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11/24/08 6:00 PM EST
Morneau hopes Twins will add bopper
Another bat would help push for championship, slugger says
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- At a rally on Monday to kick off the final season of the Metrodome, Justin Morneau spoke of his hopes to say goodbye to the ballpark by winning another championship there.
But what exactly does he think the Twins need to do this winter to reach that goal?
In an offseason that has so far been very quiet for the Twins, Morneau said that he believes one move could go a long way in helping the club's title hopes in 2009.
"I don't want to take anything away from the guys that are here now, but it would be nice to have another bat," Morneau said. "If we can add one more bat, I think that would put us over the top."
The Twins have expressed a desire to upgrade the infield this offseason -- particularly at third base and shortstop. The club has been pursuing free agent Casey Blake to possibly fill the spot at third base, and they've already discussed the framework of an offer with Blake's agent, Jim McDowell. And with Nick Punto a free agent this winter, the Twins also need to figure out which way they want to go in terms of the shortstop position -- whether to try to bring him back or pursue another avenue.
Morneau agreed that finding a shortstop is a top priority for the team, but he wouldn't necessarily address the third-base need, considering that one of his closest friends on the team is Brian Buscher, who could be battling once again for time at the spot in 2009. But the first baseman did acknowledge that the team should do whatever it can to improve -- including possibly trading away some of its talent in the outfield.
"We have a surplus of outfielders, and you don't want to see any of them go," Morneau said. "But at the same time, if it's going to help make our team better, then it might be a good move to make."
The Twins currently have four solid outfielders -- Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Gomez, Denard Span and Delmon Young. There have been indications that they are willing to listen to offers for at least one of those outfielders, but general manager Bill Smith has also said that he's not afraid to keep all of his outfield depth either.
But besides their pursuit of Blake, the trade market might be the Twins' best option to add talent. Minnesota has indicated that it is unwilling to sign any Type A free agents, as it doesn't want to give up its first-round pick in June's First-Year Player Draft.
Even though it doesn't appear like the Twins will be major players on the Hot Stove this winter, Morneau doesn't seem too concerned. Instead, he feels confident about where the club already stands heading into next season.
"Our pitching staff is pretty good, and all the young guys there are set," Morneau said. "So if we can add a little offense, that would be great."