Twins Go Long Term
Further, this is a gesture of good will for a fan base that was starting to get a little antsy following the departures of Torii Hunter and Carlos Silva (as misguided as that angst was), and the expected departure of Johan Santana. Morneau's signing, along with the 3-year deal (with a team option for a fourth year) given to Michael Cuddyer, should indicate the fan base that the Twins are most decidedly not in a rebuilding mode -- they're just doing what they have to in order to try to maximize the opportunity to win.
The interesting question that has been bouncing around message boards today has been what, if anything, these signings mean for Johan Santana's future with the Twins. Personally, I don't think this changes much -- but that's because I didn't think the Twins could afford a Santana extension even before today. If, however, there was any doubt about this point, it should now be laid to rest. The Twins have said that these two contracts won't affect any other players -- and perhaps I should take them at face value on that. However, to my mind these signings indicate that, barring a dramatic increase in payroll, the Twins are far beyond being able to sign Santana to an extension. There's a good chance that, within the next couple of weeks, we'll find out for sure.