Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • Morneau vs. The Void

    If The Twins Are Willing To Trade Justin Morneau This Offseason, There Should Be Options

    Justin Morneau - Healthy and Rockin AgainLast week, as the trade deadline approached, Justin Morneau was featured in the latest trade rumors. That made sense. First, Morneau had been productive and healthy. Second, Chris Parmelee is raking at first base in AAA but shut out in the majors. Finally, Morneau is still owed about $19M for the rest of this year and next. Moving him would give the Twins that much more money to spend on pitching this offseason.

    No deal was consummated, and it doesnít sound like one was close, but that doesnít mean the end of the rumors.
    Theyíll flow into this offseason and will likely gain additional steam because this year the crop of free agent first basemen is so bleak. There is no Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols or even a Paul Konerko in this class.

    The top name? Would you believe the 37-year-old Carlos Lee? Yes, the same Carlos Lee who was already salary dumped this year and then was rumored to be on the block again. He has all of six home runs, but at least heís hitting .292. Now look into the rest of the voidÖ.


    Sure, Theyíre Old, But At Least Theyíre Hurt.
    Lance Berkman
    He has just 75 at-bat this year because heís been out the last two months after knee surgery, and that was following a previous stay on the DL for a calf injury. There will be serious concerns that his 36-year-old body canít take it any more.

    Aubrey Huff
    Similarly, Huff is 35 years old and has only has 61 at-bats this year (and is hitting just .148) because of several DL stints which include an anxiety disorder and knee tendonitis.

    Carlos Pena
    Ok, heís not hurt, but heís hitting .193, so who could tell? He's also 35 years old and still canít hit left-handers. Like the others, heís worth a flyer, but who would rely on him for more than that?

    Bad, But Bad In A Youngish Way
    Casey Kotchman
    Heís just 30 years old, but he has never hit more than 12 home runs in his career, is struggling against left-handers and is hitting just .223.

    James Loney
    Heís the reason the Dodgers were talking to the Twins about Morneau at the deadline. Heís hitting .257 with two home runs. Two As in two more than I have hitting for the Dodgers this year. The only thing he has going for him is that heís only 28 years old.

    Theyíre Old. They Also Donít Start.
    Ty Wigginton
    All you need to know about the 35-year-old Wigginton is that the only way heís available is if the Phils DONíT pick up a $4M option on him. That should clarify his value.

    Eric Hinske
    Yes, Iím talking about the 35-year-old bench player for the Braves for the lat 3 years. He has not seen 400 at-bats from a team since 2005.

    Winner: Justin Morneau
    Morneau, by comparison, is 31 years old, hitting .275 and has 15 home runs. Those numbers donít justify a $14M salary next year. And if he was a free agent, he would not garner any offers for that kind of money annually.

    However, he is also the class of that list. If Morneau was a free agent, right now it looks like a two-year deal (for maybe $16M?) would not be out of the question. A three-year deal might be in play. If he and his agent insisted on a one-year deal (to increase his value for another run at free agency), a $9-10M deal might not be out of the question.

    But more important than the numbers is simply supply and demand. This offseason, the supply of first basemen who can be a middle-of-the-order presence for a competitive team is limited. In fact, it could be just Morneau. If Terry Ryan decides he is willing to trade Morneau Ė either to make room for Parmelee or to free up $14M in cash Ė there sure should be some desperate teams out there.
    This article was originally published in blog: Morneau vs. The Void started by John Bonnes
    Comments 47 Comments
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      It might be added that given the position of first base on the defensive spectrum, Morneau is really in competition any other bat. A team could sign Hamilton and then fill 1B internally by moving a player from another position.

      In any case, there will be demand for Morneau. Starting pitching is such a valued asset, but the Twins must continue to demand it in return or keep Morneau.
    1. BD57's Avatar
      BD57 -
      Finish out the year and then evaluate.

      Morneau's been really good for the last month. Maybe it's just a 'good run' ... maybe it's a "return to form."
    1. Parker Hageman's Avatar
      Parker Hageman -
      I think the question here shouldn't be "what is currently available to other teams" but "what teams need a 1B AND can take on $14 million contract". If I am assessing the field, it would seem that the Dodgers/Rangers and maybe to a lesser extent Blue Jays/Orioles are the types of teams that will be in the market for Morneau.
    1. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
      Cap'n Piranha -
      Right now, I say ride the Mornie train for as long as you can. If the Twins can pick up some decent starting pitching this off-season, there's no reason they can't compete with the Tigers and Sox by trotting out Span-Revere-Mauer-Willingham-Morneau-Plouffe-Doumit as their top 7 every day. Ideally, Mornie is his old self next year, and the Twins are back to being competitive. Runner-up scenario is Justin is good, but the team's not, and we flip him at the deadline for a huge haul.
    1. TKGuy's Avatar
      TKGuy -
      I'd say keep Morneau. I think if he does return to form, next year at the deadline he would be worth a lot, or we could try to extend him with a two-year deal if he keeps this up.

