Minnesota Twins: Why Twins Don't Need to Trade Morneau and Other Star Players

Chris SchadContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2013

Many think that a Twins turnaround has to involve trading Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham...but is that really the case?
Many think that a Twins turnaround has to involve trading Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham...but is that really the case?Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins are officially in rebuilding mode.

After a decade of success, the Twins have been in a free fall since their 2010 loss to the New York Yankees in the American League Divisional Series.

With the Twins having holes all over the diamond, it seems like the quickest way to turn things around is to turn everyone's favorite jersey into a throwback.

The prospects whom the Twins can haul in by trading Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham make it awfully tempting to go with a full-blown youth movement and attempt to accomplish what the Oakland Athletics did in 2012 by winning a shocking division championship.

But it doesn't have to be this way. The Twins can keep Morneau, Willingham and several more key players while building for the future.

Over the next couple of seasons, the Twins will start tapping into a farm system that has been rebuilt to the point where nine prospects could make several top-100 lists.

Miguel Sano, Aaron Hicks and Eddie Rosario are just a few names that Twins fans will get to know in the near future. However, the team still needs veteran leadership to help them along.

In the case of Morneau, he has long been a team leader for the Twins.

Morneau's legacy with Minnesota has already included an American League Most Valuable Player award, but he could build on that by mentoring the next wave of Twins stars.

Willingham can also help the cause because of his raw power. After winning the Silver Slugger award in 2012, Willingham will be primed for an encore.

During The Hammer's career, he's been able to use left field as his personal launching pad. Of his 163 career home runs, 143 have found their way to left field or the left-center gap.

As shown by this graph of home runs hit at Target Field last year, the park plays perfectly to Willingham's strengths. 

Trading Willingham can give the Twins leverage in demanding top prospects, but it seems unlikely a team will bite come July.

Keeping Morneau and Willingham is just the beginning, especially when you consider the nature of baseball.

As mentioned earlier, the Athletics were able to ride a nucleus of young players to an American League West Championship in 2012.

While the young players make it seem like it would be a great idea to trade studs now, it also shows how unpredictable baseball can be.

With the American League Central being the weakest division in baseball, it is wise to hold onto the best the team has to offer in case the Twins become the surprise of the 2013 season.