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Thread: Article: It's official: Twins announce Joe Mauer move to first base

  1. #81
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
    Except for the fact that the Twins don't have a first baseman other than Mauer. Two positions, one player... either choice leaves a hole.
    Right, but which one is easier to fill?

    The Twins haven't been grooming anyone. Only in the last two drafts have they seemed to show an interest in adding catching. Basically, they're unprepared to fill the position once Mauer moves. First base can generally be filled MUCH more easily than catcher.

  2. #82
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    Joe is the rare athlete who could have played Division I in three sports. I agree with the poster who suggested Joe would bulk up. To be the best 1B in baseball he needs to hit HR's. I think over time Joe will hit more HR's.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    Thanks for posting this link snepp. It's a good story, if anyone wants to click ver.

    If Joe thinks it's the right thing to do, then it's necessary and the right thing to do. But let's not kid ourselves into thinking this is a positive development for the team or for Mauer professionally.

    This year at catcher, Mauer's 880 OPS ranked 1st. At first base it ranked 6th. At catcher, Mauer is a Hall-of-Famer. At first base, it's not totally clear he's an All-Star.

    I'm not worried about the money or the contract - I don't see any evidence that if the Twins had an extra $10M that they would spend it anyway. But that catcher position suddenly has a lot of eggs in Josmil Pinto's basket. If he and Doumit don't thrive, that position could become an absolute sinkhole.
    One year from now, I can forsee a tremendous amount of angst on these boards directed towards how we're going to fix the catcher spot if Pinto needs more time than the 151 AB he's had over double-A ball.
    This "angst" was inevitable. Even 1000 AB at AAA ball wouldn't eliminate the concern. I assume you mean Hicks-like results by Pinto rather than the Murcer following Mantle scenario. This happens every time a team decides to replace one player with a rookie. Ergo, consider the angst when the dynamic duo (trio?) are finally promoted to the Twins. There is so much riding on their success that the "angst" will be huge. Pinto doesn't have to hit as well as Mauer to be a success.

  4. #84
    Twins Moderator All-Star twinsnorth49's Avatar
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    Bummer, I know it makes sense but I'm going to miss watching Joe catch, too bad.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
    This "angst" was inevitable. Even 1000 AB at AAA ball wouldn't eliminate the concern. I assume you mean Hicks-like results by Pinto rather than the Murcer following Mantle scenario. This happens every time a team decides to replace one player with a rookie. Ergo, consider the angst when the dynamic duo (trio?) are finally promoted to the Twins. There is so much riding on their success that the "angst" will be huge. Pinto doesn't have to hit as well as Mauer to be a success.
    Still, it'd be nice to have a veteran catching presence to caddie Pinto and fill the breach if the worst happens. With all of these other "inevitable" angsts that you and others justifiably cite, it seems kind of crazy and short-sighted to hand the most important defensive job in the field on a full-time basis to a rookie with:

    1) all of 83 PAs,
    2) obvious holes still remaining in his still-developing defensive game....
    3) and a significant language barrier besides.

    I remain optimistic that Pinto can eventually ensconce himself for the next 6-9 years at the position, but as Parmellee's 88 PAs in September, 2011 illustrate, lots of folks on here seem to be prematurely counting a few too many unhatched chickens.

    This move with Mauer is a pretty significant bump in the road for the "2015 parade" to have to cross over.

    (And can anyone stomach Ryan Doumit catching more than 30-40 games?)
    Last edited by jokin; 11-12-2013 at 02:50 AM.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    Right, but which one is easier to fill?

    The Twins haven't been grooming anyone. Only in the last two drafts have they seemed to show an interest in adding catching. Basically, they're unprepared to fill the position once Mauer moves. First base can generally be filled MUCH more easily than catcher.
    Again, first base is not the easy source of offense it once was. Look at the 2013 results across the league. It's more than catchers, of course, but with respect to Mauer there are offsetting factors as well (e.g., greater longevity).

    The Twins aren't strong organizationally at either spot. Sano seems set to be a 3rd baseman for a while. Vargas is iffy and more of a DH. I don't think Arcia makes sense there. Parmelee is pretty much a bust. Pinto's bat wouldn't be an asset there and he's small for the position defensively.

