Veteran first baseman Justin Morneau is set to wrap up his playing career and join the Twins’ front office as a special assistant, according to reports from CBN’s Bob Elliott and Phil Miller of the Star Tribune.
Morneau, 36, posted a .281/.348/.481 career slash line with 247 home runs in 6,392 plate appearances over 14 major-league seasons. He was drafted by the Twins in the third round of the 1999 draft, made his debut with Minnesota in 2003, and remained in the organization alongside fellow franchise cornerstone Joe Mauer until August 31, 2013, when he was dealt to the playoff-bound Pirates with just a month remaining on his contract. He then joined the Rockies for two seasons and spent the final year of his career with the White Sox. Morneau played for the Canadian squad in last spring’s World Baseball Classic but ultimately did not find a big-league job and ended up sitting out the entire 2017 season.
During his prime, Morneau was one of the league’s most fearsome hitters, winning the 2006 AL MVP and enjoying a dominant five-year span from 2006-10 during which he made four All-Star teams, won two Silver Slugger awards, enjoyed three 30-plus-homer seasons, and also finished second in 2008 MVP voting. Unfortunately, the later part of his career was often interrupted by concussions, as he missed extensive time due to those head injuries in 2010, 2011, and 2015. During the midst of it all, however, Morneau did have a spectacular bounce-back campaign in 2014, winning the NL batting title with a .319 average while posting a 125 OPS+ with the Rockies.
Morneau will now join a star-studded Twins front office that already features three of his former teammates — Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, and LaTroy Hawkins — working in special assistant roles. Those three are involved in player development, spring training instruction, minor league affiliate visits, scouting, and charitable work in the community — Hunter and Hawkins also served as occasional color commentators on the Twins’ TV broadcasts in 2017 — so Morneau can expect to be involved in his first off-the-field job.