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View Full Version : Should we consider having Mauer play 3b?



nokomismod
04-23-2012, 09:44 AM
I say yes. I have no doubt that he would be a good glove over there. It would get Parmalee more at bats and address another weakness. Have Mauer start taking some ground balls there in practice and if Valencia doesn't get his head on right soon, Mauer starts to alternate catcher/3b with eventually 3b becoming his position.

Riverbrian
04-23-2012, 09:56 AM
I say yes. I have no doubt that he would be a good glove over there. It would get Parmalee more at bats and address another weakness. Have Mauer start taking some ground balls there in practice and if Valencia doesn't get his head on right soon, Mauer starts to alternate catcher/3b with eventually 3b becoming his position.

The Answer to that question is YES! I have always thought that 3b would be nice position for Joe. He's athletic Strong Armed. Brandon Inge has nothing on Joe.

However, I would have spent some time working with him at the position in Spring Training after a Winter of him knowing it's coming in Spring Training.

So for this year... Maybe not... Emergency fill in at the position of course. Multiple games in the starting lineup at 3b. Not this year. In my opinion.

silverslugger
04-23-2012, 10:00 AM
I think it's a great idea, Mauer as our 3b for the rest of his contract. Mauer would have to embrace this and give up catching. The only problem I see is that would open a slot for a catcher and the next thing you know, Butera is starting at C 3-4 times a week splitting with Doumit and we've simply traded Valencia's bat for Butera's bat. NOOOO!!! We'd need to make sure there's another capable catcher besides Doumit, and that person doesn't currently exist with the Twins. I don't think they see Doumit as a 130-140 game catcher.

gunnarthor
04-23-2012, 10:18 AM
Interesting idea. Several catchers went to 3b instead of (or before) first. I think Riverbrain is right though that if they do that, he should have tried it a bit in ST. But it might be something to consider down the road.

Seth Stohs
04-23-2012, 10:20 AM
Certainly not this year. He'd need to get a spring training and an offseason to work on it. There aren't exactly a lot of 6-6/6-7 third basemen around for a reason. I think it could be an ugly transition.

powrwrap
04-23-2012, 10:59 AM
I think it's a great idea, Mauer as our 3b for the rest of his contract. Mauer would have to embrace this and give up catching.

Isn't Sano slotted to play 3B? Why would you want to move Mauer from behind the plate for one year to address a position that will have a solution in 2014?

Gernzy
04-23-2012, 10:59 AM
I think it's a great idea, Mauer as our 3b for the rest of his contract. Mauer would have to embrace this and give up catching. The only problem I see is that would open a slot for a catcher and the next thing you know, Butera is starting at C 3-4 times a week splitting with Doumit and we've simply traded Valencia's bat for Butera's bat. NOOOO!!! We'd need to make sure there's another capable catcher besides Doumit, and that person doesn't currently exist with the Twins. I don't think they see Doumit as a 130-140 game catcher.

This. No way we could even try that without a better full time catcher. Maybe we can trade Capps for Ramos. :p

USAFChief
04-23-2012, 11:06 AM
They should have moved mauer to 3b at least 3 years ago.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
04-23-2012, 11:12 AM
Isn't Sano slotted to play 3B? Why would you want to move Mauer from behind the plate for one year to address a position that will have a solution in 2014?

There is no way Sano will continue to play 3B. He's a future corner outfielder.

USAFChief
04-23-2012, 11:30 AM
Even if Sano stays at third, that's not a reason to not move Mauer. If Sano hits you can always find a position or you can use him in trade to fill other needs. Leaving Mauer at catcher just multiplies the risk that he doesn't earn his contract.

StormJH1
04-23-2012, 12:27 PM
For the first time, I'm actually pretty happy with the way Mauer's playing time is being managed right now. Obviously, a HUGE part of that is that Mauer is actually healthy, and therefore, available (the 2 stolen bases are a great sign as to how his legs, knees, and back are feeling). But Mauer is catching an appropriate number of games for him, and given that Morneau is certainly not an "everyday first baseman" at this point in the year, it's nice that he's playing some 1B in addition to the occasional DH spot. And he's actually pretty good at 1st base, especially given how little he's played it.

I think "Mauer to 3B" campaign is out-dated. Those cries started when Mauer was still in his mid-20's, when it was assumed we had 5-10 more years of Morneau locked in at 1B, and when there was time to work on it as a permanent move. Mauer is now 29 years old. I absolutely would not throw him out there mid-season without having even tried it, so you're talking about Spring Training and next year at the earliest. Most 3rd baseman who can hit and have PLAYED the position in their formative years as a prospect can play 3B into their mid-30's, but many of them transition to 1B or DH around that time, as well. If you think about the physical demands of 3rd base, I can think of a whole slew of guys (Mike Lowell, Chavez, Rolen, etc.) who had back or other injury issues playing at 3rd base. It isn't a position that requires a lot of range, but you still need lightning quick reflexes, and there is a fair amount of diving and hard charges at the ball. Honestly, if the goal is just "to keep Mauer healthy", I think the current strategy allows us to gradually transition Mauer catching 90-120 games a year, and the sliding that to 80 games, 60 games, etc. as he gets older. And it still keeps him in the lineup at 1B or DH.

