Jim Bowden: Twins will trade Justin Morneau
The Twins will be looking to trade Justin Morneau, perhaps in the near future, writes ESPN.com's resident former general manager Jim Bowden in his "10 bold predictions for 2012" post. And, Bowden says, the the Rangers will be the ones acquiring the big first baseman:
Of course, for this plan to work, Morneau would need to (1) remain healthy and (2) produce at a high level.
The Twins will not be contenders, their payroll gives them little flexibility, and the front office is high on first baseman Chris Parmelee. The Rangers, who have a hole at first, may need another bat to keep pace with the other elite AL teams, and with Josh Hamilton a free agent at the season's end, they may decide to trade for Morneau at the deadline, as he appears to be healthy for the first time in a couple of years.
Truthfully, I don't hate the idea of moving Morneau - even if it comes from Bowden.
Morneau, who will turn 31 in May, has battled plenty of injuries and once a player hits 30, the wear and tear does not exactly slow down. Combine that with the fact that he's scheduled to make an additional $14 million next year in his contract walk-year, if the Twins can gain some prospects from the embarrassingly rich Texas Rangers farm system and open up $14 million in salary, it may prove to be a prudent move despite being ripe for some fan backlash.