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What Would Morneau Command on the FA market?

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#1 Wookiee of the Year

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:06 PM

Inspired by Seth Stohs' invitation, I'd like to hear some Twins Daily member input on a question some of my friends and I've kicked around in the last couple weeks:

If Justin Morneau's contract had expired this year and he was a Free Agent right now, what sort of a contract do you believe he would land?

The Offseason Handbook does a good job establishing potential first basemen contracts for this year's crop of free agents, but I'll just note the bigger names on the market are this year: Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Lee lead the pack. And I'd like to think this exercise isn't completely academic, as determining Morneau's value this offseason helps establish his trade value.

#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:31 PM

Great question, and like you said, an important question. Also, a very tough question... IF teams knew he was 100% healthy and his age, he could probably get a 4 year, $45 million contract. However, with the concussion concerns (hopefully somewhat alleviated now, but still always lingering), the wrist issues, and age, I can't imagine he would get huge contract. I want to guess that it would be just shy of whatever Adam LaRoche gets. To throw out a guess... how about 2 years and $16 million?

#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:41 PM

I think he'd get something in the range of two years, $14m. If he repeats his 2012 season in 2013 (or does marginally better), I think he'll get three years, $24m-ish.

#4 Top Gun

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:52 PM

I would say 2 for 25m would be alot closer.

#5 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 07:58 PM

First off: Why is this a topic?
Second off: Unless some team was willing to overpay for him he'd be best severed taking a one year deal to bring his value back up.

#6 Fire Dan Gladden

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

First off: Why is this a topic?


This is actually more pertinent then some of the other things I have seen. Morneau is constantly placed in the "he needs to be traded" category. This can help to give people more of an insight to his current worth.

I think that there would be a team willing to overpay for him, at least financially, right now. A thin 1B market. I wouldn't be surprised to see at least a 3/$30 offer, if not more.

#7 Rosterman

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:50 PM

The curiosity is that we kept hearing that a team would've been foolish to trade for Morneau with what he was getting paid in 2013. Yet is it so far off the mark that he could command a $20-25 million 2-year contract easily if he was a free agent. Probably not, with a decent option/buyout for a third year. Then we have to think, should the Twins be extending him? Or is he replaceable by the much cheaper Parmelee with the Mauer option brewing in the 2015 and beyond season if need be. Personally, I would think $20 or 2-years would be generous at this point. Yet Morneau is sitting in a kinda driver's seat. If he does stay healthy, he could command that a team makes him the offer to get a draft pick, or be on tap to extend his contract for at least that amount. I doubt, though, that unless he hits like 40 homers, he shouldn't command more than $10 million a year. Which brings to mind the question of tradability of Morneau...is a team better placed to grab him during the offseason when they could make him a year-end offer next fall and keep him or get a draft choice, or just trade for him during mid-season, giving the Twins a couple of B-grade prospects. BUT TO GET BACK TO THE ORIGINAL QUESTION: I wouldn't be able to afford him as a free agent in 2013 and would not pay more than $7-9 million for his services, with the makeup of the Twins in their current state. I would stick with Parmelee, Mauer and Doumit as backup, and hope Carobello (spelling) is an adequate backup. I would almost...almost have kept Cuddyer or trad
e back for him. Almost.

Edited by Rosterman, 25 November 2012 - 11:32 AM.

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#8 Top Gun

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:07 PM

Morneau can hit .300 Parmelee can.t hit .250

#9 Kwak

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:00 PM

A curious question because free agency is like an auction and the bidding involves cash (after tax), probability of winning, location, and security. The Twins are in a very weak position in the bidding for top players and don't have much use for "a fallen star", Morneau would fit in either of these categories. His best offer (in Morneau's judgement) is difficult, he is a bit of an enigma. A shorter duration might fetch him more cash and a higher probability of winning than a longer contract on some teams. The premise is "right now"--so Texas might offer him a chunk for a one year contract but less per annum if longer, Toronto might go for two years at a lower annual salary, Chicago maybe two years and Seattle might offer 4 years but at a bit lower annual salary than all. Which offer Morneau accepts is but a pure guess--it's not like Morneau ever has to work another day in his life.

