Justin Morneau Rumors

Quick Hits: A-Rod, Rangers, D’Arnaud, Morneau

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez currently faces a 211-game suspension stemming from his role in the Biogenesis scandal, but his suspension might have been far shorter, perhaps as few as 50 games, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes. "At different points, it could have been way, way less than where it is now," a source tells Rosenthal. Rodriguez has appealed his suspension. Here are more notes from around the Majors.

  • The Mets have decided Travis d'Arnaud's promotion won't be temporary, Rosenthal tweets. The Mets promoted d'Arnaud after starting catcher John Buck went on paternity leave. Now, Rosenthal writes, the Mets plan to keep d'Arnaud on their roster and give him "significant playing time." That would suggest that Buck is likely to play much less. D'Arnaud, 24, has hit .286/.420/.514 across three minor-league levels in 2013 after having missed much of the season with a foot injury.
  • The Rangers are looking for a pitcher to start on Tuesday, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes. Texas has a need in its rotation after Alexi Ogando received an anti-inflammatory injection on Saturday. The Rangers will have Matt Garza pitch on Monday, a day earlier than expected. Josh Lindblom, who has made five starts for the Rangers this year, started Sunday night for Triple-A Round Rock, so he isn't a candidate to pitch Tuesday. The Rangers could promote the recently-acquired Travis Blackley, but Fraley raises the possibility that they could deal for a starter like Dan Haren or Erik Bedard, both of whom have passed through waivers.
  • The Indians are not interested in former Phillies outfielder Delmon Young, Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets. Hoynes also notes that the Indians have put in waiver claims on "several players," although they have not been able to trade for any.
  • The Twins aren't likely to trade Justin Morneau to the Red Sox, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Morneau cleared waivers on Wednesday, and Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is currently nursing a sore foot. It's not yet clear that Napoli's injury is severe, however, and it's questionable whether Morneau would be an upgrade over options like Daniel Nava and Mike Carp.

Orioles Looking For DH, Lukewarm On Morneau

2:00 PM: Manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, the Orioles are also considering internal options naming Wilson Betemit (on a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie) as a possibility. "You want to make sure the answer's not in your own backyard, something you're already paying for," Showalter said. "We don't have to trade Bowie anybody for Betemit, so we want to make sure with Wilson."

8:56 AM: The Orioles continue to look for a DH-type addition to their lineup and plan to make multiple waiver claims in order to facilitate a deal, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  However, the club's interest in Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is lukewarm.

The O's were linked to Morneau for several weeks leading up to the July 31st non-waiver deadline but the veteran wound up staying put with his sizable salary serving as a roadblock to a possible deal.  The Twins got Morneau through waivers last week, but it doesn't look like Baltimore will renew their interest in the 32-year-old, who is owed roughly $3.5MM between now and the end of the season.  

Baltimore was also rumored to be interested in a reunion with Mark Reynolds after he was cut loose by the Indians, but the rival Yankees beat them to the punch.  

Edward Creech contributed to this post.


Justin Morneau Clears Waivers

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has cleared waivers, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter link).  The veteran can now be traded to any club after clearing the 47-hour revocable waiver period.

The 2006 American League MVP was placed on waivers on Monday, and his waiver period expired today at noon CT.  The 32-year-old has dealt with a litany of injuries in recent years which have hurt his production tremendously.  Morneau boasted a slash line of .298/.372/.528 from 2006-10 but has hit just .257/.317/.410 over the past three seasons.

Morneau is earning $14MM in the final season of a six-year, $80MM contract, meaning that roughly $3.5MM is still owed to him for the remainder of the deal.  The Pirates, Orioles, and Rays all had interest in Morneau before the July 31st deadline, but a rough July hurt his trade value.  He's heated up recently though, hitting .268/.293/.643 with six homers and three doubles in August entering today's game against Cleveland.

A scout recently told Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that Morneau looks like a different player this month: "He's swinging the bat much better than he was," the scout said. "His body looks more lively, too." Morneau becomes the sixth player to have reportedly cleared waivers this month.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.



Justin Morneau On Revocable Waivers

11:10am: Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer press reports that Morneau was placed on waivers yesterday, and the waiver period will expire tomorrow at noon CT (Twitter link).

