Pioneer Press Twins beat writer has bizarre irrational love for Justin Morneau
Who can't love his smile, but the production just hasn't been there.
By all accounts, Justin Morneau is a really nice guy. And he was a great baseball player at one point too, winning the AL MVP award in 2006 and putting five straight All-Star-caliber seasons from '06 until he suffered that fateful concussion in July 2010.
But Morneau just hasn't been the same player since, and last season, he put up the worst offensive numbers of his career (as measured by OPS). The Twins, of course, traded him to Pittsburgh as they fell out of contention, and Morneau struggled there too, hitting exactly zero homers and knocking in all of three runs in 25 regular season games.
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Morneau's contract is up, he's 32, and the Twins are in the midst of a youth movement. So you'd think there'd be no chance in hell they'd bring him back, right? But if Pioneer Press Twins beat writer Mike Beradino gets his way, the Twins won't just resign him -- they'll lock him up to a lifetime deal.
Here's a sampling of Beradino's tweets from the last 24 hours (h/t Aaron Gleeman):
Is there a more instinctive base runner than Morneau? Great job scoring from 2nd on infield hit.-- Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) October 10, 2013
Really? Seems to get the bags he should and a little more "@Brandon_Warne: Devil's advocate but I've often felt he wasn't a good baserunner"-- Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) October 10, 2013
OK, #MNTwins fans, what's the fair offer for Morneau now? Years and dollars? And what's the MAX you would go?-- Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) October 10, 2013
@Brandon_Warne Fangraphs had Morneau rated 16th of 25 qualifying 1B this year, between Moss and Rizzo, in base running-- Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) October 10, 2013
In 30 games and 97 at-bats with the #Pirates, Justin Morneau produced zero homers and 3 RBI. Did hit .300 in LDS, scored 4 of PIT's 15 runs-- Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) October 10, 2013
Surprised to see how "no offer" is picking up steam in this Morneau/#mntwins debate. You do know Mauer still wants to catch, right?-- Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) October 10, 2013
Whatever Beradino sees in Morneau -- and he obviously sees something -- the numbers just don't bear it out. Again, we're talking out a guy who ranked 23rd in the MLB in hitting among just first baseman in hitting last season (in terms of OPS) and hasn't been an effective player for more than three years.
Then again, the clubhouse chemistry the Twins have enjoyed during the M&M boys era has clearly been instrumental to the team's on-field succe-- oh wait, that's right, they've lost more than 95 games three seasons in a row.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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