One of the most intriguing contractual situations in all of Major League Baseball will have to wait for at least a couple of weeks.
Justin Morneau and the Minnesota Twins will be under a “hold” on contract talks until after July 31st according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This isn’t terribly shocking news as a lot of extension talks get put on hold during the season, but with Morneau, his production level in comparison to his current salary makes him an interesting test case.
Currently, Morneau is playing out a 6-year, $80 million deal that he signed after back-to-back seasons where he blasted 30+ home runs, including the 2006 season where he went .321/.375/.559 with 34 HR and 130 RBI in route to the MVP award. However, his level of play has lowered significantly since then, with 3 straight seasons with less than 20 home runs adding to this year’s solid but uninspiring production.
The Twins have reportedly been shopping Morneau for weeks, but with the high price tag, it’s a real possibility that he’ll hit free agency in the off-season. There is big-time question about what Morneau deserves on the open market, but if he is going to remain with the Twins, we know that his new contract won’t be arriving before the July 31st trade deadline. Personally, I believe it is a virtual certainty that he’ll be taking a severe pay cut in the future, but crazier things have happened in Major League Baseball.