    They will get substantially weaker at catcher and substantially stronger at first base. That is temporarily a small net loss - but in the last years of his contract it will likely result in a gain.

  7. #87
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Carlos Ruiz, anyone? 2 year deal?

  8. #88
    Please ban me! All-Star stringer bell's Avatar
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    The Reds signed Pena and have an extra catcher. His name is Ryan Hanigan. He is supposedly a better version of Butera--defense first but certainly not as weak a bat as Sweet Drew--and for those of you that worship at the WAR altar, he has a lifetime 6.9 WAR in 400+ games. Lifetime 90 OPS+ but coming off a poor year in 2013. Hanigan is 33 and arbitration eligible and a free agent after 2014.
    Last edited by stringer bell; 11-12-2013 at 08:45 PM.

  9. #89
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
    Again, first base is not the easy source of offense it once was. Look at the 2013 results across the league. It's more than catchers, of course, but with respect to Mauer there are offsetting factors as well (e.g., greater longevity).

    The Twins aren't strong organizationally at either spot. Sano seems set to be a 3rd baseman for a while. Vargas is iffy and more of a DH. I don't think Arcia makes sense there. Parmelee is pretty much a bust. Pinto's bat wouldn't be an asset there and he's small for the position defensively.

    They will get substantially weaker at catcher and substantially stronger at first base. That is temporarily a small net loss - but in the last years of his contract it will likely result in a gain.
    You didn't answer the question - where is it easier to find a plus defender and plus hitter? It's easily t first base, it's really not debatable. Doesn't mean the Twins can't do it, but they just made their rebuilding job more difficult. Out of necessity, no doubt, but no less disappointing.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    You didn't answer the question - where is it easier to find a plus defender and plus hitter? It's easily t first base, it's really not debatable. Doesn't mean the Twins can't do it, but they just made their rebuilding job more difficult. Out of necessity, no doubt, but no less disappointing.
    There is just no way Mauer was going to be catching a lot of games in, say, 2017. No chance whatsoever, even if he had zero concussion issues.If anything, this helps the Twins to rebuild by opening up the catcher spot, where hopefully they can find a solution. It was a miracle Mauer played catcher as long and as often as he did.The Twins are lengthening Mauer's career in exchange for a modest (1-1.5 WAR) short-term dropoff, while they stink anyway. It's just not a negative in any meaningful sense.

  11. #91
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
    There is just no way Mauer was going to be catching a lot of games in, say, 2017. No chance whatsoever, even if he had zero concussion issues.If anything, this helps the Twins to rebuild by opening up the catcher spot, where hopefully they can find a solution. It was a miracle Mauer played catcher as long and as often as he did.The Twins are lengthening Mauer's career in exchange for a modest (1-1.5 WAR) short-term dropoff, while they stink anyway. It's just not a negative in any meaningful sense.
    Alright, one more try at it.....I'm not blaming the Twins. It doesn't sound like there was much choice. But it wouldn't be a "miracle" tht a guy in his early thirties would still be catching. Nor unreasonable to have planned for him to be catching then. Additionally there is no guarantee this lengthens anything.

    the only guarantee is that this opens a position the Twins are totally unprepared to fill where they previously had a significant advantage over the vast majority of other teams. That has significant potential to be a negative now and going forward.
    Last edited by TheLeviathan; 11-12-2013 at 11:24 AM.

  12. #92
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    . But it wouldn't be a "miracle" tht a guy in his early thirties would still be catching. Nor unreasonable to have planned for him to be catching then. Additionally there is no guarantee this lengthens anything.
    No miracles and no guarantees but I do think that given Mauer's body type and his prior knee problems, his likelihood of catching in his 30's were less than for some others. I also think that the odds of him prolonging his career are better at 1B than catcher.

  13. #93
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    It's not speculation. There is a tremendous amount of data that shows how catchers decline more quickly than other positions (despite the occasional exceptional case). Mauer's size and injury history just makes that prognosis even worse.

    Of course there is no "guarantee" of anything regarding a specific player. Using that as a standard is obviously illegitimate. Based on decades of baseball, Mauer's move to 1B should be just fine for his value. Anyone is free to believe otherwise, but that isn't a position supported by objective data.

