Bring up Justin Morneau’s name and the responses aren’t always overwhelming. The thought of where Morneau will hit next year is starting to heat up. Will he come back to the Pirates? Look at a return to Minnesota, or will he wait on a contender to show him some love.
MLB.com Twins beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answered Twins fans’ questions today about a variety of topics. The one that interested us, although not providing much information was that info regarding first base man Justin Morneau.
Morneau, who was traded to the Pirates on Aug. 31, remains an option to come back on a new contract, but I’ve heard mixed reports from those close to the organization on if he’d return to the Twins. On the one hand, his family likes the Twin Cities and he remains loyal to the organization, but on the other, he might prefer signing with a contender after playing in the postseason with the Pirates this year. So, Morneau’s free-agent status this offseason is worth monitoring, and Minnesota’s need for a first baseman could very well be dictated by Mauer’s health.
It had to be a very difficult situation for the Twins to move Morneau who shared ‘face of franchise’ accolades with Joe Mauer. I have to believe the four-time All-Star and 2006 AL MVP is going to want to play on a contender.
Of course, the contender has to be the right one, because his production has taken a nosedive since his concussion in Toronto back in July of 2010. Before the injury he put up sick numbers: .286|.358|.511 line in 948 games. After the injury they are much more pedestrian with an average below 260 but an OPS of just 728 versus 869.
Face it, Morneau was a below average first baseman this year. It’s hard to imagine the Bucs chasing him this offseason, but the options out there are expensive and also come with their own question marks.
So while Morneau might not be the first option, he could be, at the least, an affordable one.
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