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Twins, Morneau not talking contract

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:02 AM

The Star Tribune’s Sid Hartman says today that the Twins and Justin Morneau are not in talks for a contract extension, as the first baseman’s contract is set to expire at the end of this year.

Following Wednesday’s game, general manager Terry Ryan was asked if the two sides were working on a deal:

Ryan was asked if the team is in talks with Morneau.

“No, we are not,” he said. “I think we’ll probably let that play itself out through the course of the year.”


Given the Twins’ front office penchant for avoiding contract talks during the season, the revelation by Ryan saying that the team is not discussing a contract with Justin Morneau’s people is completely unsurprising. Does it mean that it won’t happen?

“It depends on the situation. If a player wants to do it or an agent wants to do it, we’ll certainly listen,” Ryan said. “We’re rarely apt to go and approach it, although we did last year with [reliever] Jared Burton. It happens on occasion. I think we did it with Burton last year, I’m not positive. But through the years we’ve always been flexible enough, depending on the guy and the situation, we’d listen or approach the person.”


Morneau’s 2013 season has been a bit of a mixed bag. Last night was just his third home run of the year, putting him on pace for 10 home runs on the year according to Fangraphs.com’s ZiPs projections. Yet, his 40 runs batted in leads the team thanks to a .329 batting average with men in scoring position. Additionally, he has had 217 baserunners on while hitting - which is the sixth-highest in the American League - and gives him ample opportunity to collect RBIs.

Given his age, his expiring contract and earning power if the Twins were to give him a qualifying offer, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Morneau will be shipped out at the deadline. Trading him may net a C or B-prospect and will clear some of his payroll. That said there does not seem to be an immediate heir apparent for first base. Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello are options. There will be some inexpensive free agent option to use as a placeholder, but Morneau could be as good of an option as any of them if available at a $7M price range.

What do you do?

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#2 ThePuck

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:08 AM

he has had 217 baserunners on while hitting - which is the sixth-highest in the American League


Nice post, thanks for the info. BTW, where can I find this particular info?

#3 Parker Hageman

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:17 AM

BTW, where can I find this particular info?


That specific nugget can be located at Baseball-Reference.com:

2013 American League PH/HR/Situ Hitting - Baseball-Reference.com

#4 ThePuck

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:20 AM

That specific nugget can be located at Baseball-Reference.com:

2013 American League PH/HR/Situ Hitting - Baseball-Reference.com


appreciate it!

#5 Dman

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:15 AM

This is a tough one. I love Morneau. I love his work ethic, his defense, how he plays the game his clutch batting average everything except his recent inability to hit for power. That is a tough thing to give up at a corner infield spot.

That being said it is hard to find players that have batting averages in the .300 range and the way he is going he will likely be there. Unfortunately even when he is on base he is a slow runner and easier to double up. The Twins have the payroll to pay him and he has sacrificed everything he has to play well for Twins and the fans. The scariest thing is that he is just one play away from not being able to play again and makes you nervous building your team around that kind of uncertainty.

If I were in charge and there was decent trade offer I would take it, otherwise I would make a qualifying offer for next year and maybe platoon him with Colobello so we can see what we have and still have his bat. He is undervalued only because of his injury history. As he has shown he can still play better than the majority of players in MLB right now.

#6 Dave T

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:28 AM

I wouldn't be talking contract with him either, at this point. One home run in two months is falling off a cliff, not a slow decline. I'd like to see him go on a tear, and carry the Twins on his back for a month. No production, no offer.

#7 ThePuck

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:33 AM

I wouldn't be talking contract with him either, at this point. One home run in two months is falling off a cliff, not a slow decline. I'd like to see him go on a tear, and carry the Twins on his back for a month. No production, no offer.


And by production you mean HRs, right?

#8 Steve_h

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:38 AM

Certainly, Morneau's value has fallen significantly since the pre-concussion days. One question I have is if the Twins were to trade Morneau, (probably for a low-level prospect) would there be a chance he would be interested in signing with Twins for 2014, like Rick Aguilera did after being dealt to the Red Sox in 1995. Other thoughts are how much money should it cost to sign Morneau for 2014? How many years would you have to commit? It would probably be more costly to do this as an extension, rather than let him become a free agent right?

