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Souhan's solution to the "Mauer Problem"


USAFChief
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It would seem to me an article suggesting making Mauer a utility player is, indeed, the definition of an "original" idea.  Whether it's worth discussing is in the eye of the beholder.

 

What isn't original is "Let's ignore Mauer's actual performance."

There is nothing original about the idea he becomes a utility player nor are the comments a thread like this creates original.  There hasn't been a thread, or a post, that suggests anyone ignores Mauer's performance (but while a thread like that would be silly, it would be original).

Edited by jimmer
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My wish as well. But, unfortunately, no matter what Mauer does short of being inhumanly God-like, these silly threads will continue to exist full of implications of laziness, not trying, indifference, poor athletic workout routine and a host of other things. Not that this situation isn't a little frustrating at times, but so are some of the proposed solutions. Guess I'll just throw my hands up in the air and learn to live with whatever will be.

I couldn't agree more ChiTown

Edited by jimmer
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There is nothing original about the idea he becomes a utility player.

Here is the "original" part.

He becomes a utility player that SELDOM plays, The whole point is that he NOT block Sano, Plouffe, Vargas, Kepler or any of the YOUNG, DEVELOPING players. Play him once a week, wherever he does the least defensive damage, until he asks to be traded. (or given away)

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With some orginisations this would be a topic to be discussed. With the Twins, it's a waste of digital ink. (Soy based I hope). Mauer is going to play first base. As for the trio of him, Sano, and the Plouffeman, if you keep all three, you might as well let Sano DH. It gives you the best chance to win in that situation. But if you can trade Plouffe for a legitimate catcher, that's the ideal situation. Possible? But definitely preferable.

Which ones would those be? This is the off season and down time, let's hear it.

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I don't see an issue with having Mauer DH more and giving Sano time at 1B.  First, Mauer is not that great defensively and 2nd I don't know how much that lessens the concussion risk (has a 1B ever received a concussion playing the field?) but DH should be safer in that regard than playing 1B.  In my view I would prefer Plouffe play the majority of time at 3B, Sano at 1B and Mauer DH. 

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Mauer has played exactly one game in the OF in his MLB career (I think I could safely say professional career, but I'm not sure if he ever played a game in the OF in the minors). I happened to be at that game. I was pretty excited, because I thought it was a possibility that they might start running him out there more (that was also the first year they played him at 1B). I'm pretty sure one game is kind of the definition of small sample size, but he did ok and if I recall, made a tremendous throw to 2B at one point.

 

I'm not sure that this is a real solution, but you have to try something. Mauer as someone who gives other people days off is a great idea. As many have said (including Souhan), his numbers aren't good enough to be our no-questions-asked 1B. If the opponent is starting a pitcher that Mauer has great numbers against, get him in the lineup somewhere and sit whoever might benefit from not facing that pitcher based on matchups. If not, pinch hit him. Expensive pinch hitter, but everybody gets old and former catchers get old quicker.

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I couldn't believe I was actually agreeing with Sou... and then he went full on troll by bringing up the tired "coddling" theme. And that he needs to hit the weight room.

It distracts from the larger point, which we've all discussed: Mauer is blocking younger, potentially more talented options at 1B.

 

And please tell me why he need to constantly rip Aaron Hicks. It's the 2nd column in a week. Hicks was one of the reasons the team stayed in contention for a wild card spot. The fact Hicks did it with Buxton right there speaks well of his being able to handle the pressure.

 

 

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Souhan's can come up with some doozies. I am always amazed at how much Mauer still rankles people. People just need to accept that Joe is here, is going to finish his contract here and will be the first baseman.

 

Imagine the angst if he was a bad guy.....

Imagine the angst next spring training when Joe's hitting .265 while Keper bats .350 and Sano bangs 5 homers.

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I think it's worth discussing what happens with Mauer.  I don't think it's out of the question that Kepler or Vargas is a superior option at 1B by the end of 2016.  What do you do then?

 

Trade the superior options because you're stuck with Mauer?  I'm no Mauer basher, I think he was ok this year, but his position and production do present an issue.

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Okay, this is a little complicated, so bear with me: 

 

Joe Mauer to the Dallas Cowboys for La'el Collins, the un-drafted but highly talented offensive lineman. 

 

This may sound crazy, but Dallas could actually use Mauer as a third string or developmental QB. Mauer was the most highly sought recruit out of HS, and he's still got a great arm. He's such a great athlete with such versatility, he could probably make it work. Plus, they could lend him to the Astros or Rangers for baseball stuff.

