Had a good talk with Justin Morneau this week for a column that ran in Friday's paper. While the headline mentioned the possibility that he'll be traded, I don't think that's the probability.
I think the Twins value him. He's been a leader, when healthy. He's been an MVP. He's played for reasonable salaries given his status in the game.
If he struggles statistically or physically, then they probably wouldn't be able to trade him for value. If he plays well, I think they'll either offer him a contract extension, or tender an offer that would allow them either to keep him for one more year, or set them up to get a draft pick as compensation if he leaves as a free agent.
Here are the topics of interest that didn't make it into the column:
-How different does he feel this year than last spring, when he was worried about the affects of his concussion? ``There were a lot more question marks last year coming into spring training. Everything this spring has been good. Keep it going for another 7 months and everything will be all right,'' he said with a smile.
-Has it been tougher overcoming the physical or mental hurdles associated with his concussion? ``It’s probably a combination of both. It's one thing to be prepared and feel like you've put the work in, and it's another thing to be confident and know that it's going to last. It's a combination of both, which has been good. Really, everything has been good.''
-How different were his workouts this winter? ``It was huge. I started swinging when I normally would have, just doing everything I needed to do. It was fun. I was actually able to work out during the day and able to function in the afternoon. Before I would do rehab in the morning and sleep three hours in the afternoon. I was able to have a normal winter working out and still able to spend time with the kids and do stuff. It was nice.
``If I wanted to go out on the field and take 100 extra swings, I could. I still have to force myself to limit myself, just because I know the long-term benefits. You want to do well for the first game and sometimes you try and rush that process. No matter how many swings you take there’s nothing that makes up for live pitching, seeing live pitching from other teams. I think I’ve learned that through the years. If it’s not there right away eventually, it will get there if you do the right amount of work.''
-When was the last time you and Joe Mauer both felt completely healthy in the same spring? ``I’ve thought about that. Where I’ve been the last few springs, I've been limited. Gardy hasn't been able to just write down my name in the lineup and go out and play without asking, `How does everything feel today?'
``I think it's the same for Joe. I think that's a good sign. I hope that’s a good sign for our team.''
-Can you believe Joe Mauer is going to have twins? ``It’s good. He’s excited. Both his brothers have kids and I think he enjoys being around families. He’ll find out real soon the difference between being an uncle and a father, especially with twins. He seems like he’s ready.''
Sunday Sports Talk will be quite the operation on Sunday. We're on 10-noon on 1500ESPN. I'm in Fort Myers, Tom Pelissero is in Arizona doing NFL work, and Joe Schmit will host from the studio. Terry Ryan will join from Sarasota.
Please follow me on Twitter at @Souhanstrib.
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