Monday, November 11, 2013

Welcome to Defending First Base Joe Mauer

The Minnesota Twins have decided to move the face of their franchise to a more upright defensive position for 2014 and beyond. Joe Mauer will give up catching, where I assume he talked trash to opposing hitters about their sisters' promiscuity, to stand around first base and chitchat up opposing players about their thoughts on the walleye on a stick. The final straw to break Mauer's proverbial catching back was probably the season ending concussion he suffered on a foul tip October 19. The news of the position switch came through, you guessed it, Twitter...

The move comes three years into the mammoth 8-year/$184MM deal Mauer received in 2011 and is likely three years too late. Of course, Mauer was blocked by a permanent move to first base previously due to the presence of Justin Morneau, otherwise known as one-half of the least dynamic duos of MVP awards in 2006 with Ryan Howard. Morneau was sent to the glue factory Pittsburgh late in 2013 to open up the position for Mauer while leaving a gaping hole at catcher.

It's not like the Twins or anybody else couldn't see this coming. While catching 7,883 innings for the Twins since 2004, Mauer suffered nearly as many back and knee injuries as Baskin Robbins has flavors. Injuries might be hard to predict, unless you have your starting small forward crouching behind a plate all day everyday. Mauer is 6'5. Squatting is not a position that promotes health for tall individuals. General Mills never had the Jolly Green Giant pick all of that corn and that's why he's still a relevant cartoon character 85 years later.

Mauer does already have almost 500 innings logged at first base. And don't worry, fantasy players, his .323/.405/.468 career slash line will help out at first even if he never comes close to those 28 homers he hit in 2009. Mauer is still a very special player who deserves a long MLB career. He'll turn 31 on April 19th and, you know what, it would kinda be cool if he can still walk when he turns 51. Good for Joe, good for the Twins.

Now, how is Minnesota going to fill the catcher vacancy currently being held by a mesh screen with a happy face drawn on it?

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