Aug 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau (33) during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. The Rangers won 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
This topic has been widely discussed across Twins Territory since the middle of last season. First baseman Justin Morneau has been at the center of trade rumors for quite some time. There is a ton of support in trading him, and even letting him walk in case he does finish out the year with the Twins. Maybe support is the wrong word, but more on why it makes sense. Yes, it does. But I don’t care. I’m a fan first. I’m here to argue why Morneau should remain a Twin all of this season and beyond.
I may be biased, as I have been a huge fan of Morneau for a long time (Realistically, who hasn’t?).
I’m going to lay this out for you.
1. I like Morneau. A lot. He and Joe Mauer are my favorite Twins. I liked Morneau from the time he became the starting first baseman in 2004. Not only could he hit the hell out of a baseball, but the man works hard. Anybody with that kind of work ethic, I will immediately root for to succeed.
Minus the JJ Hardy deal, I was okay when other fan favorites were traded or left through free agency. Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel were good, but not great. With the payroll in 2008, there was no way the Twins could keep Johan Santana around. Torii Hunter bolted for a bigger paycheck, but the blow wasn’t as bad withDenard Span waiting in the wings (even though it took Carlos Gomez sucking to get him in CF).
2. This brings me to my next point. I am not entirely sold on Chris Parmelee. Sure, he had a great September in 2011. Sure, he tore up AAA pitching last year. Sure, he’s got potential. Every player does somewhere in their game. But what happens if he doesn’t pan out? It just doesn’t feel as though he has the same potential as the former MVP. I could be completely wrong, and I think it was smart of the Twins to slot Parmelee in the outfield and see what he can do everyday in the lineup. Parmelee might be more comparable to Kubel, but not Morneau.
3. Some consider the Twins to be “re-building” for the future. I do not. Do they have a playoff team right now? Not on paper, but neither did the Oakland Athletics a year ago. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this game: anything can happen. Say what you want about the pitchers they signed, but the Twins have improved from last season. The point is, The team has potential and a healthy and motivated Morneau should figure to be a very important part of that picture.
4. He wants to stay in Minnesota.He may end up testing the market, but he’s made it clear for a long time that this is the organization he wants to be with. Even if the team has another rough summer, it doesn’t change the fact that Mauer and Morneau are two of the biggest reasons fans come to the ballpark. Keeping fans in the seats keeps revenue high. It’s still a business.
5. Think about this scenario for a minute. The Twins decide they want to re-sign Morneau to a new deal. They need to keep him healthy, along with Joe Mauer. Mauer eventually moves to first base, giving the reigns of catching to someone else. How about Morneau at DH? As long as he is healthy, Morneau could prove very serviceable at the position.
6. He’s still young. I’d understand if Morneau was nearing the end of his career, but he will be 32 on May 15 and still has a lot left in the tank. He’s feeling healthy and finally moved on from the concussion and wrist problems that kept him on the bench for the better part of the past few seasons. Before said concussion injury in 2010, he was enjoying another MVP- caliber season. He showed signs of excellence last season. I’m in his corner, and the Twins should be too.
If the Twins have a long, losing season again and Morneau decides to leave for a contender, then that’s his decision. Much like former closer Joe Nathan did – at the end of the day ballplayers want to win a ring. But I think the Twins should strongly consider pushing to keep him.
But for now, I’m excited to see what he can do this season.