Joe Mauer has only played for his home state team, and he may retire after the season rather than entertain other offers.
Through the run of losing seasons since 2011, Joe Mauer has been the lightning rod for a lazy narrative among Minnesota Twins fans. An eight-year, $184 million contract has been the main point of contention, along with diminished results as a concussion forced a shift to first base.
Mauer authored a memorable moment for the home fans at Target Field on Tuesday night, with a grand slam against the New York Yankees. Speculation about his future is out there, dictated equally by his desire to keep playing and how a relatively new Twins front office regime values him going forward.
Mauer could probably find a place to play in 2019, as he has made himself into Gold Glove-caliber first baseman and is hitting .400 (1.102 OPS) with runners in scoring position this year (entering Thursday). But he may only want to play for his home state team.
According to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Mauer will consider retirement after the season.
I’m not a percentage type of guy, but it is definitely something I need to think about,” the 35-year-old Mauer said when asked about retiring in the offseason. “Today, I want to think about trying to beat those Yankees and trying to do the best I can from here on out. Then sit down and go through all the things that have happened to me this year.
Mauer is having a down 2018 season, with a .274/.345/.374 slash-line, six home runs and 43 RBI over 112 games going into Thursday. His OPS (.719) only recently edged over his career low mark of .718 (in 2015), and barring a pretty big jump in the waning weeks of the season his on-base percentage will also threaten a career-low.
Mauer was on a Hall of Fame track as a catcher, with a record (for the position) three batting titles (2006, 2008, 2009), three Gold Gloves and an MVP season in 2009 (.365/.444/.587, 28 home runs and 96 RBI). The move to first base automatically diminished that candidacy, along with a natural decline into his mid-30s
If Mauer had retired after the concussion-shortened 2013 season, with his resume only as a catcher to stand on, he’d be in line for induction into Cooperstown soon as he would start to be eligible. Twins fans should take time to appreciate what Mauer has been to the franchise over the next couple weeks.