#9 chopper0080

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:17 PM

I would like to see the Twins trade Morneau, but like most of our players, he has very little trade value. The one team I could see making a move would be the Yankees if they believe Tex is going to be out for an extended period of time. The reason he may makes sense their is the short porch in right field an yankee stadium.

His situation is a bit different from Willingham's IMO because Mauer and Parmalee could take over 1B and he isn't hitting for much power which is pretty common w/ our roster. Also, his contract expires at the end of the year. I would take a C level prospect for him.

#10 Forever34

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:24 PM

I've suspected all along Morneau along with Willingham were the most likely trade chip this season given his age, contract situation, and the fact that there is a ready made replacement waiting in the wings. But the problems with that look more worrisome than they did at the beginning of the season.

1. Parmalee has done little to inspire confidence that he is the guy to take over. I suppose you could have Mauer and Doumit rotate between 1st and C but doubt the FO wants to go that route.

2. How many potential "buyers" are in the market for a guy like him? Sure he has remained healthy, played good defense and has a strong BA, but most contenders are set at 1B. Would he really be an upgrade for a good team especially considering his lack of power this season? Even if he was slugging like in his pre-concussion days how many teams would be willing to give up a top prospect for a rental type player?

3. The PR situation. Next to Mauer he is the most recognizable name on the roster and probably the second most popular player as well. Fans aren't flocking to Target Field anymore. Would the organization be willing to give up one of the remaining marquee names and jersey sellers? We all realize that Justin probably won't be wearing a Twins uniform in 2014 but the casual fan doesn't know or care. They would only see this as the team being cheap or resigning themselves to being losers.

3a. The Twins are a lot better this year than just about everyone anticipated. Given that the Central is very weak and the Tigers have inexplicably not taken control yet it might be possible for fans and possibly even the FO to think we have a shot at the playoffs. Foolish as it would be thinking we have a shot at the playoffs could affect the moves made at the deadline. Fortunately, I doubt the org really thinks we have a shot at this point and they know trying to hang in or contend until Detroit inevitably asserts itself as the alpha is the worst thing they could do this season. But never underestimate what the Pohlads want if they think they can squeeze some more money out of the rubes.

#11 jm3319

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:48 PM

The scariest thing is that he is just one play away from not being able to play again.


Every player is just one play away from not being able to play again if it's the wrong play.

#12 Tibs

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:03 PM

3a. The Twins are a lot better this year than just about everyone anticipated. Given that the Central is very weak and the Tigers have inexplicably not taken control yet it might be possible for fans and possibly even the FO to think we have a shot at the playoffs. Foolish as it would be thinking we have a shot at the playoffs could affect the moves made at the deadline. Fortunately, I doubt the org really thinks we have a shot at this point and they know trying to hang in or contend until Detroit inevitably asserts itself as the alpha is the worst thing they could do this season. But never underestimate what the Pohlads want if they think they can squeeze some more money out of the rubes.


I don't understand how it is foolish to think we have a shot at the playoffs. We are 5.5 games out with Detroit having to play Boston tonight. We are playing solid defense, the pitching is improving, and some guys besides Joe Mauer are actually hitting the ball. The front office should be doing everything they can within reason to try to win as many games as possible this year. I don't expect this team to make the playoffs, but I don't like the statement saying it is foolish to think we have a shot.

To answer the question from the original post, I don't have a problem with them not negotiating right now. Personally, the lack of homeruns doesn't bother me and I would rather see Willingham or Doumit be traded. To me, runs are runs no matter who scores them or how they are scored.

Edited by Tibs, 20 June 2013 - 03:08 PM.


#13 Riverbrian

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:20 PM

I don't understand how it is foolish to think we have a shot at the playoffs. We are 5.5 games out with Detroit having to play Boston tonight. We are playing solid defense, the pitching is improving, and some guys besides Joe Mauer are actually hitting the ball. The front office should be doing everything they can within reason to try to win as many games as possible this year. I don't expect this team to make the playoffs, but I don't like the statement saying it is foolish to think we have a shot.

To answer the question from the original post, I don't have a problem with them not negotiating right now. Personally, the lack of homeruns doesn't bother me and I would rather see Willingham or Doumit be traded. To me, runs are runs no matter who scores them or how they are scored.


Go get em Tibs... I'm with you all the way. The Twins are not of the race and should not be considered out of it until they are out of the race.
A Skeleton walks into a bar and says... "Give me a beer... And a mop".

