Joe Mauer will be moving to first base starting in 2014
This shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone, since it's what most great-hitting catchers do later in their careers, so as to preserve their knees and their MLB careers in general.
Mauer is a 6-time All-Star at catcher and has won the gold glove three times as a catcher. He has won the silver slugger five times, and was the AL MVP in 2009.
Mauer turns 31 in April of next year. If he were to stay at catcher, his knees would probably deteriorate quickly, much like most catchers late in their career.
The Twins still owe him $23 million per season through 2018, so this move is designed to maximize his offensive capability and his longevity as an elite hitter. The Twins also have 24-year old catcher Josmil Pinto presumably ready to take over the full-time catching duties. Pinto hit .342 with a .963 OPS in 76 at bats in 2013.
Mauer hit .324 last year and had an OPS+ of 144. He's still an excellent hitter. This move to first base will allow him more starts and more at bats per year, with far less stress on his body in general.
What do you think of this move? Good for the Twins? Good for Mauer? Or should they tried to maximize his value by keeping him at catcher, a premier position? Let us know what you think in the comments below.