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View Full Version : Article: What do we make of Justin Morneau's quotes?



Seth Stohs
02-24-2012, 08:51 AM
You can view the page at http://www.twinsdaily.com/content.php?243-What-do-we-make-of-Justin-Morneau-s-quotes

Mr. Ed
02-24-2012, 09:16 AM
What a slippery slope he's on. How hard should he go after that ground ball? Should he dive? Should he let it go, allowing a run to score?

Or try taking that extra base?

Very difficult situation he's in. I wish him the best.

Hopefully the Twins take it easier on him than he will on himself. Take it slow!

Loosey
02-24-2012, 09:19 AM
I personally think he has come to grips with his concussion situation. Right now it sounds like Morneau and the doctors have symptoms under control but he knows that if he gets hit in the head or issues persist it might be time to hang 'em up. I think he has prepared himself for the worst but is hoping along with the rest of us that he is going to be something close to the Morneau of the past.

John Bonnes
02-24-2012, 09:31 AM
These quotes scare the hell out of me. I hope they scare the hell out of the Twins. For the love of god, get a backup plan beyond pushing Parmelee.

scottz
02-24-2012, 09:44 AM
In the Star Trib article addressing the same thing, Morneau is quoted as saying, "Everything has been pretty good since January, I'd say." It is February now. I'm pretty sure that in January somewhere on the Caravan, he said that everything had been pretty good since December. So, he's having concussion symptoms every month. Which means he hasn't been symptom-free...maybe ever since the last one. It sure looks like he's going the way of Koskie. Sad.

jameshenke78
02-24-2012, 09:48 AM
I'm not a neurologist, but considering the length of time he's been struggling with these symptoms, I just don't envision him having a complete recovery at this point. I'm reading into these quotes a bit but retirement is definitely an option for him. So my question is, how would his retirement affect the payroll for this year and next? I assume his salary would be taken off the books and that gives us 14 million for this year and next. What moves would the Twins consider if retirement occurs?

John Bonnes
02-24-2012, 09:48 AM
The question that I'm not sure it totally being answered is: is he healthy now? If so (and I think that's what may be lost in all of this) then the message should be: "I'm great and ready to go, except possibly for the wrist which is still at 90%. But if I get another concussion, and it's hard to come back from again, I'm probably done."

If that's the message, I think we all would be thinking "Yeah, that's kind of what we figured." But I don't know if that is the message that is coming across.

I also shook my head when, like last year, we heard that he doesn't need to be healthy until Opening Day. That's never a good sign.

Parker Hageman
02-24-2012, 09:49 AM
Not to be negative, but you kind of hope that if the concussion symptoms are going to manifest, that you want them to do so in spring training rather than during the season. That way, the Twins will be able to collect more insurance on his salary and likely be able to spend it on a replacement at some point.

John Bonnes
02-24-2012, 09:50 AM
I'm not a neurologist, but considering the length of time he's been struggling with these symptoms, I just don't envision him having a complete recovery at this point. I'm reading into these quotes a bit but retirement is definitely an option for him. So my question is, how would his retirement affect the payroll for this year and next? I assume his salary would be taken off the books and that gives us 14 million for this year and next. What moves would the Twins consider if retirement occurs?

To be honest, I don't know. He may not retire. He might go on the DL and not come back. If so, the Twins might get some of that salary back from insurance, but not get all that money back. Or I supposed a deal could be worked out.

denarded
02-24-2012, 09:53 AM
Not good, And a little late for a backup plan for this season. How did the Twins not recognize that a problem in January was probably going to be a problem in February? I can't wait for a month of "Mauer to 1b" gnashing

John Bonnes
02-24-2012, 10:01 AM
This is no way he plays first base full time now, right? They'll play it safe and have him be the designated hitter. I know that's not a lot safer, but what is the upside of having him at first?

gunnarthor
02-24-2012, 10:13 AM
This is no way he plays first base full time now, right? They'll play it safe and have him be the designated hitter. I know that's not a lot safer, but what is the upside of having him at first?

Yeah, that's what I'd think. Still, I'd probably bet he retires before the season ends.

jameshenke78
02-24-2012, 10:23 AM
I completely agree with you John. There's no way he plays first regularly this year. The ripples of this are not insignificant....does that slot Mauer as the starter at 1b? He can't be thrilled about that because he wants to catch. Does Doumit become the starter at 1b? he's played only 34 games there through 7 seasons. Does this mean more Butera catching? I sure hope not.

