Justin Morneau and his representatives approached the Twins again in the past week, hoping to discuss a contract extension for the veteran first baseman in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

They were rebuffed, just as they were in the spring.

"We asked," Morneau told the Pioneer Press after Saturday's 4-1 win at Yankee Stadium. "(The Twins) said they're not going to do anything about an extension before the trade deadline or anything like that. That's not an option."

Twins general manager Terry Ryan, who essentially declared the organization open for trade talks earlier in the day, would not get into the likelihood of an 11th-hour contract extension for Morneau, playing the final season of a six-year, $80 million deal.

"I don't think it's very smart for me to get into Morneau's contract," Ryan said. "I'm keeping all options open."

Morneau, 32, and his agents from SFX were basically told the same thing, but the 2006 American League most valuable player is realistic about his chances of staying with the only organization he has known during 15 professional seasons.

"I think the first option is to see if somebody wants me enough to trade for me," Morneau said. "If there's a deal that makes sense, then I think they'll make it."

His contract gives him the right to reject a trade to six teams, but Morneau would not divulge them out of respect for those franchises. The list had to be submitted to the Twins last November, well before most teams complete their offseason overhauls.
"It's nothing against those teams," he said. "A lot of it was situations. For me it was more if I'm going somewhere, it was for a chance to win. Ballparks may have played a factor. I don't think any of those teams would be involved, anyway."

Earning $14 million this season, Morneau is still due $6 million for the remainder of the season. By July 31, that remaining burden will have dropped to $4.62 million, which could improve the Twins' chances of securing a mid-level prospect or two in return for the slumping slugger.