The Pittsburgh Pirates are all-in. Mere days after acquiring Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the Mets, Pittsburgh has acquired Twins first baseman Justin Morneau in exchange for outfielder Alex Presley, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox.
I think this tweet from TOC staffer Pat Lackey (also the editor of the fabulous Pirates blog WHYGAVS) sums things up perfectly.
SOME GUY THAT'S PLAYED HIS WHOLE CAREER FOR ONE TEAM JUST GOT TRADED TO THE PIRATES TO TRY AND WIN A WORLD SERIES
— Pat Lackey (@whygavs) August 31, 2013
Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP, is scheduled to hit the free agent market after this season, and the Twins apparently felt it was best to deal him now for something of value than risk losing him and getting nothing in return. The 32-year old has missed significant time over the last four seasons, with most of the time missed coming as a result of a concussion he suffered in 2010. He's been generally healthy this season, playing in 127 of Minnesota's 133 games, but has also missed time in prior seasons thanks to inflammation in his left wrist and a herniated disc in his neck.
This season for the Twins, Morneau is hitting .259/.315/.426 with 17 homers. He's developed an inability to hit left-handers in recent years, and has just a .209/.248/.288 line against southpaws in 2013. However, he'll make a perfect platoon partner for Gaby Sanchez, who is destroying lefties to the tune of a .326/.440/.539 line in 110 plate appearances this season. The Pirates probably felt better about Morneau as a platoon partner over the season's final month than Garrett Jones, who is hitting .251/.305/.444 against right-handers this year compared to Morneau's .281/.343/.488.
The Pirates made a wise move getting Morneau for the low cost of Presley, a 28-year old outfielder who has bounced back and forth between Pittsburgh and AAA Indianapolis over the last three seasons. For his career in the majors, Presley has a .261/.299/.419 line while logging time at all three outfield positions. Pittsburgh had no use for him going forward.
Pittsburgh won't face a left-handed starter for the foreseeable future, and getting Morneau's bat in the lineup at the expense of Sanchez or Jones is a huge upgrade for them. If they can get Jason Grilli back healthy in the next week or two, this team is primed for a deep playoff run.