Many Pittsburgh Pirates fans look at this current team and feel that there is a need to add a productive bat or two as the trade deadline approaches and that is likely that is something that will happen.
But could Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington be looking to add a former MVP for the stretch run?
According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Bucs could be suitors for Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.
The Justin Morneau era is about over in Minnesota. The Twins are prepared to trade him, with the Yankees, Pirates and Rays all being rumored as possible destinations.
Considering the way that Garrett Jones has struggled this season, posting only a .253/.302/.419 slash line with only eight homers and 35 RBI, an upgrade at first base is certainly something that should be on the radar.
But is Morneau really an upgrade?
This isn’t the Morneau who averaged 30 homers and 118 RBI from 2006-09, winning the American League MVP in 2006.
Instead this is a Morneau who has struggled the past three seasons. He has rebounded a bit this year, posting a slash line of .273/.331/.406 which isn’t much of an upgrade from Jones. However his .737 OPS is slightly better than Jones’ .721 and he has been a much better run producer. Although Morneau has only hit seven homers on the season, he has driven in 52 runs.
With not many bats being available at the moment, it makes sense for the Bucs to check in on Morneau, but while he’s a slight upgrade, he isn’t quite the game changer many Pirates fans may want, although that type of bat may not become available by the deadline.
If the Bucs were to seriously pursue the former MVP, he likely wouldn’t come too expensive as he is in the final year of his contract, which pays him $14 million this season.