• Twins Trade Justin Morneau To Pirates

    The Minnesota Twins have announced they have traded Justin Morneau to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later who was later identified as reliever Duke Welker.

    Morneau, who was drafted by the Twins in 1999, moved into 3rd place on the Twins all-time home run list just last night when he passed Tony Oliva with his 221st career blast. It also provided the deciding run in a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers. If he does not return to the Twins, he will also rank high on the Twins leaderboard, including slugging percentage (4th - .485), RBI (5th - 860) and extra-base hits (5th - 526). He will almost certainly become a member of the Twins Hall of Fame when he is eligible.

    Morneau had been the subject of trade rumors for months as he was becoming a free agent at the end of the year and had the second highest salary on the non-contending ballclub. The Pirates have agreed as part of the trade to pay the approximate $2.3M he will still make this year.

    The initial player who was announced was Alex Presley, a 27-year-old outfielder who has bounced between AAA and the Pirates for the last four years. During that time, he's hit .261 with a .718 OPS over 699 plate appearances while mostly playing corner outfield spots. He's had considerably more success in AAA, where he posted an 837 OPS while playing mostly in centerfield. As a left-handed hitter, he profiles as a player similar to, albeit a slight upgrade to, Clete Thomas.

    Later, the second player, Duke Welker, was announced. Welker is also 27 years old and serves as the closer for the Pirates AAA affiliate. This year he struck out 64 batters in 61 innings with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.279 WHIP. He profiles as a serviceable right-handed reliever.
    Comments 319 Comments
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      After a day of not looking at this thread I've decided it all comes down to this:

      2011-2012 Off season. Ryan decides not to resign Nathan, Kubel and Cuddyer. Payroll drops ~$18 million.

      2012 Trades. Ryan receives ~$2 million in salary relief by trading Liriano.

      2012-2013 Off season. Ryan decides not to resign Pavano, Baker, Marquis, Capps, Casilla and trades Span. Payroll drops ~$18 million

      2013 trades. Ryan receives ~$3.3 million in salary relief by trading Carroll and Morneau.

      Since Terry Ryan's return the Twins have saved ~$60 million on payroll.

      You can look at any individual transaction above and make an argument that money wasn't the driving factor but in the end, when you step back and look at the larger picture, Ryan has chosen time and again to cut payroll and save the Pohlad's millions of dollars. Now you can couch that in terms like "that's what rebuilding teams do" and "he doesn't want to spend just to spend" (whatever that means) but how has that helped the Twins? Here we are 2 years after Ryan returned and the Twins are going to lose 90 games for a 3rd straight season. 2014 isn't looking much better. The starting rotation is much worse. The lineup is worse. In fact the only player that I can point to and say, "here is a part of the solution" is Brian Dozier, and even that should come with an asterisk.

      So here is what I see. A Twins team that is floundering with players that will not be a part of the solution. A team that is bad defensively, a lineup that is near the bottom in the league and a rotation that is racing towards the title, "Worst rotation in the history of major league baseball." And I see $60 million dollars sitting on the table because "the Twins aren't cheap" and "that's what rebuilding teams do".
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      After a day of not looking at this thread I've decided it all comes down to this:

      2011-2012 Off season. Ryan decides not to resign Nathan, Kubel and Cuddyer. Payroll drops ~$18 million.

      2012 Trades. Ryan receives ~$2 million in salary relief by trading Liriano.

      2012-2013 Off season. Ryan decides not to resign Pavano, Baker, Marquis, Capps, Casilla and trades Span. Payroll drops ~$18 million

      2013 trades. Ryan receives ~$3.3 million in salary relief by trading Carroll and Morneau.

      Since Terry Ryan's return the Twins have saved ~$60 million on payroll.

      You can look at any individual transaction above and make an argument that money wasn't the driving factor but in the end, when you step back and look at the larger picture, Ryan has chosen time and again to cut payroll and save the Pohlad's millions of dollars. Now you can couch that in terms like "that's what rebuilding teams do" and "he doesn't want to spend just to spend" (whatever that means) but how has that helped the Twins? Here we are 2 years after Ryan returned and the Twins are going to lose 90 games for a 3rd straight season. 2014 isn't looking much better. The starting rotation is much worse. The lineup is worse. In fact the only player that I can point to and say, "here is a part of the solution" is Brian Dozier, and even that should come with an asterisk.

      So here is what I see. A Twins team that is floundering with players that will not be a part of the solution. A team that is bad defensively, a lineup that is near the bottom in the league and a rotation that is racing towards the title, "Worst rotation in the history of major league baseball." And I see $60 million dollars sitting on the table because "the Twins aren't cheap" and "that's what rebuilding teams do".
      And if the Twins re-signed the players listed above, not have signed Willingham and Doumit they would have been better off? Carroll's and Mourneau's production with the other players would push the team to the promised land this last month? That is an interesting take on what is wrong.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      After a day of not looking at this thread I've decided it all comes down to this:

      2011-2012 Off season. Ryan decides not to resign Nathan, Kubel and Cuddyer. Payroll drops ~$18 million.

