The Pittsburgh Pirates have been making a big push to greatly improve their roster in the final stretch of the season. The team is currently battling the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Central Division and a few key roster adjustments could be what the team needs to get on top.
The Pirates first made a trade acquiring Marlon Byrd from the New York Mets, along with catcher John Buck. While those are two great roster improvements, the team wants to make one more move. As of now, they are currently targeting Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. A former AL MVP, Morneau could be what the Pirates need for postseason play.
Like Us on Facebook
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington continues to make excellent moves this season. He has secured Francisco Liriano, Rusell Marton, Mark Melancon and now Bryd and Buck. These kinds of signs could earn the Pirates their first playoff appearance since 1992.
Morneau has cleared waivers. He is owed $14 million in salary and according to CBSSports.com, the Twins are willings to pay about $3 million of that depending on the trade. He is only owed $2.6 million for the remainder of the year, making his contract rather friendly. The Pirates have expressed willingness to trade away prospects in their farm system, but it is unknown just how high the Twins' request will be.
With Starling Marte out, Marneau is greatly needed. The trade would give Pittsburgh another solid bat and the team could then move Garrett Jones to the outfield. Huntington has been targeting creating a lengthy lineup and this move would do it.
Gabby Sanchez has been playing first base all season. He is currently hitting .243 this season over 116 games. The Pirates were originally interested in Morneau at the trade deadline but were turned off after he produced a .175 batting average in July. He has turned things around in the month of August though, posting a .868 OPS. He has also hit seven home runs off left-handed pitchers which is enticing to the team.
Minnesota has shown some attachment to Morneau after he won the MVP back in 2006. For years, he and Joe Mauer have created a nice tandem, but the team appearing willing to go ahead and trade him. Several teams have shown interest in him. The Orioles were inquiring about him last month, as were the Cleveland Indians and Oakland A's.
Pittsburgh is a half game out of first place in their division. The team is ready for a winning season, so Huntington might look to make this move quickly before another team signs Morneau.