After another embarrassing season, the Minnesota Twins organization and their fans are excited about the potential currently brewing in the team’s farm system.
With the number one and number three MLB prospects in Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, respectively, the enthusiasm is justified.
However, the Twins shouldn’t forget about the talent that already exists on the team. By talent, I mean the one and only Joe Mauer.
It’s been easy for Mauer to slip our minds because he has spent a decent amount of time over the past few seasons on the disabled list as a result of a variety of injuries. If the Twins are able to keep Mauer in the active roster in the coming seasons, it will do tremendous things for the success of the team. When Mauer’s healthy, that boy can play.
While I could spend an entire article impressing you with everything Mauer has already accomplished in his eight years for the Twins, including an American League MVP and six All-Star game appearances, that’s not the point. The past is the past, and the Twins need to focus not on what Mauer has already done but what he can still do for the organization.
After signing an eight-year contract extension in 2011, Mauer is bound to the Twins until 2018. For $184 million, the Twinkies better get their money’s worth.
Unlike former Twins’ stars who have been traded away, Mauer has ties to Minnesota and wants to be here. Mauer is a hometown boy from St. Paul married to a fellow Cretin-Derham Hall High-School alum and he has recently become the father of, wait for it, twin girls.
Mauer’s roots are reason enough to rally behind him. The golden boy of Minnesota, Mauer likely does not desire to be playing anywhere else. Being content in a Twins uniform means Mauer will continue to challenge himself and his teammates to be the best team they can be.
Not to mention, someone needs to show the ropes to these young bucks. Mauer is the only elite Twins veteran currently on the roster and will be indispensable to the team as they bring talent from the minors.
Mauer’s .324 average through the 113 games he played before being sidelined this season remains the highest for the Twins. Though Mauer’s expertise lies primarily at catcher, management would be wise to move him out from behind the plate to prevent further injury.
Keeping their All-Star in the lineup should be the primary concern of the Twins going into the 2014 season. Allowing Mauer to take on a less physically strenuous role at first base would give him more time to focus on his hitting — the bread and butter of his skill set.
Mauer is a mainstay in the heart of the Twins lineup. Even when he struggles at the plate, the Twins have enough confidence in Mauer to know that he will work through it (and he always does).
Mauer’s all-around talent makes him the greatest Twins player and MLB catcher of the decade. Minnesota should not forget about their golden boy, considering he still has the potential to put the Twins on his back and carry them out of their three season slump.
Caroline Ponessa is a Minnesota Twins writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @sweetCaro_____