05-21-2012, 10:12 PM #21
Valencia is having a nice run at Rochester right now. His average is up to .293, and he hit his second homer tonight.
05-21-2012, 10:17 PM #22
Mauer isn't going to move to third base unless 1) he volunteers to do it. EXTREMELY UNLIKELY. 2) There are no in-house options. Well, besides Valencia there aren't. 3) There is a capable replacement at catcher. No, Drew Butera's hot 25 ABs have not convinced me that he would be able to stay above the Mendoza line. Mauer has said that he wants to catch. Being a catcher is why he was paid all of that money. He should be the best guide when he needs to change positions.
05-21-2012, 11:49 PM #23
What about right field? He has OK speed and a strong arm -- maybe he could get a lot of assists. And right field would allow him to stay loose between ABs.
05-22-2012, 12:10 AM #24
05-22-2012, 12:30 AM #25
If anyone in the Twins organization thinks Sano is "too tall" to play 3rd base. Fire that person. Plenty of successful tall 3rd sackers over the decades. Height has very little to do with it. Athleticism is what you are looking for. Joe has that.
If anyone thinks The quick reaction for Joe at 3b should be an injury risk to Joe or something he can't handle. Just try reacting and blocking a 90 mph slider in the dirt and well off the plate from a squat position. Much harder task and Joe does that.
If anyone thinks that his contract value is tied to playing catcher. Maybe but does it matter to the Twins and how they stand right now. You gotta get your best on the field and the hole at 3B is huge.
Mauer could be an amazing defensive 3B over time.
Under normal circumstances I'd say wait for next year give Joe the Winter and Grapefruit to work it out. If this season doesn't turn around, I'd say why not. Give him the job and start on the job.. It would give him some additional positional flexibility.
Let Plouffe run with it a little while and if the season stays crappy and Plouffe doesnt grab it. Give Joe the 3B job at the all star break and say have at it.
If it doesn't work. You will have the off season to get things back to normal. It's a dumb idea when chasing a pennant. Its a certainly possible idea when you are way out of it.
Honestly it's something that should have been done a few years ago.
Oh yeah... One more thing... If Joe doesn't agree to it. Tough!!! He makes enough money to deal with it.
05-22-2012, 12:41 AM #26
05-22-2012, 12:42 AM #27
Drew Butera is quite an athlete. His spontaneous success at relief pitcher did not look like an accident to me. It looked like he had good pop on his FB, good movement on all his pitches and reasonable control. Obviously he was balking from the set, but that can be corrected in one lesson. It would take a little longer to stabilize his delivery to avoid those high heaters, but again it's not a huge deal when your delivery is so short and so out front. Impressive, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him out there again.
As for Mauer at 3rd, it would take him one week to get the basics, and in two weeks he'd be making the bare-hand play on bunts. Oh, and Mauer could step in and pitch, too.
05-22-2012, 01:01 AM #28
05-22-2012, 01:17 AM #29
It's not a lost season yet, Lots of baseball to be played.
05-22-2012, 03:30 AM #30
05-22-2012, 07:23 AM #31
Brandon Inge and Johnny Bench have made that transition from C to 3B. Inge did it well. Ripken, Zimmerman, Rolen, these are tall, strong guys who played 3B, but they were all SS growing up, infielders, so they had been fielding ground balls their whole life. Mauer was a tremendous athlete in high school, and still remains a good athlete, but I really think people need to temper their thoughts on how easy they seem to think that such a transition would be. I'm not against trying it, but it needs to make sense and they can't just throw him out there.
05-22-2012, 07:52 AM #32
For people citing bigger third basemen, you have to realize that none of them were/are transitioning to the position from catcher. There is a big difference even in how one's muscles are trained. The difference between Zimmerman, Rolen, and Mauer in that regard is obvious.
Let's say Mauer moves to third and has a bit of a tough adjustment for sometime in the field. Maybe it also affects him at the plate . . . I for one would avoid even coming to TD so as to avoid the irrational pro-booing nonsense articles and the even worse irrational anti-Mauer (and/or his contract) threads from those who would start out saying "for $23 million, he should be able to simply move to any position the team needs" blah blah blah.
05-22-2012, 09:07 AM #33
He'd be fine at 3rd base where the two most important skils are:
1. Quick reaction time (Mauer Possess this)
2. Strong Accurate arm
Range obviously helps as well, but I don't see that being an issue with him.
05-22-2012, 09:47 AM #34
05-22-2012, 10:19 AM #35
The guy was a two (almost 3) sport phenom in high school, he could have played pro football or baseball but chose baseball, to suggest an athlete of his ability would have trouble adjusting to 3rd base is ridiculous. You guys are over-analyzing this, we're talking about playing 3rd base, not building rockets.
05-22-2012, 10:25 AM #36
05-22-2012, 11:07 AM #37
Well, he sure isn't a 1B. The Twins don't get much value from him if he's scooping balls out of the dirt. He's much more of an asset if he can play 3B and that's the main reason it's worth a shot. There is no depth at the position and no long term solution for the mess that it is. Sano is struggling now and it will take him a while to make the majors. I am a firm believer that Miguel Sano is going to have to make a position change anyway, because his defense there is simply terrible and he doesn't seem to be a natural fit.
05-22-2012, 11:14 AM #38
05-22-2012, 11:36 AM #39
Yup. The real question is "can he field ground balls?" Fielding ground balls, and turning them into outs is a different and much more difficult skill than catching the ball in the air. Nobody (at least here) should be making claims about whether he can or can't do that. But...he's looked good at first, which is encouraging, and he's definitely got the athleticism and arm to make the transition. And there remains the absolutes: it would be much easier on his health and would be likely to keep him in the lineup more without having to move him around, which creates its own set of issues. Mauer is already not a full time catcher. Make the move while you still can.
Oh, and the "people might boo" nonsense is ... nonsense. Who cares? They're already doing so anyway, for that matter.
05-22-2012, 12:56 PM #40
Saying "Mauer can do it!" is basically like saying "Anyone can do it!". I don't understand the upside. Suppose Mauer moved to 3rd base, and did it as well as Miguel Cabrera this year (not even a fair comparison, since 3B WAS Cabrera's original position). What does this solve?
(1) Mauer isn't a "plus" bat at 3rd base. Not trying to be a troll here, but much like at 1st base, there are plenty of legit power bats at 3rd. Mauer is comparable to Chris Johnson, in his present state.
(2) There's no star player at catcher that necessitated the move. This argument might have made sense if we had Buster Posey or even Ramos in the organization, but not now.
(3) Mauer is 29 years old. 3rd base isn't the "safest" position to play. There's a lot of diving and hard physical charging for bunts, etc. And that's assuming you don't take liners off the face. You'd be forcing a move to a new position that certainly does not prolong his career in any meaningful way, and with his body already "turning the corner", it's tough to imagine you'd want him there in a few years anyway.