The Colorado Rockies and first baseman Justin Morneau are in the "final stages" of working out a two-year contract, reports Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The deal will be for around $12-14 million, according to the Post's Patrick Saunders.
Morneau, 32, will be the replacement at first base for likely Hall of Famer Todd Helton, who retired following the 2013 season. Morneau has been a Rockies target since the outset of free agency, as the team knew they had to fill a hole in their infield this offseason.
Formerly a career-long Twin, Morneau was traded from Minnesota to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline last season. Over the course of 2013, he hit .259/.323/.411 with 17 home runs. The former AL MVP's performance has suffered since he sustained a concussion in 2010 that cost him the entire second-half of that season. Prior to the injury, Morneau had a career .286/.358/.511 batting line and averaged a home run every 22 plate appearances. In the three seasons since, he has a .256/.319/.406 line and has hit a home run once every 37 plate appearances.
The Rockies had made overtures to two big free agents in Jose Abreu and Brian McCann, but fell short on both. Colorado reportedly fell within just a few million of the eventual $68 million Abreu received from the White Sox. McCann signed a $75 million deal with the Yankees two weeks ago.
The Rockies also made another big move earlier on Tuesday, trading outfielder Dexter Fowler to the Houston Astros in exchange for starting pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes. Colorado is clearly looking to bring some changes to a team that finished last in the NL West with a 74-88 record in 2013.