• Is There A Market For Morneau?

    Will Justin Morneau be traded at the deadline?The Twins needed a big year from Justin Morneau. Not because it was going to help push them over the top, but because a productive Morneau may have yielded a prospect or two at the trade deadline that would prove helpful toward the rebuilding effort.

    Unfortunately, Morneau has done very little this year to make himself an appealing trade chip. While many (including myself) were expecting a return to form of sorts since the former MVP had seemingly shaken all his injury woes, his performance has only reinforced the fact that he is not the player he once was. Not even close.

    After going 0-for-4 in Tuesday night's loss to the Marlins, Morneau is hitting .282/.331/.383 on the season. His .714 OPS ranks him 22nd out of 27 qualifying MLB first basemen. That he has managed to hit only three home runs is almost hard to believe. That total ranks him ninth on a Twins team that is second-to-last in the AL in homers.

    I wouldn't say Morneau has been terrible; after all, he's gotten his hits and has driven in 42 runs, albeit mostly due to hitting behind Joe Mauer. While it makes every bit of sense for the Twins to heavily shop Morneau at the deadline in order to shed his salary and create playing time for Chris Parmelee, would a contending team have any interest in acquiring him?

    Right now, it's tough to see, even if it meant only taking on Morneau's ~$5 million in remaining salary and giving up a non-prospect. No team that is within range of first place in its respective division has gotten worse production from first base than Morneau has given the Twins. Although a few (such as Baltimore and Cleveland) could have some level of interest in adding him as a DH, there will undoubtedly be several better hitters on the market.

    At this rate, the only way the Twins are going to be able to unload Morneau is by assuming the majority of his remaining salary and accepting very little in return. It still might be best course of action, all things considered, but it's a heck of an unfortunate turn of events for a 32 year-old who spent many years of his career among baseball's true elite.
    This article was originally published in blog: Is There A Market For Morneau? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 88 Comments
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      We have two fricken consistent hitters and you want to trade him! Sign him to an extension. Even young teams rebuilding desperately need veterans to watch and learn from. Don't underestimate how valuable his defense is also.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by RodneyKline View Post
      We have two fricken consistent hitters and you want to trade him! Sign him to an extension. Even young teams rebuilding desperately need veterans to watch and learn from. Don't underestimate how valuable his defense is also.
      I suspect that this might be trolling, esp after that Billy Buckner imitation tonight...

      On the other hand, this might be an exact indication why someone will (over)pay for Morneau: If you look at batting average and RBIs and evoke the ghost of Morneau's past, oh yeah he does have value and some GMs will bite.

      At this point here is the realistic equation:
      a. The Twins will have to pay him $7ish million for the rest of 2013 after July.
      b. They will not make a qualifying offer for him after this season, so there will be no compensations
      c. The Twins will not make it in the post-season in 2013.

      Add a + b + c and a warm body + $7M beats it, esp. if there might be some future in that warm body
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Trust in Pohlad--Morneau is a goner. But on a more serious note, Justin's best days are long gone and there are other options. Consider, Sano continues to impress, and is promoted to the Twins in 13 months, Sano and Plouffe man the corners, one at 1st the other at 3rd. Collabello can get a second tryout. Parmalee is another option, include Doumit for next year as a possibility. I expect the FO is already picking their new car out awaiting the extra bonus they can get by moving Morneau off of the payroll.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      I wouldn't pay anyone to take Morneau. He's still a big part of a small offense. If Parmelee can't beat him out, he doesn't deserve to play 1B. As I've posted before, at some level the Twins are still trying to compete. Parmelee is no rookie, time to make himself indispensable.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Since he is an unsignble free agent, the team will offer up something like Pedro Hernandez and an Escobar for him, perhaps. Maybe the Twins can highball any low bidders in free agent land, but doubtful, then.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      I wouldn't pay anyone to take Morneau. He's still a big part of a small offense. If Parmelee can't beat him out, he doesn't deserve to play 1B. As I've posted before, at some level the Twins are still trying to compete. Parmelee is no rookie, time to make himself indispensable.
      If Parmalee can't beat him out? Morneau currently has a .725 OPS and Parmelee a .703 with very sporadic playing time of late. Let's remember that Parmalee has been learning a new position and has played more than acceptable defense out in RF. I'm honestly not sure we would have a drop off in production if they just inserted Parmalee as the full-time 1B.

      Here's a Fangraphs article regarding Morneau:
      Dumping Justin Morneau | FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball
    1. BD57's Avatar
      BD57 -
      We wanted Morneau or Parmelee and preferably both - to have big years.

