O's have top scout watching Twins-Mariners; Morneau, others on radar

The Baltimore Sun

After adding starting pitcher Scott Feldman and reliever Francisco Rodriguez this month, the Orioles have filled two needs before July 31’s non-waiver trade deadline, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still looking.

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.

According to an industry source, the Orioles have contacted the Twins about Morneau – who has about $6 million remaining on his deal – but the conversations were defined as preliminary.

Perhaps the Orioles’ biggest hole right now is at designated hitter, with 26-year-old Cuban rookie Henry Urrutia being tried at a spot that has been unproductive for most of the season.

The Orioles also have not shut the door on adding a pitcher, perhaps a late-inning lefty reliever, and the Mariners’ may have one of the more desirable ones on the block in veteran Oliver Perez.

However, the sense within the organization is that the Orioles could be done because any deal at this point would be difficult to complete since the Orioles are reluctant to add payroll and have few viable trade chips from a shallow farm system. They are not willing to part with top prospects for a rental-type player.


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