(apologies to Paul Heyman for the crap headline)

Twins 1B Justin Morneau was named the 2006 AL MVP today, beating Derek Jeter by a narrow margin, proving once again that the Twin Cities media bias is unrelenting and oh-so unfair. I didn’t see Morneau comforting A-Rod last year, either, so what’s up with the Captain’s harsh treatment?

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that after the Cubs shelled out over $200 million for 3 players (none of whom, uh, pitch), they’re preparing to swoop for IF Julio Lugo.

Lugo, 31, was a favorite of new Cubs manager Lou Piniella’s with the Devil Rays. His athleticism intrigues the Cubs, who could field an electrifying lineup if they added Lugo to a mix that will include Soriano, first baseman Derrek Lee and third baseman Aramis Ramirez ” and eventually Felix Pie.

The likelihood of Pie’s emergence ” possibly in 2007, probably no later than ’08 ” has caused the Cubs to back off free-agent center fielder Gary Matthews Jr., who would block Pie, 21, if he signed a long-term deal. Lugo, on the other hand, would be versatile enough to return to the infield ” that is, if he doesn’t sign with the Red Sox to play shortstop or the Mets to second base.

Matthews, 32, could seek a contract in excess of the five-year, $45 million deal that free-agent center fielder Juan Pierre will receive from the Dodgers. The Angels, Giants and Rangers are known to be interested in Matthews. The Phillies, Orioles, Astros, Brewers and Mariners also could be fits.

With the Mets and Angels supposedly focused elsewhere (Zito, Gary Matthews/Veron Wells respectively), the Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes suspects the Rangers will be interested in the suddenly-affordable Manny Ramirez.

While talks have remained quiet, the Sox have pushed Texas owner Tom Hicks to once again consider trading for Ramírez. The Sox and Rangers discussed a Ramírez-for-Alex Rodriguez swap three years ago, the deal falling apart under the immense weight of the money involved. This time, according to multiple sources, the Sox would like to pry All-Star shortstop Michael Young away, but there has been little evidence that the Rangers would part with Young.

One industry executive insisted the Sox were dangling outfielder Wily Mo Peña to the Nationals for closer Chad Cordero, though Nationals GM Jim Bowden, through a club spokesman, denied any such discussions. Bowden, who traded for Peña when he was with Cincinnati, has long held Peña in high regard.