The MLB trade deadline market for Justin Morneau has been somewhat slow so far. Justifiably so. Unfortunately, Morneau has been on a slide this month. In July he's posted a triple slash of just .188/.281/.365, which is difficult for buyers to swallow at a time when it's all about "what have you done for me lately?"
Morneau has allegedly approached the Twins on more than one occasion this season regarding a contract extension, only to be rebuffed. This isn't a bad decision for the front office to have made, all things considered, but it does make it easier to believe that the organization is willing to part with the four-time All-Star if the right offer comes along.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported early Saturday evening that the Orioles are weak at designated hitter, and says that the Orioles have scouts in Seattle for this weekend's series between the Twins and the Mariners:
"One of the Orioles top scouts has been in Seattle this week watching the Mariners and the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota’s former MVP Justin Morneau is on the trade block, and so may be several Mariners’ hitters including Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales. Seattle slugger Mike Morse, whom the Orioles have liked for years, is currently rehabbing from a quadriceps injury in Triple-A. All four players are pending free agents."
While these discussions have been tagged as "preliminary", Baltimore has been mentioned as one of the potential MLB trade deadline destinations for Morneau in the past. Of course, Connolly adds at the end of his piece that "...the Orioles are reluctant to add payroll and have few viable trade chips from a shallow farm system."
Even if the Twins were to pay the remainder of what's due on Morneau's contract (roughly $6 million), Justin's season (and July) performance won't justify a guy like Mike Yastrzemski or Henry Urrutia in return. Getting a pitcher like Cristian Avalrado would be great. More likely, however, I think the Orioles would rather send guys like Mike Wright, Parker Bridwell, or Josh Hader - players without ace stuff and without incredibly promising numbers, but at first glance the numbers aren't terrible, either.
Will the Twins trade Justin Morneau? I'd be surprised if they do, because to be honest I don't think the front office will be able to get a prospect of note in return - whether Minnesota picks up the tab or not.