With four All-Star selections and the 2006 American League Most Valuable Player award under his belt, Morneau has been a franchise cornerstone during the most successful decade in franchise history.
However, there's a moment in every player's career where their employer has to realize that they're not the same player they used to be.
The Twins have reached that moment with Morneau.
It's been nearly three seasons since Morneau has played like the player he was at the prime of his career. He hit .292 with 118 home runs and 470 runs batted in between 2006 and 2009, but the Twins' first baseman has hit .255 with 28 home runs and 128 RBI in a little over two seasons since.
The primary reason for this decline is the laundry list of injuries that Morneau has sustained over his career.
Many will point to the second base collision with Aaron Hill on July 7, 2010 which resulted in a concussion, but there have been other incidents that have sapped Morneau of his All-Star ability. Injuries to his wrist, back and two other concussions have also taken their toll turning him from elite to average.
With so much happening to Morneau's body, it's fair to question whether he can sustain being an effective player for the Twins. That makes his future with the club unclear.
There are several top prospects lighting up the Twins organization on several levels. The current challengers for Morneau's roster spot are outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Parmelee who are both contributing at the major league level.
Although Parmelee is occupying right field at the moment for the Twins, his natural position is first base. A move would make sense to open a spot for Arcia in right and gives the Twins a younger feel to their lineup.
Such moves will leave Morneau out in the cold unless the Twins decide to use him as a highly-paid designated hitter, which doesn't make sense with more productive players coming through the system.
It's sad to see Morneau's demise play out like this, but the Twins need to do what's best for them by having his tenure come to an end at either the July 31 trade deadline or the end of the season.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
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