Twins Trade Justin Morneau To Pirates
The Minnesota Twins have announced they have traded Justin Morneau to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later who was later identified as reliever Duke Welker.
Morneau, who was drafted by the Twins in 1999, moved into 3rd place on the Twins all-time home run list just last night when he passed Tony Oliva with his 221st career blast. It also provided the deciding run in a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers. If he does not return to the Twins, he will also rank high on the Twins leaderboard, including slugging percentage (4th - .485), RBI (5th - 860) and extra-base hits (5th - 526). He will almost certainly become a member of the Twins Hall of Fame when he is eligible.
Morneau had been the subject of trade rumors for months as he was becoming a free agent at the end of the year and had the second highest salary on the non-contending ballclub. The Pirates have agreed as part of the trade to pay the approximate $2.3M he will still make this year.
The initial player who was announced was Alex Presley, a 27-year-old outfielder who has bounced between AAA and the Pirates for the last four years. During that time, he's hit .261 with a .718 OPS over 699 plate appearances while mostly playing corner outfield spots. He's had considerably more success in AAA, where he posted an 837 OPS while playing mostly in centerfield. As a left-handed hitter, he profiles as a player similar to, albeit a slight upgrade to, Clete Thomas.
Later, the second player, Duke Welker, was announced. Welker is also 27 years old and serves as the closer for the Pirates AAA affiliate. This year he struck out 64 batters in 61 innings with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.279 WHIP. He profiles as a serviceable right-handed reliever.