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  • Mauer Making a Statement?

    The Twins have played 18 games this year, and Joe Mauer has been in the starting lineup for every single one. That's right – you might not have noticed, but the embattled catcher has not taken a day off this season after missing half of the 2011 campaign due to various ailments.

    This is the longest Mauer has even gone into a season without stopping to rest, and it's not like the early schedule has been particularly forgiving, with only one day off and plenty of travel. Granted, Mauer has been catching much less frequently than normal -- he's been behind the plate for only 10 games -- but nevertheless, this iron man stands in stark contrast to the guy who last year drew the ire of media, fans and reportedly even some teammates for his inability or unwillingness to stay on the field.

    It seems that No. 7 is making a statement.

    Fortunately, his bat is starting to back up that message. Mauer stumbled out to a slow start, batting .242 with a .675 OPS and nearly as many GIDP (4) as RBI (5) through Minnesota's first nine games. Since the start of the Yankees series, however, Mauer is hitting .382/.475/.471 with three doubles and five walks. He's stopped putting everything on the ground and he's even stolen a couple bases – an indication that his legs are feeling pretty good. He's struck out just three times in his past 46 plate appearances.

    Mauer's overall production hasn't been extraordinary, but it's extremely encouraging to see him pushing his batting average up over .300 and consistently taking quality at-bats. April is historically one of his quieter months, so if he can continue to heat up as the weather does the same, he could find himself once again grouped with the league's top hitters.

    The Twins have already had plenty of things go wrong this year, but getting Mauer back on track was always the top priority. It appears that he's well on his way, and Ron Gardenhire deserves credit for moving him around and keeping him fresh enough to take the field each day.
    This article was originally published in blog: Mauer Making a Statement? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 43 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      There were plenty of pitchers available in the offseason, and they signed marquis...and cut payroll. So, it isn't that they want to get guys and none were available, they chose not to sign them.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      1.) We knew all along that from a strictly baseball standpoint, the contract would never make sense, but we also all know that the Twins had to sign him or moving into Target Field may have been a mess.

      2.) The money is spent. They can't un-do it. They can't alter it. It is what it is at this point.

      3.) If the Twins have a $95 Million payroll this year, and Joe Mauer is $23 million of it, there is still another $72 million to spend, and Terry Ryan has build playoff teams on less than that. The Mauer contract is just an excuse.

      4.) The Twins have given long-term contracts to several players. Sometimes it has worked (Hunter, Santana, Radke, Nathan's first one), and some haven't (Blackburn's, Nathan's second one).
      I'm on board with all of this except I would't consider a four year deal long term. The quality of player who sings a four year deal is usually quite different from the type that sign seven year deals.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Mauer is worth every penny!
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