Pirates Currently Unlikely to Offer Justin Morneau a Contract

Major League Baseball players became free agents today, with their former teams having an exclusive five day negotiating window before those free agents can receive offers from other teams. For the Pirates, that means they can make offers to any of their seven free agents to try and bring them back for the following season. One person who won’t be getting an offer during this five day window is Justin Morneau, per Travis Sawchik of the Trib:

Morneau didn’t exactly produce like the Pirates needed him to after the August 31st trade. He put up a .681 OPS in the month of September, after having a monster month of August, fueled by an amazing two week stretch at the start of the month. Morneau had been a streaky hitter all year, and finished the season with a .734 OPS. That wouldn’t be much of an upgrade over the numbers Garrett Jones put up in his worst year, with Jones having a .708 OPS. Morneau has better defense than Jones, but his overall value isn’t enough for the Pirates to avoid looking at other free agents.

Morneau should be a backup plan, or a backup, backup plan. There are better options available on the open market, and they will likely be gone before Morneau signs. If the Pirates miss out on the better options, they could still turn to Morneau as part of a platoon with Gaby Sanchez, and hope that he improves next year. For now, it looks like they’re going for an upgrade.

Author: 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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