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

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#61 kab21

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 05:42 PM

I understand this but I still don't like it. I think this is a bigger blow to the rebuilding process than most seem to think. It would've been nice to have him at a premium position in the early stages of our hopeful resurgence.


I disagree and think it's beneficial to the rebuilding. It's finalized and the Twins can start making other moves with Mauer set in one position instead of not being able to sign player X (like Abreu) to a longish contract because they have to keep the spot open for Mauer in 1 or 2 or 3 or X number of years. And this is exactly the reason that the Twins had zero interest in Abreu (imo).

this move also makes it more likely that Mauer is still really valuable during the Twins resurgence.

#62 clutterheart

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:18 PM

Good for Joe
Best for his long term future and family.
Big bummer for the team though.
His "value" goes down significantly and it makes his contract much too high

#63 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:24 PM

I am very pleased the position change has finally happened. I totally understand the disappointment of the people who wanted Mauer to remain at catcher a few more years - it is rare to have such an extraordinary hitter play catcher and play it well.

We have probably seen Mauer's best offensive season (2009), but in my heart of hearts I do not believe we have seen his second or maybe even third best season offensively.

Playing 1B will enable him raise the bar offensively and if I were a betting man, I predict there is a handful of .900+ OPS seasons in wait - and dare I say one or two more 20+ HR seasons.

I am looking forward to it.

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.


#64 TopGunn#22

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:39 PM

This is the right move. It was bound to happen sometime and now it's sooner rather than later. A vet catcher (preferably one that hits LH) would be a perfect bridge for Pinto and his continued development. As was pointed out elsewhere, Mauer is a monster at on base percentage. His power may even take a slight uptick absent the wear and tear of catcher. This is a good thing.

#65 TheLeviathan

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 06:41 PM

I disagree and think it's beneficial to the rebuilding. It's finalized and the Twins can start making other moves with Mauer set in one position instead of not being able to sign player X (like Abreu) to a longish contract because they have to keep the spot open for Mauer in 1 or 2 or 3 or X number of years. And this is exactly the reason that the Twins had zero interest in Abreu (imo).

this move also makes it more likely that Mauer is still really valuable during the Twins resurgence.


I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it wasn't Abreu's position that was the reason the Twins didn't pursue him.

Further, it absolutely hurts the rebuilding. Whatever small, I'd argue trivial, distinction there is in knowing what position Mauer is playing is exponentially out-weighed by taking his bat away from a premium position. This will hurt the team's offense now and in the future. They could overcome it certainly, but it's yet another hurdle to a team with quite a few in their path already.

Hopefully they overcome it, but anyone who says they weren't hoping two or three years ago to rebuild the team around an elite player at a premium position is lying. That was one of the Twins most advantageous factors in rebuilding - they had a young star at a difficult position to fill already in the fold. Now they don't.

#66 snepp

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:10 PM

Fangraphs: Joe Mauer, First-Tier First Baseman




#67 stringer bell

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:21 PM

After Mauer's concussion, I went 100% onboard with him moving full-time to first base. I echo what many have said here that having him play first for 140+ games is better than having him catch 80, DH 25 and play first for 20. I think Mauer's offense will tick up a bit, that the catchers will hit about league average.

#68 beckmt

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:26 PM

It is for the best. Probably means that both Pinto and Herrmann make the club if the Twins do not sign a veteran catcher. Also probably means the Collabello and Parmelee do not. Twins may have to trade Doumit if they want to keep Collabello. Expect Willingham, Pressley, and Arcia to be the Twins OF with Mastro as the fourth outfielder to start. When Willingham is traded than Sano will come out and Plouffe could platoon in right with Arcia moving to left. Team will have many changes next year.

#69 John Bonnes

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:37 PM

Fangraphs: Joe Mauer, First-Tier First Baseman




Thanks for posting this link snepp. It's a good story, if anyone wants to click ver.

If Joe thinks it's the right thing to do, then it's necessary and the right thing to do. But let's not kid ourselves into thinking this is a positive development for the team or for Mauer professionally.

This year at catcher, Mauer's 880 OPS ranked 1st. At first base it ranked 6th. At catcher, Mauer is a Hall-of-Famer. At first base, it's not totally clear he's an All-Star.

I'm not worried about the money or the contract - I don't see any evidence that if the Twins had an extra $10M that they would spend it anyway. But that catcher position suddenly has a lot of eggs in Josmil Pinto's basket. If he and Doumit don't thrive, that position could become an absolute sinkhole.

One year from now, I can foresee a tremendous amount of angst on these boards directed towards how we're going to fix the catcher spot if Pinto needs more time than the 151 AB he's had over Double-A ball.

#70 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:38 PM

Am I the only one who thinks that Mauer being the primary 1st baseman might actually boost his HR numbers? He could realistically bulk up quite a bit now that he doesn't have the much more physically and athletically demanding position behind the plate. Mobility isn't much of a factor at all for a 1B, so combine 20 pounds of extra muscle with Mauer's awesome hands and bat speed and maybe we're in for 25 HR this year? Also, fresh knees mean a stronger base when hitting, so even in his current physique he could hit for much more power. I am going on record right now that he breaks 20 HR in 2014, maybe approaches 30 HR.

