Scraping by on $4.5M 

March, 22, 2007
As Jayson Stark wrote last weekend, there's already anxiety in Minnesota about all those great Twins who might be heading for greener pastures within a few years. Sure, some of them would like to sign long-term deals ... if, of course, the price is right. And Justin Morneau's going to have to wait, as talks between the Twins and Morneau's agent ended in stalemate, leaving Morneau with his one-year, $4.5 million 2007 contract.

Here's the good news, if you're a Twins fan: Morneau isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season. That's a ways away, friends. He'll be 29. Past his prime. Morneau's a good hitter. I've liked him for a long time. But right now he's 26, and his career on-base percentage is .338, slugging percentage .501. Good hitter. Not a great hitter, though -- at least not yet. My guess is that the Twins, who develop talent better than anybody, will come up with another good young first baseman between now and 2010.

If they do wind up signing Morneau to an extension with reasonable figures, fine. But if they don't, and he walks in 2010 -- or is traded before he has the chance to walk -- it won't be the end of the world. I promise.