Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • It's official: Twins announce Joe Mauer move to first base

    The Minnesota Twins' Dustin Morse announced via Twitter that the Twins will officially move Joe Mauer from catcher to first base for the 2014 season.

    In October, general manager Terry Ryan told Twins Daily in his offseason interview that the team was not planning for Mauer to move away from behind the plate and the transition from catching to first was ultimately Mauer's decision.

    "I'm not preparing for anything different than we prepared for last year," Ryan said. "That decision's still coming down to whether or not he wants to catch for sure. The good thing is he's, I would say, he's 95 percent right now, which is good. That's a decision that's going to come down on whether or not he wants to stay back there, and how much he wants to stay back there, and how much he wants to stay back there. But right now I'm preparing for him to be back there."

    The move obviously opens up questions as to the team's plans for catcher in 2014. Veteran Ryan Doumit also suffered a concussion that removed him from the position at the end of the year and Josmil Pinto, while promising in September, is still learning.

    Although Pinto's character and coachability have been lauded, there still is work defensively, said Ryan.

    "There were days that I was a little concerned. With any kid that comes up, you're not going to have a polished product," Ryan noted.

    In addition to Doumit and Pinto, Ryan mentioned minor leaguer Eric Fryer as a player who contributed positively in 2013 (albeit at the minor league level) and there are several free agent catching options available on the market.

    The team's official press release cites that while Mauer is symptom free from the concussion suffered late 2013, the increasingly inherent dangers of the position necessitated the move.
    Comments 101 Comments
    1. Mr. Ed's Avatar
      Mr. Ed -
      Press conference this afternoon to discuss.
    1. Smcginnity's Avatar
      Smcginnity -
      Well, now we no longer need to worry about finding a FA first baseman

      AND, we get to see Pinto all the time!
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php?r=...-to-first-base
    1. D. Hocking's Avatar
      D. Hocking -
      Twitter is pretty active with this. Too bad the concussion happened, would have liked his to do a couple more years (gradually playing more and more first base), maybe get another gold glove and all-star start. Still, probably the right move after the concussion and might even extend his career a few years with less wear and tear on his knees etc. Will be interesting to see how or if his numbers changed. I think it is most likely best for the team, but it must be a little bittersweet for Joe to have to finally give it up, although even pre-concussion he was dropping hints in interviews that he knew his time at catcher had an end date.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      If that then-deemed "harmless" quote about Fryer ends up meaning that guy is even considered an option, I am going to go back to that thread and say "told you so!"

      Chris Herrmann will get better. Pinto can learn on the job. Mauer can be the emergency catcher. Signing some guy is pretty silly given it is unlikely he will be better than a Pinto/Herrmann combination.
    1. jctwins's Avatar
      jctwins -
      What exactly do they need to hold a press conference for?
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Moving Mauer to first is fine, especially if the other pieces in the chain reaction provide good value. If Eric "no future in the MLB" Fryer gets ample time catching, Ryan Doumit DHs, and Josh Willingham continues playing LF, that is NOT good value. At all. It is helpful that now Mauer basically only very rarely has to DH. That's true. And I imagine he will become a top to near-top defensive first baseman.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      100% correct thing to do. Now sign AJ!
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      this makes one of my controversial parts of my offseason plan not so controversial....

      good move.
      1. They are not likley to make the playoffs next year, so why risk his health in another lost season?
      2. Pinto might be good. They can find a better pitch framer if they need one.
      3. He has a chance to be a great defensive 1B
    1. Tibs's Avatar
      Tibs -
      What catchers out there would be better than a mix of Pinto/Herrmann and Doumit?
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Yeah, I love the move. His health is too important from a personal standpoint, and to the team. His bat plays anywhere.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Since Herrmann will be probably be playing some outfield, the Twins will no doubt be carrying a third catcher. Dear God, don't let it be Fryer.

      Maybe Doumit will still play catcher, though. I have a feeling they'll play it smart with him, too.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Well, hopefully this lets Mauer play in a 150+ games next year. And it at least gives the team some certainty going forward. I'm not sold on Pinto but I don't think they have a lot of other options. A Pinto/Doumit combo will have some pop, if nothing else.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Can't say I thought this would actually happen (yet)...

      We now have the equivalent of John Olerud for the next 5 years at $23M per. I'm not sure that's such a great thing.
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      In my head, this makes sense. Emotionally, I'm feeling let down.
    1. twinsin17's Avatar
      twinsin17 -
      Good to see the organization make a decisive move and put the issue to rest. Hopefully the move to first keeps Mauer on the field and off the DL.
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      Building off, Jay's sentiment - As a catcher he is a perennial all-star, and arguably the best at his position in the game. (instinct was super-star, but realistically he hasn't been at that level for a couple years.) His 2013 .880 OPS was about 50 points higher than the next catcher. Huge. There are 5 1B with .900+ OPS (ok, I'm cheating a bit 'cause Freeman was only .897, but all signs point to him still entering his prime.) He gets a 2014 All-Star invite because MN is hosting, but beyond that?
    1. Zephrin's Avatar
      Zephrin -
      Mauer has accrued WAR at approximately 4.4 per year for his career - I believe that puts him behind only Johnny Bench for catchers (pace, not overall). Is there someone on this board that can figure out what Mauer's WAR would have been as a 1B? (Or I guess we would have to make oWAR comparisons at C and 1B cause it probably isn't fair to factor in dWAR...)
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      I'm in agreement with the idea of your point, but I'm not sure converting his WAR directly to 1B values is fair either. The whole idea of the move is that he'll stay healthier and more productive by not catching. It'll be interesting to see how his production responds to this.
    1. LoganJones's Avatar
      LoganJones -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tibs View Post
      What catchers out there would be better than a mix of Pinto/Herrmann and Doumit?
      Pinto and AJ?
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