Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Justin Morneau, special assistant

A bit of Twins news from north of the border:

The special assistant title doesn't tell us much about what role Morneau figures to have. Some special assistants seem to be pretty much for promotional appearances only; some pick up more emphatically baseball chores. Tom Kelly, until his health concerns, seemed to be pretty deeply involved in pro scouting as a special assistant.

But this does appear to put a period at the end of Morneau's playing days. He had hoped to return in the second half last season, but either didn't get an offer or didn't care for the offer(s) he received. He's one of the many players in baseball history who we can legitimately wonder what if. In his case, what if he hadn't sustained those concussions? You look at the season he was having in 2010 before he took that knee to the head at second base ... wowzers.

So, question: Who was better, Kent Hrbek or Morneau? Morneau has that 2006 MVP (which, in my mind and that of others of a more sabermetric bent than the electorate that year, should have gone to Joe Mauer) and a second-place finish; Hrbek finished second one year but only got votes in one other season. Career WAR goes emphatically to Hrbek, 38.4 to 27.3 (Baseball Reference version), and Hrbek got almost 900 more plate appearances in his career. They both had a rapid decline in their 30s.

I'll go with Hrbek, but it's close.

1 comment:

  1. Twins teams have lost a lot of important cogs, while still in the prime or getting there, and when the team had promise.

    Morneau, Mauer, Puckett, Kaat are just a few names ... how the teams fortunes may have been different?

    I am glad to see Morneau reassociate with the Twins.