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  • If Twins Will Trade Justin Morneau, There's A Way Toward Contention

    Morneau's departure could mean some big arrivals for the Twins.According to the Washington Post, the only legitimately good first baseman on the free agent market, Adam LaRoche, is in talks to re-sign with the Nationals. In the 2013 Offseason Handbook, I think the next best option we found was Carlos Lee, who slugged just .365 (and is 36 years old.) Whatís more, there arenít a lot of good options on the free agent market to move to first base. For instance, Kevin Youkilis is available at third base, but if he can play third base (and it looks like he can) heíll be signed as a third baseman.

    The last couple of years, the market has not been so thin. Last year, of course, was epically good, with Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder leading the charge. 2010 had Paul Konerko, but also Aubrey Huff, LaRoche, Carlos Pena and Lance Berkman. 2009 was thin, but 2008 had Mark Teixeira leading the class. Itís been years since we had a free agent first baseman sign for less than $6M, but that will almost certainly happen if LaRoche returns to the Nationals.

    This presents a unique opportunity to the Twins, if they choose to embrace it.

    In our 45-minute interview with Terry Ryan for the Offseason Handbook, he stated that 1B/OF Chris Parmelee will get every opportunity to play every day. While manager Ron Gardenhire says heís satisfied with Parmeleeís defense in right field, the rest of the organization has shown no such endorsement. Indeed, in AAA-Rochester this year, he didnít play a single game there.

    Moving incumbent Justin Morneau would not only make space for Parmelee, but free up $14 million to purchase starting pitching in a free agent market thick with it. Even if the Twins received nothing in return, thatís enough money to sign any starter except Zach Greinke. Ask yourself, would you trade Morneau for Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, or Anibal Sanchez? If you would, it makes sense to trade away Morneau for nothing more than a bag of bricks.

