A Minnesota Twins icon could hang up his cleats this winter. Six-time All-Star Joe Mauer admitted he’ll seriously consider retirement in the offseason, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Star-Tribune.
The 35-year-old Mauer said he was undecided on whether he would continue his playing career, and said he would discuss the issue with his family in the offseason.
“There’s a lot of different dynamics that go into it. I owe it to myself and my family to sit down and think about those things.
“It’s interesting. It’s a big decision, and I want to make sure I’m 100 percent about it.”
Mauer is in the final year of the eight-year, $184 million deal he signed with the Twins in 2010. At the start of the season, Mauer expressed a desire to continue playing baseball past 2018. But he told the Star-Tribune “a lot can change in six months.”
After a bounce-back season at the plate in 2017, Mauer has seen his numbers decline in 2018. He’s hit .274/.345/.375, with six home runs.
On top of that, Mauer has battled tough injuries throughout his career. A concussion in 2013 forced Mauer to move from catcher to first base. That injury also coincided with Mauer’s decline at the plate.
From 2004 to 2013, Mauer hit .323/.405/.468. He made the All-Star team six times and was named the American League MVP in 2009. Since 2014, Mauer has hit .276/.358/.387.
If Mauer decides to hang it up, he’ll leave behind an interesting case for the Hall of Fame. As a catcher, he was well on his way to receiving that honor. His career 54.9 bWAR ranks him as the seventh-best catcher of all-time. Every catcher ahead of him is in the Hall of Fame.
Despite that, Mauer is not a slam dunk. He spent a third of his career as a first baseman. While he accumulated a large portion of his value in his years as a catcher, some voters may argue that his peak wasn’t long enough.
Even if the Hall of Fame doesn’t call, Mauer will be celebrated as a Twins legend. For a nine-year stretch, he was one of the best players in baseball and the face of the franchise.
For someone who was born in Minnesota, drafted and developed by Minnesota and destined to retire after spending his entire career in Minnesota, that wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.
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