Posted November 11, 2013

Joe Mauer to play first base, will no longer catch for Twins

MLB

Joe Mauer played eight games at first base in 2013. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Joe Mauer played eight games at first base in 2013. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Twins are moving All-Star catcher Joe Mauer to first base permanently in 2014, the team announced on Monday.

The shift to first will help the Twins better manage Mauer’s long-term health. Playing first base will reduce the chances of Mauer incurring another concussion, after the one he sustained in August while catching, and save him the wear and tear that comes with working behind the plate. Mauer has started four of the last six All-Star Games at catcher. He played eight games at first in 2013 and 30 there in 2012.

Mauer’s hitting numbers fall a bit short of typical first-base sluggers. He hit .324/.404/.476 (144 OPS+) with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 113 games last season. His power numbers have decreased since he hit 28 home runs on his way to winning the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player award.

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More important, the Twins are invested in Mauer to the tune of five years and $115 million left on his contract, so they would like to reduce his games missed due to injury in the next five seasons.

“After consultation with doctors from Mayo Clinic and team doctors, and given the inherent risks of future injury at the catcher position, the organization and Joe determined that it would be in the best interest of both him and the Twins for a position change,” said the club in a statement. 


11 comments
oasis1994
oasis1994

I would also like to add that I would love to have a guy that does not strikeout a ton. Mauer does not and he might not hit 20 home runs a year, but he gets on base and drives in runs. He reminds me of Dustin Pedroia at times; a guy that does not hit many home runs, but drives in runs.


I think the Twins should try signing Paul Konerko or Ken Morales to hit in back of Mauer. Konerko is coming off a down year and is worth the risk of a 1 year deal. 

oasis1994
oasis1994

I love how the Twins fans hate on this guy. Listen, the Twins offered him that contract; I want to hear one other person out there say they wouldn't take that contract.

Also, blame the Twins for building Target Field. The field is a hitter's nightmare; don't blame Mauer for everything, blame the organization too.

doonman
doonman

Could be a great move - if he re-connects with the power he showed in 2009.  He needs to shoot for 50 doubles, 20 HR and/or 90-100 RBI for this to REALLY work. Forget Ramos, moore104. If Pinto can match the high upside of his hitting with increased defensive skills, the Twins will be set at catcher for a while with him and the much-improved Chris Hermann as a backup or platoon mate. They'll be young at the position, but there's some talent there. 

lawrenceb56
lawrenceb56

Detroit should follow suit and not allow Alex Avila to play one more game behind the plate. I don't know if he has hitting value elsewhere, but this kid has endured more punishment and dings to the head than any catcher I've ever seen.

Michael10
Michael10

Mauer's value has just tanked. He was getting paid to hit like a first baseman while filling the catcher's slot in the lineup. Now he figures to be an average first baseman/DH while the Twins try to plug his old spot with a catcher who hits like a catcher...

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

About time that bum earned his pay.  Now he'll have less excuses to not play.  


MAUER = Most overpaid player on the Twins (who are irrelevant anyway until they get new ownership who actually, you know, cares about the team's performance).  

JohnStevens
JohnStevens

No surprise.  Bye bye to any talk of Morneau coming back.  Best wishes Justin.

moore104
moore104

now if they could just rescind the wilson ramos for matt capps trade and they'll be set.

VanessaBG
VanessaBG

Exactly right, as is his best days are behind him to begin with. You take his career year and that makes for a decent first basemen but no longer an all star

doghockey
doghockey

@Michael10 Tanked?  His value has already been determined & the contract signed.