Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reports (Insider) that the Twins are ready to trade first baseman Justin Morneau and the Yankees are obviously interested in possibly acquiring him before the deadline. The Pirates and Rays have also expressed interest in Morneau. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain rumors have been swirling for weeks with reports that the Yankees have been "aggressively shopping" them to teams around baseball. Bowden adds a new name to the list of players that the Yankees have put on the trade block, catching prospect JR Murphy.
Murphy has hit extremely well across Double-A and Triple-A this season. In 49 games with the Trenton Thunder, he posted a .268/.352/.421 batting line with 10 doubles and six home runs. Since being promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Murphy has put up an .856 OPS in 25 games with a .309/.377/.479 line. His defense has also reportedly made great strides this season. The Yankees are hurting for offense at many positions, including catcher, so it's not as though they couldn't use Murphy's services themselves. Bowden says that Minnesota is unlikely to be interested in a package of Hughes, Chamberlain, and Murphy because the former two are impending free agents and the latter-most would be blocked by an All-Star in Joe Mauer.
The Yankees have been disappointed in the market for Hughes so far, and teams are souring on Joba because they feel as though the Yankees could release him. Murphy does represent a trade chip that could be ready for the major leagues at any point, but would trading Murphy make more sense than using him themselves at the big league level? The team is starved for offense and needs to acquire a bat in the worst way. Morneau would be an attractive option when Lyle Overbay is the alternative, but it's also possible that the Yankees have a bat that would be a potential easy offensive upgrade at one position already sitting in their system in the form of Murphy.
Do you feel like Morneau is worth what he would cost to acquire? If so, what would you be willing to give up for him in a deal for Minnesota, seeing as they aren't seemingly interested in the trade chips presently on the table.
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