There is no debate as to who the starting catcher is for the Minnesota Twins. At least there wasn’t until the last couple of months of the 2013 season. Joe Mauer went down with a concussion and missed the final part of the season with recurring symptoms. In his absence, young Josmil Pinto shined very brightly in 21 starts as the Twins backstop. With some concerns about Mauer catching in the future and Pinto clearly deserving a chance to play every day, what will the Twins do?
Unfortunately if you ask Mauer, there is no debate still. He is the Twins catcher and that is who he always plans to be. It should be noted however that Mauer already has spent some time at first base and as the DH from time to time as the Twins already have another option or two at catcher. The big question really is how valuable is Pinto going into next season and how valuable can he be? Will he be valuable enough for the Twins to force Mauer to spend less time as catcher?
For my money, I don’t want to see Mauer playing catcher that much more. He clearly is susceptible to concussions now and it isn’t like it happened on a large collision at the plate. It was a hard foul tip. He is going to take more than one foul tip each game in all likelihood. Do we really want to see Mauer back there catching and risking injury? I realize it might be a difficult pill for him to swallow but Mauer might need to turn over a lot of his catching time to Pinto. If he does not, the Twins have to do something else because Pinto deserves somewhere to play.