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Pirates Still Interested In Justin Morneau

4:45pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that multiple teams are inquiring on Morneau. He notes that the Orioles are still seeking a DH, though he stops short of stating that Baltimore is interested in Morneau, specifically.

4:41pm: Apparently not content to stand pat after acquiring Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the Mets earlier today, Pirates GM Neal Huntington is now eyeing Twins first baseman Justin Morneau once again, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He adds that the Yankees, another team once linked to Morneau, aren't currently pursuing the Canadian slugger.

The Bucs were said to have interest in Morneau prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but a dreadful slump from the 2006 AL MVP coupled with a hefty amount of money remaining on his $14MM salary deterred interested parties from striking a deal. Now, Morneau is owed roughly $2.6MM through season's end and has seen his bat come back to life in August, hitting .270/.318/.550 with seven homers and seven doubles on the month.

Heyman also adds that there are indications that the Twins would include some cash in a potential trade to improve the return. The Pirates showed a willingness to deal respectable prospects in today's Byrd/Buck trade, dealing Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later to the Mets. Herrera ranked as the team's No. 11 prospect per MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo on his midseason Top 20, and Mayo also ranked him as the ninth-best second base prospect in all of baseball.

With Starling Marte currently on the disabled list, the Pirates could use both Byrd and Garrett Jones in the outfield to accommodate Morneau at first base, Heyman points out. As Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted earlier today, it will be at least two weeks before Marte can even swing a bat, so that arrangement could work out for several weeks.

In a second tweet, Sanserino adds that the Pirates have been skeptical that the Twins would actually part with Morneau, but they are indeed interested if the price is right. Because Morneau has already cleared waivers, Morneau is free to be traded to any team, but he must be on a new team prior to Sept. 1 to be eligible for postseason play.








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