. They had traded top-prospect 3B Miguel Sano, P Kyle Gibson and draft picks in exchange for All Star SS Yunel Escobar, top prospect P Kyle Drabek, and another two highly rated outfielders. Escobar was the prize in this deal, as he has a team-friendly contract and was simply the best shortstop on the market. Getting Drabek was a bonus, as they will attempt to help Drabek transform his impressive arsenal into major league success for the first time. More changes were on the way. Soon afterward, All Star DH Edwin Encarnacion was signed as a free agent. Last season was uber-productive for him, posting a .323 30 HR 107 RBI line and he's only 29 years old. Finally, in yet another acquisition from the Blue Jays, they acquired closer Sergio Santos, the former converted-shortstop who has posted 30+ saves in each of the past three seasons. The changes to the roster are dramatic. But the new moves have given angry fans pause and a "wait-and-see" attitude. Hopes are that a more balanced lineup and rotation will lead to 90+ wins. Otherwise, management may very well see an old-fashioned lynch mob come October (maybe even sooner).