Justin Morneau: Why He Will Not Remain with the Minnesota Twins in 2014

Chris Schad@@crishadContributor IIIAugust 14, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: (L-R) Justin Morneau #33, Andrew Albers #63 and Chris Herrmann #12 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate a win of the game against the Cleveland Indians on August 12, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Indians 3-0. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Justin Morneau has been one of the most impactful Minnesota Twins during their 53-year history, but it looks like that tenure will be coming to an end in the near future.

The Twins' first baseman recently cleared waivers meaning that any team can arrange a trade for the former American League MVP between now and the end of August. If a team is willing to pick up the roughly $3.5 million remaining on his contract, it will be a teary-eyed goodbye for many Twins fans.

However, some are holding out hope that this is not the end.

Morneau will be a free-agent at the end of the 2013 season meaning that it's possible that the Twins will re-sign him at a cheaper price and let his legacy in Minnesota continue.

I'd hate to be the pessimist here, but that's not going to happen.

It would be a great story if Morneau could return for his 12th season with the Twins. He loves the organization that called him up, gave him a swift kick in the rear in 2006 and used that as a springboard to become one of the most dominant players in Major League Baseball until injuries caught up with him.

Still, the ballpark he plays in is not tailored to left-handed power hitters. Since the team moved to the new ballpark, Morneau has done the best he can with the gigantic wall in right field. Yet, several of his well-struck balls are dying at the warning track as doubles instead of becoming another souvenir.

Several times, we've seen Morneau have the look on his face of "Are you bleeping kidding me?" after crushing a ball into the scoreboard in right. While he loves the organization, the park might be enough to convince him to go elsewhere unless they cave into his demands from 2010 and change the dimensions.

There's also the matter of Morneau's wish to play for a contending team. Since Morneau got off to a terribly slow start, it's likely that the Twins would only offer him a one-year contract to try and see if the old Morneau comes walking through the door.

That begs the question of whether the Twins will be contending in 2014. I believe that to be a gigantic "no."

The Twins have a slew of young talent coming up, but Miguel Sano will be the only prospect that has a shot of making his major league debut next season. With the Twins going through another season of Kevin Correia as their ace, a climb out of the AL Central cellar seems unlikely.

With Morneau turning 33 next May, he might not want to stick around to see what the Twins have. That's especially true with the team needing to see what they have in Chris Parmelee.

Parmelee has struggled, but he has only 510 at-bats to his name in parts of three seasons. The Twins tried him in right field this season, but he underwhelmed at the plate and in the field.

A move back to his natural position of first could help him out, but that would require Morneau to slide to the designated hitter role.

It's just another moving part that shows that there may not be a place for Morneau as the Twins continue their youth movement.

Stranger things have happened in the game of baseball, but I firmly believe that Morneau will be wearing someone else's uniform in 2014.

Chris Schad is a Minnesota Twins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. His work has also been featured on the Yahoo! Contributor Network and Pro Football Spot. You can follow Chris on Twitter @crishad.


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