PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — On Saturday the Pirates one-upped their own recent waiver-wire deal for the Mets’ Marlon Byrd with yet another big-name trade in an effort to emphatically end a 20-year playoff drought.
The Pirates today announced that they have acquired first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named or cash considerations.
With his familiar No. 33–which belonged to legendary shortstop Honus Wagner–retired by the Pirates, he will wear No. 36 in Pittsburgh instead.
The left-handed Morneau, 32, is a four-time All-Star and was the 2006 American League MVP. He is currently batting .259 with 17 home runs and 74 RBI.
He is in the last year of a six-year, $80 million contract. In the meantime, Morneau, who missed parts of the 2010 and 2011 seasons due to concussions and other injuries, gives the Bucs more playoff experience, more power, and more options offensively while his original club continues rebuilding.
Dan Zangrilli, co-host of “Pirates Preview,” told 93.7 The Fan’s Troy Clardy the Twins were very high on pitching prospect Nick Kingham before the Pirates countered with Presley, another of their interests.
As manager Clint Hurdle said in his regular game day media scrum, this will give Presley, 28, a better opportunity to play, perhaps as a regular leadoff man in Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s lineup. He hit .264 with a pair of home runs in 72 Major League games this year, and, in 89 contests with Triple-A Indianapolis, hit .298 with an .803 OPS, 27 RBI, 28 extra-base hits, and 56 stolen bases.
Zangrilli also reported the Pirates have the financial flexibility to assume the remainder of Morneau’s contract; otherwise, they would have been compelled ship away more talent up front.
“The numbers are good, but I don’t think they’re overwhelming. I’m not sure if he’s going to make a drastic impact, or any more of an impact than [recently acquired Mets outfielder] Marlon Byrd,” he said Saturday afternoon. “Morneau is basically, right now, like a Garrett Jones of 2012. Everything you’re getting from him, going forward, is what you’d expect to get from Garrett Jones.”