Cody Christie
02-24-2012, 10:44 AM
These quotes are very scary. I hope they are just some frustration out of Morneau and that everything will turn out fine. He is in camp and hopefully he can get back into a rhythm with the club. Maybe this can all be a thing of the past but I doubt it at this point.

gunnarthor
02-24-2012, 10:57 AM
CF Span
SS Carroll
C Mauer
DH Morneau
RF Willingham
1B Parmelee
3B Valencia
2B Casilla
LF Benson

If the team does that, instead of using 1B as a committee thing, it pushs Doumit to the bench and probably prevents Gardy with going with 3 catchers. (Bench - Hughes, Doumit, Plouffe, Nishi)

Thrylos
02-24-2012, 11:01 AM
Still too early to tell... Let's see him play some games and see how he plays and then we can figure it out. As a reminder, last spring training he played only 4 games and was hitless in 10 PAs. Still got a month and a half to see in what shape he is.

Thrylos
02-24-2012, 11:04 AM
CF Span
SS Carroll
C Mauer
DH Morneau
RF Willingham
1B Parmelee
3B Valencia
2B Casilla
LF Benson

If the team does that, instead of using 1B as a committee thing, it pushs Doumit to the bench and probably prevents Gardy with going with 3 catchers. (Bench - Hughes, Doumit, Plouffe, Nishi)

I think that if Morneau is not the 1B, Aaron Bates will probably make the team instead of Parmelee and will split time there with Doumit and Luke Hughes... There is no way you keep Doumit on the bench and start Parmelee and Parmelee needs to play every day (thus he will do that in Rochester)

JB_Iowa
02-24-2012, 11:06 AM
I don't know what to think about this. Are the doctors telling him that he is "healthy" and free to go all out but he is simply unable to trust his body (and his mind). Or is he having recurring symptoms that the doctors recognize as concussion-related but not endangering his health?

I suppose that there is a chance that repeated "good" days in practice will alleviate his fears enough so that he can still function as a major league ballplayer but that seems a longshot. I wish him all the best. At this point, it seems like he is fighting a battle on two fronts -- his actual concussion symptoms and what he perceives as concussion symptoms. While I don't think that is unusual, it does sound as though the latter may be Justin's biggest enemy.

kirbyelway
02-24-2012, 11:10 AM
I would only DH him. They need his stick in the lineup.

Seth Stohs
02-24-2012, 11:12 AM
Doumit and Mauer would likely play most of the time at 1B. Parmelee and Benson most likely won't make the big league Opening Day roster... maybe in June. Revere will be in LF.

Shane Wahl
02-24-2012, 11:24 AM
Derrek Lee. For the love of God, Derrek Lee.

Thrylos
02-24-2012, 11:42 AM
Derrek Lee. For the love of God, Derrek Lee.

No much panic or anything ? ;)
As long as Morneau is not retired, adding another player does not make much sense.

Steve Lein
02-24-2012, 11:58 AM
Sounds like Justin really wants to give it another go, but is nothing close to confident that he'll be able to keep playing. Any way you look at it, what a shame it is that his career has taken this path. And I'm with those that say DH him exclusively.

JeffB
02-24-2012, 12:09 PM
What I read from Morneau's quotes is that he's tired of the long process of working hard only to face another long and uknown recovery process.

Seth Stohs
02-24-2012, 12:17 PM
check our www.1500espn.com (http://www.1500espn.com) now to listen to the full interview with Morneau. Doesn't sound so bad. Sounds like he's ok now, but IF something were to happen, he'd consider his options.

tpb8
02-24-2012, 12:31 PM
I have to beleive that Plouffe is going to be factored into the mix at 1B with Doumit & Mauer. He's basically Cuddyer II so why not get his 1B apprenticeship underway?

TwinsMusings
02-24-2012, 01:11 PM
After listening to the whole 14+ minute interview with Morneau, I think he is mostly upbeat and excited to be back on the field doing the same things as the rest of the players. He is also just being realistic about the concussion related issues. If they return, he is not going to continue to battle back in spite of how much he loves to play. He was pretty clear, though, that he feels much better than he did last year and does not expect to have any set-backs as spring training progresses.

I happen to think that hitting will be the real test of whether or not he is back 100%. He was never close to full recovery from concussion symptoms last year even before the infamous first base diving incident. You could see, even just on TV, that he was not able to react quick enough to hit well. He missed or fouled off pitches he would have killed previously. He could not catch up with balls on the outer half of the plate and pitchers quickly figured that out.

