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Rand: Let's not forget how good Morneau was (and was going to be)

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • July 19, 2013 - 5:23 PM

 

Morneau, in 2008

Morneau, in 2008

The next 10 days or so could feel like something of a sad countdown as many Twins fans resign themselves to the idea that first baseman Justin Morneau could very well be traded.

 

Morneau was drafted in 1999 and made his MLB debut in 2003. He is a Twin through and through. But he is also in the final year of a deal that, through no fault of his own, he is no longer fulfilling with production.

Many people call Morneau their favorite Twins player. And, indeed, these past few years have often been hard to watch -- while also serving as reminders of just how good he was early in his career.

From 2006 to 2009, the first of which was his MVP season, Morneau averaged 30 homers and 118 RBI per season. He was often an iron man, including playing all 163 games in 2008.

Lest you think it was all a product of the more hitter-friendly Metrodome, Morneau was on pace for a career season in 2010, the first at Target Field. He had a 1.055 OPS in exactly 81 games before the concussion in Toronto that started it all.

While he's been comparatively better in 2012 and 2013 than he was in 2011, Morneau is still not close to being the player he was. But if he is on his way out, it's important to remember just how good that was. He turned 29 in the middle of that 2010 season when he got hurt. He has 211 career home runs, but just 30 in the 2 1/2 seasons from 2011-2013. It's not crazy to think he would have close to 300 in his career if not for the injury. It's not crazy to think he would have won another MVP award in 2010 if the had stayed hot for the AL Central-winning Twins.

It's not even too far-fetched to wonder if he might have had another MVP season in him beyond that, since he was in his prime years. If he would have won three MVPs, it's not weird to speculate about the Hall of Fame.

Instead, we're speculating on a sad goodbye ... but not without remembering the good times, too.

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Note: We're taking the last of some summer time off next week and will be back at full strength on July 29.

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