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  • Does Ben Revere’s Departure Portent Justin Morneau Trade?

    It was the second big trade of the offseason for the Minnesota Twins, and the second concrete indicator to the league and to fans that General Manager Terry Ryan is looking beyond 2013. Indeed, it was the second time in which a trade likely made the Twins worse for the 2013, instead of better.

    Which is odd, because this is a great trade. Ben Revere has plenty of value, but was not without question marks and could be replaceable as early as the second half of this year. The pitchers the Twins received in return, Vance Worley and Trevor May, are also not without question marks, but they’re exactly what the Twins needed to get – young, cheap pitching that can contribute in the majors.
    But the Twins offseason has seemingly pivoted since the TwinsCentric interview with Terry Ryan. If the focus for the organization is not on 2013, then what does the future hold for Justin Morneau, who becomes a free agent following this season? Let’s see have a looks at the pros and cons with which the front office might be wrestling…

    Pro: 2013 is toast….
    Con: ….but you might still want people to come to the ballpark.

    As starting pitching free agents are snapped up, the Twins are increasingly unlikely to compete in 2013. But the Twins are also just starting their fourth year in their new stadium, have the All-Star Game coming in 2014, and are looking to rebound soon after with the prospects that are brimming from their minor leagues.

    It’s always a lot easier to retain customers than to get new ones. Morneau, besides serving as a veteran presence in the clubhouse for new players, can bridge that competitive gap for fans, especially those casual fans who might be more cynical about the future of the team. It doesn’t hurt that he and his wife are well-liked and active in the community. He is more than just another bat – he’s an ambassador at an especially fragile time for the organization.

    Pro: He can be replaced by Chris Parmelee….
    Con: ….but who replaces Chris Parmelee?

    The Twins have a left-handed first baseman in the wings, Chris Parmelee, who launched himself up the prospect charts with a monster season in AAA-Rochester last year. But with both Denard Span and Revere gone, Parmelee already has a spot waiting for him in the outfield. What’s more, the prospect mostly likely to be ready in 2013, Aaron Hicks, is already earmarked to move into center field.

    If Parmelee moves to first, that means filling his spot with either Joe Benson, who had a terrible 2012 in Rochester and AA-New Britain, or Oswaldo Arcia, who is only a half year removed from High A-Fort Myers. Both COULD get a shot, and both might if the Twins look at 2013 as a year to invest in youngsters. But neither is a great bet to thrive real soon.

    Pro: Teams are looking for big bats…
    Con: ….but will be looking for big bats at the trade deadline, too.

    There is really only one good first baseman on the free agent market – Adam LaRoche – and he seems to have no lack of suitors. One of them, the Orioles, has already been linked to Morneau in trade rumors, for whatever that is worth. The Twins told reporters not to believe everything they hear, but they said that about trading Revere, too. There is a market for Morneau.

    But the market could be there in July, too. At that point, he’ll hopefully have four more healthy months behind him. If he hits like he did the second half of last year, he’ll have a track record to generate plenty of interest. (Hell, if that’s the case, the Twins might even think of extending him.) Finally, he won’t cost his new team $14M, but closer to $5M, making him that much more attractive.
    Hmm… speaking of money…..

    Pro: He’s owed $14M this season….
    Con: ….but the Twins aren’t going to spend it anyway….
    Pro: ….unless they use it to pay Morneau on his new team.

    The biggest single reason to consider trading Morneau this offseason was to free up $14M to spend on starting pitching. Even if the Twins traded Morneau for nothing, the $14M would have been enough to get a top flight pitcher, like Dan Haren, who signed a one-year deal this week for less than that.

    But now, that $14M likely isn’t leaving the Twins coffers. Frontline starting pitching isn’t just expensive – it’s expensive long-term. Ryan fears giving players contracts that are one or two years longer than is sane, and it appears that will be the case for the majority of top pitchers remaining. At this point, it’s debatable if the Twins are going to spend the $20-30M we thought they would. An extra $14M isn’t going to help.

    But on the third hand, this would free up the Twins to make the kind of trade that (to my knowledge) they have NEVER done. They could trade away a big contract, but pick up a chunk of the cost for an excellent prospect. The Orioles might not be willing to give up much for a $14M Morneau. The might give up a tremendous amount for a $10M Morneau.

    So which way do you go? To me, the path isn’t clear, but the answer is. The answer? “He’s available, for the right price.” That’s what the answer has been for the better part of six months now, and the price has been too high. With the Twins new focus on 2014 and beyond, I won’t be surprised if some new customers don’t stop by to see just how available Morneau might be.
    This article was originally published in blog: Does Ben Revere’s Departure Portend Justin Morneau Trade? started by John Bonnes
    Comments 45 Comments
    1. Chris in Osaka's Avatar
      Chris in Osaka -
      Time to double down on the future and move both Morneau and Willingham. The team can't compete in 2013 and shouldn't cling to any such illusions.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I don't understand what the Revere trade has to do with Morneau. he's just as available as he was before. The reason that I don't think Morneau will get traded (in the offseason) is that I don't think a team will trade a good prospect for him (even if the Twins pay half). If they do then he is gone.
    1. Joe's Avatar
      Joe -
      Hypothetical......

      Would you trade Justin Morneau for Brian Matusz and PTBNL - Kevin Gausmann?

