Thursday, January 12, 2012

Contemplating Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau's
last two seasons have
been cut short by
Justin Morneau's health remains a matter of uncertainty. He told the Pioneer Press this week that he has not begun baseball activities, but that the concussion symptoms that ended his 2011 season are less severe than they were at this point the previous winter.

This passes for optimism in the Twins world. The Twins are, for better or worse, committed to Morneau, not merely for 2012 but for 2013 as well.

I have suggested here a few times that Morneau might be restricted to DH. Morneau -- with Terry Ryan in agreement -- dismisses that notion, saying that if he is indeed too concussion prone to play in the field he ought not play at all. There is a good deal of sense in that position, both from the viewpoint of Morneau's health and as a practical matter for the team.

The truth is, the Twins are not really set up to have Morneau as a full-time DH. If, as desired, Chris Parmelee plays at Triple A, the non-Morneau options for first base figure to be the catchers (Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit), Trevor Plouffe and perhaps Luke Hughes, none of whom have a great deal of experience at the position.

If Morneau is forced to go on the disabled list, Parmelee figures to be Plan B. But if Morneau is merely in and out of the lineup, or DHing five days a week, Parmelee is unlikely to be on the major league roster.

Imagine a line representing Morneau's playing time, with the point on the extreme left standing for 162 games at first base and the point on the extreme right standing for him missing the full season, and all the points between represening some combination of games at first base, games as designated hitter and games sat out.

The Twins, as I see it, will be better equipped to handle a spot on either extreme than a spot in the middle.

1 comment:

  1. I hate to say it, but it looks more and more, to me, that Morneau's playing days are over. He was a bright, shining star, but he appears to have flamed out prematurely.