Mitch Moreland is what you would call a "fan favorite" in Arlington. His Mississippi drawl and good ol' boy charm plays up pretty well in Texas, and he's also done nothing to make anyone believe he isn't a super guy and a good teammate.
But so far this season, Moreland is hitting .228 with three home runs and six RBIs. He didn't crack the Mendoza line (.200) until last week when he went on a six-game hitting streak that ended Wednesday when he went 0-for-1. So yeah, he's on the uptick, hitting .333 over the last seven days, but there's still a lot to be desired.
In fact, there's been a lot to be desired at first base in Arlington since the Rangers sent Mark Teixeira packing in return for Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz. We can live that trade, but it's about time the Rangers have a high-profile player at one of the highest profile positions in baseball, a position that is supposed to produce offensively.
ESPN insider/former MLB general manager Jim Bowden has a solution, and while it's not a great opportunity it does have the possibility of paying big dividends if all parties stay healthy.
The Minnesota Twins are beginning to shop first baseman Justin Morneau, who has a lot of skins on the wall, and a lot of injury questions to go with them, most notably his history of concussions that threatened his career and held him out for much of the past two seasons. Now, he has what has been called a "minor" wrist injury but there's no return date set, and he hasn't exactly been a world beater this year, hitting .230 with four home runs. But he was the AL MVP back in 2006, and was second in the running in 2008 when he played not a full season, but one more game than that, playing 163 games as the Twins had a play-in game. The two seasons before that, he played 157 games. Since that year, however, he's averaged 95 games per year.
Morneau is making $14 million this year, and is set to earn the same next year, which is not close to being market value for a guy putting up the numbers Morneau is. But if he somehow gets healthy and turns things around it would be a nice acquisition. The Rangers would have to pay a lot for a trade this early in the season, so it's not too likely they would pull the trigger on that deal.
But anyway, just for fun, here's what Bowden said on ESPN.com about the Morneau situation:
It was confirmed Tuesday that Morneau has no structural damage in his surgically repaired wrist, so Morneau will be of interest to several teams, including the Rangers, Dodgers and Marlins. He fits best with the Rangers, as their current left-handed hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland has looked terrible. And assuming he is completely healthy, Morneau could act as considerable insurance in case Josh Hamilton chooses to leave as a free agent after this season. The Dodgers could also be interested. Though they have a smooth-fielding James Loney, he is not the middle-of-the-order offensive force Morneau is. Morneau is a logical fit for both the Dodgers and Rangers, and if he can get back on the field he can build up his trade value a bit more.