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Should Twins have traded Justin Morneau to Dodgers?

Aug 29, 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

morneau ap AP

Within the Los Angeles Timesstory about the Dodgers-Red Sox blockbuster trade was this tidbit from beat reporter Dylan Hernandez:

A four-time All-Star first baseman, [Adrian] Gonzalez was the prize in the deal. The Dodgers inquired about him leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and approached the Red Sox again after a failed attempt to land Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau last week.

Not shocking, as the Dodgers were also linked to Justin Morneau in July, but the notion of the Twins turning them down multiple times is certainly interesting. Morneau has been excellent since the All-Star break, hitting .320/.365/.523 in 39 games, but his overall production this season still qualifies as good but not great and his health remains an issue. Toss in the fact that he has one year and $14 million left on his contract and Morneau’s trade value isn’t great.

Or at least it shouldn’t be, which makes me wonder if the Twins should’ve jumped at the Dodgers’ offer assuming it included any kind of decent prospect. Simply clearing Morneau’s salary off the books for 2013 has value to the Twins, especially with Chris Parmelee waiting in the wings as a minimum-salaried replacement, and the Dodgers ended up sending a surprisingly strong package of players to the Red Sox for the right to take on $275 million in mostly bad contracts.

Given how the Dodgers are throwing around money it’s not safe to assume their interest in Morneau and his contract guarantees similar interest from other teams, and now Los Angeles is no longer an option for a future deal. Obviously every Twins fan would love to see Morneau resume being an elite hitter, but $14 million would come in handy and letting him walk for nothing as a free agent in 15 months would be a missed opportunity.

  1. hansob - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    It sounds good, but based on how the Twins have been spending their money on pitching, another $14M worth of pitch-to-impact, veteran, innings eaters just doesn’t sound all that appealing to this Twins fan.

    • geoknows - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      As far as pitching goes, if anything like Allen Webster or Rubby de la Rosa was on the table for Morneau, as they were for Gonzalez, then God yes, you jump all over that if you’re the Twins. Frankly, I can’t figure out what they’re doing these days, though. Bill Smith was a head-scratcher, but I think Terry Ryan v.2 is worse.

  2. randygnyc - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    The twins are my bridesmaids in MLB favorite teams. Their performance the last 2 years has been painful. The upside is that fan interest/attendance remains high. That won’t continue if the Twins remain in the basement going forward. It’s folly to assume that by trading Morneau the Twins will reinvest that savings, dollar for dollars, in on field talent. One of the leagues wealthiest owners will just continue to line his own pockets.

    • kander013 - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:34 PM

      You realize that Carl Pohlad died in 2009 and that his sons own the team, with Jim running the show, correct? That still, it’s true about being some of the wealthiest owners in all of baseball, if not all of the four major sports. The hope is that with the Wild spending and hopefully winning this year (assuming they play) that will tip the landscape for the Twins spending. Saying that, the issue with the Twins isn’t the amount of money spent-it’s how and where they spend it.

    • hackerjay - Aug 29, 2012 at 5:25 PM

      The Twins have been in the top half of spenders the last couple of years. This year they have spent more then big market teams like the Cubs and Mets. I think the “Twins don’t spend enough” trope should be dead.
      The real problem is how they spend their money.

  3. JB (the original) - Aug 29, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    The Pohlad’s run the team as a standalone business, always have, always will, that’s what causes the angst among Twins’ fans, because they DO have the money to toss around, but choose not to. It’s been pretty well documented that the Twins take overall revenue and apply roughly 50% of that to player payroll. The increase in $$$ from people buying season tickets the last years in the dome (to get Target Field seats) and the 1st two years at Target Field ‘covered’ Mauer’s increased pay, but the upcoming years are where the rubber will really meet the road. “Honeymoon” with the park is over (although they keep saying sales and attendance are ‘high’, that’s really due to ticket sales prior to the season’s start, both by fans, and a ton of scalpers–who are losing their asses this year), next year won’t be pretty.

  4. thatyankeedude - Aug 29, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Hey why not just have 1 baseball team and call them the dodgers and they can play inner squad games for 6 months

  5. krazytrane - Aug 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    I’m glad they realize keeping a clutch, elite, player is important to long term success. Clearly Morneau is healthy and clicking. Parmalee is unproven. The same people saying he should replace Morneau will be the ones calling the Twins cheap when Parmalee goes 0 for 20. With Capps and Pavano off the books next year and a willingness to spend another $5 million (putting them where they were at a few years ago) they can get a solid starter and some help in the bullpen. The Twins are never going to sign or trade for a CC Sabathia type stud but they have done well in the past finding slid talent or the pen…….. Here is hoping that they can get lucky with a second tier starter. Just don’t take key parts from the lineup out of the picture or we will be crying about losing 1 – 0 games

  6. mikeincmn - Aug 29, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Terry Ryan 2.0 is no worse than the original Terry Ryan. This is what Terry was back before he left, he was extremely hit and miss with free agents, mostly miss, but did a great job building a bullpen. This years version isnt really any different, he hit big with Josh Willingham, did ok with Doumit, but pretty much wiffed on Carroll and failed pretty poorly on Capps and Marquis.

    The difference is this Terry Ryan doesnt have the farm system to cover up his mistakes like he used to. Thanks to Bill Smith the farm system is a mess at the AA and AAA levels outside Parmalee and the young pitchers they were counting on like Gibson and Wimmers had Tommy John.

    The Pohlads suck though, always have and always will, one of the worst ownership groups in baseball. Not the worst, but definitely towards the bottom.

  7. mplsjoe - Aug 29, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    This is a strange discussion because no one has any idea what the Dodgers offered the Twins for Morneau. It’s weird to chastise the team for not making a deal that didn’t exist. Plus, while an extra $14 would sure be handy, isn’t a Morneau who plays like he has played the second half of this season worth that money, or at least close? Finally, the Pohlads would have just eaten the $14 mil, so if the theory is “trade Morneau, hire a big-time pitcher,” that wouldn’t have happened.

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