This year, there is reason to be more optimistic than last year because he is starting ST in good shape and able to do from day one all the same workouts as every other player. He says the wrist is about 90%, but it is only strength and endurance for repeated swings that is not 100%, and expects to be full strength by opening day. I hope he gets opportunities to face live pitching every day so he can continue to improve his ability to see the ball, identify pitches and get around on the ball.

Since I believe hitting and base-running will be almost as high risk as playing first base is, I don't think being the regular DH will do much to avoid future concussion symptoms. I expect him to play in the field, with an occasional game at DH, or else not be in the line-up at all.

JB (the Original)
02-24-2012, 01:11 PM
These quotes scare the hell out of me. I hope they scare the hell out of the Twins. For the love of god, get a backup plan beyond pushing Parmelee. You must have read my response to this news on Hardball Talk, eh?

Steve Lein
02-24-2012, 01:47 PM
Since I believe hitting and base-running will be almost as high risk as playing first base is, I don't think being the regular DH will do much to avoid future concussion symptoms. I expect him to play in the field, with an occasional game at DH, or else not be in the line-up at all.

Yes, base-running essentially is as high risk, but you have to understand that baserunning is an occurrence that puts him on the field of play far less than playing 1B does. If He's DH-ing, he's in the batters box for maybe 20 pitches a game, maybe on the basepaths for another 20. If he's playing 1B, add 100+ pitches to that equation of opportunities for something to happen to him (or 27 more outs if you want to look at it that way). That's why I say DH him.

John Bonnes
02-24-2012, 01:58 PM
And what exactly is he downside of Morneau playing DH 80% of the time? It just means Doumit moves to first base. ON those occasions that Mauer needs a break at catcher, he and Doumit switch. If anything, it helps the roster to have Morneau DH, because then Gardy doesn't need to worry about his backup catcher being DH.

Shane Wahl
02-24-2012, 02:08 PM
I have seen comments from Pirates fans laughing or crying in memory with regard to Doumit's defensive ability at first base. It might be his worst position. I agree that pushing Parmelee is not a great idea immediately. I am not comfortable with Luke Hughes' bat or Ryan Doumit's glove every day at first base. If Aaron Bates and Steve Pearce don't work out . . . what's wrong with throwing $1 million at Derrek Lee? It isn't panicking to add a former star (just a few years removed from a great season) for very cheap!

Thrylos
02-24-2012, 02:16 PM
And what exactly is he downside of Morneau playing DH 80% of the time? It just means Doumit moves to first base. ON those occasions that Mauer needs a break at catcher, he and Doumit switch. If anything, it helps the roster to have Morneau DH, because then Gardy doesn't need to worry about his backup catcher being DH.

The problem with this is that Doumit played a grand total of 35 MLB and 4 MiLB games at first base and the bulk of those in 2006. (BTW, that was the last time that Willingham caught ;) ) And he was not that hot with the glove there, but I hope he gets some reps at some point. On the other hand, I suspect that Parmelee will probably get most of the reps at 1B during ST.
As a comparison, Luke Hughes played 36 games at 1B last season (and pretty well) with the Twins.

Terry Tiffee
02-24-2012, 02:17 PM
I've said for quite some time that even if Morneau was to come back, he'd be a fraction of his former self. Obviously, I'm rooting for him, but I have zero expectations for him.

Nick Nelson
02-24-2012, 02:57 PM
The downside of moving Morneau off first base ostensibly is that you'd be replacing him with a worse defender. At one point, his glove would have been tough to lose, but last year he was thoroughly unimpressive in the field. He's probably still better than Doumit, but as long as RD can field grounders and scoop a few short-hops he's not going to kill you.

BK432
02-24-2012, 03:17 PM
I would only DH him. They need his stick in the lineup.

I hope that's the case. Him being at 220 pounds doesn't give me a ton of faith that he'll have the same kind of pop. What a depressing day...man, I'm hoping for the best but now starting to prepare for the worst.

dwintheiser
02-24-2012, 03:41 PM
So my question is, how would his retirement affect the payroll for this year and next? I assume his salary would be taken off the books and that gives us 14 million for this year and next.