 

Meanwhile, La'el Collins hasn't even been activated for Dallas, a team with a plethora of big, talented O-linemen. Another big, talented guy, the Twins could try him out, and if he can't hit, maybe see if the Vikings can use him somewhere. 

 

It's not really a team-to-team trade so much as a state-to-state trade, for the good of both.

;-)

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And please tell me why he need to constantly rip Aaron Hicks. It's the 2nd column in a week. Hicks was one of the reasons the team stayed in contention for a wild card spot. The fact Hicks did it with Buxton right there speaks well of his being able to handle the pressure.

Matt, because Souhan is a hack? 

Edited by jimmer
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Plouffe to RF, Sano at 3B, Mauer at 1B.   Trade one or two of our outfielders NOT named Buxton for a legit catcher.    It's too early to give up on Mauer.  He may still have one, two or possibly three .290 average or better seasons left in him.   Plouffe has shown he can play right field, especially since he'll have a speedy CF and LF out there with him.  Sano may ultimately move to first, but he'll make his best adjustment to MLB if comfortable in his current defensive position.

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It's funny how Souhan is the villian for suggesting a .265 hitter without any power might not be the best option at first base for a team looking to get into the playoffs.  And this should be off-limits from discussion because Mauer was great 5 years ago.  The silliness might just be how over protective we have become of any discussion related to Mauer.

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We need to stop trying to make room to keep Plouffe....... a 32 year old league average player.

He may indeed be a "league average player", but he is a close to a "Twins best player".

So replacing him with worse players is an improvement?

That logic is very difficult to follow.

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He may indeed be a "league average player", but he is a close to a "Twins best player".

So replacing him with worse players is an improvement?

That logic is very difficult to follow.

 

Well, I'm not sure why we are replacing him necessarily with a "worse player".  That player might be Chris Davis if we wanted to.  It could also be Kepler.

 

In two years Plouffe should be allowed to walk away, I'm not sure why we need to adjust everything around such a player.

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Well, I'm not sure why we are replacing him necessarily with a "worse player".  That player might be Chris Davis if we wanted to.  It could also be Kepler.

 

In two years Plouffe should be allowed to walk away, I'm not sure why we need to adjust everything around such a player.

This discussion reminds me of the "Three Teams" thread.  Example:  How would the Cubs or Astros deal with this problem?  So entertaining.

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The blunder this year was hitting Mauer 3rd most of the year (133 games).  Of the starters, he out-slugged only Suzuki.  He was 4th in BA, 2nd in OBP, and #1 in BB's (would have been #2 if Sano played a few more games).

 

The guy is a lead off hitter or #2 hitter.  His focus should be taking pitches and drawing walks.  He could play a role on this team doing that. 

 

Cutting him, trading him, simply not going to happen.  Best we can hope for IMO is resting him 15-20% of the time and hitting him 1 or 2 the rest.

 

 

 

Edited by tobi0040
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Well, I'm not sure why we are replacing him necessarily with a "worse player".  That player might be Chris Davis if we wanted to.  It could also be Kepler.

 

In two years Plouffe should be allowed to walk away, I'm not sure why we need to adjust everything around such a player.

If so, why not replace a lesser player with Davis/Kepler, instead of (Plouffe) one of the few proven hitters on the team?

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I think there is a chance that giving Mauer some reps in the outfield corners might help by taking his mind off his performance at the plate.

 

Think of all those years he was a great hitter -- as a catcher, he probably didn't even have time to think about his approach at the plate too much.  I am sure he works hard at first base, but there's just no way his guaranteed daily 1B duties get that much thought.  After awhile, playing corner OF probably wouldn't either, but the act of moving him around the diamond a bit might.

 

Many theorized that unburdened from the responsibilities of catching, he would be even better at the plate, but clearly that hasn't happened.  Maybe he needs to think about something else, and relax at the plate?

 

Not saying it's guaranteed to work, of course -- the more likely cause is that he's simply aged at the plate -- but I think it's worth a modest shot.  Probably won't make him worse at the plate, and gives us a little more flexibility to substitute and work other guys into the lineup.

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If so, why not replace a lesser player with Davis/Kepler, instead of (Plouffe) one of the few proven hitters on the team?

 

Because you can only play 8 guys in the field and one at DH?  

 

Unless Chris Davis is secretly hiding some sweet catcher skills I've yet to hear about.