#14 Tibs

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:24 PM

"It ain't over 'til it's over."

#15 ThePuck

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 03:30 PM

Go get em Tibs... I'm with you all the way. The Twins are not of the race and should not be considered out of it until they are out of the race.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you one of the posters who strongly backed up the FO not spending this year because it's a lost season anyway? If you were, and you now believe we have a shot at the playoffs as this post I'm responding to seems to indicate, does your stance change on the whole spending issue?

#16 kab21

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:29 PM

Unless the Twins are offering a contract that is 80% of his current contract (yearly value) they can't negotiate an extension for him. They can allow him to become a FA in November and then offer whatever they want.

#17 beckmt

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 06:46 PM

I am worried about this because I do not think Parmelee is the answer. That is being born out by how Gardy is using him. No one knows the market value at this time, because injuries can change how a team looks at things. Given his value the Twins would have to let him walk to get a decent contract, but he can probably find better elsewhere. Would love to sign Morneau if it does not break the bank 8 - 9 mil a year for a couple of years would fit.

#18 Dilligaf69

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:05 PM

At this point I'd be suprised if Justin is not dealt by the deadline..They likely won't get much but holding onto him makes little sense as most of us expect the fade to happen here sooner or later despite them being better. The Yanks with Tex on the shelf again seem to be the best fit and Morneau fits in perfectly in Skankee Stadium, the short porch may boost his power numbers. I too would not mind a 2 yr contract in the $14 mil TOTAL range come this winter but until then it would be wise to get what they can for the former MVP...

#19 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:04 PM

It seems to me if one thinks Morneau is done, and won't (or shouldn't) be part of the Twins in 2014 and maybe beyond, then by all means, advocate a trade. I think he can and should be an important part of the next Twins team, but I can certainly understand opposite viewpoints.

But I don't understand wanting Morneau gone because of what he might make in salary in 2014 (or beyond.)

It seems this can't be said enough: money is not currently an issue for the Twins, and unless they go hog wild in free agency this winter, it won't be an issue in 2014. At all. Does anyone--ANYone--see that happening?

And the "available salary" picture only looks better the farther out one projects, for the next half decade at least. The Twins can afford to do almost anything they want in free agency during that time frame.

Money should be the farthest thing from anyone's mind when Morneau's future with the Twins is under consideration.

#20 Kwak

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:02 PM

I am worried about this because I do not think Parmelee is the answer. That is being born out by how Gardy is using him. No one knows the market value at this time, because injuries can change how a team looks at things. Given his value the Twins would have to let him walk to get a decent contract, but he can probably find better elsewhere. Would love to sign Morneau if it does not break the bank 8 - 9 mil a year for a couple of years would fit.


No! Doumit is playing everyday--because he has been the most productive hitter on the team. Morneau is playing because he is Morneau. Arcia is playing because the Twins have big plans for him and to sit him on the bench in Minneapolis is foolish. Willingham is still their RH hammer, though now he is getting some help, and sitting Willingham alo makes no sense. Parmalee is the odd man out because he isn't one of th favorites and isn't scorching like Doumit. Gardy is known to have favorites and to "play the hot bat".

Morneau won't be a Twin next year. The paring of the payroll combined with "the rebuild with youth" make his exit inevitable. His replacement willbe either Parmalee or Doumit. Even Gardy is aware that Doumit in the OF is "playing with fire". Parmalee has shown he is quite capable in the OF and Doumit catching ability should make him serviceable at 1B and definately better there than in the OF. Doumit will still be the #2 catcher.

#21 cmathewson

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:18 PM

Every player is just one play away from not being able to play again if it's the wrong play.


It doesn't even take a play. A guy could wake up with glaucoma, for instance.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#22 YourHouseIsMyHouse

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:18 PM

1/2 a season of Morneau would probably be worth more than whatever scrubs people will offer. A C or C+ prospect? NO. I'll take 1/2 season of quality production at a position of need over a 5% moonshot that the prospect of that caliber amounts to anything. We have nothing to lose by keeping him since he's not blocking anyone and payroll means nothing when it's been severely undercut and the contract expires this season. Haven't we seen enough sentimental players leave? Even with all the hype about the youth coming up, veterans are still a necessary. I don't think it's in the Twins best interest to trade him. If he leaves through free agency fine, but I see trading as a bit of a minor blow to the player you sent out.