I'm neither a lawyer nor a front-office worker, and I can't seem to find the current CBA so I'm working off the 2007-2011 CBA, so here's what I think would happen:

1) If Morneau retires now based on the injury he received in 2010, he would not be eligible to be paid any of the remainder of his contract by the Twins. That's not to say Morneau wouldn't still receive money based on workman's comp or insurance. (Had he retired immediately, and met his contract requirements for reporting same, he would still have been eligible to receive full pay for 2010.) However...

2) If Morneau retires before the end of his current multi-year contract, some portion of that contract is still considered to be part of the 'Actual Club Payroll' for purposes of the Competitive Balance Tax until the actual contract expires, assuming the Competitive Balance Tax was affirmed for the 2012-2016 CBA (the 2007-2011 CBA says that the tax will 'sunset' after 2011, so unless it was renewed, it's not really an issue.)


What moves would the Twins consider if retirement occurs?

No idea. Given the uncertainty of who would actually end up responsible for the remainder of Morneau's contract (the Twins, an insurance underwriter, some other party under federal workmens' compensation rules), I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Twins just consider Morneau's contract a sunk cost and don't even bother trying to figure out how much of it they'll be able to use until after the contract expires after the 2013 season.

gobie82
02-24-2012, 04:26 PM
Sad to hear. He's been one of my favorites on the roster by far. Extremely great guy. Love he and his wife for the work they do with Juvenile Arthritis locally; something his little neice, my 3 year old son, and 300k other american kids suffer from and actually can be deadly. At some point life is more important imho than just a game. Hope he can stay healthy for his own sake though.

Aaron Cross
02-24-2012, 05:09 PM
They should announce him the everyday DH immediately, and put this distraction to an end. Lets see if he can make it through 2012 at DH, then revisit him playing 1st base in 2013. Baby steps. Playing 1st base just increases the odds he'll get hurt again. All he'd have to worry about would be swinging the bat and running the bases, and he could be cautious on the basepaths (no more hard takeout slides). If they're smart enough to DH him, I like his chances. There are plenty of other options at 1st base (Doumit, Mauer, Plouffe, Parmelee).

Knuckelball
02-24-2012, 06:39 PM
These quotes scare the hell out of me. I hope they scare the hell out of the Twins. For the love of god, get a backup plan beyond pushing Parmelee.

Boy do I agree with you on this one!!! I thought the very same thing!!!

Ultima Ratio
02-24-2012, 06:50 PM
Seems fairly clear: If Morneau is not on the field and competitive this year, he's hanging it up.

iTwins
02-24-2012, 07:00 PM
This really put a blow to my optimism for this season. I was really hopeful Morneau would be back to his old self this year. Instead, he sounds like he's resigned to his fate - an early retirement. Hopefully the Twins are proactive in this situation and find a replacement 'just in case'.

Teflon
02-24-2012, 08:30 PM
In an earlier interview on the MLB network, Justin talked about "retraining" the brain after the injury. They showed him doing motion-tracking eye exercises and balance drills which didn't fill me with a lot of confidence about his ability to judge a 92 mph pitch in a fifth of a second and then react like a pre-concussed Morneau.

YLT
02-24-2012, 08:59 PM
In an earlier interview on the MLB network, Justin talked about "retraining" the brain after the injury. They showed him doing motion-tracking eye exercises and balance drills which didn't fill me with a lot of confidence about his ability to judge a 92 mph pitch in a fifth of a second and then react like a pre-concussed Morneau.

I fully agree. Relearning timing and coordination for one of the hardest activities to do in all of sports (hit a baseball) after a concussion cannot be easy at all. Safety-wise it's probably a wash (hitting/baserunning vs. fielding) but his ability to track a baseball while at the plate will likely suffer the most. It's just a matter of how much and if he and the Twins will be OK with that decline.

I wish him the best this season.

FranTheMan
02-24-2012, 09:14 PM
There certainly is cause for concern. But it doesn't seem Morneau's condition has changed for the worse. The story is colored by Souhan's typical glass half-empty perspective. The presentation of the same quotes by other Twins media are not nearly as gloomy.

jimbo92107
02-24-2012, 10:13 PM
Bates is a good singles hitter, and maybe that's the best the team can do this year, if they also want a steady first baseman. Maybe it would be better to have a guy like Bates setting the table for other hitters. It doesn't always work out in a conventional way. Can Gardenhire make a winning team out of this year's misfits?

Apostle43
02-25-2012, 01:25 AM
Doumit and Mauer would likely play most of the time at 1B. Parmelee and Benson most likely won't make the big league Opening Day roster... maybe in June. Revere will be in LF.

