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Article: More Morneau? No.

justin morneau kenny vargas oswaldo arcia
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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 09:21 PM

I love a good return story as much as the next guy. Plus, that goofy Canadian is better than you think. But the Twins need to steer clear of Justin Morneau.

Yesterday the Colorado Rockies confirmed that they would not be picking up the $9M mutual option they had on Morneau, making him a free agent. The news has an even-steven feel for Twins fans; in the same week in which returning veteran team leader Torii Hunter retires, another beloved veteran team leader is suddenly available. If you believe in karma – and after this week, Minnesota sports fans are definitely due some - I won’t blame you for waxing nostalgic a bit.But maybe you don’t believe in karma. Maybe you don’t believe in any knowledge other than scientifically proven knowledge. The bad news is that makes it hard to meet girls. The good news is that there is still some evidence that Morneau wouldn’t be a terrible fit for the Twins.

Morneau has been better than you remember. Over the last two years, he’s posted a .850 OPS. Yes, that’s with Coors field being his home ballpark, but his OPS+ (which adjusts for ballpark) was 120. The only Twins batter who exceeded that last year was Miguel Sano.

And his health? Well, he missed a good chunk of last year with a combination concussion and cervical neck strain caused when he dove for a ground ball. He was on the shelf for three months, returning at the beginning of September. However, he seemed to have fully recovered, hitting .338/.423/.474 for that last month.

So he’s a good fit spiritually. Maybe even theoretically. And he definitely is prosaically. It’s logistically that things get messy.

First, signing him requires trading Trevor Plouffe. That might happen regardless of Morneau. First, the Twins have suggested they want Sano to begin his MLB career at third base. Second, with the paucity of free agent third baseman available, the market for Plouffe might never be higher. But there is no reason to force a Plouffe trade. If the offer comes, great.

Second, even if Plouffe is traed, whatever flexibility that provides is immediately sacrificed. The Twins have plenty of question marks in both their outfield and at designated hitter, but they also have lots of possible answers. Bringing in a veteran team leader who expects to play full time – and can realistically play only at designated hitter and maybe first base - has the potential to block any prospects who break through next year. If a veteran must be brought in, he needs more positional flexibility than that.

Specifically, he probably needs to be able to play in the outfield. If not, he becomes a roadblock to Kenny Vargas or Oswaldo Arcia. Both were a mess last year, but Vargas is just 25 years old and posted a .772 OPS in his first 234 plate appearances in the majors. Let’s not forget that at this time last year, the words “David” and “Ortiz” were those most commonly associated with Vargas.

Arcia, despite a dismal year, is even younger. Also, despite numerous struggles, he still has a career OPS of .741 and a home run about every 22 at-bats. Versus right-handers, he’s been even better, with an .807 OPS in over 500 plate appearances.

Finally, Morneau’s durability needs to be considered. When a 34-year-old gets a concussion diving in the infield… let’s just say there were some people this June wondering if he might need to be saved from himself.

If you’re still hoping for Morneau’s return, that last point, oddly enough, could provide it. It is not inconceivable that Morneau, due to the health concerns, has trouble getting a full-time job with any MLB team because they just can’t trust him to stay healthy. As the offseason ends, maybe he’s willing to take a part-time role and part-time salary. Maybe the Twins have traded Plouffe. Maybe they’re worried about their depth a bit, and don’t want to ask too much from Arcia or Vargas too soon. (Or maybe they just didn’t find an outfielder they really liked on the free agent market.)

So don’t give up hope in what has been a tough week. There might be a path toward a reunion. The path could be winding, and maybe not particularly wise, but Morneau has shown he’s still got some gas in the tank. Maybe enough to get him home.

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#2 Puckett34

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 09:36 PM

My brain says no, but my heart says yes.  Would love a reunion.  He's my favorite Twin ever.  But logistically, I don't think it'll work out.

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#3 jimmer

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 09:41 PM

I understand that losing Mr. Saunders was hard, but in what other way was it a tough week for Minnesota sports fans?

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#4 Secondary User

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 10:20 PM

 

I understand that losing Mr. Saunders was hard, but in what other way was it a tough week for Minnesota sports fans?

 

Kill retiring due to health concerns would be my guess

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#5 dgwills

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 11:13 PM

I always liked Morneau, but last I checked Mauer is still playing his position. I'd have to agree with Mr. Bonnes that we have to us the DH position to see what we have in some of the younger players.

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#6 USAFChief

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 05:54 AM

Morneau might or might not be a fit, but if Plouffe is traded, DH becomes a need, and I don't trust Arcia or Vargas any farther than I can throw them.

