Roberts could be reason Orioles shy away from Morneau

Roberts could be reason Orioles shy away from Morneau
December 5, 2012, 12:15 pm
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Here’s a reason to be cautious about Justin Morneau: Brian Roberts.

What do Morneau and Roberts have in common? Morneau, who was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2006 for Minnesota, has sustained two concussions, just as Roberts did.

The Orioles, who signed Roberts to a four-year, $40 million extension that began in 2010, haven’t had him at second base for most of that time due to a back injury, hip surgery and two concussions.

Roberts’ symptoms have apparently subsided, but he had just 12 singles and a .182 average last year in his latest comeback before his hip flared up and surgery was needed.

The Orioles hope Roberts can play in the final year of the contract. He’s played just 115 games in the last three years.

Morneau will make $14 million in the last year of his contract. He lost much of the 2010 and 2011 seasons due to his concussions, but rebounded decently last year.

Nineteen home runs, 77 RBIs and a .267 average. Those numbers are far too low for a player making $14 million with Morneau’s injury history.

In his prime years,2006-09, Morneau hit more than 30 home runs three times and drove in at least 100 runs in each of them.

The Twins’ attendance has slipped about a half million since they opened Target Field in 2010. While they still drew 2.77 million last season, the team, which won the AL Central two years ago, lost 195 games in the last two years.

Is it any wonder they’d think about moving Morneau? Minnesota also has Joe Mauer, who has an eight-year, $184 million contract. That’s a lot of money tied up in two players.
While it may be heartwarming to picture Morneau and Roberts playing first and second, it’s also probably unrealistic.