The decision boiled down to stability, the native of New Westminster, B.C., said during a guest appearance on Sportsnet’s At The Letters podcast.
“It was a tough decision because the Blue Jays were my favourite team growing up,” Morneau told hosts Ben Nicholson-Smith and Arden Zwelling, noting that former Toronto first baseman John Olerud was one of his favourite players growing up. “That would be so cool, to go there and … play for Canada’s team and put on that uniform. It just didn’t work out.”
Morneau recalls that the Blue Jays — led by general manager Alex Anthopoulos, himself a Canadian, at the time — were offering a one-year deal, while the Rockies were willing to tack on a second.
“If I was going to go somewhere new, I wanted to go somewhere and be able to be a little bit settled,” said Morneau, who spent the first 10.5 years of his career with the Minnesota Twins before a trade to Pittsburgh in August 2013. “When you’re on a one-year deal, it’s pretty easy to be traded. And to play on four teams in two years didn’t really sound that appealing to me.
“[I was] able to go somewhere with a little stability and an opportunity to play every day, and play first base every day, which is what they gave me in Colorado.”
The signing worked out for both parties, as Morneau hit .319 to secure the National League batting title in 2014, his first campaign with the Rockies.
The 36-year-old Morneau currently finds himself a free agent once again. He sports a .281 average and .828 OPS with 247 homers over his career, but has battled concussion, wrist, back and elbow issues, in addition to a market that’s unkind to older, slugging position players.
He last played in the majors with the Chicago White Sox in 2016, suiting up for 58 games. Morneau says he had conversations with a few teams this past spring training and throughout the season, but nothing worked out.
“My agent said … ‘The game will tell you when it’s time to retire.’
“I haven’t officially used the word ‘retire’ but it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of opportunities.”
Listen to the full interview here.