Justin Morneau won American League MVP honors in 2006. He finished second in 2008. He’s not that guy.

Justin Morneau won the Home Run Derby in 2008 at Yankee Stadium, something everyone forgets because of Josh Hamilton’s breathtaking performance in the preliminary rounds. He’s not that guy.

But can Morneau be a guy who helps the Rockies? It’s possible for a number of reasons.

First, he’s a realistic target. Unlike their failed bids for Jose Abreu (six-year, $63-million), Carlos Ruiz (two-year, $15 million with club option) and Brian McCann (unknown, but likely in the $60 million range), the Rockies are not competing with big market clubs for Morneau. No White Sox, no Phillies, no Yankees. At least not publicly.

Mlbtraderumors.com predicted that Morneau would finish a one-year, $7-million deal in free agency. My guess is that it will take an offer closer to what the Rockies gave Ruiz to get Morneau signed minus the club option. What can’t be discounted is that Morneau has sent out signals that he’d like to be a Rockie. He remains friends with former Twins teammate Michael Cuddyer and has an offseason home in Arizona where the Rockies hold spring training. It doesn’t hurt that his favorite player growing up was Larry Walker and that he wears No. 33, in part, because of Patrick Roy (The Rockies should use them as recruiters).

Morneau, if used correctly, could provide veteran leadership, strong first base defense (something that can’t be discounted for Todd Helton’s replacement) and a weapon against right-handed pitching. There are concerns from scouts I trust that Morneau’s bat has slowed after he batted .259 with 17 home runs and 53 extra-base hits last season.

But the last three seasons have shown him to be a credible force against righties. He has hit .282 with a .355 on-base percentage, while averaging an extra-base hit every 8.9 at-bats. That figure would likely get a bump at Coors Field. He has just five home runs against lefties the last three seasons.