Yeah, leave Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee in Rochester so we can have a winning team for once. We know you all in Minnesota can't wait for the season to start, but we feel the same way down on the farm. The AAA roster is going to have quite a few stars in the lineup (and we pay minor league ticket prices to see them)! BTW, this new website, Twins Daily, is fantastic!

SteadyDietOfCheese
02-25-2012, 07:21 AM
I also shook my head when, like last year, we heard that he doesn't need to be healthy until Opening Day. That's never a good sign.

Exactly. It's been a year and a half. Doubtful that a lot is going to change in the next 6 weeks.

Huskerboy
02-25-2012, 07:51 AM
When Morneau was at he best he stayed on the ball like the goalie he once was reported to be he stood tall and drove through the strike zone. Seems to have lost that confident and courageous edge.Too many swings pulling away from the zone last year. The doubt doesn't sound like he is not ready to return to his fearless approach at the plate. Would 60 day DL him at the first sign of recurrence and move on, wishing him a return to good health.
What a slippery slope he's on. How hard should he go after that ground ball? Should he dive? Should he let it go, allowing a run to score?

Or try taking that extra base?

Very difficult situation he's in. I wish him the best.

Hopefully the Twins take it easier on him than he will on himself. Take it slow!

sonofkenny
02-25-2012, 03:43 PM
He has been burned by expectations in the past year regarding his recovery. I wonder if he is not under promising so he can over perform...

RyeGuy
02-25-2012, 05:14 PM
I would only DH him. They need his stick in the lineup.

Agreed..they've lost hitting in the offseason and need his bat more than him at 1stbase everyday...

kind of scary when you hear that neither span or morneau seem out of the woods yet..

ssmart
02-26-2012, 01:24 PM
God I hope he can play this year. 1st. - DH, whatever. Another lost season, I fear, without him.

ShaneMackAttack
02-27-2012, 03:04 PM
CF Span
SS Carroll
C Mauer
DH Morneau
RF Willingham
1B Parmelee
3B Valencia
2B Casilla
LF Benson

If the team does that, instead of using 1B as a committee thing, it pushs Doumit to the bench and probably prevents Gardy with going with 3 catchers. (Bench - Hughes, Doumit, Plouffe, Nishi)

Really? Benson? How about the best outfielder on the team, Ben Revere? He doesn't even make the team?

StormJH1
02-28-2012, 12:01 PM
There certainly is cause for concern. But it doesn't seem Morneau's condition has changed for the worse. The story is colored by Souhan's typical glass half-empty perspective. The presentation of the same quotes by other Twins media are not nearly as gloomy.
It wasn't just Souhan. LaVelle, Reusse, and virtually every local commentator on Twitter that was at that conference live came away with that same feeling from the content and tone of what he was saying. And even if Morneau was 100% sunshine, the fact that he had symptoms as recently as JANUARY (last month) means there is zero confidence that he's over these problems now.

For people who can't understand this, think about a 33-year old slugger who comes back the next year and just falls off the face of the Earth. A guy like Mo Vaughn or Greg Vaughn who was once an elite hitter, and then loses just a bit of bat speed and reaction time, and suddenly they can't even hit .200. Morneau's ability to focus has been compromised by concussions. The changes may only operate on the level of one-thousandths of a second, but that's enough in baseball to completely wreck a hitter's swing. I really wish he could play, but I'm glad he has the proper perspective on this if he can't.

JakeE141414
02-28-2012, 12:40 PM
The Morneau situation definitely doesn't look good, but he has fully performed in every workout so far this spring which is a good sign. I think he'll be alright until another knock to the head and then I imagine he'll retire. Let's just hope that's not for a few more years.

diehardtwinsfan
02-28-2012, 07:32 PM
Really? Benson? How about the best outfielder on the team, Ben Revere? He doesn't even make the team?

In what bizzaro world is Revere the best OF on this team? He's an ideal 4th OF who has a starting job b/c there's no one to challenge him. Benson has a much higher ceiling, and while I think that he'd be much better benefited from a season in AAA, I still think he's a better option now.

Nick Nelson
02-28-2012, 10:28 PM
In what bizzaro world is Revere the best OF on this team? He's an ideal 4th OF who has a starting job b/c there's no one to challenge him.
I think he meant the best defensive outfielder. In which case he's probably right.