Though it is a sad loss for the Minnesota Twins, Justin Morneau should be thanking his lucky stars that he was traded to the Pittsburg Pirates on Saturday and not only because he will get to play ball in October for the first time since 2010.
If the past has taught Twins fans anything, it is that Morneau will likely reach the peak of his career while playing for a new team.
Yes, the Twins trade jinx is a very real thing. This season’s All-Star game rosters boasted eight former Twins — most of whom did not stand a fighting chance at making these rosters while donning the blue and red. This is not to say that these players were not once valuable to the Twins, but their value has clearly increased since being traded to other organizations.
Take J.J. Hardy for example. In his one season as a member of the Twins, Hardy hit a mere six home runs and did a run-of-the-mill job in the infield. Since being traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 2011, Hardy has become a gold glover and hit 75 home runs in three years — 30 in his first year out of a Twins uniform.
If a 24-home run increase is not enough to convince you of the Twins trade jinx, a simple mention of David Ortiz should be enough.
Twins fans everywhere watched in amazement as Ortiz transformed from a dispensable Twins DH to “Big Papi”, a Boston Red Sox living legend. Immediately after leaving the Twins in 2003, Ortiz was a candidate for the American league MVP for five consecutive years.
In addition to helping the Red Sox win World Series Championships in 2004 and 2007, Ortiz has racked up five Silver Slugger awards and has played in nine All-Star games.
If Morneau is anything like Ortiz and Hardy, he will only get better under different management. Don’t be surprised to see Morneau finally make a full recovery from his pesky 2010 and 2011 concussions just in time to win another MVP and maybe even a World Series.
Yes, the Twins will likely look on as the baseball gods bless Justin Morneau with everything he has ever wanted — and more.