When the Minnesota Twins selected catcher Joe Mauer with the first overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft, they never thought he would be anything other than a catcher. Unfortunately due to a concussion Mauer suffered last season, the Twins were forced to make a change. Mauer is going to be the Twins’ everyday first baseman in 2014.
This is a change that is going to be good for everyone.
Mauer who has played first before (54 starts) will fill a void that was left after Justin Morneau was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates last August. Although not completely battle tested, Mauer has proven that he can handle the duties defensively over at first committing just four errors in 536 chances. In a full season at that position, he would find himself among the likes of Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez as far as defense is concerned.
The move also frees up the designated hitter position. Mauer spent a bit of time in that role giving him a rest on the field, but keeping his bat in the lineup. Now players like Josh Willingham and Jason Kubel (provided he makes the roster out of spring training) can take over that role.
Another player that benefits from this move is Twins catching prospect Josmil Pinto. He will most likely spend a bit more time in the minors before making his way back to the twin cities for good thanks to the free agent signing of Kurt Suzuki. The Twins signed Suzuki to a one-year deal back in December. Pinto has appeared in 21 games so far for the Twins and certainly gave the organization something to be excited about. Pinto hit .342 with an OPS of .963.
The Twins and their fans have a lot to look forward to this coming season and seeing No. 7 suit up everyday and play first base is one of them. The new-look Twins will be better than the 2013 version because of this move and because of the new players they brought in to improve on their 66-96 record. I am not saying that they are poised to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010, but they are much closer.