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.