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Mauer looks smooth at first

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08:15 AM ET 07.07 | "Starting at first base, Joe Mauer," has an odd ring to it, but that's where the Twins' star catcher is headed. If the experiment works, [Ron Gardenhire] said he could see this being an occasional option. "We won't really know until we get him over there and see, but honestly he's pretty fluid over there," Gardenhire said of Mauer, who was not in the lineup Wednesday but came in to pinch hit in the ninth and struck out to end the game. "He's got soft hands, he moves around there pretty well, all the fundamental parts." Mauer last played first 10 years ago, in a handful of Class A games. "We'll see. ... It'll be something different, but I'm looking forward to playing," he said. "For me, it's going to be a grind the rest of the way, physically."

Star Tribune

Joe Mauer, Getty Images Joe Mauer, Getty Images
July 7, 2011  08:25 AM ET

But will he use his catchers mit? NEXT?

July 7, 2011  08:35 AM ET

Given his knee issues, playing him at first every few games (or more) sounds like the best option.

July 7, 2011  08:50 AM ET

What team can't use a smooth fielding .223 hitting first baseman with a bad back and knees?

July 7, 2011  08:53 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

What team can't use a smooth fielding .223 hitting first baseman with a bad back and knees?

With zero HRs and a sub-.600 OPS. Sounds like a winner to me.

July 7, 2011  09:01 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

With zero HRs and a sub-.600 OPS. Sounds like a winner to me.

Twins fans see a half full glass, I see $180 million mistake. Not his fault, but does not change the facts. If that is what a light hitting, nice average nice guy gets you for your first base position, then count me out.

Comment #8 has been removed
Comment #10 has been removed
July 7, 2011  10:01 AM ET

If that is worth 180 million ... my god a 28 yr old Johnny Bench would be worth 500 million

July 7, 2011  10:02 AM ET

Glass Man to the rescue.

Comment #13 has been removed
July 7, 2011  10:51 AM ET

Well played Mauer

Comment #15 has been removed
July 7, 2011  11:34 AM ET

Mauer had the production to justify his contract, and many other teams would have stepped up if the Twins didn't sign him.
The problem is, like with so many catchers, the physical wear and tear of that position is catching up to him. It's hard for a 28 year-old to admit that his body can't do it any more, but if he moves to first base he will probably have a long MLB career and justify his salary.
If he insists on catching he will probably spend a lot of time on the DL list, and play hurt many days, which will reduce both his offensive and defensive production. Too bad if it happens.
Young men hate to admit they are wearing out!

July 7, 2011  12:12 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

O.K. - not saying it is the best contract ever. Just not as out of line for a franchise player as other teams.Yes - Bench would have been in the range as well. BA .267, HR 29, RBI 100.

Mauer has average around 12 home runs the last six years, and that includes his career year of 28 ( about that).
He is no power hitter or big RBI guy. As a catcher , he was worth big bucks, as a first baseman? Not so much.

July 7, 2011  12:24 PM ET

mauer should remain as a first baseman fo the next seven years, can he handle that position? can he guarantee become injury free? honestly the twins are stuck with this player contract and nowhere to run!

July 7, 2011  12:33 PM ET

Hey, Jeter got a hit last night! Where's the thread? Get with it, interns.

July 7, 2011  01:45 PM ET
QUOTE(#18):

mauer should remain as a first baseman fo the next seven years, can he handle that position? can he guarantee become injury free? honestly the twins are stuck with this player contract and nowhere to run!

You got it. The best of a bad deal. Ties up money for a team not known for throwing money around.

July 7, 2011  02:19 PM ET
QUOTE(#11):

If that is worth 180 million ... my god a 28 yr old Johnny Bench would be worth 500 million

Speaking of aging catchers - Bench had a rather poor year by his standards when he was 28 in '76 (.234 w/ 16HRs) and never had a WAR over 5 after that (hit exactly 5.0 in '79). Johnny perked up a bit when he played more 1B than C in '81, but only got in 52 games that year and crashed afterwards as a 3B. Bench had an absolutely brilliant start to his career and was already outstanding at 20 years old, but he just didn't last.

July 7, 2011  06:14 PM ET

Funny, everyone on this board would have eviscerated Twins management if they hadn't signed Mauer. Now, he has spent a few months on the DL and the same a holes are eviscerating Twins management for signing one of the best hitters in the game and the face of the franchise. Your hindsight is 20/20 and your foresight is cr@p.

 
July 7, 2011  06:16 PM ET
QUOTE(#22):

Funny, everyone on this board would have eviscerated Twins management if they hadn't signed Mauer. Now, he has spent a few months on the DL and the same a holes are eviscerating Twins management for signing one of the best hitters in the game and the face of the franchise. Your hindsight is 20/20 and your foresight is cr@p.

They pretty much had to sign him.

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