Pirates Looking at Justin Morneau After Byrd Trade

The Pirates are still interested in Morneau.
The Pirates are still interested in Morneau.

The Pirates might not be done trading. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that they are still looking at Justin Morneau after the addition of Marlon Byrd this afternoon. Heyman says that the Twins would be willing to pay some of the $3 M that Morneau is owed over the final month of the year. He also says that while the Pirates paid a lot today for a rental in Byrd, they’ve deemed the requests from the Twins as too high.

I’ve written in the past about how Morneau would be an upgrade over Garrett Jones, although he wouldn’t be the monster upgrade that everyone is making him out to be. On the season he has an .821 OPS against right-handers, with a .565 OPS against lefties. He would replace Garrett Jones in the first base platoon, where Jones has a .731 OPS this year.

Morneau elevated his numbers this year with a monster stretch in the first two weeks of August, where he hit six homers. Since clearing waivers, Morneau has cooled, and is hitting for a .779 OPS, which is closer to his full season numbers. Still, Jones is struggling lately, so the Pirates would get the hotter bat if they added Morneau. The addition would also strengthen the bench by moving Jones to that role, although that depends on whether he could bounce back.

I don’t think the Pirates should over-pay for Morneau to the extent that they paid for Byrd. It was only a month ago that Jones had a hot bat (.804 OPS in July), while Morneau was the one struggling (.596 OPS in July). Things can change quickly for either player. I think that right field was the bigger need for the team, and Byrd has been consistently good this season. He also can hit lefties, which is an area where the Pirates have struggled. So overall, Byrd filled more needs than Morneau would. That doesn’t mean Morneau wouldn’t fill a need or be an upgrade. I just don’t see him being as big of an upgrade as he’s made out to be.

UPDATE 5:32 PM: Michael Sanserino of the Post-Gazette says the Pirates are skeptical that the Twins would deal Morneau.

UPDATE 5:44 PM: Ken Rosenthal says that the Orioles are looking for a DH and could be another team in on Morneau.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

Support Pirates Prospects

Related articles

join the discussion

8 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
connolly21

Justin M would look good in 2014 for 6-7 mill Go for it

moose7195

If it took a top 10 guy and a decent PTBNL to get Byrd. I’m kinda scared to see what Morneau would take

Jeremy J Stein

Also, the Twins seem to be more attached to Morneau since he is a fan favorite. Far different situation than Byrd as Byrd signed with the Mets for the 2013 season.

TonyPenaforHOF

Anyone else catch the part of the report that states Marte won’t be able to swing a bat for at least two weeks. That may change the Pirates thinking and motivate a second trade.

Having said that – no top 10 prospect for Morneau unless they are giving something else of value back.

IC Bob

I would love it. I think it would show we are really attacking this season and this would give us quite a jolt. That said I am not giving up a top 15 prospect.

michaelbro8

Byrd yes; Morneau NO ! Not enough of a boost (if any) to warrant the cost

Lee Young

Agree…unless it is for someone like andy Oliver.

Wilbert Matthews

Did we find out who claimed Morales? I would prefer him as a switch hitter over Morneau.

Share article

Pirates Prospects Daily

Latest articles

Pirates Prospects Weekly

MONDAY: First Pitch

TUESDAY: Article Drop

WEDNESDAY: Opinions

THURSDAY: Roundtable

FRIDAY: Discussion

SATURDAY: Pirates Winter Report

SUNDAY: Pirates Business

Latest comments