I wouldn't even think twice about "blocking" either of them, particularly since Arcia should be in the OF if you're dead set on giving him more rope.
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#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 05:58 AM

 

My brain says no, but my heart says yes.  Would love a reunion.  He's my favorite Twin ever.  But logistically, I don't think it'll work out.

 

pretty much this.I'd welcome him here as a part time PH in the twilight of his career, but that's about it.The problem is that I doubt he sees this, and I doubt the Twins would either.


#8 Giles Ferrell

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 06:29 AM

Nothing would warm my heart more than seeing #33 put on the Twins uniform again.

 

But given his history with concussions, I would just rather see him hang it up and enjoy life beyond baseball with his family. The thought of him having one more concussion is just downright frightening at this point.

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#9 HitInAPinch

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 06:35 AM

I'm really not sentimental at all about the return of players who left as free agents.That was a business decision on their part, and my decision on them returning would be the same.As the Twins are well on their way to rebuilding this this team internally, with youth, I really don't see the point to Morneau's return.

 

On the topic of "blocking":If a player is really, authentically talented, nothing blocks his promotion.

Management found room for Sano, right?

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#10 USAFChief

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 06:57 AM

I'm really not sentimental at all about the return of players who left as free agents.That was a business decision on their part, and my decision on them returning would be the same.As the Twins are well on their way to rebuilding this this team internally, with youth, I really don't see the point to Morneau's return.
 
On the topic of "blocking":If a player is really, authentically talented, nothing blocks his promotion.
Management found room for Sano, right?


I concur 100percent on the "blocking" thing.

But for the record, Morneau didn't leave as a free agent.
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#11 Boom Boom

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 07:00 AM

That this is even a topic speaks volumes about what fans have come to expect from this organization... is there any team that loves their warm fuzzies as much as the Twins? Could we get Cuddyer back too?
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#12 Mike Sixel

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 07:19 AM

I love him as a person and a player.....but 34 year old role players that play the same position as the one player you can't move? Not a fan of the idea. I wouldn't kill them for it, I just wouldn't do it.

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#13 LimestoneBaggy

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 07:40 AM

I would normally suggest the time honored Minor League Spring Training Tryout, if he goes elsewhere, meh, but I'm being very honest when I say I couldn't help myself from keeping him on the 25 if I was the manager.....full on homer mode activated.....

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#14 HitInAPinch

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:03 AM

 

I concur 100percent on the "blocking" thing.

But for the record, Morneau didn't leave as a free agent.

yup, you are correct,sir!

 

Still not overly sentimental ;)

Edited by HitInAPinch, 30 October 2015 - 08:05 AM.

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#15 Tecmo

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:15 AM

 

That this is even a topic speaks volumes about what fans have come to expect from this organization... is there any team that loves their warm fuzzies as much as the Twins? Could we get Cuddyer back too?

 

 

This is what I'm terrified is going to happen actually. You'd think the Mets would love to move Cuddyer and I could see the Twins looking at him as a perfect replacement for Hunter.

Edited by Tecmo, 30 October 2015 - 08:16 AM.


#16 Vanimal46

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:18 AM

I'm with John and the majority of posters on this subject. He could be a fine addition as a bench bat, but I'd like to find someone else who can fit that role, along with having more position flexibility than just DH/1B.

 

I'm not Justin Morneau nor his doctor, but personally I hope he hangs it up for good. With multiple concussions and 2 young children needing him at home, I would think the risk is greater than the reward these days when it comes to trying to play again. 

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#17 DocBauer

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:43 AM

I have maintained that one smart addition to the team would be a veteran LH hitter off the bench to help with PH duties who could also DH and play a spot on occasion. Unless there is sudden improvement, (hopefully), Mauer would be perfect for this role. But just not gonna happen.

Morneau was mentioned as a possibility recently. He could be that player, even perhaps a full time/mostly full time DH if his head and body are OK. Would he take less and be OK with a bench/part time role at this stage? How he feels about that might be more important than how he feels.

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#18 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 08:54 AM

At times, it seems the Twins have about 15 spots on their 40 man taken up by 1B/DH types. Adding another one seems ridiculous.
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#19 Seth Stohs

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:24 AM

If the Twins bring back Morneau, I won't be mad in the least... then again, I can't imagine getting mad about decisions other people make about baseball.

 

I don't think it makes any sense for the Twins. I'd role with Arcia and Vargas. Leave DH for Plouffe, Sano, Mauer... maybe others.


#20 ashburyjohn

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 09:25 AM

You couldn't quite pull the trigger on a headline of "More? Neau.", John? :)

 

Adding Morneau never even crossed my mind. As Brock just said, we already have a full slate of players about whom the plan seems to be "and if all else fails, we can DH him."

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