      2012 Trades. Ryan receives ~$2 million in salary relief by trading Liriano.

      2012-2013 Off season. Ryan decides not to resign Pavano, Baker, Marquis, Capps, Casilla and trades Span. Payroll drops ~$18 million

      2013 trades. Ryan receives ~$3.3 million in salary relief by trading Carroll and Morneau.

      Since Terry Ryan's return the Twins have saved ~$60 million on payroll.

      You can look at any individual transaction above and make an argument that money wasn't the driving factor but in the end, when you step back and look at the larger picture, Ryan has chosen time and again to cut payroll and save the Pohlad's millions of dollars. Now you can couch that in terms like "that's what rebuilding teams do" and "he doesn't want to spend just to spend" (whatever that means) but how has that helped the Twins? Here we are 2 years after Ryan returned and the Twins are going to lose 90 games for a 3rd straight season. 2014 isn't looking much better. The starting rotation is much worse. The lineup is worse. In fact the only player that I can point to and say, "here is a part of the solution" is Brian Dozier, and even that should come with an asterisk.

      So here is what I see. A Twins team that is floundering with players that will not be a part of the solution. A team that is bad defensively, a lineup that is near the bottom in the league and a rotation that is racing towards the title, "Worst rotation in the history of major league baseball." And I see $60 million dollars sitting on the table because "the Twins aren't cheap" and "that's what rebuilding teams do".
      I disagree with the whole premise of this post, which seems to be embodied in the part in bold.

      Is the payroll lower? Yes. Is it because the driving force behind the listed personnel moves is to make more money for the owners? That's a matter of interpretation, and I disagree with the one given here. One can be validly critical of whether Ryan should spend more on payroll without tying it to the meme of "owner greed." That's gotten old.

      And I for one am just as glad that Liriano was traded (his performance this year notwithstanding) and that Pavano, Baker, Marquis, Capps & Casilla are no longer Twins. And the Span trade was a good move widely praised at the time.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      Ryan has chosen time and again to cut payroll
      Well yes, because your "time and again"s are limited to years 2011-13 when the team was on the way to a putrid record by the time these moves were made. What would be the equivalent moves in 2010 when they were on the way to a division title? (I'm serious, I don't know at the moment how to look up a season's transactions, and maybe he did shed payroll in July.)

      Is it really wrong to say in July-August that we're not winning so what's the point of spending $X for the rest of the season? And does it apply as a forecast of future actions in seasons that aren't like that?

      / edit - heh, Pilgrim and I reacted pretty much to the same thing
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      John, Pilgrim, Old Nurse-

      As I said, you can justify any of the individual points if you try hard enough. Let me ask you just one question:

      Do you think saving $60 million has helped the Twins return to contention?
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      I think developing and investing playing into younger players will lead the Twins back into contention.

      I think they were wise not to sign a decline phase infielder or play Carroll and instead invested time into Dozier, Florimon and Plouffe. I think we would know more about Parmelee, Colabello and Herrmann had they not extended Doumit. It takes at least 1000 plate appearances to get a read on a hitter. They could have been closer.

      Younger players happen to be cheaper. Their growth adds to the base of a long term solution. Their certain struggle prevents a short term fix. I think the Twins need to work towards a long term solution. They are too far away in the short term. Many disagree.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
      I think developing and investing playing into younger players will lead the Twins back into contention.

      I think they were wise not to sign a decline phase infielder or play Carroll and instead invested time into Dozier, Florimon and Plouffe. I think we would know more about Parmelee, Colabello and Herrmann had they not extended Doumit. It takes at least 1000 plate appearances to get a read on a hitter. They could have been closer.

      Younger players happen to be cheaper. Their growth adds to the base of a long term solution. Their certain struggle prevents a short term fix. I think the Twins need to work towards a long term solution. They are too far away in the short term. Many disagree.
      "Signing decline phase players", as you put it, is just one avenue that money could have been spent. If you don't like that particular road then pick another. There is more than one way to skin this cat.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      If the contract doesn't take the player to age 32 it is OK. International players are usually younger but in short supply. I would advocate that they go with younger players which would result in a lower budget. I don't care about the budget. I care that they build a team that grows together.

      I also don't live in the area and hence don't contribute to the budget in the form of season tickets. The voice of the season ticket holders should carry all of the weight.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      John, Pilgrim, Old Nurse-

      As I said, you can justify any of the individual points if you try hard enough. Let me ask you just one question:

      Do you think saving $60 million has helped the Twins return to contention?
      Nice duck of my question. No, saving money has not helped the Twins return to contention. Neither would have keeping the players let go.
    1. Mr. Brooks's Avatar
      Mr. Brooks -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Nice duck of my question. No, saving money has not helped the Twins return to contention. Neither would have keeping the players let go.
      Maybe not in contention, but they would sure help a lot.
      Cuddyer in RF adds 2.3 wins.
      Span in CF adds 2.4 wins.
      I won't add Revere, because he was making the league minimum, so obviously you can't even make an argument that he was a salary dump.
      Nathan in the bullpen adds 2.0 wins.
      Liriano in the rotation adds 3.1 wins.

