|Justin Morneau's slash line this season:|
.262/.318/.423. The slash line for the
average AL first baseman: .257/.330/.442.
That's the theory, at any rate. The reality is that the other 29 major league teams each effectively declared that they're not interested in picking up the $3.4 million or so remaining on his contract.
Any trade involving Morneau will require the Twins to pay some, if not all, of his salary the rest of the way. And the reports at the non-waiver deadline two weeks ago held that the Twins weren't willing to do that.
My guess — purely a guess, without any inside info — is that there will be no Morneau trade, that he will finish out the season with the Twins.
Another, semi-related question concerns future seasons. No matter who Morneau finishes the 2013 season with, he's a free agent this winter. Will the Twins want to bring him back? If so, at what price, and is it a price he's willing to accept? His passage through waivers suggests that he's headed for a steep pay cut in 2014, no matter who he signs with.
I do believe this: If he does return, the Twins should be upfront with him about a reduced role in the lineup. Oswaldo Arcia is already making an impact in the major league lineup; at some point in 2014 Miguel Sano will be also, and possibly Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario as well. Those men, along with Joe Mauer, will be the muscle of the Minnesota lineup very soon.
Morneau is used to hitting 3-4-5. He doesn't really belong there anymore. If he's kept around as the new wave comes, he will need to accept that he will, sooner or later, be in the bottom half of the lineup. If he lets that bruise his ego, the Twins would do better to let him leave.