COMMENTARY | According to a report from The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Orioles have contacted the Minnesota Twins about the availability of first baseman Justin Morneau. This comes as trade rumors swirl around the former American League MVP as he goes through the final year of his contract.
From the Orioles' standpoint, Morneau could be the final piece in an extremely potent lineup. The team has struggled to fill the designated hitter role with a .633 OPS, good for 14th in the AL above the Houston Astros.
They've even tried calling up top prospect Henry Urrutia to solve the deficiency, but Morneau has more experience and has been in several pennant races during his 11 seasons with the Twins.
As an added bonus, Morneau would also cover for a potential Chris Davis injury. With Gold Glove-caliber defense, it would make a lot of sense to make sure the unexpected doesn't cripple the Orioles' hopes.
We know why the Orioles would be a good fit for Morneau, but it takes two to dance. Are the Orioles willing to give up enough to make general manager Terry Ryan pull the trigger? The early signs suggest otherwise.
Heading into the season, the Orioles ranked 17th in Baseball America's preseason organization rankings. With most of the top prospects out of the question due to the $6 million Morneau is owed through the rest of the season and his shocking power decline through the first half of the season, the Twins may find it difficult to find value in trading Morneau to Baltimore.
If the two sides were able to make a deal, it would likely be similar to the one Ryan struck last July when he sent Francisco Liriano to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Pedro Hernandez and infielder Eduardo Escobar.
Ryan has to move Morneau before the July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline. If he keeps him around, there's a possibility that he walks to a team capable of contending for a championship next season with the Twins getting nothing in return.
Even if it is a little-known Single-A prospect, there's still a chance they can contribute at the major-league level just like the Liriano trade has from a season ago. That's a better scenario for a team that continues a long-term rebuilding project.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
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