MINNEAPOLIS — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau knows it’s out of his control whether or not he gets traded. That was his approach leading up to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, and he’s taking things the same way as the Aug. 31 waiver deadline approaches.
On Tuesday, however, baseball analyst Peter Gammons reported that Morneau was placed on waivers, which a source confirmed to FOX Sports MLB insider Ken Rosenthal. Earlier this month, Twins general manager Terry Ryan noted that the club would likely place every player on the roster on waivers, with catcher Joe Mauer being the lone exception. Ryan saw the hubbub that was raised when word got out last year that Mauer was on waivers, even though it’s a fairly common practice throughout baseball.
If Morneau is claimed by a team, the Twins then have the option of working out a deal to trade him to that team. The American League team with the worst record — in this case the Houston Astros — has the first chance to claim him, followed by the second-worst record and so on. Then the claiming rights move to the National League teams, worst to best.
Some teams will claim a player to try to block him from going to a rival, but other teams will claim players with the hope of adding him for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.
Morneau, who will be a free agent after the season, was a candidate to be traded by the end of July. But his numbers — especially his power numbers — took a dip. Since July 31, however, Morneau has hit six homers, driven in 14 runs and is slugging .673 in 12 games in August.
His power surge may have come at just the right time for contending teams looking to potentially add his bat to their lineup.
“The swing is starting to feel better,” Morneau said Monday. “I started using my hands a little bit better. Something just felt a little different. It was a good feeling. Hopefully I’ll be able to remain there and remain consistent with it for the rest of the year and finish the year. Obviously it’s one day at a time because you never know when it’s going to come and when it’s going to go.”
Morneau doesn’t know when — or where — he might come or go, either, especially now that he’s reportedly on waivers. He’s been with the Twins organization since they drafted him in the third round back in 1999. He won the American League MVP with Minnesota in 2006 and represented the Twins in the All-Star Game four times.
Now within a matter of days, Morneau could possibly be wearing a different uniform for the first time in his big league career.
“That’ll be up to Terry and whoever else makes those decisions,” Morneau said. “If they feel like they can improve our team or if they just want to give me a chance to go somewhere else, whatever it is, see what options they have here, then I guess that’s what they’ll do. I can’t really worry too much about it.”