10:02am: The Twins have placed Justin Morneau on revocable waivers, according to the MLB Network's Peter Gammons (Twitter link). It's unclear when he was placed on waivers, but because the waiver period is 47 hours, the latest he could be claimed or clear would be Thursday.

Morneau, 32, has had his career slowed by a season-ending concussion in 2010, which caused lingering effects into the 2011 campaign. On top of the concussion issues, he's dealt with injuries to his wrist and neck. The injuries have resulted in a .257/.318/.411 batting line over the past three seasons — light years away from the .298/.372/.528 mark he posted from 2006-10.

Morneau, the 2006 American League MVP, is earning $14MM in the final season of a six-year, $80MM contract that he inked in January of 2008. Of that $14MM, approximately $3.6MM is still remaining. He was connected to the Pirates, Orioles and Rays prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but a dreadful July swoon and his remaining salary cooled interest in the Canadian slugger.

Since the calendar flipped to August, however, Morneau has been on a power binge. He's hitting .269/.296/.673 with six homers and three doubles in 12 games this month. While it's a small sample, the resurgence of his power stroke and the fact roughly $918K has come off his salary since the trade deadline could persuade teams to renew their interest. American League teams (in order of reverse standings) will have the first crack at Morneau before he is made available to NL teams (also in order of reverse standings).

The Twins have already negotiated on August trade, sending Jamey Carroll to the Royals in exchange for a player to be named later. Other August deals thus far have seen Alex Rios traded to the Rangers and Wesley Wright traded to the Rays. Four other players have reportedly cleared waivers and are eligible to be traded to any team.


AL Notes: White Sox, Vargas, Morneau

GM Rick Hahn of the White Sox says he plans on spending more on young talent in 2014, Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports. The White Sox have saved plenty of money in their recent trades of Jake Peavy and Alex Rios, and it sounds like Hahn doesn't plan on using those savings on Major League payroll right away. "It's going to go to making the big league club better for the long haul, no doubt," says Hahn. "One of the positives of an unfortunate season like this is we're going to have the opportunity in all probability to spend a lot more money on amateur talent." Before the season, Baseball America ranked the White Sox's farm system the second-worst of any organization. Hahn also says the White Sox could continue trading this August. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • The Angels are no longer in the playoff hunt, but free-agent-to-be Jason Vargas still has something to play for, the Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovanna writes. Vargas will soon rejoin the Angels' rotation after missing more than a month with a blood clot. Before that, he had a 3.65 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 91 1/3 innings this season. His performance down the stretch will likely impact his standing on the free agent market this winter, says DiGiovanna, who also notes that the Angels are interested in keeping Vargas around. One possibility is that the Angels could deal Vargas this month, then attempt to acquire him again once he becomes a free agent.
  • Twins first baseman Justin Morneau isn't sure about his waiver status, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes (on Twitter). "I have no idea if I’ve been put through waivers or claimed on waivers or whatever it is," Morneau says. "That’s still a possibility." Morneau is making $14MM in the final year of his contract.

Players Who Have Cleared Waivers

MLBTR will continue to update this post as players reportedly clear revocable trade waivers, making it a running list of players that may be traded to any club in the season's final two months. Remember though, players must be acquired by Aug. 31 to be eligible for their new team's postseason roster. Click here for a further explanation of the August waiver and trade rules. Also bear in mind that a player's no-trade rights remain effective even if he clears waivers. Player names are linked to the source articles, and this article can always be found under the MLBTR Features portion of the sidebar on the right side of the page.

