Morneau arrives to fulfill final year of contract

  • Blog Post by: Phil Miller
  • February 15, 2013 - 11:47 AM

     FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Justin Morneau made the rounds of the clubhouse as his teammates filed in from their morning workout on Friday, shaking hands with those he knew and introducing himself to a handful that he didn't.
     He was saying hello. He knows he could be saying goodbye to them later this year.
Morneau said there will be no attempt to extend his contract this spring, and he doesn't plan to bring it up once the regular season starts, either. That means he will be a free agent this fall, once he earns the final $14 million of his six-year, $84 million contract -- and a possible trade candidate all summer.
     "It'll take care of itself. If I get through the year healthy, we'll see what happens then," Morneau said on the eve of the Twins' first full-squad workout. "I think from their side and my side, (we both) want to see where I'm at."
Where he's at in July may be on a completely different team, and Morneau acknowledged the possibility of a trade. His preference remains Minnesota, he said, but he repeated more than once that he wants to play for a winning team -- something that may be a challenge for a Twins team that lost 96 games last season and then traded away a couple of starting outfielders.
     "I want to win, obviously, so that's the important thing," said Morneau, who will turn 32 in May. "If it looks like there's a chance we're going to win, I'd love to stay here. I've been here my whole career, and this is where I hope to be in the future ... But sometimes those decisions aren't yours."
     Morneau's presence, and the arrival of Pedro Florimon, Josh Willingham and Eduardo Escobar last night, means the Twins are nearly whole as they open camp on Saturday. Minor-league third baseman Deibinson Romero has been delayed by a visa snag in the Dominican Republic, and newly acquired relief pitcher Rafael Perez, who signed a minor-league contract on Thursday, will report Saturday.
     La Velle Neal III and I will have much more on Morneau and Twins' training camp in Saturday's Star Tribune.

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