The San Francisco Giants are currently playing a three-game interleague series against the Minnesota Twins this weekend at AT&T Park. The Giants and the Twins play in different leagues in MLB, but they have something in common. The Twins converted their face of the franchise and superstar catcher Joe Mauer into a first baseman to protect him from injuries and keep his bat in the lineup. Ever since Buster Posey suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2011, there has been discussion that the Giants should do the same thing for Posey in the near future.
Mauer and Posey have been two of the best hitting catchers in all of MLB in recent history, so they’re often compared. Posey knows about Mauer’s transition and every time the idea of switching positions is brought up to Posey, he respectfully but firmly states that he wants to catch and that’s what he sees himself doing in the future.
Before Friday night’s game, Mauer offered Posey some advice about this catching situation. ESPN reported that Mauer’s advice was:
“There will be a day when he can’t catch anymore and a day where we can’t put the uniform on anymore,” Mauer said before the Twins played at San Francisco on Friday night. “He’s a special player and he’ll be able to make that transition if he wants to. I’d like to see him catch as long as he can.”
“It’s difficult any way you look at it,” Mauer said. “I caught for 10 years and really enjoyed that position. That’s what I worked my whole life to be. I put in a lot of time at that position and I’m fortunate enough that I could go somewhere else and play. I miss it, definitely. But once you make that decision, you have to move on.”
Lastly, Mauer said:
“I miss calling the games. I miss being behind there,” Mauer said. “I don’t miss foul tips.”
Mauer can relate to the predicament Posey and the Giants are in because throughout his career, despite some outside pressure, he didn’t want to change positions either. However, he ultimately decided to make the switch after suffering a concussion last season. He said the recovery time from the concussion was “frightening,” and after that, he had no problem making the switch to first base.
Posey has been adamant about the fact that he likes being a part of the pitching strategy and the mental side of the game. Bruce Bochy also backed Posey when he said that they were paying Posey the big bucks (he signed a $167 million, nine-year contract before last season) to be the team’s starting catcher.
Posey knows the pitching staff, the pitchers trust him, and he is an above-average catcher, defensively. It’s understandable that the Giants might want to move Posey to a somewhat safer position, like first or third base, at some point in the future to preserve his health. Now is not the time though.