Last Updated: 8-15-2013

  • Elvis Andrus, Rangers — Andrus is under contract for an additional nine years and $124.475MM, making it no surprise that teams passed on claiming him. He was hitting .255/.317/.306 at the time he cleared waivers — a notable decline in production for the 24-year-old. The Rangers reportedly have no intention to trade him.
  • Erik Bedard, Astros — Bedard owns a 4.28 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 21 starts and two relief outings in 2013 for Houston.  The southpaw, who cleared waivers on Aug. 14, would be a really cheap pickup as he is owed just $300K for the rest of the season.  
  • Dan Haren, Nationals — Haren was placed on waivers on Aug. 8 without any clubs biting on him and his remaining $3.7MM in salary.  The right-hander owns a 4.99 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 so far in 2013 and he could be of interest to teams if the Nationals fall further back in the Wild Card chase. 
  • Brendan Ryan, Mariners — Word came down of Ryan clearing waivers on Aug. 14.  The M's were said to have him available before July 31st but couldn't find any takers.  
  • Matt Lindstrom, White Sox — Everyone needs relief help, but the White Sox were selling at the non-waiver deadline and couldn't find a suitable deal for Lindstrom.  The reliever, who has a 3.47 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9, cleared waivers on Aug. 14.
  • Justin Morneau, Twins — Morneau cleared waivers on Aug. 14, when he had roughly $3.5MM remaining on his $14MM salary. A free agent at season's end, Morneau was dreadful in July, batting .175/.266/.330. He homered six times in his first 10 games of August though, which could make teams reconsider their stance.
  • Barry Zito, Giants — Zito cleared waivers on Aug. 14, but at that point still had $5.14MM remaining on his $20MM salary. With an ERA north of 5.00 and that kind of money remaining on his deal, it seems likely that Zito will play out the rest of his widely panned contract in San Francisco.
  • Josh Johnson, Blue Jays — With more than $4MM left on his salary at the time he was placed on waivers, no team was apparently willing to take a risk that the big righty's poor results will begin to reflect his more promising peripherals. Unless Johnson hits an August hot streak, it seems likely that the Jays will hold onto him and consider whether to make him a qualifying offer when he reaches free agency at the end of the year.
  • Adam Dunn, White Sox — That Dunn cleared waivers isn't a huge surprise, given his $15MM salary in 2013 and in 2014. He's been red-hot since June 1, however, which could lead contending AL teams such as the Orioles and Rangers to show interest if the White Sox are willing to include some cash in the deal.
  • Jimmy Rollins, Phillies — Rollins has taken a big step back in production this year (especially on the power side of the ledger) and is owed $11MM for 2014 (and possibly the same for 2015 if his option vests). The 34-year-old shortstop seems discinclined to waive his full no-trade rights, making him unlikely to change hands.
  • Michael Young, Phillies — The third baseman could be an August trade candidate given his expiring contract, experience, and serviceable (if unspectacular) 2013 campaign. He is reportedly willing to waive his no-trade protection to go to a contender.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Cafardo On Morneau, Lincecum, Pence, Polanco

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that he is surprised to see the Yankees still in the wild card hunt despite all of the chaos they have endured this season.  The chaos he refers to, of course, mostly has to do with Alex Rodriguez.  The silver lining there is that if they throw the book at A-Rod, then they'll be in position to add to the team via free agency.  “The one thing the Yankees don’t have, they don’t have those guys in the minors that can come up and make an impact for them,” said an American League exec. “They won’t have that for a couple of years. So, if they’re going to do a Red Sox-type rebuild, they have a disadvantage. Where Boston has a number of pitchers and positional prospects ready to make an impact, the Yankees don’t. So, they still have to make their impact through free agency and possibly trades.”  Here's more from today's column..

  • The Twins believe they had enough interest in Justin Morneau that if he continues to hit well and shows power, he could be moved to a contender in a waiver deal.  The Blue Jays might claim him but the RaysOrioles, and Indians might also have some interest.
  • Giants righty Tim Lincecum could be a big fish that goes in a waiver deal as some teams like him as a valuable bullpen piece down the stretch. The Giants weren’t offered anything good enough at the deadline, but given his $22MM salary and the fact he’s in the final year of his deal, the Giants may want to free themselves shortly. 
  • Giants outfielder Hunter Pence will be a free agent but he really wants to stay put and he has expressed that to GM Brian Sabean.  However, Sabean told him that if something knocked their socks off they would move him — but nothing materialized.  He could be another movable part during August, but the Giants plan to make him a qualifying offer and then try to re-sign him long term.
  • Marlins third baseman Placido Polanco is 37 and isn't the strongest fielder, but he remains a possible target for teams such as the Red Sox and Yankees, who need a veteran presence and a guy who can still hit from the right side.
  • Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman tried to get Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz from the Phillies.  Though neither deal happened, they are both possibilities as waiver deals during the month of August.  However, Cafardo notes that Ruiz might not make it past the NL teams in the waiver process.
  • Royals right-hander Ervin Santana could theoretically be moved during the waiver period, but it looks like he’s in Kansas City to stay.  As one GM said, “He might be the biggest target going in August. Doubt he gets too far, though.” 
  • When asking General Managers which former GM they miss the most, J.P. Ricciardi got the most responses.  Many believe Ricciardi will be a GM again, whether it’s taking over for Sandy Alderson when he wants to step down with the Mets, or with another club.  Cafardo runs down Ricciardi's highlights in Toronto and notes that he was working with the club when their wasn't money to work with.