#10 Physics Guy

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 10:12 PM

Morneau can hit .300 Parmelee can.t hit .250


Because his .283 BA the past three years in the minors and .265 in the majors clearly indicate that.

#11 beckmt

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 09:32 AM

I still believe extending Morneau at about the 2 years $18 - $20 million is the way to go. Parmalee is no sure thing and could be used along with Joe Benson as trade pieces to bring back better pitching. Unless the Twins pick up most of Morneau's salary, he cannot bring back good pitching prospects.

#12 Kwak

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 09:46 AM

I still believe extending Morneau at about the 2 years $18 - $20 million is the way to go. Parmalee is no sure thing and could be used along with Joe Benson as trade pieces to bring back better pitching. Unless the Twins pick up most of Morneau's salary, he cannot bring back good pitching prospects.

No, just no. Read the numerous posts (elsewhere) on extended contracts for payers in teir declining years. Then consider that Doumit duplicates Morneau's performance at about 35% of the figure you stated. To say Parmalee can't do this or that flys in the face of why teams draft and develop new players. That $9-$10MM figure stated should be used to improve the rotation--not reward a fallen star.

#13 Top Gun

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

Sunday night in Toronto, the final game of the 2012 CFL season will come to a close, as the hometown Toronto Argonauts battle the Calgary Stampeders in the historic 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre.

#14 Wookiee of the Year

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:30 PM

Lots of good thoughts.

I tend to think Morneau would warrant a 1 year contract in the $7-9 million range, probably on the higher end this offseason with the thin market at first base, and probably with an option year. However, I could also see the winning bidder overpay a bit by going to a 2 year contract, again with an option year.

If that's right--and it seems to be in the range most of you are thinking--then I'd imagine even with his current contract, packaging Morneau with a prospect and a little cash could prove desirable for some team with a hole at first base, and earn the Twins a respectable starting pitcher or middle infielder in return. I also imagine that's a trade you could only make after LaRoche signs somewhere, as his empty-handed suitors wouldn't have strong FA options for 1B and might be willing to gamble on Morneau's health.

#15 Alex

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 02:25 PM

Lots of good thoughts.

I tend to think Morneau would warrant a 1 year contract in the $7-9 million range, probably on the higher end this offseason with the thin market at first base, and probably with an option year. However, I could also see the winning bidder overpay a bit by going to a 2 year contract, again with an option year.

If that's right--and it seems to be in the range most of you are thinking--then I'd imagine even with his current contract, packaging Morneau with a prospect and a little cash could prove desirable for some team with a hole at first base, and earn the Twins a respectable starting pitcher or middle infielder in return. I also imagine that's a trade you could only make after LaRoche signs somewhere, as his empty-handed suitors wouldn't have strong FA options for 1B and might be willing to gamble on Morneau's health.


At the point that we talk about moving Morneau along with one of our own prospects and cash, I think it becomes a bad trade unless someone is silly enough to give up a young starting pitcher for it. Veteran starting pitching in exchange for Morneau+prospects just doesn't cut it where the Twins are right now. The Twins should be happy enough to clear Morneau's salary and then apply that to pitching needs.

That wasn't the original topic, I realize, but I tend to agree with what people have said regarding his value here.

#16 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 02:25 PM

I think there would be teams willing to pay $10+ million for one year. This is why I originally wanted the Twins to trade him (Boston). Every year after that has to be protected against risk, so he might top out at 2/$20 million or 3 $25 million. There is no way that the Twins should extend him at all. He is one concussion away from being done and it is likely to happen.

#17 Danchat

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 03:18 PM

Since everyone is overpaying, I'd say 2 years $16M.

#18 Bark's Lounge

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:06 PM

2013 - Morneau will bat .317, hit 37 HR's with 113 RBI's. The Twins will in turn sign him to a 3 year 45M contract with a 18m team option 4th year... Hip-Hip Hooray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#19 Physics Guy

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:15 PM

Wookie, you may be overestimating LaRoche's impact on our ability to trade Morneau. He was tendered the 1 year offer so signing him would cost the team a first or second round pick.

