Morneau contract talks end

The Twins slugger said he is disappointed a multiyear deal couldn't be worked out.

FORT MYERS, FLA. - Contract discussions between the Twins and reigning American League Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau have ended without an agreement on a multiyear deal.

Morneau, who said his emotions changed from "optimistic to frustrated" in the past few weeks, will earn $4.5 million this year.

"Oh, well," Morneau said. "I'll just have a good year and we'll try to get something done next year."

Morneau's agent, Mark Pieper, traveled to Fort Myers last weekend for face-to-face talks with the Twins but to no avail.

"It's done," Morneau said before going 1-for-3 on Wednesday against Cincinnati.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said it is team policy not to discuss contracts during the season.

According to sources familiar with negotiations, the deal left on the table was for four years and between $30 and $33 million, with an option for a fifth year.

It was believed that Joe Mauer's four-year, $33 million contract would be in the range of what Morneau could receive. But, when filing arbitration numbers, the Twins offered Mauer $3.3 million and Morneau $4 million. That indicated to Morneau's agents that his deal should be worth more, but the Twins didn't see it that way, partially because Mauer has more service time.

Morneau will be eligible for arbitration before the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons before being eligible to file for free agency, so the Twins will have him under contract in 2010, when their new ballpark is scheduled to open. That's also the year Mauer's contract expires.

The Twins and Morneau discussed a multiyear deal in the offseason before reaching agreement on a one-year deal on Feb. 2 to avoid arbitration. But the sides reopened negotiations shortly after pitchers and catchers reported in mid-February.

Indications are that the Twins still are interested in extending the contracts of closer Joe Nathan and ace Johan Santana. Nathan's deal is to be addressed first, and indications are that negotiations are ongoing. Then the Twins would turn their attention to Santana.

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