Minnesota Twins Trade Options: Best Potential Landing Spots for Justin Morneau
The 2006 American League Most Valuable Player has struggled over the past two seasons while he's attempted to come back from concussions and other nagging injuries.
Entering Monday's series with the Chicago White Sox, Morneau is hitting .260 with 13 home runs and 46 runs batted in. However, Morneau has started to show signs of life, as he is hitting .295 in the month of July.
With the Twins being stuck toward the bottom of the American League Central standings, moving Morneau before Tuesday's trade deadline would seem like a good move for the team. Replenishing their weak farm system has to be a top priority.
However, not every team would be a fit for Morneau's services if they acquired the former All-Star. Here's a look at some teams that would put Morneau in the best possible situation to succeed.
Toronto Blue Jays
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The Toronto Blue Jays love hitting bombs. So why not add another player that can make arguably the most powerful lineup in baseball even more powerful?
Morneau would help the Blue Jays solve their dearth at first base where Adam Lind has had another disappointing season.
Adding Morneau would give the Blue Jays a ridiculously strong middle of the lineup where he can be sandwiched between Jose Bautista (once he comes back from his hamstring injury) and Edwin Encarnacion.
This would also be a homecoming for Morneau, as he is one of the most successful Canadians in the history of Major League Baseball.
If the Blue Jays didn't have to dive too far into their farm system, Morneau could be a missing piece to a team that's in the hunt for one of the two wild-card spots.
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The Baltimore Orioles are another AL East team that's trying to fight for a playoff spot and needs offense.
While the Orioles have five players in their lineup with 10 or more home runs, they also have had several players that haven't been able to keep the pace with their hot start to begin the season. This is the reason why they traded for designated hitter Jim Thome last month, and another reason why Morneau would fit.
Morneau is comfortable when he plays at Camden Yards; he's a career .313 hitter when the Twins come to visit Baltimore. On top of that, Morneau owns on of the longest home runs in the history of the park; he blasted one onto Eutaw Street during the 2006 season.
If the Orioles want to get to the playoffs, they'll need one more offensive player that can get them there. With Morneau starting to peak, he could be that piece for the O's.
New York Yankees
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The New York Yankees have already brought in one high-priced veteran in the past week, so could they go for another to add another bat to their lineup.
The lineup isn't the biggest concern for the Yankees, but their lack of production from the designated hitter spot is. Andruw Jones was supposed to be the everyday DH for the team, but he's hitting .224 on the season.
Like Camden Yards, Morneau also loves hitting in Yankee Stadium; some of his blasts could easily reach the third deck in right field on a regular basis.
It seems like the Yankees would need to acquire a pitcher to make their odds of a World Series championship greater, but they've made strange moves before, and Justin Morneau could give the club a boost down the stretch.
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At the beginning of the season, I felt that the Texas Rangers had a hole that needed to be filled at first base. Midway through the season, Mitch Moreland had been doing an admirable job of proving me wrong (.272/10/25), but he suffered a hamstring injury last month and has yet to return.
That's where Morneau could come in handy for the Rangers. Again, he would be going to a hitters' ballpark and joining an already-loaded lineup. It would be another great situation for Morneau.
However, the kicker for this scenario would be that the Twins would be tapping into the top farm system in baseball (according to Baseball America) to get a return on Morneau.
While dreaming about the Rangers giving up Mike Olt or Jurickson Profar sounds fun, it's highly unlikely the Rangers would give up either in a trade for Morneau.
Still, if the Twins could get a decent prospect or two from the Rangers, it could be a trade that pays huge dividends down the road.
Los Angeles Dodgers
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Like the Yankees slide demonstrated, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a similar situation where they're not going to let money stand in the way of getting a player they need to boost their offense.
The Dodgers traded for shortstop Hanley Ramirez last week, and he's looked like a completely different player than the one we saw in Miami for most of the season.
While the Dodgers addressed their need on the left side of the infield, the next move could be to address the right side of the infield.
James Loney has given the Dodgers nothing at first base this season, and adding Morneau's bat could be a remedy for a lineup that struggled mightily without Matt Kemp over the month of June.
The Dodgers will be in a war with the San Francisco Giants over the next several weeks, and adding Morneau could give them an edge as they battle over the National League West championship.
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Andrew McCutchen has been Superman for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, but he can't do it all by himself.
Despite McCutchen's amazing season, the Pirates still rank toward the bottom of baseball in most offensive categories. Although the addition of Wandy Rodriguez solidified their rotation, the Pirates won't be able to win the National League Central unless they upgrade their offense.
Morneau would be able to help out McCutchen, but it can be debated whether he could be the consistent bat that the team needs in the middle of their lineup.
Either way, the team needs to do something to help McCutchen out, and adding Morneau would be a great start.