5 Likely Destinations for Justin Morneau if Traded by the Minnesota Twins

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5 Likely Destinations for Justin Morneau if Traded by the Minnesota Twins

5 Likely Destinations for Justin Morneau if Traded by the Minnesota Twins
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Morneau is coming off a solid performance at the World Baseball Classic as part of Team Canada. While the team may have not performed as well as they would have hoped, Morneau continued his solid spring by excelling on the world stage. For the tournament, Morneau hit a blistering .636 over 11 at-bats with three RBIs. This has continued the strong spring that Morneau is having for the Minnesota Twins, and it couldn’t of happened at a better time for the first basemen.

As Morneau heads into what might be his last season as a Twins’ player, many questions are going to pop up regarding his future. He is slated to earn $14 million this season, and has openly admitted that he plans on testing the free agent market at the end of the season. Morneau hasn’t ruled out a possible return to the Twins, but he has made it clear that losing has taken a toll on him. With this likely being his last big payday, it is important to Morneau that he lands with a team that is a contender. He would like to remain in Minnesota, but if the team isn’t going to contend for a few years, Morneau would prefer to play elsewhere and let the team rebuild without him.

This attitude has raised questions as to what the Twins plan to do with Morneau as the season progresses. One can’t blame Morneau for wanting to play on a contender during the late stages of his career, but one can also wonder how much value he has on the open market. If this spring is any indication, Morneau still has a lot left to offer an organization. I believe he is poised for a big season and could earn himself a big payday if he isn’t traded at some point this season.

Should he be traded, there are many possible suitors that could make a deal work with the Twins. I have compiled a list of the top five organizations that are the most likely to make a deal for Morneau. These decisions were based off of need, situation and resources. What teams are possible destinations for the Twins’ first basemen? Read on to find out.

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5. Texas Rangers

5. Texas Rangers
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This may be the least likely of all the teams on the list, but the Texas Rangers could be in the hunt for Morneau if they are in the market for a player to push them over the top. The Rangers have been one of the top contenders in the American League over the past few seasons, but the competition is starting to heat up. The current starter for the Rangers is Mitch Moreland, with Mike Olt or Lance Berkman serving as backups. The team lacks a proven first basemen and if Moreland were to struggle, don’t be surprised if the Rangers enter the Morneau sweepstakes.

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4. Baltimore Orioles

4. Baltimore Orioles
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After a surprising 2012 which saw the Baltimore Orioles return to contention in the American League East, the Orioles are looking to repeat their success and go further into the playoffs in 2013. The team has many talented young players such as Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, but they lack a veteran first baseman to anchor their infield. Their current options consist of Chris Davis and Wilson Betemit. Betemit has had a poor spring so far, and Davis has been wildly inconsistent over his big league career. If the Orioles again find themselves in contention this year, they may look for a trade-deadline deal to strengthen their chances of returning to the postseason in October.

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3. New York Yankees

3. New York Yankees
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If injuries hadn’t beset the New York Yankees, they would have never been included on this list. The fact of the matter is, however, that injuries are a big part of the game, and the Yankees have experienced their fair share of them so far in 2013. With Mark Teixeira scheduled to be out until at least May, the Yankees are scrambling for options at first base. The team also lacks an established designated hitter, which is why they could be in the hunt for Morneau .If the Yankees were to acquire Morneau, it would have to be earlier in the season compared to late. The later the season gets, the less likely this options becomes due to the fact the team will likely be getting healthier. At any rate, the Yankees are a team to keep an eye on for an early season Morneau trade.

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2. Washington Nationals

2. Washington Nationals
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A sneaky contender for Morneau’s services this season is the Washington Nationals. After resigning Adam LaRoche to play first for the team this season, the team traded Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners in a separate trade. Morse was able to play first, if called upon by the Nationals, but now the team lacks a solid option if LaRoche does not contribute. This is why they may be in the hunt for Morneau. The Nationals are loaded with pitching prospects and position players, and the teams seem to have a good working relationship after completing a trade for Denard Span this past off-season. If LaRoche struggles, which he is prone to do, or if the team wants to solidify the first base position, look for them to approach the Twins about a trade around the trade deadline.

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1. Toronto Blue Jays

1. Toronto Blue Jays
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This is the most likely, and least surprising, landing spot for Morneau if he is to be traded this season or sign elsewhere in the off-season. Morneau grew up in Canada, and has always mentioned his interest in one day playing one day for the team he grew up cheering for. The Toronto Blue Jays are also in “win-now” mode, and are willing to sacrifice some future pieces for current success. The team has overhauled their roster this off-season, and many believe they are the favorites to win the American League East in 2013. The current options for the Blue Jays at first are Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion. With Encarnacion is a breakout offensive threat, but neither could compare with the fan interest and total production generated by a healthy Morneau. Keep an eye to the North this summer and next off-season as the Morneau watch continues. I have pegged the Blue Jays as the favorite to land Morneau if he should decide to leave Minnesota.

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