    Fortunately, for the Twins, that might not be necessary. There are not shortage of teams that struggled mightily at first base last year. SEVEN teams had an OPS lower less than 700 last year, and even the Rangers first basemen hit just .251/.301/.399. For a team struggling to fill major needs on a lower budget, the thin first base market is a godsend. If the Twins can find the will, there is almost certainly a way to bounce back quickly.
    This article was originally published in blog: If Twins Will Trade Justin Morneau, There's A Way Toward Contention started by John Bonnes
    Comments 53 Comments
    1. ScottyB's Avatar
      ScottyB -
      I would love to package Morneau and Span to the Rangers maybe with Hendricks or Hermson for Derek Holland and a low level pospect or two. Then take the Morneau money for a free agent pitcher.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      why? a career 4.71 era , thats worse then marquis
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      texas is looking to find starting catching , why not pawn smokin joe on them for say profar and olt, maybe throw in hermsen and escobar
      then trade morneau to toronto with liam hendriks and herrmenn for dŠrnaud , that would free up 37 million give us a quality left side of the infield and a offensive catcher , with the money we could make a run at grienke and sanchez and still have some jingle in pohlads jeans
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Agreed up to a point. The Twins have to get a young starting pitcher with upside in return for Morneau, even if they have to package an OF prospect. And they have to get a SP for Span and they have to sign a decent FA SP. They are not just one free agent away...
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      Agreed up to a point. The Twins have to get a young starting pitcher with upside in return for Morneau, even if they have to package an OF prospect. And they have to get a SP for Span and they have to sign a decent FA SP. They are not just one free agent away...
      with pittsburg looking for a corner outfielder willingham goes there for cole and taillon
      each of these 2 kids have the stuff to be aces cole hits triple digets and has 3 solid pitches and taillon has 4 pitches and hits 97mph ,for these 2 pitchers i would give up willingham benson hermsen slama,burnnet and florimon
      in reality the twins cant win until they either up the payroll to 125-130 million or tear it down and rebuild
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      If you are trolling it worked. You think Texas will give us arguably their top two prospects for a catcher who is trending out of the position and makes $23M? Keith Law has Profar as the #1 prospect in the minors overall. Jon Daniels would hang up the phone immediately if offered that trade. I'm skeptical he'd give Profar straight up for Mauer. I suppose you want them to trade Gardy for Washington too?
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      yes please gardy for washington throw in drew also ,yes we might have to give up some depth from the minors like goodrum and a pitcher or benson or bigley or..but wouldnt it be worth it to have the left side set?
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      If you want a SS from Texas, better to go after Andrus. They might listen regarding him. I was thinking the Twins should go after him. Then they would have a middle infielder actually capable of batting second (.350 OBP) with speed for the top of the order as Gardy likes it. I'm just not sure what the Twins could offer that would be acceptable to them.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      texas is in a must win now situation, id be happy with elvis and olt , for joe and harrison
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I'm worried he becomes elite again. That's why I'd wait more time until the trade deadline to make up our minds. It's pretty hard to imagine that his value can get lower.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      why? a career 4.71 era , thats worse then marquis
      I LOVE Holland and his potential. I predict he's gonna be a future Cy Young type pitcher.
      Holland has struggled pitching in Arlington (5.34ERA w/ .822OPS) and would flourish in a pitchers park (4.08road ERA .702OPS).
      I would pretty much allow anything within reason to get him.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      with pittsburg looking for a corner outfielder willingham goes there for cole and taillon
      each of these 2 kids have the stuff to be aces cole hits triple digets and has 3 solid pitches and taillon has 4 pitches and hits 97mph ,for these 2 pitchers i would give up willingham benson hermsen slama,burnnet and florimon
      in reality the twins cant win until they either up the payroll to 125-130 million or tear it down and rebuild
      Unless Terry Ryan has incriminating pictures of the Pirates' GM, we are not getting either of those guys....much less both.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      I think Morneau should be traded. But I firmly believe that he is worth major league talent. While the thread mentioned that even receiving nothing serves as a fine "salary dump", that sort of trade (cf Young or Hardy) is downright foolish. Morneau is highly likely to receive a qualifying offer from any team the Twins trade him to--that's a compensation round selection (high 2nd rounder if you please) as well as his services for 2013. I think that the Twins should focus on teams that want to make a splash either now--or soon. Texas is one, but Seattle is an even better choice. Seattle has been a cellar-dweller for too long, they have lots of young pitching, have a huge need for offense, and have performed their own "salary surgery" by trading Ichiro. Also, note that Morneau is a native of BC might be more inclined to sign a contract extention with Seattle which provides a higher measure of assurance to SEA that they will have Morneau for several years. I think the Twins could fetch a tidier sum from Seattle than from Texas.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Moving incumbent Justin Morneau would not only make space for Parmelee, but free up $14 million to purchase starting pitching in a free agent market thick with it. Even if the Twins received nothing in return, that’s enough money to sign any starter except Zach Greinke. Ask yourself, would you trade Morneau for Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, or Anibal Sanchez? If you would, it makes sense to trade away Morneau for nothing more than a bag of bricks.
      This is a pretty poor argument and article imo. None of these pitchers will cost 14M for ONE YEAR. They will all get 12-15M for 3-5 years. As far as the Twins payroll is concerned they can keep Morneau and add one of these pitchers w/o coming close to 100M next season. So the argument really becomes trading Morneau and signing two of these pitchers which ties up 75-125M of payroll for the next 4-5 seasons.

      I'm all for trading Morneau if a legimately good offer comes along but I wouldn't hold my breath considering that he makes 14M, looks average and he has injury concerns. tbh I think Morneau will be as productive as Willingham next season and Willingham carries far more trade value.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I'm all for trading Morneau if a legimately good offer comes along but I wouldn't hold my breath considering that he makes 14M, looks average and he has injury concerns. tbh I think Morneau will be as productive as Willingham next season and Willingham carries far more trade value.
      Yup, if you want to maximize trade value and open a spot for Parmalee - trade Willingham. That's been the best play since July.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      None of these pitchers will cost 14M for ONE YEAR. They will all get 12-15M for 3-5 years. As far as the Twins payroll is concerned they can keep Morneau and add one of these pitchers w/o coming close to 100M next season. So the argument really becomes trading Morneau and signing two of these pitchers which ties up 75-125M of payroll for the next 4-5 seasons.
      You're obviously right about the one year thing - but Morneau's salary is gone after this year, too. Plus, there are added TV revenues. The Twins are gaining more flexibility, not less, in the next few seasons. Being able to afford one of those contracts in 2013 is by far the biggest barrier.

