Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Excerpt: "Offseason Catchup, AL Central"

"The other big move the Twins made was turning Joe Mauer into a first baseman. Last year's concussion sped up a conversation that was likely to happen anyway. Mauer loses value in the deal; outside of DH, there's no larger gap than moving from behind the plate to first base, and it's not like Mauer was a liability behind the plate. Mauer, however, had always been something of a part-time catcher. Since reaching the majors at the start of the 2004 season, Mauer has started 885 of the Twins' 1622 games at catcher -- 55%. Whether major injuries, minor injuries or an effort to avoid both, Mauer hadn't carried the workload of a full-time catcher since 2008. This is a change for the Twins, but it's not as radical a one as it seems. If this means Mauer plays in 155 games, if it means he keeps cranking out .400 OBP seasons, if it means he develops into a good defensive first baseman, they'll likely do all right in the exchange."