Catchers Aren't Forever: Three Positions That Joe Mauer Could Play in the Future
Twins fans need to come to the conclusion that Joe Mauer is not going to be catcher forever, and when he does switch to a different position, the Twins need to be prepared.
Drew Butera is not a good catcher in my opinion, and I haven't seen enough of Steve Holm to make a decision on him yet. Wilson Ramos was the Twins' backup plan for Joe Mauer, but we ended up giving him up in exchange for Matt Capps (that trade will end up hurting the Twins in the next couple of years).
A common topic of conversation at barber shops in Minnesota is where Joe Mauer will play when his knees give out. Everyone comes up with their own predictions, but these positions are where the Twins have an option of playing him.
1. Mauer Packs His Bags for 1st Base
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Substitutions: Joe Mauer to 1st base, Justin Morneau to Designated Hitter, 3rd base, or Catcher.
The skills used at catcher transfer over to first base, thus making it a good option for the Twins to use. It is the most likely alternative to actually happen, not including DH.
Justin Morneau is a solid 1st baseman, don't get me wrong. But when it comes down to when Mauer can't catch anymore, I'm guessing that Morneau knows that 1st base is a viable option for Mauer to play.
Designated Hitter: Justin Morneau is a good hitter. He'd fit well at a place where your job is to hit. End of story.
3rd base: 3rd base is very similar to 1st base. Both play closer than the middle infielders, both have to block balls down, and both have to have quick reactions. Justin has a good glove over at 1st base, so he'll be able to get the ball in his glove at 3rd base. The only thing is throwing, which can be easily taught. Trust me, if you're in the Major Leagues, you have to be good at throwing.
Catcher: You're probably thinking, "Whoa whoa whoa Miss Lippy" (Billy Madison fans out there?). Morneau was actually drafted as a catcher with the 89th overall pick in the 1999 draft. Plus, he played goalie when he was a kid in Canada.
I'm not saying this is the Twins best option, but it is out on the table for them to use.
2. Joe Runs 90 Feet to Play 3rd Base
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Substitutions: Joe Mauer to 3rd base, Danny Valencia to Shortstop, Alexi Casilla to Bench or AAA Rochester
Like I said in the previous slide, the skills at catcher apply to 1st base. They also apply to 3rd base, but not as much as 1st base. Mauer can keep the ball in front of him, make a strong throw from 3rd to 1st, and he has quick reflexes.
Need any more reason to put him at 3rd?
Shortstop: I believe that shortstop is the hardest position to play in baseball, besides catcher. I thought it would easy when my coach moved me to shortstop on my 6th grade travel baseball team. I was a good second baseman, making one error over 20 games. That night when I was moved to shortstop, I made six errors.
Danny Valencia will be put up to a challenge if he ever moved to shortstop, but I believe he can handle it. In 81 games last year, he made six errors at 3rd base, which isn't too shabby. If he moves over, I'd expect him to take a lot of time to get used to it. He'd be a good fit.
Bench: Alexei Casilla is not a MLB player in my eyes. He is a MLB fielder, but his batting average is lower than a high school dropout's GPA. You may think I'm being too harsh, but Manager Ron Gardenhire is handing him his MLB opportunity to him on a silver platter, yet he still disappoints.
I've had enough of him.
He's currently hitting .152, which is 2nd worst on the team next to Drew Butera (who isn't exactly the best MLB player ever, but I will gripe about him at a different time). Gardenhire needs to either drop him down to AAA Rochester, or give up on Alexi.
3. Joey Watches His Teammates Field While in the Comfort of the Dugout
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NOTE: THIS SLIDE IS FOR WHEN JIM THOME RETIRES
Substitutions: Joe Mauer to Designated Hitter, Jim Thome retires, Jason Kubel to Right Field, Michael Cuddyer is traded or released
I don't even have to explain this. Joe's a good hitter. Case closed.
Jim Thome is the best DH ever, and he has had a good career. I believe this is last year in the MLB, and if it isn't, forget this slide. But he only has a one year contract, so it's looking like Thome will hang up the cleats after this year. Jim Thome is one of the classiest and nicest baseball players, and has a clean record. Good luck Jim.
Jason Kubel is in an odd position. He is the 4th outfielder, and the backup DH behind Jim Thome. But Kubel has the skills to be a starting player. He's a good fielder, making only five errors in 99 games last year. He can play right field, and he's done it before.
A lot of teams have a leader, like the Yankees and Jeter, or the Torii Hunter era Minnesota Twins and Torii Hunter. The leader for the Twins is Michael Cuddyer, and that's his role on the Twins. He's off to a slow start, and the season doesn't look to bright for him. There's been talks of him being traded this season, and if I were the Twins, I'd trade for a young catcher to fill Mauer's shoes.