• The Ripple Effect of Mauer's Move to First

    The Twins made it official on Monday... Joe Mauer's days behind the plate are over.

    After consulting with doctors at Mayo Clinic, it was felt that Mauer needed to avoid the chance of re-injuring himself at the roughest position on the baseball field. Even though Mauer is now symptom free and able to go about his regular offseason routine, the club felt this was in the best interest of the team and their star player.

    The move away from catcher has been something Mauer has tried to avoid in the past. Even after missing most of the 2011 season because of leg issues, Mauer wanted to prove he could handle the rigors of being a full-time catcher again. The seriousness of his concussion in 2013 must have been enough to convince him the time was right for a move.

    In my offseason blueprint, I listed Mauer as the primary first baseman for the 2014 Minnesota Twins. It seemed likely the club would give him more time at first base especially with the exit of Justin Morneau and the rise of Josmil Pinto. These two players are just part of the ripple effect of Mauer's move to first.

    Pinto's Chance to Start
    The Twins were impressed with the performance of Pinto in the final month of the season. Over 21 games, the rookie backstop batted .342/.398/.566 with four home runs and five doubles. His defensive skills might not be as good as Mauer's but he did throw out 33% of base runners with a .982 fielding percentage in his eight seasons in the minor leagues. Minnesota could always add a veteran catcher but Pinto deserves a chance at some point next year.

    Morneau Won't Return
    Within the inner circle of Twins Territory, there may have been hopes of a return of their former MVP. As Mauer shifts to first base, it seems there is no spot for Morneau on the roster. It probably didn't make sense for the Twins to spend money on Morneau with other first base options currently under contract. This allows Morneau to try to find a spot on a team that can contend before his career is complete.

    Parmelee and Colabello Left Searching for ABs
    Both Parmelee and Colabello have put together impressive numbers at Triple-A in the last two seasons. These performances haven't translated to the big leagues and this leaves question marks about them moving forward. Parmelee got some time in the outfield last year and this might be his best chance at sticking with the team long-term. Colabello's independent baseball story was great but he might be more of a organizational player.

    Sano's the Future at Third
    With a full offseason to prepare, Minnesota could have moved Mauer to third base. They didn't because Miguel Sano is making his way to Target Field. There is a small chance of Sano starting the year with the club so Trevor Plouffe will only be keeping his place warm at the hot corner. It seems a waste to use Mauer's athletic ability at a lowly position like first base but Sano has one of the best arms in the Twins system and the spot should be saved for him.

    What other ripple effects are there from Mauer's move to first? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
    This article was originally published in blog: The Ripple Effect of Mauer's Move to First started by Cody Christie
    Comments 41 Comments
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Sano: Someone offered up the opinion that there was absolutely no reason to start Sano in the minors in 2014. The answer is that there is--and it is the year 2020! Holding Sano back at least three weeks leaves him under team control for 2020 when he be about 27(?). Keeping him in the minors until past midseason avoids super2 arbitration and changes his salary and contract to the team's advantage as long as he is a Twin. That is not even counting the benefit he might enjoy from playing part of a season in AAA.
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