#23 cmathewson

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 09:21 PM

No! Doumit is playing everyday--because he has been the most productive hitter on the team. Morneau is playing because he is Morneau. Arcia is playing because the Twins have big plans for him and to sit him on the bench in Minneapolis is foolish. Willingham is still their RH hammer, though now he is getting some help, and sitting Willingham alo makes no sense. Parmalee is the odd man out because he isn't one of th favorites and isn't scorching like Doumit. Gardy is known to have favorites and to "play the hot bat".

Morneau won't be a Twin next year. The paring of the payroll combined with "the rebuild with youth" make his exit inevitable. His replacement willbe either Parmalee or Doumit. Even Gardy is aware that Doumit in the OF is "playing with fire". Parmalee has shown he is quite capable in the OF and Doumit catching ability should make him serviceable at 1B and definately better there than in the OF. Doumit will still be the #2 catcher.


I'm still waiting for the definitive source that the Twins will continue to pare payroll despite a $25 million wind fall. I would argue that if they ever should sign a guy like Morneau to end his career with the team, it is after this season, when they will have more money available than ever before and when he will be more affordable than he's been since his second year in the majors.
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#24 70charger

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:13 AM

1/2 a season of Morneau would probably be worth more than whatever scrubs people will offer. A C or C+ prospect? NO. I'll take 1/2 season of quality production at a position of need over a 5% moonshot that the prospect of that caliber amounts to anything. We have nothing to lose by keeping him since he's not blocking anyone and payroll means nothing when it's been severely undercut and the contract expires this season. Haven't we seen enough sentimental players leave? Even with all the hype about the youth coming up, veterans are still a necessary. I don't think it's in the Twins best interest to trade him. If he leaves through free agency fine, but I see trading as a bit of a minor blow to the player you sent out.


I think this kind of gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. In the rush to "get something" for him, we lose sight of the fact that another half year of him IS something. And some scrub in AA who's never getting past Rochester doesn't make me feel better about losing a good player and lifelong Twin.

Do we really need another Deolis Guerra? Let me at least enjoy watching Morneau until his curtain call in September.

#25 Highabove

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:27 AM

The younger players coming up are going to need a Mentor.
Who should that be?

#26 70charger

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:30 AM

The younger players coming up are going to need a Mentor.
Who should that be?


Little known fact: Byron Buxton was Joe Mauer's childhood mentor.

#buxtonfacts

#27 snepp

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:27 AM

If Byron Buxton hit a baseball thrown by Chuck Norris, what would happen?
"Maybe you could go grab a bat and ball… and learn something. Maybe you will get it."
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#28 stringer bell

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 05:32 AM

Do the Twins need Morneau and a .730ish OPS playing first base 140-150 times in 2014 and beyond? I really don't think so. While Parmelee's struggles mean there is no obvious successor, there are internal options who could put up comparable numbers (Colabello, Parmelee, later on Vargas, Plouffe) and there needs to be a place for Mauer to get at-bats when he is not catching. Despite the homer on Wednesday, I don't see anything that screams we'll see the "old Morneau" and the clubhouse dynamics are there where the manager will be compelled to bat him in the middle of the order and play him every day, which IMHO have hurt the team a bit this year and will continue to cost the teams as many wins as any decision when to pull a starter or any other lineup construction issue.

#29 cmathewson

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 07:05 AM

Do the Twins need Morneau and a .730ish OPS playing first base 140-150 times in 2014 and beyond? I really don't think so. While Parmelee's struggles mean there is no obvious successor, there are internal options who could put up comparable numbers (Colabello, Parmelee, later on Vargas, Plouffe) and there needs to be a place for Mauer to get at-bats when he is not catching. Despite the homer on Wednesday, I don't see anything that screams we'll see the "old Morneau" and the clubhouse dynamics are there where the manager will be compelled to bat him in the middle of the order and play him every day, which IMHO have hurt the team a bit this year and will continue to cost the teams as many wins as any decision when to pull a starter or any other lineup construction issue.


Signing him to a new deal does not guarantee him a spot in the starting line-up. Perhaps his role would decrease. That would be up to him. Worst case, he's a solid lefty bat off the bench who can provide some competition for the Parmelees of the team to continue to progress. Parmelee is not taking playing time from him at this point.
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