Multiple sources are confirming that the Minnesota Twins will move Joe Mauer to first base in the 2014 season, and that he will not catch this season. The move ends months of speculation as to whether Minnesota would move one of the game's best catchers to a new position.
The team is citing risk of injury as one of their primary reasons for the move. As a catcher, players have more opportunities to sustain direct impacts to the head, and whether or not a catcher's mask is sufficient protection is a question without a true answer. It can always provide more protection, yes, but enough?
If Mauer had not sustained the concussion this past season; if Justin Morneau's concussion hadn't changed who he was as a player; if what we know about concussions and brain injuries in general hadn't taken the leaps forward in recent years that it has - these are the "what if" scenarios that are going to play across the Minnesota sports landscape over the next couple of days and possible into the 2014 season.
The bottom line is that the Twins are doing what they believe is in the best interest of Mauer's health and Mauer's career, and that's the important thing.
We'll be back throughout the day to talk about how Mauer compares to first baseman offensively, and we'll also get into what Mauer's move means for the rest of the roster.