Minnesota Twins: Should he Stay or Should he Go? The Twins, Mauer, and 2019.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 23: Joe Mauer /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 23: Joe Mauer /

The Minnesota Twins have a big decision coming up surrounding franchise cornerstone and hometown hero Joe Mauer. Here are some of the possibilities.

The Minnesota Twins‘ first basemen Joe Mauer has had a successful, yet polarizing pro career. He is a hometown guy who was drafted by his hometown team. He was made the #1 overall pick in a draft that held promising arm Mark Prior, a pick that was certainly questioned at the time, but now that both their careers have played out, Mauer has proven to be the better pick.

In 2004 at the age of 21, Mauer debuted as the Twins’ catcher. He immediately was able to show off his best skill, his bat. In 33 games that season he batted .308. Through those early years, Mauer struggled with some injuries but was proving with his bat and command behind the plate that he belonged as a major league catcher. Twins fans were excited about watching one of their own develop into a big league star.

As a catcher, Mauer was able to obtain some of the most sought after awards in baseball. He appeared in 6 All-Star games, won 5 Silver Slugger awards, 3 Batting Titles, 3 Gold Gloves, and was the AL MVP in 2009. Those accolades led to Mauer and the Twins agreeing to a contract that currently pays him 23 million dollars a year.

That contract is what has made Mauer one of the most polarizing players in Minnesota and pro sports. It feels like the next day Mauer suffered a concussion leading to the move from catcher where he was a huge value at 23 million dollars to first base where he felt like a liability and/or overpaid at that price tag.

In 2017, Mauer is the second-highest paid first basemen in baseball behind Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. He has performed well this season as he has continued his form as an on base machine. He currently ranks 5th in the American League with an OBP of .377, only behind Eric Hosmer for first basemen. He has also turned in a defensive resume to warrant consideration for his 4th gold glove and first as a first baseman.

Many fans still are not happy because Mauer is a first baseman who doesn’t hit for power. Thankfully for that segment of fans, the current contract expires at the end of the 2018 season. As Mauer has succeeded this season, albeit differently than many of his counterparts at his position, is it possible to consider bringing him back on another contract? At how much? If the Twins decide it is time to let Mauer leave the Twins, who might replace him? Let us explore some of the possibilities.