Despite all of the rumors floating around over the past year and change, it doesn’t appear as if the Minnesota Twins are going to trade their former franchise cornerstone Justin Morneau before season’s end. While some fans around the organization may be disappointed to hear this news, I certainly am excited that the Twins appear to be changing their mind about keeping the slugging first baseman.
According to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Twins don’t have any trade talks percolating about Morneau right now; this message coming from Twins’ general manager Terry Ryan. “I can put that out there,” Ryan said. “I don’t see (a trade), but there is always a possibility.” Morneau has already cleared waivers—meaning he still could be traded to any team at any time, however must be traded by August 31 to be eligible for the postseason—and has revived his trade value after hitting .303 in 92 plate appearances in August where he has slugged seven homeruns to complement 19 RBI.
The fact of the matter remains that the Twins need to approach Morneau with a contract extension at a reasonable price of five to eight million a season for two to three years. I know that I may be beating a dead drum with this perspective, but it is getting borderline ridiculous how the Twins are conducting business with some of their dedicated veterans. Morneau has been a long-time Twin and it’d be a shame to see him leave—similar to Torii Hunter—and succeed elsewhere during the twilight of his career. Unlike many other players, Morneau actually wants to be here and has approached the Twins a couple of times this season about an extension, only to be denied and sent away. To me, this is shameful and the Twins are only hurting their organizational perception by not doing the right thing and signing Morneau to an extension.
This is by no way a “thank you for all you’ve done” contract and is instead a baseball move because of the fact that the Twins have no alternative at first base that can equal or surpass Morneau’s production this year. You could argue that Trevor Plouffe could be a possible replacement if Miguel Sano comes up and locks down third, but Plouffe has shown no consistency or progress that would give the Twins any security of his future moving forward; thus, it should be a no-brainer that the Twins should sign Morneau for a few more seasons to bridge the gap with the future and the Twins finding a replacement at first.
It may not be the most popular move to sign Morneau to an extension, but it certainly is the right move. It’s time for Ryan to step up to the plate and make a move because the longer you wait, the higher the price goes on Morneau and the higher the price goes, the less chance you have at resigning a productive first baseman.