#71 darin617

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 07:41 PM

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


My words exactly! But this will never happen. 2 simple reasons why it won't happen.
1. Gardy is still the manager and I don't think he would want AJ back, even though he would be perfect for the team and bring a little attitude and swagger back to the Twins.
2. AJ is a quality player that would never waste his time and talents playing for a bottom feeding team that doesn't care about contending for a few more years.

#72 TheLeviathan

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:13 PM

One year from now, I can foresee a tremendous amount of angst on these boards directed towards how we're going to fix the catcher spot if Pinto needs more time than the 151 AB he's had over Double-A ball.


Exactly. Much better said than I've been trying to express. Right now there is no long-term replacement. That's going to be a huge hurdle any way you slice it.

#73 Willihammer

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:20 PM

Well if the Yankees are serious about McCann that would put Cervelli and Stewart out of a job. Both would be good pickups IMO and might be had for a nominal prospect.

#74 JB_Iowa

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:38 PM

Of course there are negatives associated with this situation but to me, they are outweighed by the risk factors and the positives.

1. It is a very good thing that Mauer made his decision fairly early in the offseason so that the Twins have time to react and to incorporate his status in their offseason strategy.

2. The concussion and injury risks associated with playing first base have got to be lower than those associated with catching.

3. Does anyone still remember when the Twins were actually winning and one of the biggest complaints about Mauer was that he didn't play on "get away" days? The position switch should substantially increase the likelihood that fans will get to see the Twins biggest draw actually play.

4. I agree with Joe Preusser that Mauer's power numbers should improve with the switch. I have no doubt that Mauer will become an elite defensive first baseman and, even if we don't see those 20 homers, I'm hopeful that his doubles will again go up. But a lot of that is dependent on the Twins putting some players around him that pose at least a bit of a threat. Let's face it, no hitter operates in a vacuum.

Mauer still has five years to play under his current contract (and hopefully 60 or more years to live as a husband and a father). IMHO this move maximizes the odds that he will be successful at all of those things.

#75 JB_Iowa

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:58 PM

Powers column is kind of interesting: http://www.twincitie...kes-painful-but

#76 drivlikejehu

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 08:58 PM

This year at catcher, Mauer's 880 OPS ranked 1st. At first base it ranked 6th. At catcher, Mauer is a Hall-of-Famer. At first base, it's not totally clear he's an All-Star.


A rate stat isn't a good choice for this comparison, because at 1B Mauer should get significantly more PAs than he would at C (especially over the full 5 years left on his contract).

Not only that, but his later years are relatively more important because the Twins could theoretically be competitive by then. We know they won't be in 2014.

First base isn't what it used to be offensively. Take a look at the leaderboards in 2013- there is not a lot of exceptional production. Chris Davis was the only first baseman in the AL that had a really big year. Encarnacion is a DH now. Fielder isn't what he was. Who knows what Pujols will do going forward. The NL has Votto and Goldschmidt, but not a lot of depth either.

Mauer at 1B is not a problem for the Twins.

#77 TheLeviathan

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:02 PM

Mauer at 1B is not a problem for the Twins.


No, but now catcher might be. That's the point I think you missed in John's post.

#78 John Bonnes

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:05 PM

Powers column is kind of interesting: http://www.twincitie...kes-painful-but


From the story....

He'll no doubt go from being an all-star catcher to an all-star first baseman. I just hope he cheers up by spring training. The announcement of the position switch was billed as "joint," meaning both the Twins and Mauer would share in spreading the news. But Mauer was miserable. We could tell by his voice. He admitted it took him a long time to say yes to the switch and added how disappointed he was at having to make the move for health reasons.


I wonder if Mauer doesn't reconsider this at some point. Maybe not this offseason, but maybe next. I wonder if, as the concussion effects fade, he'll start to doubt the move. I could see him having a tougher time walking away than he originally thought.

#79 John Bonnes

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:20 PM

A rate stat isn't a good choice for this comparison, because at 1B Mauer should get significantly more PAs than he would at C (especially over the full 5 years left on his contract).

Not only that, but his later years are relatively more important because the Twins could theoretically be competitive by then. We know they won't be in 2014.


It's a fair point, but I also think the concerns about how much he played were always overstated, and that was especially true over the last couple of years, when cutting back on his time behind the plate kept him in the lineup a lot more.

Before the concussion, which cost him almost 1/4 of the year, he had 500+ plate appearances already. Last year he had 641 PAs. That's a lot of PAs. There isn't more than a couple of players per team that get 650 PAs.

I just looked up Morneau's totals, who really prided himself on being out there everyday. He had 3 seasons where he exceeded that level - 711, 668, 661. We'll need to see, I guess. I hope he can get 660 plate appearances and above.

#80 drivlikejehu

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:33 PM

No, but now catcher might be. That's the point I think you missed in John's post.


Except for the fact that the Twins don't have a first baseman other than Mauer. Two positions, one player... either choice leaves a hole.