Mauer gets a lot of criticism, and a lot of it is completely warranted. But there's this temptation, whether it's because of the huge contract or the fact that Mauer is such a versatile athlete, to try and use Mauer to "fix _________ problem" the Twins are currently having, and that's not necessarily fair. Danny Valencia sucks this year, but that doesn't mean Mauer has to come fill his position.

minn55441
04-23-2012, 12:59 PM
Isn't Sano slotted to play 3B? Why would you want to move Mauer from behind the plate for one year to address a position that will have a solution in 2014?

Sano will not be with the Twin's in 2014. He still needs a lot of work. He has hit a few home runs, but he is far from major league ready.

Keep Danny at 3B until we have a better option. Right now we don't have a better option.

scottz
04-23-2012, 01:01 PM
No. Keep him catching with regular "off" days at 1B and/or DH or even OF again if a scenario comes up where that makes sense. It would be nice to have a real solution at 3B hanging around to perhaps push Valencia some, but I don't think it is Mauer.

Long term, I'm hoping Sano sticks at 3B.

powrwrap
04-23-2012, 01:35 PM
Leaving Mauer at catcher just multiplies the risk that he doesn't earn his contract.

Mauer is earning $23M a year because he is a catcher, and one that can hit .320 - .330. Corner infielders that hit 15 HR a year would not be getting $23M a year.

powrwrap
04-23-2012, 01:40 PM
Keep Danny at 3B until we have a better option. Right now we don't have a better option.

Valencia is, at best, a AAA third baseman. You realize he's hitting .218/.228/.291, very Butera like numbers. Plus he's got 1 walk and 16 strikeouts AND 2 errors in 44 chances. There's got to be another option than trotting those numbers out every day.

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 02:37 PM
I wouldn't be shocked if he could pick up the position within a weekend of taking ground balls prior to some games. However, if you are going to do so he needs to be playing 3rd base close to every day, and frankly at this point he still has a lot more value as a catcher.

I still think Valencia has a decent chance to stick around as a mediocre/average 3rd baseman until Sano is ready (2-3 years). I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet on him.

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 02:42 PM
Valencia is, at best, a AAA third baseman. You realize he's hitting .218/.228/.291, very Butera like numbers. Plus he's got 1 walk and 16 strikeouts AND 2 errors in 44 chances. There's got to be another option than trotting those numbers out every day.

You do understand that all of that is in a very small 57 PA sample size correct? Valencia had a .799 OPS in 2010, and while his numbers in 2011 weren't great by any means his numbers were hurt quite a bit by bad luck (BABIP)

Also, errors are an awful way to determine someones defense. According to the advanced metrics he is basically average defensively at 3rd base.

He's never going to be an all-star or some stud player at 3rd base, but if he can give you a .700-.730 OPS 10-15 HR while playing average defense while being cheap/affordable there is no reason to abandon him so quickly in hopes of over paying some older free agent for the same type of production.

Valencia deserves time, if by the end of June he is still hitting .218/.228/.291 then by all means find someone else.

powrwrap
04-23-2012, 03:46 PM
You do understand that all of that is in a very small 57 PA sample size correct?


Valencia had a .799 OPS in 2010, and while his numbers in 2011 weren't great by any means his numbers were hurt quite a bit by bad luck (BABIP)

He batted .246/.294/.383 last year in 564 ABs. Is that a decent enough sample size for ya? This is what he is. And no, I don't want to settle for a .240 hitter with 12 HRs at 3B.



Also, errors are an awful way to determine someones defense. According to the advanced metrics he is basically average defensively at 3rd base.

According to my eyeballs, he sucks.




He's never going to be an all-star or some stud player at 3rd base, but if he can give you a .700-.730 OPS 10-15 HR while playing average defense while being cheap/affordable there is no reason to abandon him so quickly in hopes of over paying some older free agent for the same type of production.


I said nothing about paying an older free agent guy. I said there's got to be someone, anyone else out there. Some other team's AAA player that is blocked at the big league level. Anything.


Valencia deserves time, if by the end of June he is still hitting .218/.228/.291 then by all means find someone else.

I wouldn't want to live with that 'production' for another 2 months. He's not going to get much better.

