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  • Ron Gardenhire discusses Joe Mauer's decision

    The Twins surprised everyone yesterday but announcing that Joe Mauer has made the decision to relocate to first base after spending his career as one of the game’s best two-way catchers.

    Comments from Twins general manager Terry Ryan in October made it clear that the team was not totally anticipating Mauer’s move as they entered the planning season for 2014. In his address to the media yesterday, Mauer mentioned that there were occasions that he would take a foul tip and it extremely difficult for him to perform, even mentioning at one point that he had troubles feeling his hands gripping the bat after suffering his concussion.

    The move early in the offseason will allow the front office to address the issues that arise, namely finding another catcher. On MLBNetwork Radio’s Power Alley yesterday manager Ron Gardenhire shared his thoughts on the decision.

    In regards to how the decision was made:

    “It was always talked about, you know, because of the concussion thing and injuries and that catchers take a beating like that and how valuable he is to the organization but ultimately you come down and you talk to the player and he talks with his family and a lot of decisions are made around with what is right for the organization and Joe and, you know what, Joe decided that he liked to do this, he wanted to make this move and we are happy with that. Our number one goal is to get him into the ballgame and keep him in there and with some of the injuries that catchers have been coming up with lately this is a good move for our organization just for the fact that we might be able to keep him on the field a little bit more.”
    On how Joe Mauer was handling this:

    “I haven’t honestly talked to Joe other than when he won the Silver Slugger. I fired him a text – as we all do now – and told him congratulations and asked him how the kids were doing. Terry [Ryan] had been in conversation with him at the end of the season and Terry said he was going to sit down and talk with Joe and Joe talked to his family, Terry threw it at him and wanted his thoughts on it and now Joe came back and said I think that is the right thing to do.

    You got to understand, Joe loves catching. He’s always loved being a catcher, he loves running the ballgame back there and there’s not a better one around as far as offense, defense, the whole package. He understands how valuable he is to have him on the field and how much we miss him. This is a good thing; this is a guy who is kind of swallowing his pride a little bit as far as catching goes and saying I want to play first base and I need to be on the field for this baseball team and that’s pretty unselfish of him.”
    On Mauer’s ability to play first base:

    “I’ll just put it this way, it’s not that easy. He makes it look pretty easy. He’s got long arms, long legs and he can reach out and pick balls. You know what, he’ll get better and better but he’s pretty doggone good as he’s got really soft hands and he learned the cuts offs and relays. Being able to have Justin [Morneau] over there and helping him through the ropes for the time that he did play over there was huge with Mornie – helping him out and going through it and talking through different things.

    He’s pretty polished over there, he’s just a great athlete and he can handle so many different things you can throw at him, like I said, we’re lucky to have the guy. This is a big move for the organization, he’s an all-star catcher and he’s going to step over and play first base.”
    On who will replace Mauer behind the plate:

    “We’ve got options. We’ve got some in-house candidates with [Ryan] Doumit and [Josmil] Pinto, who you saw at the end of the year, we’ve got some pretty nice looking players and there’s free agents out there, there’s no doubt. We’re going to look and see what the best fit is and what works. You got to remember that Doumit has gone through some concussion things too so we’re definitely going to watch that situation closely here. We’re going to find a good catcher to step in there. Like I said, Pinto at the end, whether he’s ready to do this full time or not, I’m not positive, but he’s a nice looking young kid. So we have some options, now it’s just we are going to make the decisions on which way to go here. And if you need to get together, I’ve been talking with Terry off and on pretty much every two or three days and now we have a little bit better direction here, with Mauer’s decisions being made, now we know what we need to go do and what we can look for and what holes we need to fill, that’s one less of them, and one more with the catcher’s situation.”
    This article was originally published in blog: Ron Gardenhire discusses Joe Mauer's decision started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      They also have enough payroll flexibility that they can sign a stopgap and work on a long-term solution.

      The best thing about all of this is that Mauer made the decision NOW rather than two months from now, or worse yet, in spring training or during the season.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      One of the best ever.. tip o' the cap and many more good years to come.


      Attachment 6014

      http://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/...t_gardner.html
    1. Pjmcnally's Avatar
      Pjmcnally -
      I really hope Doumit does spend much (or any) time behind the plate. I hope they go get a older catcher to help Pinto and catch some days.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pjmcnally View Post
      I really hope Doumit does spend much (or any) time behind the plate. I hope they go get a older catcher to help Pinto and catch some days.
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      They also have enough payroll flexibility that they can sign a stopgap and work on a long-term solution..
      The market is getting really crazy out there. Allegedly Ruiz turned down a 2 year / $20 million offer. If this is the case the only "veteran" catcher to protect Pinto would be Doumit or Fryer (I know.) At least Butera was traded.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      I wonder why Herrmann isn't getting steam as an option at catcher. He caught 80 games in 2012 and 67 total between the MLB and AAA last year.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by clutterheart View Post
      I wonder why Herrmann isn't getting steam as an option at catcher. He caught 80 games in 2012 and 67 total between the MLB and AAA last year.
      People are basically writing him off even though he is still getting used to the league. I think he can be a high-600s OPS guy, which for a backup catcher/fifth outfielder is not bad when coupled with average defense.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Pinto's total year last year was ridiculously good offensively and he is just a bit below and average defensive catcher. Herrmann is a slightly above average defensive catcher now and will become an average offensive backup catcher. Why spend money on this instead of starting pitching . . . blows my mind.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Pinto's total year last year was ridiculously good offensively and he is just a bit below and average defensive catcher.

      Short. Sample. Size. And you are mistaken, in that short sample size he was actually very bad defensively according to the stats.

      I will say it again, there is a reason why the Twins:
      1. Had Pinto DH half of his games at AA.
      2. Are actively looking for a C on the Free Agent Market.

      They realize that Pinto frankly isn't good enough defensively to be the every day C, again, he does have the potential to be a "better" Doumit as a guy who can catch when needed and DH when needed, but I think people need to start to realize that it's highly unlikely that Pinto becomes the every day catcher.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      And by "every day catcher" you mean...plays 120 games at the position...
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      The defensive (MLB) stats...are a small. sample. size. as well if you're considering the range factor, rtot, rdrs, etc.

      He had only 1/8th of a season defensively. Can be trends with that as far as the putouts, assists, etc.

      Salty only threw out 21% of baserunners, allowed a MLB high, 89 SB, yet he's the 'every day catcher' (121 games caught) for the World Champions.
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