Colorado Rockies Sign Justin Morneau To Two-Year, $13M Deal
First baseman Justin Morneau has agreed to terms with the Colorado Rockies on a two-year, $13M deal, it was reported Tuesday night by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Morneau, 32, spent 2013 with the Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates, finishing with a slash line of .259/.323/.411, including 17 home runs and 77 RBIs.
He’s had a rough go of things since suffering concussions in 2010 and 2011, injuries that could have been a factor in his offensive struggles in the early part of 2013. Shortly before being acquired by the Pirates, however, Morneau hit nine home runs for the Twins in August. The Rockies are no doubt hoping he’ll re-discover the power stroke at hitter-friendly Coors Field, where he’ll be replacing the retired Todd Helton.
There may be reason to second-guess the Rockies’ decision to give Morneau $13 million over two years, however. His OPS from 2011-2013 was .618, .773 and .774, significantly lower figures than during his time with the Twins. Additionally, he only drew a walk in 7.9 of his 2013 ABs, compared to 11.3 between 2007-2010. Even more troubling is his WAR, which has been abysmal the past three years: -1.1 in 2011, 1.3 in 2012 and 1.8 with the ’13 Twins (0.2 with the Pirates).
Colorado is clearly taking on a large risk by signing Morneau given these recent statistics, but who can blame them? They’ve finished in last place in the N.L West each of the past two years and needed a ‘big bat’ to replace Helton, who was the face of the franchise for basically its entire existence. If Morneau is able to reclaim some of the power that seemed to have abandoned him the past few seasons, he could definitely take advantage of Coors’ thin air and become a worthwhile signing.
Considering the Rockies just traded Dexter Fowler to the Houston Astros for Brandon Barnes and Jordan Lyles, the Morneau signing comes at an odd time – dealing a player like Fowler isn’t usually a move made by a team that thinks it can contend. In that sense, devoting $13 million to Morneau resembles a “why not? ‘-type move more than anything else. Time will tell if it pans out for the Rockies.
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