Dan Zangrilli of 93.7 The Fan reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are still trying for Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.
Sources close to team: Bucs "Trying like hell" to land Morneau. Player cost is too high for one month. Bucs would eat salary, though.
— Dan Zangrilli (@DanZangrilli) August 31, 2013
The Pirates were willing to give up a high player cost for Marlon Byrd, so they must not see Morneau as the same type of fit. After the addition of Byrd, it was reported that the Pirates were still going after Morneau. Today is the deadline to add him and have him eligible for the post-season.
Last night I wrote that the Pirates should add Morneau if the cost is only money. He’s not worth it if the cost is money plus prospects, or even if it’s prospects with Minnesota picking up money. Basebal Prospectus has the difference between Morneau and Jones as 0.2 WARP over the remainder of the season, with Morneau having the advantage. ZiPS has Morneau as an 0.2 WAR the rest of the year, with Jones an 0.1 WAR. There wasn’t a huge difference with Marlon Byrd over his replacements, but the key difference here is that Jones has had success in the past. It’s more likely that he bounces back going forward, compared to the bounce back chances of the right field options Byrd replaced.
We’ll see what happens with Morneau today. I’d be surprised if the Twins just gave him up as a salary dump. They’re trying to re-sign him after the year, and while they could save $3 M, I don’t think saving $3 M is worth dumping a franchise player, and a player who has a shot of spending his entire career with the Twins. That $3 M in savings could cause a fan backlash, even if Morneau is only worth a salary dump at the moment.