“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both.”
To trade him or not to trade him, that is the question at hand.
Every personnel move is tough for a team, but this has to be one of the toughest decisions Terry Ryan has ever had to make. Chances are good that the Twins aren't going anywhere this year, but all in all, Justin Morneau has been playing pretty well. Not MVP caliber, but he has been giving quality play. Especially if you look at the fact that Morneau blasted two home runs against the White Sox on Thursday.
The big problem is, there is no clear-cut answer to the question.
The answer would be a lot clearer if Chris Parmelee was playing out of his mind and was ready to step into that starting role, but, alas, he’s playing with Danny Valencia and Tsuyoshi Nishioka down at Triple-A Rochester. For that reason, I believe the Twins have to hold on to Justin Morneau.
Even though there is currently a lack of a replacement for Morneau, the Twins aren't as far away from being competitive as it looks.
Just imagine that the Twins had a competent pitching staff—as if they had five Scott Diamonds (the first-three-starts version, not the one who pitched against the White Sox). Now that the Twins have the pitching figured out, think about this sequence in the middle of the lineup: Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit.
That could be deadly.
Add in the up-and-coming Brian Dozier and hope to the heavens that Trevor Plouffe turns into something great, and the Twins go from really bad to pretty good. That’s a lot of work, but not totally impossible.
Keeping Morneau around keeps the Twins at least a little bit competitive, and that’s really all that the Twins fans can ask for right now. The Twins lost 99 games last year, so it’s a good goal to just improve the record and not lose 100 games.
What if the Twins dealt Morneau?
They’d likely have to gamble on a group of prospects like they did the last time they traded a big name (Johan Santana). The Twins got Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, Philip Humber and Deolis Guerra for Santana. Guerra is the only one left in the Twins organization and he is currently pitching for Double-A New Britain. Morneau’s name isn't as big as Santana’s was at the time of that trade, but do the Twins really want to risk not getting anything in return again?
Why not keep Morneau? The Twins have nothing to lose by keeping him. In fact, playing him is the best thing they can do. He might—just might—get back into form and once again be one of the best baseball players on the planet.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”