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    Right, but which one is easier to fill?

    The Twins haven't been grooming anyone. Only in the last two drafts have they seemed to show an interest in adding catching. Basically, they're unprepared to fill the position once Mauer moves. First base can generally be filled MUCH more easily than catcher.
    IMO, it's better that they are aware of the need now than what would likely have been a need to move him three years from now when they will be competitive. (For comparison and the standard that Mauer often is held to, Johnny Bench was done catching after age 32.)

    If the Twins haven't been grooming or considering anyone, I can understand it is a bit sooner than anyone hoped, but Mauer hasn't been a full time catcher for some time. He might have caught 90 games this year if healthy the entire season.

    We can certainly hope that Mauer would have caught until he was in his mid to late thirties, but that hope isn't necessarily realistic, especially if you hope for his bat to remain elite. The chances of both were very slim, so not having a backup plan a couple of years from now would have been bad business. At least they can start to address the need now rather than when the are starting to get competitive again and lose an advatage then.
    Last edited by Alex; 11-12-2013 at 01:14 PM.

  15. #95
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
    It's not speculation. There is a tremendous amount of data that shows how catchers decline more quickly than other positions (despite the occasional exceptional case). Mauer's size and injury history just makes that prognosis even worse.

    Of course there is no "guarantee" of anything regarding a specific player. Using that as a standard is obviously illegitimate. Based on decades of baseball, Mauer's move to 1B should be just fine for his value. Anyone is free to believe otherwise, but that isn't a position supported by objective data.
    you're not listening. It's not about Mauer, it's about the Twins losing great production at a premium position. Career longevity is utterly irrelevant to that. It's not in dispute because it has nothing to do with the point I've made repeatedly.

  16. #96
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    IMO, it's better that they are aware of the need now than what would likely have been a need to move him three years from now when they will be competitive. (For comparison and the standard that Mauer often is held to, Johnny Bench was done catching after age 32.)

    If the Twins haven't been grooming or considering anyone, I can understand it is a bit sooner than anyone hoped, but Mauer hasn't been a full time catcher for some time. He might have caught 90 games this year if healthy the entire season.
    they haven't been, only recently did thy start to. It's a glaring a hole until filled, in part because of how good Mauer was.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    they haven't been, only recently did thy start to. It's a glaring a hole until filled, in part because of how good Mauer was.
    I agree. I'm just adding that expecting Mauer to provide that value at catcher more than 2-3 years out (when it would be ideal for him to be playing catcher) was probably a longshot anyway. Now, though, they know what they're missing at least.

    The problem with the Twins is they aren't really good at getting that extra value in positions like C, SS, or 2B for a lot reasons, some their fault some not, but that's another discussion.

  18. #98
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    We get it, he's more valuable as a catcher. But that was no longer a real option, so what are we arguing about?

    And, if you want to keep arguing, if you agree they are not likely going to the playoffs next year, why risk his health next year or in future years?
    Lighten up Francis....

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    you're not listening. It's not about Mauer, it's about the Twins losing great production at a premium position. Career longevity is utterly irrelevant to that. It's not in dispute because it has nothing to do with the point I've made repeatedly.
    Career longevity is completely relevant, because 'great production at a premium position' is worthless in 2014 - the Twins are too bad for it to matter. So the benefit of Mauer catching doesn't even apply until the rest of the team is competitive. And by the time that happens, Mauer at catcher is a very dubious proposition even without the concussion issue.

    Everyone understands the decision has been made, the issue arose over what it means for the Twins. The most likely scenario- based on historical data, conventional wisdom within baseball, and every other conceivable factor- is that Mauer's move to 1B will ultimately benefit the Twins in terms of production.

  20. #100
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    We get it, he's more valuable as a catcher. But that was no longer a real option, so what are we arguing about?

    And, if you want to keep arguing, if you agree they are not likely going to the playoffs next year, why risk his health next year or in future years?
    im pointing out this isn't all roses. It does make our rebuild more difficult. But, as I have said, it looks like there was no choice. Personally, I'd have rather seen them rest him a year or two an return him later. But this seems to be medically driven so I doubt that option exists.

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