#20 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

Inspired by Seth Stohs' invitation, I'd like to hear some Twins Daily member input on a question some of my friends and I've kicked around in the last couple weeks:

If Justin Morneau's contract had expired this year and he was a Free Agent right now, what sort of a contract do you believe he would land?

The Offseason Handbook does a good job establishing potential first basemen contracts for this year's crop of free agents, but I'll just note the bigger names on the market are this year: Adam LaRoche, Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Lee lead the pack. And I'd like to think this exercise isn't completely academic, as determining Morneau's value this offseason helps establish his trade value.


By the way, I take it that this is your first thread-starter? Good job to start with a very good one.

#21 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 05:23 PM

Morneau would likely get a deal for 1 year north of 8 figures. If he plays out 2013 looking more like the Morneau of old, he will likely net a 3 year deal north of 30 M.

#22 Top Gun

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

The Twins are considering Kyle Gibson for their Opening Day rotation.

Gibson is almost fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and finished with 75 innings between the regular season and Arizona Fall League. With only Scott Diamond returning to next year's rotation, there's little upside for the Twins to stash him if he's still healthy in spring training. Earlier this offseason, GM Terry Ryan said he expects Gibson to be limited to 140 innings in 2013.


Source: ESPN 1500 Twin Citie

#23 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 10:44 PM

The Twins are considering Kyle Gibson for their Opening Day rotation.

Gibson is almost fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and finished with 75 innings between the regular season and Arizona Fall League. With only Scott Diamond returning to next year's rotation, there's little upside for the Twins to stash him if he's still healthy in spring training. Earlier this offseason, GM Terry Ryan said he expects Gibson to be limited to 140 innings in 2013.


Source: ESPN 1500 Twin Citie


I honestly think it would be dumb to do anything other than set a pitch/inning limit at 60/4 and start him at Rochester for a few months (Andrew Albers could be his permanent long relief). Save 100 good innings for the Twins starting in June or whatever.

#24 old nurse

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 06:49 AM

Morneau would likely get a deal for 1 year north of 8 figures. If he plays out 2013 looking more like the Morneau of old, he will likely net a 3 year deal north of 30 M.


30+ hr, 100++ rbi, and a 900+ OPS a year and only 32 years old would net you more than 10 million a year

#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:07 AM

I honestly think it would be dumb to do anything other than set a pitch/inning limit at 60/4 and start him at Rochester for a few months (Andrew Albers could be his permanent long relief). Save 100 good innings for the Twins starting in June or whatever.


Yep. It won't break my heart to see Gibson on the Opening Day roster but I don't really see the point.

It also means the JR didn't do a good enough job of rounding out the rotation this offseason.

#26 Cody Christie

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:16 AM

I could see Morneau getting two years and close to $20 million on the open market.

#27 Wookiee of the Year

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:37 AM

Wookie, you may be overestimating LaRoche's impact on our ability to trade Morneau. He was tendered the 1 year offer so signing him would cost the team a first or second round pick.

Ah, very good point. I did fail to factor that in.

I take it that this is your first thread-starter? Good job to start with a very good one.

Thanks! I've enjoyed reading and occasionally commenting on Twins Daily for a few months now, so it's nice to take the next step in becoming a member of the community.

#28 Brandon

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:02 AM

Rumors are that Boston is looking at stop gap 1b this offseason so after 1 year of Pena at 1b they could go after Morneau next year and with .850 OPS production. I am sure they would be willing to go close to 30 million for 2 years cause its only 2 years. Nobody is going to hand out a 4-5 year contract for him with a concussion knocking him out for good. 3 years is possible for the desperate.....

#29 ericchri

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:53 AM

Guessing contracts is not really my thing, but if he were a FA I wouldn't expect Morneau to get much more than a 1-year deal for around 8 million this offseason, maybe with an option for a second year. He still has to prove he's healthy, even though he looks awful good compared to most of the FA 1B options.

As for Gibson, any reason to not just use him as the #5 starter? Every time an off-day in the schedule comes around, he gets skipped to keep everyone else on normal rest schedule. Assuming good health he'd get around 25ish starts on the year, presumably. At 5-6 innings a start he'd end up in the 125-150 innings range for the year, depending on how well he pitched and how many starts he actually got.