Twins rumors: Justin Morneau's trade value

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Justin Morneau is a deadline trade candidate, but what can the Twins expect to get in return for the slugger?

Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is entering the final year of his current contract, leading many to consider him as a deadline trade candidate. But unless Morneau is "crushing it at the deadline," Phil Mackey of ESPN 1500 doesn't believe the Twins will be able to get anything of significance for him.

If Morneau doesn't significantly improve on his 2012 totals, Mackey believes the best the Twins will be able to fetch in exchange for him is a package similar to the one they received for Francisco Liriano. Minnesota shipped Liriano to the Chicago White Sox last July for a pair of so-so young players, Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez.

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If this is the case and Minnesota doesn't receive much in the way of trade offers this summer, they could elect to hold onto Morneau. Mackey points out that if they retain the slugger through the season and offer him a one-year, $13 million tender, they would be eligible for draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere. Of course, there's always the risk of him accepting the tender, and who knows if they may not want to risk keeping him for another year at that rate.

Last season, Morneau registered more than 500 plate appearances for the first time since 2009. The 31-year-old hit .267/.333/.440 with 26 doubles and 19 home runs.

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