Like most teams this winter, the Twins have made few major changes to their roster. But their front-office lineup keeps getting stronger.
Justin Morneau, whose career as a Twins first baseman included one of the team’s five AL MVP Awards, has been hired as a special assistant for his former team, according to a report on the Canadian Baseball Network (CBN).
Morneau, who sat out last season after playing just 58 games with the White Sox in 2016, intends to formally retire from MLB, according to a tweet from CBN reporter Bob Elliott, and join former teammates Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins in the Twins front office as assistants to Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine. All three spent time working with Twins players during spring training as well as fulfilling assignments for the front office.
Morneau’s 221 home runs with the Twins rank third on the team’s all-time list, behind Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek, and he is sixth in RBI, having been passed last season by former roommate Joe Mauer. Morneau was elected MVP in 2006, after batting .321 with 34 home runs and 130 RBI. The Twins’ other AL MVPs were Zoilo Versalles (1965), Killebrew (1969), Rod Carew (1977), and Mauer (2009).
Morneau was traded by the Twins to Pittsburgh in 2012 and played four more seasons, winning the NL batting title with a .319 average with Colorado in 2014. He also returned to Target Field that summer to take part in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break.
The British Columbia native and his family have continued to live in suburban Minneapolis since departing the Twins, and his charity coat drive each fall has collected and distributed thousands of winter coats to fellow Minnesotans in need.