      How much value does a Parmalee have with his killing the AAA leagues? Would the Pirates or Brewers be willing to give up a starter? Morneau probably can't get us a starter, but I bet you that Parmalee could.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I'd assume that the Twins would have to pay some salary to get anything decent in return.

      With that said, Morneau would be extremely tempting to other teams if he rakes for the rest of the season, hits another 7-10 dingers, and gets that OPS over .850. At that point, you can start arguing that the old Morneau is back.
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
      I think the question here shouldn't be "what is currently available to other teams" but "what teams need a 1B AND can take on $14 million contract". If I am assessing the field, it would seem that the Dodgers/Rangers and maybe to a lesser extent Blue Jays/Orioles are the types of teams that will be in the market for Morneau.
      Exactly, and I'd add willing to give something back in return, which may not happen. At this point, I don't see the reason to free up his salary as it doesn't sound like the Twins will use it, and selling off Morneau for cheap won't put people in th seats.

      I'd like to see three conditions for the Twins to pull the trigger in the offseason.
      1) They have a plan to do something with the money.
      2) Parmelee continues to hit.
      3) Someone is desperate enough to give something in return.

      Otherwise, why not just wait until next year's trade deadline? It's a bit of a gamble but if he continues to hit and stays healthy his demand should be way up as he'd be a great addition for another team and $7m might be more palatable for a team looking at the playoffs.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      I think Morneau's highest value would come in the trade deadline next season.
      Of course if you get an offer you can't refuse this off-season then trade him, but if he continues to hit well (I don't see why he won't) He could be back to a .850+ OPS, 25+ HR guy next season, an impact bat like that at the deadline next season could potentially bring back a Beltran like package.

      Also, I think the Twins have a decent chance to compete in 2013, I don't think its a coincidence that once Morneau started hitting better this year the team started playing better overall.
      I'd much rather trade Span this off-season since he could bring in a bigger haul, you can find at bats for Parmelee at RF and DH in that scenario.

      Lastly, I like Morneau and he is one of my favorite Twins players ever, I'd personally hate to see him traded, especially for a salary dump type reason.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      yeah, short of trading span and letting Parmelee sit in right for a bit, I don't see how they can keep Morneau and Parmelee long term. Morneau is a fan favorite, and my personal favorite, but from a business standpoint, the Twins would be wise to flip him for pitching as I assume they would never flip a guy like Parmelee. By the end of the season, it should be fairly obvious if he's back, and with less money owed and a track record that states that he is a difference maker when healthy, I think some team would trade a nice pitching prospect for him.
    1. crarko's Avatar
      crarko -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      yeah, short of trading span and letting Parmelee sit in right for a bit, I don't see how they can keep Morneau and Parmelee long term. Morneau is a fan favorite, and my personal favorite, but from a business standpoint, the Twins would be wise to flip him for pitching as I assume they would never flip a guy like Parmelee. By the end of the season, it should be fairly obvious if he's back, and with less money owed and a track record that states that he is a difference maker when healthy, I think some team would trade a nice pitching prospect for him.
      Maybe testing the waters for Parmelee isn't a bad idea. There's a good chance the future at 1st base for this team after Justin is Mauer followed by Sano.
    1. tmerrickkeller's Avatar
      tmerrickkeller -
      I like JM, too, but we're debating whether he would be worth his 2013 salary to some team "if he continues to produce." Suggesting that he would bring a strong pitching prospect in addition to someone willing to pay his $13M 2013 salary is setting the bar too high. It's the reason we're all disappointed in the actual trades that occur - because not too many GMs are willing to give up a good prospect AND overpay (versus his FA value).
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      I said this in an earlier thread too: This season Morneau has been an around 1 WAR guy. Will probably finish around 1.5-2 for the season. Next season if everything goes well, he will be a 2-3 WAR guy. Parmelee can easily cover at least half of that (realistic/pessimistic scenario, not optimistic. He had 1.3 WAR last season in a single month or so -WAR is an additive, not a rate stat btw; likely he will match it but I am not even going there). So, if the Twins can get a 2-3+ WAR SP either for Morneau or with his $14M for 2013, they will be ahead. This means that even if they get what they got for Valencia they will be ahead if they get a good pitcher with the cash...