      That is 10 wins right there, which gets us to .500 or above, or the "meaningful" games in September that Terry Ryan claimed we'd be playing.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      "Signing decline phase players", as you put it, is just one avenue that money could have been spent. If you don't like that particular road then pick another. There is more than one way to skin this cat.
      In theory you would be correct. That would make an assumption that the players you could sign to a 1-2 year contract were better than the ones you played. You can't find that.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Brooks View Post
      Maybe not in contention, but they would sure help a lot.
      Cuddyer in RF adds 2.3 wins.
      Span in CF adds 2.4 wins.
      I won't add Revere, because he was making the league minimum, so obviously you can't even make an argument that he was a salary dump.
      Nathan in the bullpen adds 2.0 wins.
      Liriano in the rotation adds 3.1 wins.

      That is 10 wins right there, which gets us to .500 or above, or the "meaningful" games in September that Terry Ryan claimed we'd be playing.
      Doesn't this assume that they would be replacing a replacement level player? I don't think Nathan adds 2 wins to the late inning reliever group. It was a clear savings in money.

      Cuddyer adds that over Willingham, but was that a reasonable projection? The exchange of the two players did save a little in salary, but their performance over two years has been a wash.

      They could have kept Liriano by not trading and making a qualifying offer. He would have accepted. Would anyone have thought that was reasonable?

      They did trade wins in 2013 by trading Span. Good pitching prospects have a significant cost. 2-3 wins taken from the 2013 record seems a worthwhile risk. I don't see it as a salary dump.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Nice duck of my question. No, saving money has not helped the Twins return to contention. Neither would have keeping the players let go.
      I didn't respond to your post because it had nothing to do with my point. I don't care that Ryan didn't resign Nathan, Cuddyer, Kubel, et al. I do care that he has had significant financial resources and he has chosen not to invest those towards the future.

      He could have signed a long term upgrade like Greinke or Sanchez. He could have signed short term bounce back contracts like Santana. He could have taken on short term contracts with upside and a potential to be flipped like Kuroda or Colon. He could have taken on a big contract of a good but over paid player like Soriano. He could have gone wild in international free agency like the Cubs thereby increasing our talent in a few years. He could have signed an international free agent like Ryu or Iwakuma.

      Those were all options and there are probably more I'm not thinking of. He did none of those. I have a preferred method but at this point I don't care if it is chosen. I just want him to pick one or two this off season and go for it. You can't win when you don't play.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      And yet, an entire industry of journalism not only does this, but does it really well and quite accurately. So, if this is the basis for your argument, it's rather flimsy.

      I've repeatedly said I don't know how much value they lost with their stubborn behavior. It might have been none. But they had ZERO reasons to be stubborn about it initially. They had no bargaining power save helping with his contract and they refused to put that on the table by all accounts. That, to me, is unacceptable. I hope they have a good reason for it, because the most obvious one is very upsetting.
      Apologies, S.A.C.D..

      "When you have eliminated the probable, the possible, the improbable, and the impossible--you are left with the obvious".

      When a precipitous drop in payroll over multiple years why is it assumed that said reduction wasn't planned? Several ex-Twins were named attached with the claim that so-and-so wasn't worth keeping--OK. But the payroll "saved by not extending so-and-so" could go into improving the team elsewhere--but it didn't. There will be another large payroll reduction between 2013 and 2014 due to Morneau, Carroll, and Blackburn contracts not renewed. Ryan (when exonerating Gardenhire for this year's disappointment) stated that there wasn't enough talent. However, there has been no statement about rectifying the talent shortage this offseason. Why? Has the talent shotage been fixed?--No. It is clear that payroll reduction was the prime directive and that rebuilding will be done in the same manner as in the 1990's--despite the public subsidy provided.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      After a week:

      I like the trade,

      Justin goes to a winner
      It opens time for others to play
      They are not in the awkward position of not re-signing him this offseason
    1. CharacterGroove's Avatar
      CharacterGroove -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      After a week:

      I like the trade,

      Justin goes to a winner
      It opens time for others to play
      They are not in the awkward position of not re-signing him this offseason
      Yeah, that's my position as well. The first and third points anyway, I don't care as much about playing guys who are not likely to be a part of the future - although it's cool seeing Collabello. I'd be singing a different tune in that point if Parmalee had done his part.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Can I just interrupt the same exact discussion we've been banging our heads against on this site for two years and actually mention something about Justin Morneau?

      It seems as though his post-ASB hot streak is continuing. In just a few games with the Pirates, his triple slash is .462/.588/.538 and OPS 1.127.

      For a team like the Pirates that don't have a wide lead in the playoff race, this version of Morneau is exactly what they needed. Good for him.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Just to come back to the point of the thread and to clarify my position a bit, I think the trade needed to happen and I am glad Ryan got it done. My problem with the trade is how it fits into the broader picture of the financial resources not being used to maximize this teams return to contention.

      Good for Justin and Liriano!
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
      Do you think saving $60 million has helped the Twins return to contention?
      Now you're switching from commenting on trade-deadline deals in losing seasons, to overall strategy. Not every thread has to become a referendum on Terry Ryan, and this thread is far and away long enough, so I'm not taking the offer.
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