If there were any inkling that Twins veteran Joe Mauer would ever catch again, GM Terry Ryan put it to bed on Saturday when speaking to fans at TwinsFest. Per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Ryan said, “…there isn’t a physician, especially concussion experts, that could trust he’s not going to take another bop in the head on a foul tip or a collision at the plate.”
Ryan continued, “If he took the wrong type of foul tip off that mask and all of a sudden he got knocked silly, I couldn’t forgive myself. So he’s going to be a first baseman. I think if Joe could have stayed behind the plate he would have been a hall-of-fame candidate. He was excellent back there. Unfortunately it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Mauer, 32, moved to first base full-time after the 2013 season. He has managed to stay mostly healthy, playing in 278 games while hitting .270/.348/.376 with 14 home runs and 121 RBI over 1,184 plate appearances. The numbers are a far cry from the 2008-10 era during which Mauer was a perennial MVP candidate, including a first place finish in the ’09 balloting.
Mauer is signed for three more seasons at $23 million annually.