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

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:20 AM

The Minnesota Twins' Dustin Morse announced via Twitter that the Twins will officially move Joe Mauer from catcher to first base for the 2014 season.

In October, general manager Terry Ryan told Twins Daily in his offseason interview that the team was not planning for Mauer to move away from behind the plate and the transition from catching to first may ultimately have been Joe Mauer's decision.

"I'm not preparing for anything different than we prepared for last year," Ryan said. "That decision's still coming down to whether or not he wants to catch for sure. The good thing is he's, I would say, he's 95 percent right now, which is good. That's a decision that's going to come down on whether or not he wants to stay back there, and how much he wants to stay back there, and how much he wants to stay back there. But right now I'm preparing for him to be back there."

The move obviously opens up questions as to the team's plans for catcher in 2014. Veteran Ryan Doumit also suffered a concussion that removed him from the position at the end of the year and Josmil Pinto, while promising in September, is still learning.

Although Pinto's character and coachability have been lauded, there still is work defensively, said Ryan.

"There were days that I was a little concerned. With any kid that comes up, you're not going to have a polished product," Ryan noted.

In addition to Doumit and Pinto, Ryan mentioned minor leaguer Eric Fryer as a player who contributed positively in 2013, albeit at the minor league level, and there are several free agent catching options available on the market.

The team's official press release cites that while Mauer is symptom free from the concussion suffered late 2013, the increasingly inherent dangers of the position necessitated the move.

#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:21 AM

I can't check Twitter from work. Is this legit?

If so, great move, imo.
Lighten up Francis....

#3 Jdosen

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:29 AM

I like the move as I think the value hit of moving to 1B full time is worth the lowered risk of more concussions.
I just started the blog Troy Williamson's Hands which is about MN sports and whatever else I want to write--you can find it at http://troywilliamso...s.blogspot.com/
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#4 Mr. Ed

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:35 AM

Press conference this afternoon to discuss.

#5 Smcginnity

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:36 AM

Well, now we no longer need to worry about finding a FA first baseman :)

AND, we get to see Pinto all the time!

#6 Parker Hageman

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:37 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...s-to-first-base

#7 D. Hocking

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:38 AM

Twitter is pretty active with this. Too bad the concussion happened, would have liked his to do a couple more years (gradually playing more and more first base), maybe get another gold glove and all-star start. Still, probably the right move after the concussion and might even extend his career a few years with less wear and tear on his knees etc. Will be interesting to see how or if his numbers changed. I think it is most likely best for the team, but it must be a little bittersweet for Joe to have to finally give it up, although even pre-concussion he was dropping hints in interviews that he knew his time at catcher had an end date.

#8 Shane Wahl

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:40 AM

If that then-deemed "harmless" quote about Fryer ends up meaning that guy is even considered an option, I am going to go back to that thread and say "told you so!"

Chris Herrmann will get better. Pinto can learn on the job. Mauer can be the emergency catcher. Signing some guy is pretty silly given it is unlikely he will be better than a Pinto/Herrmann combination.

#9 jctwins

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:41 AM

What exactly do they need to hold a press conference for?

#10 Shane Wahl

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:46 AM

Moving Mauer to first is fine, especially if the other pieces in the chain reaction provide good value. If Eric "no future in the MLB" Fryer gets ample time catching, Ryan Doumit DHs, and Josh Willingham continues playing LF, that is NOT good value. At all. It is helpful that now Mauer basically only very rarely has to DH. That's true. And I imagine he will become a top to near-top defensive first baseman.

#11 Winston Smith

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:48 AM

100% correct thing to do. Now sign AJ! :D

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:51 AM

this makes one of my controversial parts of my offseason plan not so controversial....

good move.
1. They are not likley to make the playoffs next year, so why risk his health in another lost season?
2. Pinto might be good. They can find a better pitch framer if they need one.
3. He has a chance to be a great defensive 1B
Lighten up Francis....

#13 Tibs

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:52 AM

What catchers out there would be better than a mix of Pinto/Herrmann and Doumit?

#14 raindog

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:55 AM

Yeah, I love the move. His health is too important from a personal standpoint, and to the team. His bat plays anywhere.

#15 raindog

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:58 AM

Since Herrmann will be probably be playing some outfield, the Twins will no doubt be carrying a third catcher. Dear God, don't let it be Fryer.

Maybe Doumit will still play catcher, though. I have a feeling they'll play it smart with him, too.

#16 gunnarthor

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:00 AM

Well, hopefully this lets Mauer play in a 150+ games next year. And it at least gives the team some certainty going forward. I'm not sold on Pinto but I don't think they have a lot of other options. A Pinto/Doumit combo will have some pop, if nothing else.

#17 jay

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:06 AM

Can't say I thought this would actually happen (yet)...