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 03:54 PM
He batted .246/.294/.383 last year in 564 ABs. Is that a decent enough sample size for ya? This is what he is. And no, I don't want to settle for a .240 hitter with 12 HRs at 3B.
You must have missed the part where I said, it wasn't great but his numbers were hurt by bad luck. From 2010/2011 his BB/K ratio stayed the same, ISO stayed the same, his GB/FB and LD rates all stayed basically the same as well. His BABIP fell 70+ points! That indicates he was a product of bad luck. I don't think he is the 2010 .799 OPS type guy, but there is no reason why he can't hit for a .700-.720 line moving forward.





According to my eyeballs, he sucks.
According to advanced metrics, professional scouts and numerous other eye balls he rates right around "average" not "sucks" Sorry if I will take those words, stats over your "eyes" and errors.


I said nothing about paying an older free agent guy. I said there's got to be someone, anyone else out there. Some other team's AAA player that is blocked at the big league level. Anything.
Like....who exactly?




I wouldn't want to live with that 'production' for another 2 months. He's not going to get much better.
I wouldn't either, but all signs point to him hitting much better.

USAFChief
04-23-2012, 03:58 PM
Mauer is earning $23M a year because he is a catcher, and one that can hit .320 - .330. Corner infielders that hit 15 HR a year would not be getting $23M a year.

I see this line of reasoning often. Yes, in some make believe Fan graphs alternate universe it'd be nice to get those numbers from a catcher. It'd be nice if he could catch 150 games a year too. In the real world, keeping him at catcher only increases the chances of him never coming close to earning $23m per year over the course of his contract. Move him before he's any more of a shell of his former self than he already is. How much was he worth last year as a catcher? Players not on the field don't earn that kind of money either. Unfortunately you still have to pay them.

USAFChief
04-23-2012, 04:02 PM
As for spirit of Dave...if I read you correctly, Valencia's 2010 wasn't the result of good luck, but 2011 WAS the result of bad luck. Do I have that correct?

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 04:05 PM
I see this line of reasoning often. Yes, in some make believe Fan graphs alternate universe it'd be nice to get those numbers from a catcher. It'd be nice if he could catch 150 games a year too. In the real world, keeping him at catcher only increases the chances of him never coming close to earning $23m per year over the course of his contract. Move him before he's any more of a shell of his former self than he already is. How much was he worth last year as a catcher? Players not on the field don't earn that kind of money either. Unfortunately you still have to pay them.
Though I have always disagreed with your "Mauer must move now" stance, I do think you bring up some good points.

Also it should be pointed out that Mauer has a career 134 OPS+, that kind of offensive production would certainly play at 3rd base and he would instantly be one of the top 5 offensive 3rd baseman in the league. (Along with Longoria, Hanley and Miggy-if he sticks)
And while it may not be worth exactly "$23 M a year" it is important to note that Beltre (110 OPS+) makes 18 mil a year currently.

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 04:08 PM
As for spirit of Dave...if I read you correctly, Valencia's 2010 wasn't the result of good luck, but 2011 WAS the result of bad luck. Do I have that correct?
As I mentioned, I don't think he is a .799 OPS type guy, so yeah, he prob had a little good luck in 2010, however his BABIP in 2010 more or less matched the same he had in AA/AAA, so with everything else in consideration he is closer to the player he was in 2010 then he was in 2011.

edavis0308
04-23-2012, 04:11 PM
As I mentioned, I don't think he is a .799 OPS type guy, so yeah, he prob had a little good luck in 2010, however his BABIP in 2010 more or less matched the same he had in AA/AAA, so with everything else in consideration he is closer to the player he was in 2010 then he was in 2011.

Not to defend Valencia's crappy year last year, but he self admitedly was swinging a lot harder for the fences to try to compenstate for the terrible offense and it hurt his overall numbers also.

Riverbrian
04-23-2012, 04:14 PM
Also, errors are an awful way to determine someones defense. According to the advanced metrics he is basically average defensively at 3rd base.


I agree with you 100 percent and disagree with your sentiment at the same time. Errors are a bad way to determine to determine defensive ability. Too many bad defensive plays happen without an error scored for the official books. Advanced Metrics are also a bad way to determine defensive ability because you can't control the amount of balls hit to you and the position of the balls hit to you.

Personally, I won't look at any defensive stats with Velencia. I've watched Baseball long enough and I have watched Velencia play the position. It isn't the amount of errors that he makes... It's the kind of errors he makes. He doesn't move his feet well enough for the major leagues. He let's the ball play him instead of playing the ball too many times. He settles for waiting and reaching. This is a mental thing and I want to be clear that I didn't notice it with him in 2010. He was a little more eager to prove himself that year(this is my opinion... Just a guess) Now 2011 and so far in 2012. He has been defensively lazy and brutal too many times and doesn't make enough diving plays in the field or hit well enough to make up for his defensive mistakes.

