Updated: August 14th, 2013 7:06pm
Zulgad: Twins now have better idea of Justin Morneau's value

Zulgad: Twins now have better idea of Justin Morneau's value

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by Judd Zulgad
1500ESPN.com

The good news for the Minnesota Twins is that they are free to trade Justin Morneau to any team. The bad news is that it's not certain anyone will want the former American League MVP and, if they do, they probably won't be willing to give up anything of value to get him.

This became clear on Wednesday when it was reported that Morneau had passed through waivers. That means every team had a chance to claim him but decided against it.

The waiver process is put in place after July 31, giving a team an opportunity to claim a guy like Morneau in order to either block his trade to a competitor or work out a trade once the claim has been made.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that the 32-year-old was still owed $3.67 million on his $14 million salary for this season as of Tuesday.

If a contender had claimed Morneau, there is a chance the Twins could have engaged in trade talks with that club, decided something could not be worked out and then stuck that team with Morneau's contract and walked away from the free-agent to be.

The fact nobody put in a claim on Morneau to play first base or serve as their designated hitter meant there was no one who wanted to take a chance that he would suddenly add $3.67 million to their books.

It's hard to believe the Twins actually would have gone the route of just handing over Morneau, but it's a possibility that nobody wanted to deal with it.

So what does this mean?

It's simple.

Any team trading for Morneau will be looking for Twins general manager Terry Ryan to agree to pay part of his salary and, in return, I can almost guarantee Ryan will get a player whose name will be familiar to only the few who spend their time studying the minor leagues.

There also is a possibility that the offers for Morneau will be so poor that Ryan won't even trade him.

Morneau went 2-for-6 on Wednesday in the Twins' 9-8 loss to Cleveland. He is now hitting .274 (17-for-62) in August with six home runs and 14 RBI.

So what makes other general managers nervous? How about .175 (17-for-97) with four home runs and five RBI. Those were Morneau's numbers in July and clearly they left a lasting impression.

Morneau, who has hit 30 or more home runs three times with the Twins, has hit only 14 this season. It might be unfair but Morneau is probably identified more these days for his injury history than his on-field production.

Morneau's representatives approached the Twins before the non-waiver trading deadline to see if they would have interest in talking about a new contract. The Twins said no at the time.

The suggestion from this corner had been that the Twins should try to work out a reasonable deal with Morneau as soon as possible considering there is little immediate help at first base within the organization.

Here's the new suggestion. The Twins should return to Morneau and give him another offer. This time forget the reasonable part.

The rest of the big-league teams have spoken when it comes to the first baseman's value. It's beyond low.

The Twins should feel free to present Morneau with a proposal that is short term and dirt cheap. If his reps balk, the Twins can make this case: He isn't going to get anything better on the open market.

We learned that on Wednesday. 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Justin Morneau
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