With the MLB Winter Meetings now behind us, there are still rumors abound. One involves the Miami Marlins and their interest in Colorado Rockies‘ first baseman Justin Morneau.
Here’s a sincere question: have the Colorado Rockies seen the best baseball they will get from Justin Morneau? The answer is probably yes, right?
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Here’s another, equally sincere question: how much are we all being swayed by recency bias in our assessment of Justin Morneau? To follow up with a third, also sincere question, if Morneau had not been the silver lining of an otherwise dismal 2014 season, would the Rockies be so reluctant to part with him?
The Miami Marlins want to trade for Justin Morneau. If the Rockies indicated a willingness to deal the veteran first baseman, there would surely be other teams in the mix as well. Nothing has come from the talks of yet, but it seems clear that the Marlins and Rockies engaged in actual dialogue about him at the Winter Meetings.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports the following:
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post offered the following on the situation after speaking with Rockies’ general manager Jeff Bridich:
"Rockies GM Jeff Bridich said there’s been substantial interest in the 2014 NL batting champion. The Miami Marlins, in need of a left-handed bat, have emerged as a potential trading partner.“Now that there are fewer free-agent hitters to be had, we are getting more calls on our hitters,” Bridich said Tuesday. “Justin is a heck of a player and a heck of a hitter under a very fair contract.”"
Consider me squarely on the fence. Given the shallow nature of the free agency market in terms of position players, I’m not sure that Morneau’s value will ever be higher. I could see that being a good opportunity for the Rockies to get an overpay in terms of talent in return, whether from the Marlins or some other partner.
On the other hand, Morneau was much more than a good bat last season. The job he did defensively as he eased the transition into life after Todd Helton was phenomenal, and if the Rockies are going to hang their hat on elite infield defense next season, I believe you could make a strong case to keep Morneau.
Jeff Bridich needs to show creativity and forward thinking if he is going to change the direction of the Rockies. You could very reasonably argue that trading Justin Morneau right now is the kind of move he needs to make. But given the combination of Morneau’s bat, his glove, and his cheap contract, I think I am leaning towards the opinion that the Rockies need to keep him.