Joe Mauer isn’t going anywhere, but given the concussions he’s suffered behind the plate, the Twins have reached a point where they need to think about whether it’s worth keeping him there. Mike Bernadino of the Pioneer Press reports that Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan are thinking about that possibility:
At some point in the future, Gardenhire said, general manager Terry Ryan could sit down with Mauer, 30, and advise him his catching days are over.
“That could happen,” Gardenhire said. “If this becomes one of those situations where this affects (Mauer) for any length of time, yeah, it could happen. It’s going to have a lot to do with how Joe thinks about it.”
Unlike most catchers, Mauer’s bat would still play as a distinct asset elsewhere on the field. Given that he’s under contract for five more years after this one, you have to wonder if moving him to save his head — and his legs for that matter — isn’t the smartest choice.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.