Pirates Acquire Justin Morneau

By Jason Shetler


According to FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal, the Pirates have acquired first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for outfielder Alex Presley. CBS Sports Jon Heyman reports that the Twins will also receive either a player to be named later or cash considerations. The former AL MVP spent eleven seasons in Minnesota. This season, Morneau is batting .259, along with a .741 OPS, but was posting an .836 OPS in the month of August. Meanwhile, Presley spent eight seasons in the Pirates organization, and combined to hit .261, with a .718 OPS in 656 at-bats with Pittsburgh. Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Dan Zangrilli of 93.7 The Fan, have both confirmed that the Pirates will take on Morneau’s remaining salary. Zangrilli also reported that the Twins were trying hard to acquire pitching prospect Nick Kingham in exchange for Morneau, but the Pirates wouldn’t give in. While Morneau will obviously become the Pirates primary first baseman now, it’ll allow the Pirates to use Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez off the bench, and give them some good matchup options in late inning pinch-hit situations.

Did the Pirates Overpay for Marlon Byrd and John Buck?

By Jason Shetler

On Tuesday, the Pirates were active in pursuing some offensive help, as they acquired both Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the New York Mets in exchange for minor league infielder Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later. Yesterday, the Mets got reliever Vic Black as the player to be named. The Mets seemed to have gotten a couple of players with a high ceiling, so does that mean the Pirates overspent?

In my opinion, as good as those players may become, the Pirates are obviously in a situation where they’re playing for a division title right now, and had to find a way to improve their lineup, especially with the lack of production in right field. Marlon Byrd upgrades the position significantly. Not to mention, John Buck’s power for a catcher, and ability to throw out runners this season, isn’t a bad addition as a reserve. From the Mets perspective, they get potentially a good hitting middle infielder in Dilson Herrera. The word potentially is key, since Herrera is playing in his first full season, and isn’t having a really strong year, to suggest right now that he’s a top tier prospect. As far as Vic Black goes, he has the potential to be a solid late inning arm, but the question is, how much can he improve his control?

At the end of the day, the Pirates had to trade talent to receive talent, and although Byrd and Buck are both rental players, it wasn’t like the Pirates dealt away top flight talent, that would be guaranteed to make a huge impact for the Mets.


Pirates Promote Casey Sadler to Indy

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates have promoted Altoona pitcher Casey Sadler to Indianapolis, this according to the Altoona Mirror. The sinkerball-throwing Sadler, entered this season as a full-time starter, and has pitched well this year, posting a 3.31 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP in 23 starts for the Curve. With the Pirates expected to recall Brandon Cumpton and Kris Johnson on Sunday, when the rosters can expand, Sadler can fill one of those rotation spots at Indy for the AAA playoffs.


Should the Pirates Platoon Neil Walker and Josh Harrison?

By Jason Shetler  

It’s always a luxury when a switch-hitter can hit well from both sides of the plate. Although Neil Walker is a switch-hitter, he doesn’t seem to fit that bill. Walker’s OPS figures from each side of the plate this season, are quite a huge separation, as he’s posting an .805 OPS vs right-handed pitching, compared to a dreadful .484 OPS against southpaws. Walker has just 70 at-bats this year against left-handed pitching, but for his career, his OPS against lefties is .653, which shows that it’s not a fluke. Since being recalled by the Pirates in late June, Josh Harrison is posting a .762 OPS, and has a 1.267 OPS to this point vs lefty pitching, albeit in only 30 at-bats against them. While that figure will come back down to earth, you still expect that Harrison will hit lefties better than what Walker has done during the course of his big league career. I know there are some fans who aren’t big on platooning players, but when you look at Walker’s numbers, pretty much all of his production has come against right-handed pitching, and also, you don’t expect Harrison to be as bad against left-handed pitching than Walker has been. I just think as long as it’s going to give your team an edge against certain pitching, why wouldn’t you take advantage?

Pirates Release Kelly Shoppach

By Jason Shetler

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review, the Pirates have released catcher Kelly Shoppach, and have promoted catcher Carlos Paulino to Indianapolis. Shoppach signed with the Pirates a couple weeks ago, after being granted his release by the Washington Nationals on July 31. The plan for Shoppach was to be the Pirates third catcher come September, but now with the acquisition of John Buck, the move will now have Tony Sanchez become the third string catcher when rosters expand. Speaking of Sanchez, the decision to option him to Altoona to make room on the 25-man roster for Buck, allows Carlos Paulino to be promoted to Indy. Paulino however isn’t having a good season offensively, posting just a .562 OPS in 99 games for the Curve.

Mets Acquire Vic Black as PTBNL

By Jason Shetler

FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal has reported that the New York Mets have acquired Vic Black from the Pirates, as the player to be named later in the Marlon Byrd/John Buck deal. Black entered this season as the Pirates 16th best prospect in the system, according to Baseball America. He was having a terrific season for Indianapolis, with a 2.51 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, and a 12.2 K/9 in 38 appearances, and also made three appearances for the Bucs this year. The Mets get themselves a hard-throwing reliever, who can throw in the upper 90’s, but has had some command issues. If Black can somehow cut down on the walks significantly, then he has the makings of a solid late inning reliever or possible closer down the road.