      If Morneau did, then we'd have something to build on if we kept him & something of value to trade if we didn't.

      If Parmelee was having a good year, we'd have more options re: keep Morneau or trade him.

      But, to date, neither of them are having a good year. And the Twins lineup looks like Swiss Cheese - way too many holes.

      Morneau's performance doesn't merit the money he's getting. Problem is, we really don't have anyone to plug into his spot - as mediocre as he's been compared to other 1st basemen, he's the best we have.

      Morneau isn't himself; Parmelee hasn't shown he's capable of being an "average" 1st baseman.

      We got issues.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      No reason to keep him, but you are not getting anything for him either. So sad, one of my favorite players and people on the twins.
    1. Physics Guy's Avatar
      Physics Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      No reason to keep him, but you are not getting anything for him either. So sad, one of my favorite players and people on the twins.
      I agree with this completely. I keep pulling for him to get hot and start driving the ball, but I just don't see it happening.
    1. mudcat14's Avatar
      mudcat14 -
      Don't cry for poor Justin. He's got about 75million reasons to keep his chin up, whether the Twins dump him for marginal prospects or he signs an incentive-laden FA deal with a new team in the off-season. Contending or not, I have no doubt that Parmelee & Colabello can assume Morneau's AB's with at least similar run production. Besides, it's important to see if either or both can fill the 1B spot as a stop gap until either Sano, Vargas, D. Hicks, Harrison or whomever is ready to stake their claim on the position. Justin will NOT be returning next year, so why leave things in limbo going forward? I guarantee that the Yankees would give up something of potential value, even if that player may be years away from contributing.
    1. LaBombo's Avatar
      LaBombo -
      No.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Count me in the minority, but I think he will come around to being more than a shell of himself. If the Twins were able to extend him like the Wild did Backstrom, I'd be happy to watch him wind down his career here, like Hrbek.
    1. twinstalker's Avatar
      twinstalker -
      Quote Originally Posted by mudcat14 View Post
      Contending or not, I have no doubt that Parmelee & Colabello can assume Morneau's AB's with at least similar run production.

      Once again a commenter assumes Gardenhire would use a platoon. I love it.
    1. fairweather's Avatar
      fairweather -
      The twins have no choice but to try and package Morneau and move him. No one is going to take him on alone considering his salary. Likely they will get stuck with him and claim loyalty.
    1. Thegrin's Avatar
      Thegrin -
      Let Morneau play out the year and hope he will sign a reasonable contract. He's still got some good years left in him.
    1. mini_tb's Avatar
      mini_tb -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thegrin View Post
      He's still got some good years left in him.
      What have you seen that convinces you he has some good years left in him? I love Morneau and hope you are right, but all I see are a lengthy injury history, an empty batting average, and tons of RBI opportunities.
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thegrin View Post
      Let Morneau play out the year and hope he will sign a reasonable contract. He's still got some good years left in him.
      At this point I wouldn't be suprised if we do that. Since Morneau is not having a good year we should be able to sign him for less then what he would have recieved before the year started.
    1. markos's Avatar
      markos -
      No team that is within range of first place in its respective division has gotten worse production from first base than Morneau has given the Twins.
      Colorado's firstbasemen (primarily Todd Helton and Jordan Pacheco) have managed an OPS of only .663 AT COOR'S FIELD. They are only 3 games back of the Diamondbacks for the division lead, so they may be interested in a 1B upgrade.
    1. silverslugger's Avatar
      silverslugger -
      The Twins are in a bad situation with this one. Most if not all of us on here are hyper-serious fans and understand/analyze the game way beyond the typical/casual fan. The problem for Twins management and ownership with Morneau isn't so much that they may only get a marginal prospect for two months of Morneau. And that's certainly debatable. The problem is that the typical/casual fan doesn't pay to get into Target Field or tune into FSN or turn the dial on the radio to watch or listen to what Chris Colabello is doing for the Twins at First Base. Chris Colabello is not a prospect and we've argued plenty on this sight whether or not Parmelee still has prospect status. No, the problem for management and ownership is that they KNOW the casual fan will want to watch Justin Morneau play 1B and bat 4th in the Twins lineup in August and September regardless of our record.
    1. silverslugger's Avatar
      silverslugger -
      Additionally, if your Morneau and the Twins don't move you at the deadline and don't sign you in the offseason, do you simply walk away from the game? Morneau has been on record as stating that he seriously considered not coming back and risking further concussions at one point in his recovery process. Could this be the end for Justin Morneau?
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