Morneau waits as clock ticks

The Twins first baseman is on waivers, and a trade could happen as soon as Wednesday.

Justin Morneau, you are on the clock.

The Twins first baseman has been placed on revocable waivers, according to a league source, which means Morneau could be traded as soon as Wednesday if a team claims him.

So less than two weeks after the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, Morneau was swamped with more questions about his future in Twinstripes.

“I think it will be good to know in the next 24, 48 hours where I stand for the rest of the year. Anyway,” Morneau said. “That’s good to know, I guess. Other than that, there’s not much I can do about it.”

Morneau’s waivers expire at noon Wednesday. At that point, a number of things could happen:

• If no team has claimed Morneau, the Twins could trade him to any team they wish.

• If a team claims Morneau, the Twins have 48 hours to discuss a trade with that team and strike a deal, much like the Rangers did Friday when they landed outfielder Alex Rios from the White Sox.

• The Twins could just let Morneau go to the claiming team, which would have to assume his salary for the rest of the season — roughly $3.5 million. The Twins say they are not in salary-dump mode, however, and have indicated that they are willing to eat salary to acquire a suitable player in return.

• And the Twins could just pull Morneau off waivers and not trade him at all. A team can attempt to move a player through waivers twice this month but can’t pull him back off waivers a second time.

Morneau has spiced up trade possibilities by entering Tuesday with a .269 batting average, six home runs and 14 RBI in August. That comes after he hit .175 with four homers and five RBI in July. Pittsburgh and Baltimore, two teams looking for hitting, scouted Morneau in July and passed. Could they double back?

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan would not discuss anything related to Morneau on Tuesday.

“It’s easy for me to respond to that,” Ryan said. “I can’t [respond].”

Just like before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline, Morneau is skeptical that he will be dealt.

“I don’t feel like they are going to get what they want to get back because it is so late in the process,” he said. “It’s just six weeks, and it is hard to get anything back. I think it comes down to if they want to see what they have. If they want to let [Chris] Colabello play or [Chris] Parmelee play or if they want to let Joe [Mauer] play more at first, or whatever they want to do. It will come down to that rather than getting prospects back and then try to come back in the offseason [and sign me].

“I would be surprised if anything happens.”

Morneau, 32, is a little disappointed that the Twins haven’t discussed signing him to a contract extension. He won the AL MVP in 2006, but his production dropped off in recent years after he suffered a season-ending concussion in July 2010. He is batting .262 with 14 homers and 67 RBI and is in range of improving on his 2012 numbers of .267-19-77.

He has reached out to the team twice this season about signing an extension, only to be rebuffed. As much as he likes living in Minnesota and wants to stay, he doesn’t like the position he’s in.

“You see something happen with [Philadelphia’s Chase] Utley and that organization comes out and says, ‘We want this guy to be a Phillie for life and we want him to be part of the team for the next few years,’ and his contract is basically two years and, if he’s healthy, he is going to play for five,” Morneau said. “So to not have that, it does [create frustration]. I understand that I have been hurt a lot the last few years, but I still feel I have a lot of baseball left and I can still help a team win. So there is a little bit of frustration, but that is the business side of the game.”

 

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