      I think I would.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Morneau might not even get you Matusz. Gausman is completely off the table for the Twins.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      I think the trading is about done! It's time for the buying to start!
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Morneau might not even get you Matusz. Gausman is completely off the table for the Twins.
      And you know what? I wouldnt mind getting Brian Matusz. Gausman is untouchable exactly right.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      I'll pass on Matusz for Morneau. All indications are that he's a lefty RP'er now. Arrieta or even Britton OTOH are more interesting.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Morneau might not even get you Matusz. Gausman is completely off the table for the Twins.
      Gausman is probably unreachable, but what happens to the Nat's Desperation Meter if they lose Adam LaRoche? There are still enough quality prospects in the Nats org to get a good multi-player deal if they really hit the panic button.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Gausman is probably unreachable, but what happens to the Nat's Desperation Meter if they lose Adam LaRoche? There are still enough quality prospects in the Nats org to get a good multi-player deal if they really hit the panic button.
      Are you mixing up the O's and Nats on purpose or accidentally? The Nats already have Mike Morse to play 1B and the O's have a good offense but pretty weak pitching so I don't understand why they would be trading a pitching prospect for a hitter.

      Regardless of any desperation meter a guy like Gausman won't be traded for Morneau. And not Willingham either.
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      I think Morneau will remain a Twin, mid season may have a different answer if the team is struggling or there is an offer too good to be true.

      Morneau is still a health risk, to sell now you are selling when his value is low.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      The Twins would need to require another huge overpay because point number four was most apt. It's not like his salary will now go toward free agent pitching. Losing his salary would just help to set the bar lower for future payrolls.
    1. Kobs's Avatar
      Kobs -
      I'm not sure what the market is for a $14,000,000 first baseman with a.267/.333/.444 line and a history of major head injuries.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kobs View Post
      I'm not sure what the market is for a $14,000,000 first baseman with a.267/.333/.444 line and a history of major head injuries.
      On the other hand, a contender at the trade deadline might be willing to give up a really good prospect for a former MVP if he is having a good season.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Parmelee has to be in RF at the moment (yikes) and Morneau is safe. Morneau now is a deadline deal and that is fine (Parmelee takes over at 1B and Arcia takes over in RF).

      This is all about Aaron Hicks.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      Gausman is probably unreachable, but what happens to the Nat's Desperation Meter if they lose Adam LaRoche? There are still enough quality prospects in the Nats org to get a good multi-player deal if they really hit the panic button.
      Are you mixing up the O's and Nats on purpose or accidentally? The Nats already have Mike Morse to play 1B and the O's have a good offense but pretty weak pitching so I don't understand why they would be trading a pitching prospect for a hitter.

      Regardless of any desperation meter a guy like Gausman won't be traded for Morneau. And not Willingham either.

      The Orioles have publicly stated they are in search of a 1B/DH power hitter. The Nats, in possibly losing LaRoche, lose a LH 1B power bat, Morse is RH and having a lefty power bat may or may not be a higher Nat priority.

      I agree a guy like Gausman wouldn't be traded straight-up for either of them, but a package that includes a top Twins prospect, who knows? The Orioles already have Dylan Bundy and if they think they are one or two pieces away from a shot at the pennant, who knows what they might offer?- they also have another raw, big hard-throwing SP and blocked 3B and 2B at the top of their MiL prospect list.

      Regarding Morse and the Nats, with their OF now full and Brian Goodwin knocking at the door, they might even be willing to swap him to the Twins in some kind of deal. Another RH power bat and ability to play 1B/OF/DH would fit nicely at Target and the Twins lineup, both contracts expire after 2013, but Morse only makes $6.75M (who might like MN and wish to re-sign). Longshot, but again, worth inquiring about, Eric Davis, Matt Purke, Ryan Mattheus are worth putting on the table- they've alredy thrown Drew Storen out there, they also have a couple of intriguing power hitting MiL 3B.

      And yes, what with the just-completed epic trade with my favorite NL team and its neighbor (my 2nd fav AL team, I'm from MD originally) just to the east, my conflation-radar goes off simultaneously for both when one is mentioned.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      Parmelee has to be in RF at the moment (yikes) and Morneau is safe. Morneau now is a deadline deal and that is fine (Parmelee takes over at 1B and Arcia takes over in RF).

      This is all about Aaron Hicks.
      And Oswaldo Arcia?
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by Seth Stohs View Post
      yeah, we're talking a lot about CF with Benson/Hicks/Mastroianni... however, Arcia is probably the most big-league ready of the bunch, and if RF were to open up, I think they'd be pretty comfortable going to him.
      Or maybe Ellsbury ends up our centerfielder....
    1. FrodaddyG's Avatar
      FrodaddyG -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      On the other hand, a contender at the trade deadline might be willing to give up a really good prospect for a former MVP if he is having a good season.
      Is Vlad Guerrero available in this scenario? He's only two more years removed from his MVP award than Morneau!
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Gausman isn't available in a trade b/c PTBNLs have to be named in 6 months. They could pull this off in spring training or at the deadline in July, but not before then. I'd be quite happy getting Gausman for Morneau, but I have a tough time believing Baltimore would bite on that... not right now at least. If they are contending at the deadline, maybe...

      That said, if I were Baltimore, I'd be looking forward to the days of having Bundy and Gausman fronting a rotation... That's 2 potential aces there. Given that much of this season was luck, I think they'd be foolish to trade either of those guys away.
    1. wavedog's Avatar
      wavedog -
      Unless overwhelmed by a trade request, I would keep Morneau at least until the trade deadline. Shows a sign of stability and is someone the fans like to come out and see.
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