Minnesota Twins: Could They Get Fair Value in a Justin Morneau Trade?

Jimmy MohlerContributor IIIFebruary 7, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 9:  Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins hits a walk off home run against the Cleveland Indians in the ninth inning at Target Field on September 9, 2012 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Twins defeated the Indians 8-7.  (Photo by Marilyn Indahl/Getty Images)
Marilyn Indahl/Getty Images

Entering the last year of Justin Morneau's six-year, $80 million contract, the Minnesota Twins have a decision to make regarding his job security.

At age 31, Morneau is an interesting case for such discussions. He's had a few down years after battling concussion symptoms and other ailments, but bounced back a bit in 2012—he hit .267 with 19 home runs and 77 RBI.

That's not much considering his former perennial All-Star form, but it's a step in the right direction and something to consider as the Twins weigh the pros and cons of holding onto their star first baseman. 

However, Minnesota hasn't exactly had a reputation of holding onto star players.

Johan Santana and Torii Hunter immediately come to mind. Both spent their last years as Twins in 2007 and neither was traded at the deadline, despite the Twins finishing a distant third in the AL Central.

Instead, Santana was traded to the Mets after the season for moot (in hindsight) and Torii Hunter signed the big paycheck with the Angels that he was looking for from Terry Ryan and the Twins. 

The 2013 Twins may befall a similar fate at best and now Justin Morneau will surely question his fate after consecutive last-place finishes in the division.

Could the Twins get fair value for Morneau in 2013? Sure, but he'll have to be back to form. A deal may make sense if Chris Parmelee breaks out in a big way this year, but only if. 

MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger recently opined that the Twins would look for even more young pitching if a deal were to be done for Morneau and The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo thinks the Orioles, Rays and Red Sox could be potential destinations if the Twins could acquire a nice package of young players.

Regardless of any rumors or thoughts from around the web, I believe that Morneau holds more value than any return the Twins could get—unless of course that return was overwhelming.

I say let the season play out. If Morneau does well and the Twins continue sinking, seek that package of young players.

But only if that package can improve the Twins in the present and immediate future.