Pittsburgh Pirates fans finally got their wish as general manager Neal Huntington swung a deal to improve the Bucs’ paltry offense by acquiring outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the New York Mets.
But is Huntington done dealing?
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, he’s not.
Heyman reports that the Pirates have their eye on Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau now.
Morneau has been linked to the Pirates for about a month now and it looks as if Huntington is about to make a serious push for the 2006 American League MVP.
The trade for Byrd and Buck helps upgrade the Pirates’ struggling offense, especially in right field where Byrd is having a career year. But there is still a major hole at first base with Garrett Jones that needs addressed for the final month of the season.
Morneau has cleared waivers, and Heyman adds that the Twins are willing to pay some of the close to $3 million left on Morneau’s $14 million salary, depending on the prospect worth returned in a trade.
The Pirates already dealt middle-infield prospect Dilson Herrera to the Mets so it showed that Huntington is willing to part with a Top 20 prospect, but how high of a prospect he would be willing to give up for around 30 games of Morneau remains to be seen.
Morneau is far from the player he was during his MVP season, but he has been red hot in August, hitting to the tune of a .270/.318/.550 slash line with seven homers and 19 RBI. His .868 OPS during the month of August dwarfs that of Jones who is hitting only .121 with a .500 OPS this month.
If Huntington would be able to swing a deal for Morneau, it would be acquiring a red hot player at the time of the year where the Bucs desperately need one.
Of course the price has to be right.
If it is and the Pirates can swing this deal, you have to like where their offense will be at heading into the final month of the season.