      As for the chunk of payroll tied up for the next few years, - yeah, that's right. Personally, I might prefer getting one of these guys and signing two more at the next tier, but either way, I'm fine with it.

      The problem is that the Twins simply don't have much pitching to promote to the starting rotation in their minors, probably until at least 2015. Gibson, hopefully comes back, maybe Hendriks hangs onto a late rotation spot and maybe Wimmers comes back from Tommy John in 2014. And all three are question marks. I'd love to see two big names under contract, and especially signing them this year, when their contracts are going to be slightly more reasonable.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Moving incumbent Justin Morneau would not only make space for Parmelee, but free up $14 million to purchase starting pitching in a free agent market thick with it. Even if the Twins received nothing in return, thatís enough money to sign any starter except Zach Greinke. Ask yourself, would you trade Morneau for Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, or Anibal Sanchez? If you would, it makes sense to trade away Morneau for nothing more than a bag of bricks.
      This is a pretty poor argument and article imo. None of these pitchers will cost 14M for ONE YEAR. They will all get 12-15M for 3-5 years. As far as the Twins payroll is concerned they can keep Morneau and add one of these pitchers w/o coming close to 100M next season. So the argument really becomes trading Morneau and signing two of these pitchers which ties up 75-125M of payroll for the next 4-5 seasons.

      I'm all for trading Morneau if a legimately good offer comes along but I wouldn't hold my breath considering that he makes 14M, looks average and he has injury concerns. tbh I think Morneau will be as productive as Willingham next season and Willingham carries far more trade value.
      Fair enough. Based on your assumption of Morneau's projected 2013 performance, what should the Twins do after the season and Morneau's contract ends? Compete in the open market to retain his services? Make a qualifying offer and hope he declines and signs elsewhere to obtain a supplemental draft choice?--and what if he does accept said qualifying offer? Any team that has Morneau for the entire season can obtain compensation under the above mentioned conditions. A trade after the season starts--and no compensation if he signs elsewhere. In short, I'm asking is a supplemental draft choice and his services for next season worth more than trading him (personnel recieved and personnel that can be added due to his $14M salary)?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Morneau is my favorite Twin, though I do think trading him would be wise. I've argued it will make the most sense at the deadline, as I suspect he will continue to improve.

      That said, if they can get a decent pitcher for him, and then use the 14M to go after another decent pitcher, I'd say more power to them. I think Parmalee can put up the same line Morneau did last year and could possibly exceed it (though I think Morneau will beat that line next year with a normal offseason and a normal April/May). It certainly isn't a bad idea.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      If you trade Morneau then Span will definately stay until one of the minor league OF prospects Hicks or Arcia are deemed ready. The OF will be Span, Revere, and Willingham and 1B Parmelee/ Mauer. There is only one prospect that is currently ready to come up right now and the best use of resources IMO is to trade from our surplus Span or Revere. I think you can maximize the return better by trading Span freeing up 4.75 million or so and if you need to wait until nest July for Morneau then so be it. I wonder if they could extend Morneau and restructure his current contract in the process. 3 year 33 million extension at 11 per year?
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I think there are a lot of reasons a Morneau trade won't happen.

      1) He's insanely popular with the fan base, the Twins can't just dump his salary. They'd need to get a great package in return and I'm not sure that's out there.
      2) Parmelee might not be a legit MLer. He might be but if he puts up a 80 OPS+ next year, trading Morneau was a horrible move.
      3) Mauer, Willingham, Morneau is a legit 3-4-5 right now. My guess is the FO would rather build around that by moving other parts (Span) and making a few FA additions.
      4) Touched on it in #1 but Morneau's return probably isn't going to be worth it. We won't get an absolute stud back. We might get a solid AA prospect or a current ML back of the rotation pitcher. If we hang onto Morneau and the team flops again, he would very likely have more value at the trade deadline than right now. My guess is that is what the FO does.
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