• 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. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Mauer has been pretty stubborn about a move previously. the doctors at the Mayo must have been pretty convincing.

      Like previous posters have suggested, I really don't like the power translation at 1B.

      Hopefully this move helps from a historical perspective. Perhaps it will aid him in winning another batting title and help in reaching 3,000 hits. Those are personal numbers and don't mean much in terms of winning games but the part of I still enjoy seeing those individual victories.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      <span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Why would the Twins need to carry a third catcher. Mauer, if he even plays a dozen games behind the plate during the year, can now be that third catcher if needed. At bthe most, I might still drag him behind the plate for the next couple of years to catch his one favorite starter.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Doumit is a DH. Bench guy. Emergency catcher if your real one goes down.&nbsp;</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Herrmann is the decent bench guy/backup when Doumit leaves.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Pinto will need a but more seasoning.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">So, if the Twins have money to burn -- bring back A.J.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Let's see...A.J., Santana, add Neshek to the bullpen with Crain, let's grab Garrett Jones in place of both Parmelee and Colabello, Bartlett shines and starts at shortstop until the Twins resign Hardy for 2015. Maybe we need to get Casilla and Valencia back and trade Worley back for Revere or go after Span since both centerfielders seem to be on the market. Just like old times! Give a million to Kubel. Justin will be standing in the wings yelling, "Hey, remember me!?"</span>
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      I'll be interested to see if the move from catching has an affect on Mauer's hitting, especially his power, which generally, is said to come from the legs, as they should be far better rested.

      Unfortunately, (imho), this move likely nixes any chance for Morneau to resign (unless Doumit or Willingham is traded).
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I'm sure I'm not alone with my first thought was, "Man, am I glad they didn't cut Eric Fryer from the 40-man!"&nbsp;<br><br>On a serious note, good for the Twins for recognizing this as a major issue and making the move sooner rather than too late.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Darren Wolfson ‏@DarrenWolfson 2m For those saying the #MNTwins are fine w/ Pinto/Herrmann/Doumit: Told they've reached out on Saltalamacchia & at least one other FA catcher.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Mauer has been pretty stubborn about a move previously. The doctors at the Mayo must have been pretty convincing.

      Like previous posters have suggested, I really don't like the power translation at 1B.

      Hopefully this move helps from a historical perspective. Perhaps it will aid him in winning another batting title and help in reaching 3,000 hits. Those are personal numbers and don't mean much in terms of winning games but I still enjoy seeing those individual victories.
    1. D. Hocking's Avatar
      D. Hocking -
      Interesting about Saltalamacchia - I think McCann also is going free agent. I was initially surprised that they made the formal decision so soon, but it does help them try to work on the roster without Mauer being a wildcard. Plus it will be one less media issue hanging over the club.

      I was reading the Yahoo comments on the Mauer story. I might be biased, but it makes you appreciate the comments on this board all the more. The Yahoo comments are not exactly not exactly well thought out (and tend to be a little more half glass empty...).
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      McCann would be great. Catcher and DH and 1B covered by Pinto, McCann, and Mauer, with Willingham at DH also (until he's gone).
    1. Wookiee of the Year's Avatar
      Wookiee of the Year -
      Wow--it's the right move, I think, even if (as Zephrin points out above) it hurts a little emotionally.

      But mostly, I'm surprised they're announcing it now. I guess it makes sense if they're looking at adding a veteran catcher this offseason, but I didn't think we'd hear anything definitive until Spring Training.
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      I wasn't a huge fan of moving him, but whatever; not my decission. I'm glad it's done now so they can move forward. McCann would be great; better than Saltalamacchia, imo.

      AJ, anyone? (kidding)
    1. Pius Jefferson's Avatar
      Pius Jefferson -
      Just a heard a quick comment on 1500 that I believe said Mauer won't even be an emergency catcher.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I'm glad this decision was made. And have to believe that not only a concern for Joe Mauer's future but also a cost/benefit analysis played into this move. While he was uniquely valuable behind the plate, that value was only there if he stayed on the field.

      After the Morneau saga, I would expect the Twins to be somewhat cautious with their most valuable (and most expensive) player asset. First base was open -- and while it may have been somewhat easier to fill, keeping Joe Mauer on the field while acquiring a catcher with, perhaps, better defensive skills, makes sense. (Now let's just hope they can also sign someone who can hit because I, too, hope that they don't go with the current roster at this position).
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      McCann is probably a pipe dream. Salty might be too. A.J. would actually not be all that bad. You could sign him for a shorter contract, allowing Pinto to learn some things. I'd probably have to stop booing him at games then (for the record, he is the only player that I actively boo at games). I doubt he would sign here though.
    1. pierre75275's Avatar
      pierre75275 -
      Some thoughts on this...I wonder if Mauer and Morneau talked about this before joe said he would do this as this almost guarantees Morneau wont be back. And I wonder if that means AJ might come back and if that happens does Doumit get released
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      I think if Mauer was still single, he would of stayed catching. But with a wife and little one's his health is more important. I know he'd like his buddy Morneau back. He probably made sure the Twins weren't planning on that before deciding the move. He'll be very good at first base.
    1. MileHighTwinsFan's Avatar
      MileHighTwinsFan -
      It was likely that the next competitive lineup for the Twins was going to have Mauer at 1B and/or DH. I expect the team will consider a veteran option (AJ?) to allow Pinto to mature into the position. AJ strikes me as a player who could be a positive addition to a clubhouse full of very talented, but not MLB savvy players.
    1. D. Hocking's Avatar
      D. Hocking -
      In Mauer's teleconference, he said he did talk to Morneau prior to making the decision. Sounds like he was still having symptoms well into October. I am guessing he has had a number of undiagnosed concussions. The reason he went in for a test this time was he was dizzy enough he was missing ground balls in fielding practice. It would not shock me if he has ignored lesser concussion symptoms in the past.

      I read a comment about someone complaining that his .324 average would be average for a first baseman. I am thinking half of the first basement were not batting above .324 last year.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zephrin View Post
      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?
      Doesn't anybody else think that his offensive production (and I don't mean counting stats) will improve when he isn't subjected to the grind of catching? I used to think that he was Mark Grace if he played 1B, but I think his numbers improve because he will be physically less worn down.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Like I said on the thread on this.....they aren't winning the WS next year probably, so why risk his long term health back there? It makes 100% sense to me to move him now.

      His pay isn't really relevant at this point, imo. They have plenty of money to sign other players. I would hope this means he gets more ABs over the year, somewhat making up for his moving positions.
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