Offensively...

2010... I thought his numbers suggested nice potential.
2011... I thought his numbers suggested a lack of adjustment to the adjustments made to him. Everything is charted and available to other teams. Pitchers will pitch to locations that he struggles with. Defense will move to areas that he tends to hit toward. He didn't adjust!
2012... Small sample size but it isn't looking good so far.

There is potential with Velencia... Don't throw him away... Bench him for a stretch and tell him why he is being benched. If Burroughs or Plouffe steps up and takes over the job. It might provide some motivation to improve his discipline. Maybe that will improve his output in 2013.

powrwrap
04-23-2012, 04:14 PM
According to advanced metrics, professional scouts and numerous other eye balls he rates right around "average" not "sucks" Sorry if I will take those words, stats over your "eyes" and errors.

Just look at his mechanics and his footwork. He's terrible.



Like....who exactly?

I don't know. Who's playing third base at the AAA level for the Rays, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mets, the Marlins, etc. Those teams are set at 3B. I'm sure there are others.

powrwrap
04-23-2012, 04:17 PM
I've watched Baseball long enough and I have watched Velencia play the position. It isn't the amount of errors that he makes... It's the kind of errors he makes. He doesn't move his feet well enough for the major leagues. He let's the ball play him instead of playing the ball too many times. He settles for waiting and reaching.

EXACTLY. He also likes to try to back hand balls he could get in front of. The guy is in the major leagues so I doubt he's suddenly going to learn to fix these problems.

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 04:25 PM
I don't know. Who's playing third base at the AAA level for the Rays, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mets, the Marlins, etc. Those teams are set at 3B. I'm sure there are others.
Who are playing third base at the AAA level for those teams?
I don't keep up to date with those farm systems, I know Dominguez is with the Marlins but he won't come cheap.

Also, if one of them have a stud in waiting, it's not like they are just going to give them up for nothing. If the Twins are going to make a trade for any type of young player I'd personally prefer it being a SP with a high upside or a middle infielder.

I have still yet to hear the suggestion from you of the player we can get cheaply who will be so much better than Valencia.

Dilligaf69
04-23-2012, 04:34 PM
Why not have him available out of the pen on his off days while we're at it, maybe help out the grounds crew after games.

powrwrap
04-23-2012, 04:42 PM
Who are playing third base at the AAA level for those teams?

I have still yet to hear the suggestion from you of the player we can get cheaply who will be so much better than Valencia.


http://www.fangraphs.com/minorleaders.aspx?pos=3b&stats=bat&lg=2,4&qual=y&type=0&season=2011&team=0&players=

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 04:53 PM
http://www.fangraphs.com/minorleaders.aspx?pos=3b&stats=bat&lg=2,4&qual=y&type=0&season=2011&team=0&players=

I know where to find them...thanks bud. I'm asking you, since you seem to think we can just grab one so easily to please name ONE, just one 3rd baseman we can go out and get cheaply who will be such a clear upgrade over Valencia.

CDog
04-23-2012, 10:42 PM
I don't know. Who's playing third base at the AAA level for the Rays, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mets, the Marlins, etc. Those teams are set at 3B. I'm sure there are others.

So your suggestion is calling up someone from another organization's farm system?

Riverbrian
04-23-2012, 10:45 PM
So your suggestion is calling up someone from another organization's farm system?

It would be real cool if it worked that way. I'm calling up that Arenado kid from the Rockies Org.

BTW. I've been outspoken on my opinion of Velencia. Put the homer aside. He got a cookie on that one. It doesn't matter. Regardless of the home run. He had a nice game moving his feet in the field.

Man does he have to lay off the low and away pitch. He won't see anything else for awhile... Until he can.

Ultima Ratio
04-23-2012, 11:08 PM
I like the Mauer rotation so far this year (C, 1B, DH). After watching Doumit for years in Pittsuburgh, I'd say he's playing a good defensive C because he's healthy, which he was not for the Bucs. I like this tandem behind the plate, and no third catcher. Instead of Mauer at 3B, I like to see Burroughs platoon against more RH pitchers and give Valencia days off to think about his approach at the plate. I don't know what to do about position players. I really think they are playing okay now. It's the pitching that kills this team. Until that's fixed, where and how to play people is an ancillary concern.

SpiritofVodkaDave
04-23-2012, 11:41 PM
So your suggestion is calling up someone from another organization's farm system?

Heh, nice.

I don't think anyone is saying Valencia is some sure thing great baseball player, but on the list of Twins needs he is rather far down on this list, somewhere behind SP,SP, SP, RP,RP,RP,RP, 2B, SS, RF