Souhan: Twins need an everyday Joe in lineup

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 17, 2014 - 7:43 AM

Sunday marked reporting day for Twins spring training, the day before pitchers and catchers begin officially easing into their routines as opposed to casually easing into their routines.

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cntrygntlmnFeb. 16, 1410:30 PM

For some idiotic and unknow reason, playing every game is not part of the "Twins Way" under Gardenhire. Torii Hunter said it best in the fall of one of his last Twins seasons that your best players need to play even if they're not 100%. Even if Joe wants to play everyday, it will never happen because Gardy won't allow it. You want the day off? Go ahead and take it. Must be nice to play for the Twins.

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njc264isbackFeb. 16, 1411:42 PM

Too bad Joe has no lineup protection behind him. I expect good numbers from him this year, but no credible threat in the on-deck circle will lead to plenty of walks, and not a lot of strikes to swing at...unless Joe does the unthinkable, and starts attacking 1st pitch strikes that he's taken his entire career.

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Dantes929Feb. 16, 1411:47 PM

Except Morneau tried playing every game every year and one year (2008) actually did. Plus home run contest and all star game. Of course by September he was worn out and turned his shoe in MVP year into a 2nd place finish and probably turned the Twins upset division title into a one game tie breaker which they lost. Its reasonable to say a couple days off would have helped him. Or even just skipping the all star activities. I believe he set a record for games played and yes it was while Gardy managed. Then in 2009 Morneau almost cost us a title by playing every day and for about a month with a stress fracture in his back. Take away two of his injury plagued seasons and Hunter averaged 145 games played per season over the course of his career. Not exactly Lou Gehrig.

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Dantes929Feb. 16, 1411:58 PM

One of the reasons Mauer is successful is that he gets the count in his favor more than almost every other player. While he is a very good hitter when behind in the count that is not what powers his high average. He bats .377 when ahead in the count, .334 when even in the count and .261 when behind in the count. He simply has the patience to get ahead in the count more than most players. I realize that most fans think he is behind in the count 90% of the time because he always watches the first pitch. I do wish he would swing at the first pitch more often because when he puts the ball in play on the first pitch he is batting .429 with 1.01 OBS. it would also make the pitchers a little more leery and might lead to more first pitch balls but it is hard to argue with an approach that has produced 3 batting titles and a career OBP of .405.

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paul44Feb. 17, 1412:14 AM

Food for thought: in the nine full seasons Tori Hunter played for the Twins, he averaged 136 games per year. In the nine years Mauer has played full time, he has averaged 127 games per year. I think that any real baseball fan will understand that a catcher will play little less then a CF.

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pazalunaFeb. 17, 14 2:49 AM

Joe Mauer has caught in 920 games totalling 7883 innings in roughly nine seasons in MLB. That comes out to roughly 100 games per year. That means he's caught in 62% of the games he's had a chance to. Everybody, please look for the numbers on that place called the internet, you might actually find something.

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pazalunaFeb. 17, 14 2:52 AM

Also, his wins above replacement (WAR), is going to go down drastically now that his numbers will be compared to people like Chris Davis, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and the rest.

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pazalunaFeb. 17, 14 2:56 AM

Lastly, Mauer has exceeded 13 home runs only once in his career and it was the year "Sou" mentioned in the article where he missed spring training because of a mysterious kidney ailment, and it was the year before his contract (walk) year and.....

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rickradio11Feb. 17, 14 4:27 AM

paul44: Food for thought? I'm still hungry. During Torii Hunter's nine seasons with the Twins, he had only eight "full" seasons. After playing 135 G in his 1999 rookie year, Torii started 2000 as the regular CF. During a horrendous slump, Hunter who was hitting .207 with 0 HR and 11 RBI, was sent to AAA after a May 25th game against the Angels. He returned on July 29th to face the Yanks in the Dome and continued his slump which after August 1st had reached 2 for last 45. Thereafter, he hit .356 for the rest of the season (65 for 183). The next three seasons, Torii played 148 (2001), 148 (2002), 154 (2003), and 138 (2004). In that 2004 season Torii was on the DL from April 7th until April 25th. In 2005, Hunter, played only 98 games, none after July 29th in Boston when he broke his ankle chasing a bomb by David Ortiz in the deepest part of CF in Fenway Park. During his last two seasons with the Twins, Torii played 147 and 160 games, respectively. Thus, excluding Torii's demotion to AAA in 2000, and including a broken ankle in 2005, he still averaged 141 G for eight seasons. Over and out.

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Izzy96Feb. 17, 14 9:47 AM

Of all the aspects of the 2014 Twins, it seems to me the last one we need to beech about it Mauer. Just enjoy watching what he can do with a bat because he isn't many more productive years for this game. Like him, don't like him, but the Twins would be a far worse club without him. And enough with this "Mauer needs to be a Shecky Green in the clubhouse" BS. Think Ted Williams minus all the HR's. I wonder how many HR's Mauer might have hit if he'd played in Fenway?

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