After hitting only eight home runs over his first 379 at-bats, Justin Morneau has suddenly rediscovered his power stroke, going deep six times over his past 56 at-bats and swinging the bat as well as he has at any point this season.
Since the calendar flipped to August, Morneau has hit .268 with nine extra-base hits (three doubles, six home runs), 14 RBI and a .936 OPS.
Not too shabby.
That Minnesota decided to place its longtime first baseman on revocable waivers—as first reported by Peter Gammons—just as his power returned is no coincidence. According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, this is exactly what the Twins were waiting for before trying to move the former AL MVP for the second time this season.
Only a few hours before the non-waiver trade deadline hit on July 31, Baltimore and Minnesota were talking about a possible Morneau deal, but according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles decided against making a move due to Morneau's contract and lack of production.
But Baltimore wasn't the only team linked to Morneau before the deadline. Both Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were reported to have varying levels of interest, and Cafardo also threw Cleveland and Toronto into the mix as potential landing spots for the 32-year-old.
Earning $14 million in the final year of the six-year, $80 million deal that he signed with the Twins before the 2008 season, Morneau is due only a fraction of that—roughly $4 million—for the rest of the season.
ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson reported last month that the Twins were willing to eat some of the money left on his deal if it meant getting something decent in return. It would stand to reason that Minnesota would still be amenable to doing that in order to facilitate a deal.