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Another take on the subject of him in the 3 hole is: For those who think he should have been there because he is the teams best option, that's an indictment on the rest of the roster! For those who think he did not belong there, who should have been? (If you say Dozier, please make sure you clarify, first half Dozier, or second half Dozier) While some might consider it off topic to the thread, this discussion yet again illuminates the roster deficiencies the Twins currently face.

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Another take on the subject of him in the 3 hole is: For those who think he should have been there because he is the teams best option, that's an indictment on the rest of the roster! For those who think he did not belong there, who should have been? (If you say Dozier, please make sure you clarify, first half Dozier, or second half Dozier) While some might consider it off topic to the thread, this discussion yet again illuminates the roster deficiencies the Twins currently face.

 

Start the year with Mauer, Dozier, Sano 1-3 and adjust as neccesary.  This year Dozier hit 28 HR and 40 2B.   Sano's 162 game pace would have been 36 HR and 34 2B.  Outside of those two guys, Mauer has the highest OBP.       

 

Mauer is 7th in OPS and 8th in slugging on the team.  The list is long of guys that are more equipped to hit 3rd.  

Edited by tobi0040
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I have said before I believe the Twins could use a veteran LH bat on the bench as a PH who could maybe DH or play in the field a day here and there. The truth is Mauer would be perfect for this role. And if we ignore his contract, which we always say you must do, then honesty and reality states again that this is the role he is best suited for; veteran bat off the bench that can still provide production. There is a lot of reason to believe he could be a heck of a PH.

 

Now, I sure hope he pulls a Morneau and another year gone by sees that resurgence in production back to the old Mauer. Or at least something close.

 

But Souhan is right about Mauer's offensive decline, as well as all the young talent the Twins have and have coming up still, and needing room for them. Where Souhan is wrong is the whole super utility idea. Could Joe have played 3B once upon a time? Probably. But I doubt any longer. Too much wear and tear on the body. Besides, you already have 2 3B already and utility players. Could Mauer play some corner OF? This answer I honestly don't know. Daily? I'd say no. Occassionally? Heck, if Willingham could, maybe Mauer could a little here and there. Might be worth trying in ST just to see.

 

Assuming Mauer doesn't reverse Father Time, there is nothing wrong, and everything right, in trying to put the very best, most competitive team on the field. And that means Joe as a LH veteran PH/DH/backup 1B who MIGHT be able to play a corner OF spot here and there.

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I think there is a chance that giving Mauer some reps in the outfield corners might help by taking his mind off his performance at the plate.

 

Think of all those years he was a great hitter -- as a catcher, he probably didn't even have time to think about his approach at the plate too much.  I am sure he works hard at first base, but there's just no way his guaranteed daily 1B duties get that much thought.  After awhile, playing corner OF probably wouldn't either, but the act of moving him around the diamond a bit might.

 

Many theorized that unburdened from the responsibilities of catching, he would be even better at the plate, but clearly that hasn't happened.  Maybe he needs to think about something else, and relax at the plate?

 

Not saying it's guaranteed to work, of course -- the more likely cause is that he's simply aged at the plate -- but I think it's worth a modest shot.  Probably won't make him worse at the plate, and gives us a little more flexibility to substitute and work other guys into the lineup.

 

Seeing him run from home to first has me worry about him playing in the OF.  I agree that his legs have been weakened by catching and scouts say his bat has slowed quite a bit, which is why the RF plays 120 feet off the line, thereby shrinking the OF.

 

I thought it was interesting that Souhan ripped on his defense at 1B and then suggested he should play some in the OF.  

 

 

Edited by tobi0040
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Because you can only play 8 guys in the field and one at DH?  

 

Unless Chris Davis is secretly hiding some sweet catcher skills I've yet to hear about.

How does that translate to replacing Plouffe? who also plays at least adequate defense.

Playing Mauer seldom, Kepler at 1B, Sano at 3B, and Plouffe at 1B, 3B, DH makes sense to me, until someone else (Vargas, Walker, Arcia) shows that they can replace Plouffe offensively. AT THAT time, maybe Plouffe becomes replaceable.

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Seeing him run from home to first has me worry about him playing in the OF.  I agree that his legs have been weakened by catching and scouts say his bat has slowed quite a bit, which is why the RF plays 120 feet off the line, thereby shrinking the OF.

 

I thought it was interesting that Souhan ripped on his defense at 1B and then suggested he should play some in the OF.  

I thought it was hilarious he ripped on Mauer's defense at all.

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