We now have the equivalent of John Olerud for the next 5 years at $23M per. I'm not sure that's such a great thing.

#18 Zephrin

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:10 AM

In my head, this makes sense. Emotionally, I'm feeling let down.

#19 twinsin17

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:10 AM

Good to see the organization make a decisive move and put the issue to rest. Hopefully the move to first keeps Mauer on the field and off the DL.

#20 Zephrin

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:25 AM

Building off, Jay's sentiment - As a catcher he is a perennial all-star, and arguably the best at his position in the game. (instinct was super-star, but realistically he hasn't been at that level for a couple years.) His 2013 .880 OPS was about 50 points higher than the next catcher. Huge. There are 5 1B with .900+ OPS (ok, I'm cheating a bit 'cause Freeman was only .897, but all signs point to him still entering his prime.) He gets a 2014 All-Star invite because MN is hosting, but beyond that?

#21 Zephrin

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:35 AM

Mauer has accrued WAR at approximately 4.4 per year for his career - I believe that puts him behind only Johnny Bench for catchers (pace, not overall). Is there someone on this board that can figure out what Mauer's WAR would have been as a 1B? (Or I guess we would have to make oWAR comparisons at C and 1B cause it probably isn't fair to factor in dWAR...)

#22 jay

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:45 AM

I'm in agreement with the idea of your point, but I'm not sure converting his WAR directly to 1B values is fair either. The whole idea of the move is that he'll stay healthier and more productive by not catching. It'll be interesting to see how his production responds to this.

#23 LoganJones

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 11:59 AM

What catchers out there would be better than a mix of Pinto/Herrmann and Doumit?


Pinto and AJ?

#24 nicksaviking

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:06 PM

Mauer has been pretty stubborn about a move previously. the doctors at the Mayo must have been pretty convincing.

Like previous posters have suggested, I really don't like the power translation at 1B.

Hopefully this move helps from a historical perspective. Perhaps it will aid him in winning another batting title and help in reaching 3,000 hits. Those are personal numbers and don't mean much in terms of winning games but the part of I still enjoy seeing those individual victories.

#25 Rosterman

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:09 PM

<span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Why would the Twins need to carry a third catcher. Mauer, if he even plays a dozen games behind the plate during the year, can now be that third catcher if needed. At bthe most, I might still drag him behind the plate for the next couple of years to catch his one favorite starter.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Doumit is a DH. Bench guy. Emergency catcher if your real one goes down. </span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Herrmann is the decent bench guy/backup when Doumit leaves.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Pinto will need a but more seasoning.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">So, if the Twins have money to burn -- bring back A.J.</span><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><br style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Let's see...A.J., Santana, add Neshek to the bullpen with Crain, let's grab Garrett Jones in place of both Parmelee and Colabello, Bartlett shines and starts at shortstop until the Twins resign Hardy for 2015. Maybe we need to get Casilla and Valencia back and trade Worley back for Revere or go after Span since both centerfielders seem to be on the market. Just like old times! Give a million to Kubel. Justin will be standing in the wings yelling, "Hey, remember me!?"</span>

#26 PseudoSABR

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:23 PM

I'll be interested to see if the move from catching has an affect on Mauer's hitting, especially his power, which generally, is said to come from the legs, as they should be far better rested.

Unfortunately, (imho), this move likely nixes any chance for Morneau to resign (unless Doumit or Willingham is traded).

#27 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:23 PM

I'm sure I'm not alone with my first thought was, "Man, am I glad they didn't cut Eric Fryer from the 40-man!" <br><br>On a serious note, good for the Twins for recognizing this as a major issue and making the move sooner rather than too late.

#28 PseudoSABR

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:39 PM

Darren Wolfson ‏@DarrenWolfson 2m For those saying the #MNTwins are fine w/ Pinto/Herrmann/Doumit: Told they've reached out on Saltalamacchia & at least one other FA catcher.

#29 nicksaviking

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:41 PM

Mauer has been pretty stubborn about a move previously. The doctors at the Mayo must have been pretty convincing.

Like previous posters have suggested, I really don't like the power translation at 1B.

Hopefully this move helps from a historical perspective. Perhaps it will aid him in winning another batting title and help in reaching 3,000 hits. Those are personal numbers and don't mean much in terms of winning games but I still enjoy seeing those individual victories.

Edited by nicksaviking, 11 November 2013 - 12:59 PM.


#30 D. Hocking

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 12:52 PM

Interesting about Saltalamacchia - I think McCann also is going free agent. I was initially surprised that they made the formal decision so soon, but it does help them try to work on the roster without Mauer being a wildcard. Plus it will be one less media issue hanging over the club.

I was reading the Yahoo comments on the Mauer story. I might be biased, but it makes you appreciate the comments on this board all the more. The Yahoo comments are not exactly not exactly well thought out (and tend to be a little more half glass empty...).