Orioles Looking For Starters, Bats

1:55pm: The Orioles are lukewarm on Morneau as well as Mike Morse, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports.

12:11pm: Saunders is not a target for the Orioles right now, hears Connolly.

12:02pm: The Orioles are interested in a reunion with Joe Saunders, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. They also have some degree of interest in Oliver Perez, he adds.

10:57am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that the Orioles feel the asking prices remain too high in their pursuits of upgrades to their offense and rotation.

10:47am: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets that the O's kicked around the idea of acquiring Morneau but don't see a fit due to his contract and lack of production. Nothing has heated up in recent days, he adds.

10:23am: The Orioles are still engaged in trade talks for Astros righty Bud Norris and Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio (on Twitter).

Baltimore's interest in both players has been well-documented to this point, though they appear to have shown more interest in Norris than Morneau. Norris is controllable for two additional seasons and earning just $3MM in 2013, while the slumping Morneau is a free agent at season's end and is owed an additional $4.6MM through season's end.


Latest On Perkins, Willingham, Morneau

The latest on Twins trade chips Glen PerkinsJustin Morneau and Josh Willingham (who is currently on the DL)…

  • The Twins are receiving lots of calls on Perkins but still telling teams they won't trade him, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The team is also receiving interest in Willingham, despite the fact that he's currently on the DL.
  • Berardino writes that Willingham is drawing interest, and one rival talent evaluator told him he could see a scenario where Willingham is dealt. GM Terry Ryan spoke to the media about trade chips last night, adds Berardino. While he didn't mention Willingham's name, he referenced the recent trade of Jesse Crain and a previous trade the Twins had made with injured players: "We did that once with the Dodgers, way back in the day, so it can be done."

Earlier Updates

  • An August trade of Morneau is a more likely outcome than a deadline deal, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Rangers are a long shot to make a run at Morneau, the Orioles have cooled on him and the Pirates have other targets atop their wish list at this time.
  • The Pirates, Orioles and two unidentified teams make up the market for Morneau at this time, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Rangers don't appear to be a fit, as they're seeking a right-handed bat, and the Yankees are content with Lyle Overbay as a lefty swinging option at first base.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the Twins are willing to eat some of the remaining $4.6MM on Morneau's contract if it means receiving a decent return.
  • Reports from earlier today stated that Morneau wasn't a fit with the Orioles due to his contract and lack of production.

Latest On Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau has spent more than 14 years with the Twins organization since being selected in the third round of the 1999 draft, but the now 32-year-old former AL MVP finds his name swirling about the rumor mill. Here's the latest on Morneau, who is in the final season of a six-year, $80MM contract and owed roughly $4.7MM over the remainder of 2013…

  • The Orioles have engaged the Twins in trade talks regarding Morneau, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Miller adds that a source puts it at 50-50 whether Morneau remains with the Twins or is traded prior to tomorrow's 4pm ET trade deadline. Morneau's July swoon at the plate isn't helping his trade value either, Miller notes.
  • Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press spoke to an AL scout who called Morneau "a shell of his former self," noting that his glove work at first base has taken a significant downturn as well. "The mobility and the agility are not there," the scout said. Berardino writes that a contract for Morneau may have to follow the mold of those signed by Travis Hafner and James Loney this offseason. Each signed for a $2MM base salary with additional incentives ($4MM for Hafner, $1MM for Loney). Another club monitoring Morneau considered the three-year, $21MM pact signed by his teammate, Josh Willingham, to be a fair comparable.
  • Within that same piece, Berardino also notes that the Rays monitored Morneau for weeks but appear to be an unlikely landing spot. He also agrees with Miller's report that there's about a 50-50 chance Morneau is dealt (on Twitter).