      Just math and who is available behind Morneau and what the needs of this club are...
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by tmerrickkeller View Post
      I like JM, too, but we're debating whether he would be worth his 2013 salary to some team "if he continues to produce." Suggesting that he would bring a strong pitching prospect in addition to someone willing to pay his $13M 2013 salary is setting the bar too high. It's the reason we're all disappointed in the actual trades that occur - because not too many GMs are willing to give up a good prospect AND overpay (versus his FA value).

      Here's the thing, if Morneau is reasonably close to his old self, someone will do that, because 13M is a bargain. Had it not been for injuries in 2009 and 2010, Justin would have likely been in the MVP conversations, but between a cracked spine and a nasty concussion, he had pretty bad second halfs of those seasons, and then in 2011, he was obviously not back... For that matter, he struggled this spring as well. He's starting to hit lefties again, he's hitting with authority, and if he keeps that up for the remainder of the season, some team will give something up for him as he's put the injury issues behind him. Worst case is that Ryan has to wait till June/July to trade him.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Parker Hageman View Post
      I think the question here shouldn't be "what is currently available to other teams" but "what teams need a 1B AND can take on $14 million contract". If I am assessing the field, it would seem that the Dodgers/Rangers and maybe to a lesser extent Blue Jays/Orioles are the types of teams that will be in the market for Morneau.
      I'd rather cover half Morneau's salary and get a quality return than simply try to unload his contract. If he keeps hitting through the end of the year, I have to imagine there are a number of teams that would be very interested in adding him at $7M next year. At that point, you create a bit of a bidding war, which is exactly what the Twins need.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Is Parmelee out of options??? If Parmelee can play at AAA we are good. Let Morneau play and build up trade value. Parmelee will arrive when Morneau is dealt or not re-signed to a contract. Or when Morneau, Willingham or Doumit are on the DL.

      If Parmelee is out of options... and continues to hit at AAA. He could force the Twins hand to move Morneau before they should.

      Is Parmelee out of options?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Is Parmelee out of options??? If Parmelee can play at AAA we are good. Let Morneau play and build up trade value. Parmelee will arrive when Morneau is dealt or not re-signed to a contract. Or when Morneau, Willingham or Doumit are on the DL.

      If Parmelee is out of options... and continues to hit at AAA. He could force the Twins hand to move Morneau before they should.

      Is Parmelee out of options?
      No, I think he has an option for 2013. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

      The problem with holding him at AAA is that Chris is absolutely killing it in Rochester. The guy has posted an OPS of 1.150 (crikey!) with an OBP of .475 (double crikey!) after posting an OPS of over 1.000 in Minnesota last September. If he plays every day, he mashes the ball. You have to find a spot for a guy like that sooner rather than later.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Yeah, Parmalee needs to be on this team. My guess is, though, it will be in RF next year with Span on his way out the door.

      It's really a shame they don't have somewhere for him right now.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      No, I think he has an option for 2013. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

      The problem with holding him at AAA is that Chris is absolutely killing it in Rochester. The guy has posted an OPS of 1.150 (crikey!) with an OBP of .475 (double crikey!) after posting an OPS of over 1.000 in Minnesota last September. If he plays every day, he mashes the ball. You have to find a spot for a guy like that sooner rather than later.
      Yeah Parmelee may force his way in with continued stellar play. It could be that there is nothing for him to prove in AAA. However, he has to have a spot to play and 1B and DH are covered by guys who will not play in Rochester. He has to wait his turn and that turn will most likely come with an injury to Morneau, Willingham or Doumit.

      It sounds like a sticky situation but it's a good problem to have. Parmelee increases our options... Not only Morneau but Doumit and Willingham are trading options because of his play.

      Until then... I would not do anything to those 3 to decrease trade value. Moving Parmelee ahead of them would send the wrong message.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      No, I think he has an option for 2013. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
      and 2014. He was a September callup in 2011. He has 2 more option years. This was his first option season.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by thrylos98 View Post
      and 2014. He was a September callup in 2011. He has 2 more option years. This was his first option season.
      Right. He was only a September guy last season. I wasn't thinking.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.