Justin Morneau is starting at first base today, and batting sixth.

Justin Morneau Clears Waivers

Prior to the trade deadline we heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates had expressed interest in Justin Morneau, but that the Minnesota Twins were planning on shopping him in August. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Morneau has cleared waivers, which allows him to be traded to any team without restrictions.

Justin Morneau has cleared waivers.

Justin Morneau has cleared waivers.

The key here is that the Twins can now negotiate with any team for Morneau, rather than just the one team that claims him on waivers. He still doesn’t have a lot of trade value right now, as he is owed $3.5 M for the remainder of the year and is only a bench player. The Twins would have to pick up some salary to get any type of return, or find someone willing to take his entire salary on for the remainder of the season. If there was a team that was willing to do the latter, Morneau would have been claimed.

Morneau is very similar to Garrett Jones this year. He has a .262/.318/.423 line in 435 at-bats, but has been better against right-handers with an .823 OPS compared to a .554 OPS against lefties. If the Pirates were still interested in him, he would most likely be a replacement for Andrew Lambo. His role would either be as a platoon player at first (with Jones moving to right field) or a bench bat with Jose Tabata playing in right field and Jones starting. That formation would probably include Morneau getting starts at first with Jones playing the outfield in kind of a three man platoon over two positions against right-handers.

At this point the Twins can try and hold out for the best possible deal in terms of salary and prospects. I don’t think they will get much, but this gives them some leverage and a new deadline (the August 31st playoff roster deadline) to work with.

Keep in mind that if the Pirates did deal for Morneau, any players traded from the 40-man roster would have to pass through waivers to the Twins. Currently that would be all 14 teams in the NL, plus three teams in the AL.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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Pirates Have Some Interest in Morneau; Yankees Not Discussing Deal

  • IC Bob

    I would love this guy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

    Why not just claim him? Then Minn would only be able to deal with us or revoke his waivers? now they can move him to the highest bidder?


    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      That would probably result in revoking the waivers, since there would only be a 48 hour window to make a trade.

  • Bucco_Joe

    This is a non-story as far as the Pirates are concerned. If they were interested in him they would have put in a waiver claim, since they didn’t one would assume they are not interested. Neal has saved his precious prospects and is willing to watch the Pirate ship shink. Oh well just wait until 2015 !!!

  • smurph

    Well we already have Garret Jones, so why trade for a 2nd Garret Jones who makes $11 million dollars? Maybe Lambo will fail, but at least give him a chance.

    • Bucco_Joe

      Because two Garret Jones are better than one Jones and One Tabata/Presley/Snider? Last time I looked we are in a race for the playoffs, not playing out the string. Not a good time time to through somebody like Lambo out ther and hope !

  • reddfoxx39

    Morneau is better than Garret Jones.
    Jones has been a shell of his 2012 self since April, posting an OPS around .690. Morneau is crushing the ball his last 80 AB’s

    Why not Lambo and Morneau and move Jones to the bench?

  • steelpro

    I think Morneau at 1B with Jones in RF would be an upgrade. I’d offer the competitive balance pick along with a fringy A ball prospect.

  • IC Bob

    We would not have to offer the competitive balance pick. We could offer one of those all stars from Jamestown and we would be good. This guy had a major concussion thats held him back but thats behind him. Additionally he did great prior to the twins move when it was easy to HRs. At PNC he would be a perfect fit and he would have to be an upgrade defensively from what we witness night in and night out.

  • CalipariFan506

    Ya I think this is a move that would improve the team. Jones has been TERRIBLE. IMO the biggest disappointment of 2013 by far. Scouting has caught up with him. He only hits mistakes, not anything that is pitched where it should be.

  • smurph

    Morneau has been hot lately. He raised his OPS to .741, which is now slightly higher than Jones’ .728. Where’s the difference? Doesn’t mean he will remain hot. Doesn’t mean Jones couldn’t have a similar hot streak.

    • csnumber23

      Smurph, Justin Morneau is a way better player than Garrett Jones. We are talking about a former league MVP. Granted he isn’t what he was but he still can help us and is getting hot at the right time. He would be a big upgrade and right field at PNC would be a nice sight for him. Not to mention he would not cost much at all in terms of a prospect.

  • StillLCD

    Any team could have claimed him. Just because they didn’t claim him doesn’t mean they have no chance to get him.

    At the last it makes the bench stronger

  • http://www.facebook.com/joshua.h.baker Josh Baker

    I love the indignation of some Pirates fans. I honestly think some of them would want us to trade Polanco for a GI Jones clone with more name recognition.

    b-b-but if we don’t do anything THE COLLAPSE WILL GET US!

    • piratemike

      I love the indignation of you and others like you who take exception to people who don’t think like you.
      Nobody knows how this season is going to play out
      I stated on this site a while back that this team is too unbalanced in terms of pitching and hitting and though I don’t know how this season will play out I will not be surprised to see this team finish in third place.
      The only thing I wanted this year was for this team to finish above .500 and with 12 more wins they will do that, anything above that to me is gravy but I don’t think they will make it to a playoff game.
      And I don’t think any right minded fan would want to trade Polanco unless it was in a trade that would benefit the Pirates long term.

  • CalipariFan506

    Nobody says trade a prospect. Take the money and a guy that John Dreker just wrote about like Creasy or Haynes and you’d get him.

    And if you think Jones is sitting on a hot streak so be it. I don’t. Walker on the other hand I do think is about to really hear up.

  • moose7195

    Morneau has started hot since the break from the highlights I’ve seen. He might be worth the flyer due to the poor production from Sanchez and Jones. At worst, it fortifies the bench. Of course the price tag is the most important thing here, but hopefully Alex Rios’s trade acts as a good example.

  • smurph

    Updated OPS: Morneau .742. Jones .738. Huge upgrade there.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9322566 Mark Lambros

      Against righties, Morneau has a .279/.339/.809 line. and GI has a .255/.311/.751. Seems like a decent upgrade at first against righties. Just let Gaby hit against lefties. It is something.

      Dunno if it’ll be as easy as some people think on here though.

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