On Saturday, an anonymous source told the Star Tribune’s Joe Christensen that the Twins are accepting offers for first baseman Justin Morneau. The source stated that the excellent play by Michael Cuddyer – who took over first base after Morneau’s season ended early due to a stress fracture in his back – and souring relationships in the clubhouse led to GM Bill Smith to start shopping him around to other teams.
Prior to his last game on September 12th, Morneau was hitting .274 with 30 home runs and 100 RBI. Cuddyer replaced Morneau the next day and batted .325 with 8 home runs and 24 RBI in Morneau’s absence.
A couple of Twins players weren’t shy with sharing their opinions about the trade talks.
“While we were making our charge at the end of September, we needed all the support we could get,” said catcher Joe Mauer. “Sure, he (Morneau) would be in the dugout during the games, but he would always complain about how much his back hurt. We got tired of hearing about his injury problems.”
Reliever Matt Guerrier had similar feelings. “Morny started doing crosswords every day after he stopped playing, so I thought I could go to him for hints, but he could never help me. After about five days, I finally gave up and just texted (Oakland Athletics reliever) Craig Breslow like I used to.”
If Morneau was traded, he would be part of the second blockbuster that Smith would have made in the past few years. In early 2008, Smith traded starting pitcher Johan Santana to the New York Mets for outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra.
The Twins currently have needs for a second baseman and third baseman and are rumored to also be looking for a veteran starting pitcher and backup outfielder. Trading Morneau could easily fill one or two of those needs.
Morneau was unavailable for comment.