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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.

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#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.

#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.
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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

"You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." -- Jim Bouton, "Ball Four"


#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

#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?