Morneau spent the first 11 years of his career in Minnesota, which selected him in the third round of the 1999 draft. As a member of the Twins from 2003-2013, Morneau slashed .278/.347/.485 with 221 home runs in 5,350 plate appearances, earned four All-Star nods and won the American League MVP in 2006. Unfortunately, Morneau’s effectiveness began fading after he suffered a concussion midway through the 2010 campaign, when he may have been on the way to another MVP. His tenure with the Twins concluded when they traded him to the Pirates in August 2013.
Morneau didn’t last in Pittsburgh beyond his late-2013 run there and has since played for the Rockies, with whom he hit .319 in 2014 and won the National League batting title, and White Sox. The 35-year-old appeared in only 49 games with the Rockies in 2015 and then endured one of the least productive campaigns of his career last season in Chicago (though he didn’t debut until June after undergoing offseason elbow surgery). All told, Morneau hit .261/.303/.429 in 218 PAs and paired a career-worst walk rate (5.5 percent) with a bloated strikeout rate (23.9 percent – well above his lifetime mark of 15.5).
While another Morneau-Minnesota go-around would make for a feel-good story, there might not be enough at-bats available to make it worthwhile, writes Berardino. The Twins already have first base/DH types in $23MM man Joe Mauer, who used to team with Morneau to terrorize opposing pitchers, as well as younger options in Byung Ho Park and Kennys Vargas. But even if Morneau doesn’t end up joining the Twins, he is aiming to sign somewhere for what would be his 15th season in the majors.