Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Should Joe Mauer be catching?

It has long been said that Joe Mauer will stop catching at some point in his career -- though not by anyone in the Minnesota Twins organization. The belief is that at some point, the Twins will decide the wear and tear on his body will become too much, especially given the $184mm invested in him, and move him to another position where he will not get hurt. However, once again, I have heard everyone but the Twins say this. The question is, should he be moved?

Yes, Mauer has missed a number of games with injuries the last three years (and he also missed games in '07 because of injury), and this is a major reason that people argue he should be moved. However, does anyone really know if he will no longer be somewhat injury prone if he DOES stop catching? The answer is no. It may very well be that Mauer is just a guy who ends up on the DL every year, which sucks for the Twins, but he can still be a productive player going on the 15-day DL once every year.

However, that's not my biggest argument agaisnt moving Mauer. The biggest argument I have is that his bat really isn't THAT valuable if you place him anywhere else he can play. Mauer's career .326/.406/.479 line is impressive for sure, but his 81 Home Runs in 3616 Plate Apperances is not. While it's true the Twins could probably deal with a 3B putting up Mauer's numbers, you can bet that they'd rather get some of their Home Runs out of their 3B. Left Field and Right Field -- the other positions suggested for Mauer, are also positions that are typically expected to produce some pop. Shortstop and Centerfield are the only other positions Mauer could occupy and still be considered an elite player at the position -- and neither of those positions is an option for Mauer. So my point here is really that Mauer has maximum value at Catcher, where he is arguable the best in the game right now. Compare Mauer's numbers to any of the other positions he could play, and he's in the middle of the pack.

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