With a little more than 24 hours to go before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, we’re bound to get a lot of rumors and innuendo sent our way from both reliable and unreliable sources. I’ll let you be the judge over how reliable this latest rumor is.

According to the always delightful Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants are all inquiring into the availability of Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.

Let’s think about this for a second. Remember how everyone has been talking about how poorly Adrian Gonzalez has been playing this year? Well, Gonzalez has been slightly better than the injury-riddled Canadian, as his .335 wOBA to Morneau’s .331 wOBA will attest. Among regular first basemen, Morneau ranks slightly behind the middle of the pack in most offensive categories, and he’s still owed $14 million in 2013, the final year of his contract.

I can’t imagine a deal getting done unless the Twins show a willingness to pick up a significant portion of that remaining salary, and even then, I’m not so sure that Morneau offers either the Giants or Blue Jays a significant upgrade in any area that they truly need. So far this season, almost all of Morneau’s offensive contributions have come against right handed pitching.

As bad as he’s been over the last couple seasons, Adam Lind’s faults tend to be similar to Morneau’s: he can hit righties for power, but simply doesn’t show up against southpaws. With Edwin Encarnacion bashing around everyone, and locked into a newly signed contract, where would Morneau even play once Lind, who’s currently spending some time on the Disabled List with injury concerns of his own, comes back to the lineup?

Even if you want to be incredibly cynical and consider Morneau’s birthplace as a factor in the Blue Jays’ attraction, it’s doubtful given the media saturation with the Brett Lawrie phenomenon that another Canadian on the only Canadian baseball team is going to increase anything other than the size of maple boners from people who are already buying tickets and watching baseball on television in Toronto.

As for the Giants, the timing of such a trade would only be humorous to Dodgers fans and masochists. With Aubrey Huff’s ridiculous contract set to come off the books, the last thing San Francisco needs is another aging first baseman past his prime who should only really be platooning at this point to come in and get overpaid to steal playing time from the young left-handed hitting Brandon Belt.

However, considering Belt’s reverse splits this season, such a trade could make sense for this year only, but again, what would the team do moving forward with Morneau next season?

Just look at Morneau’s split, and try to justify why a team that isn’t absolutely guaranteed of a playoff spot would be interested in acquiring him:

  • vs. LHP: 114 PA, 2 HR, .202 OBP, .250 SLG, .452 OPS, .199 wOBA, 19 wRC+.
  • vs. RHP: 221 PA,  11 HR, .385 OBP, .571 SLG, .956 OPS, .400 wOBA, 156 wRC+.

That’s all well, and good, but if you’re looking to get such one dimensional production, your money and prospects can be spent elsewhere at far less of a price. Why not talk to the Seattle Mariners about John Jaso, or discuss a trade with the Chicago Cubs about Bryan LaHair. Both teams are attached to the “seller” label at the deadline, and both players offer just as good production against righties as Morneau without the incredible drop off against southpaws.

The only organizations interested in acquiring Morneau should be the type of teams that are atop their divisions right now, and have a spot to fill in their lineup at first base or designated hitter against right handed pitchers. The Los Angeles Dodgers are just such a team as the well-documented struggles of their current first baseman, James Loney, suggests.

If we look at positional numbers, the Dodgers have the worst first basemen in the National League against right handed pitching. Armed with an upcoming deal with a regional sports television network that’s expected to put a ton of money in the pockets of the new ownership group, the team has already shown a willingness to take on salary with the addition of Hanley Ramirez.

Update:

If it’s true that the Twins are only looking to acquire a Major League ready pitcher, you would have to think that this eliminates the Toronto Blue Jays from the discussion as well.

Comments (17)

  1. As if the Jays didn’t already have enough players on the DL… Let’s add Morneau just for fun.

  2. I know it’s harder for lefties to hit lefties, but how can someone have such insane splits? His OPS vs RHP is almost double that of vs. LHP.

  3. Anytime you trace back false Blue Jays trade rumours, it always originates from Heyman, Knobler and that piece of shit in NY Post.

  4. neither jaso nor bryan lahair have every been mvp caliber big leaguers. you don’t think it makes sense for a club to take an expensive flier on someone who may be able to get back to where he was as a game-changing hitter?

  5. Lind and a low-tier org guy for Morneau, Twins pick up some of the check. i can’t think of anything else that makes sense for us – Morneau doesn’t deserve any legitimate prospects, he probably has a little value here beyond his production (maple boner jersey purchases.) in the 2013 PLAYOFFS push, Morneau plays 1B against righties with EE at DH – against lefties, EE at 1st and use the DH slot to rest an everyday player or play a bench guy who can hit lefties.

    I’d obviously rather make a trade for a star 1B for STARS EVERYWHERE but it makes sense to conserve our prospect capital for other positions and take a flier on Morneau here, if he is available for a cheap price. Twins could take themselves into buying Lind low and seeing what they can do with him – by the time they’re contenders again, he’ll either be good or replaced.

  6. He also has big home/away splits favouring the away. Is there any site that lets us see his away stats vs LHP?

    I think getting out of Minny could significantly help his offensive numbers.

    • Baseball reference is an awesome site that lets you look at ANY splits you can think of (and probably ones you never thought about)

  7. Would love to see Morneau in a Jays jersey! The concussion cost him, but dudes a gamer that could get a boost playing in front of a Canadian crowd. I like the idea of swapping Lind for him.

    –Oshawa Ollie

  8. Look as his home and away splits and factor in Rogers is a hitters park.

    That might make this a perfect buy low situation.

    Lind+Knecht/Pillar for Morneau + 6M

    Morneau can platoon at 1B with Edwin at DH+1B. It should also be noted that he rakes at Yankee stadium.

    The Jays can rest him against tough lefties (Sabathia, Price, Lester etc). I still think he provides a lot more value then Lind would.

  9. Would love to see him traded for Lind.. Lind needs a fresh start just the same as Justin, if he’s canadian or not. It isn’t what we should be concentrating on right now but we can’t ignore deals just because we need pitching, no reason we can’t make a few trades, and if the last move was an indication how the team plays after a trade then i say the more the better!
    LETS HOPE FOR A SWEEP AGAINST ICHIRO LESS MARLINS!

  10. Given AA’s M.O. of silence, I can only assume the Jays are included in this simply by nationality association. Heyman IS that shitty.

  11. Wow, I’m surprised by all the lack of interest in Morneau. It’s like this site has never heard of the phrase ‘Buy Low’ before and that unless a player is performing well he isn’t worth acquiring. Of which I couldn’t possibly disagree more.

    • $14 million is not buying low.

      • I would guess that Peter was referring to the players/prospects we would have to give up to get him, not to the price tag attached.

        That was an impressively snarky response to a legitimate (by legitimate I mean: not trolling, not arrogant, not offensive) comment though. Good job.

    • Twins are selling really low consider the Liriano trade. As a Twins fan I hope you don’t get him as he’s finally starting to recognize Lefties which was his big problem. At one point a little while ago he was hitting .091 agains’t them which brought his average down to the low .220 range. He’s now up to .263 and he’s starting to hit lefties again and barring another injury if he continues will push his average into the .285 range with close to 25 homers. If you get him I think he’ll tear it up for the rest of this season.

  12. Twins fan here and Morneau if finally starting to get it back together hitting well above .320 in his last 25 games and he’s also starting to recognize lefties and had a 17 game hitting streak recently. After all the concussion issues and wrist problem he had it’s nice to see him getting back to his regular self.

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