Pirates Acquire Michael Morse and J.A. Happ

By Jason Shetler

The Pirates have announced that first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse has been acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Jose Tabata while pitcher J.A Happ has been acquired from the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Adrian Sampson. CBS Sports Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Morse/Tabata deal was agreed upon.

Morse signed a two-year deal with the Miami Marlins last offseason. He was dealt to the Dodgers a couple days ago as part of a three-team deal, but was shortly designated for assignment. Morse is hitting .091 vs left-handed pitching this season, but the sample size is very small due to missing time with a finger injury. For his career, Morse owns an .805 OPS against LHP.

Tabata was acquired by the Pirates from the New York Yankees back in 2008. The 26-year-old outfielder enjoyed a nice rookie campaign in 2010, and was given a team friendly contract extension the following year. Tabata however didn’t live up to the expectations. Although he was a .275 hitter, he wasn’t really productive in the OPS department, posting a .713 mark in 509 games.

Happ was dealt to the Mariners from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Michael Saunders this past offseason. The 32-year-old lefty is posting a 4.64 ERA along with a 1.41 WHIP in 108.2 innings pitched this season, but his 4.06 Fielding Independent Pitching suggests that he’s performed better than the ERA.

Sampson was the Pirates 5th round choice in the 2012 MLB Draft. The 23-year-old right-hander has put up a 3.98 ERA with a 1.34 WHIP this year in 21 starts for AAA Indianapolis.

Morse is going to be in a first base platoon alongside Pedro Alvarez. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted that Happ will be in the Pirates rotation, which likely means that Jeff Locke could be the odd man out.

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Dan Gamache Promoted to Indianapolis

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Mark Olson - MiLB

p/c: Mark Olson – MiLB

Infielder Dan Gamache has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis, this according to Pirates Prospects’ Sean McCool.

The Pirates selected Gamache in the sixth round of the 2011 MLB Draft. Gamache is having a solid season this year for the Altoona Curve, hitting .335 while posting an .835 OPS in 74 games. He’s considered an offensive-minded utility man who can play third base, second base and first base.

Pirates Designate Vance Worley for Assignment

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Matt Slocum- AP

p/c: Matt Slocum- AP

The Pirates have announced that Vance Worley has been designated for assignment as the corresponding move for Joe Blanton, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals late last night.

Worley was acquired by the Pirates in Spring Training of last year from the Minnesota Twins as a reclamation project. He joined the Bucs rotation in June, and really provided a shot in the arm, posting a 2.85 ERA along with a 1.21 WHIP. Despite the good season, Worley lost out to Jeff Locke for the fifth starter spot this year, but he wound up making the rotation anyway with Charlie Morton beginning the season on the DL. Once Morton returned, Worley was moved back to the bullpen. His numbers haven’t been as good this season, as he’s put up a 3.78 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP. Worley is making $2.45 million, so there’s a decent chance that he’ll clear waivers. However, he does have the right to refuse outright assignment.

Pirates Acquire Joe Blanton

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Otto Greule Jr. - Getty Images North America

p/c: Otto Greule Jr. – Getty Images North America

The Pirates have announced that Joe Blanton has been acquired from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations. He was designated for assignment on Tuesday to make room for Ben Zobrist.

Blanton signed with the Royals on a minor league deal a month before Spring Training. The 34-year-old right-hander is having a pretty good season, posting a 3.89 ERA along with a 3.53 Fielding Independent Pitching and a 1.20 WHIP. He’s shown excellent control with a 1.5 BB/9 while his K/9 has been good at 8.6 in 41.2 innings of work. Blanton will give the Pirates another multiple inning arm out of the bullpen, as well as a spot starter if need be. 

Tyler Glasnow Promoted to Indianapolis

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Mark Olson -MiLB

p/c: Mark Olson -MiLB

According to Sean McCool of Pirates Prospects, Tyler Glasnow has been promoted to AAA Indianapolis.

Glasnow entered 2015 as the Pirates top prospect from every baseball publication. Despite an ankle injury, which placed him on the disabled list in May, Glasnow was terrific in his 12 starts with AA Altoona, posting a 2.43 ERA, an 0.95 WHIP, a .182 batting average against and a K/9 of 11.7. Perhaps the most encouraging thing from Glasnow this year has been his command, as he’s put up just a 2.7 BB/9 compared to a 4.1 BB/9 last season.

Mitch Keller Could Make His Season Debut this Weekend

By Jason Shetler

Pitcher Mitch Keller could make his season debut this weekend for the Bristol Pirates, this according to Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects.

Keller was taken by the Pirates in the 2014 MLB Draft as a second round pick, signing for $1 million (above slot money). The 19-year-old right-hander already throws a mid-90’s fastball with good movement to go along with a curveball, which has the makings of being an above average pitch, as well as a changeup. Keller has been recovering from a forearm strain that he sustained in Extended Spring Training.

Rob Scahill to Begin Rehab Assignment Next Week

By Jason Shetler

p/c: Jeff Curry - USA Today Sports

p/c: Jeff Curry – USA Today Sports

According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, pitcher Rob Scahill will begin his rehab assignment next Thursday with the Bradenton Marauders.

Scahill was acquired from the Colorado Rockies this past offseason. He was one of the biggest Spring Training surprises when he beat out Stolmy Pimentel for the final bullpen spot, despite Pimentel being out of options. Scahill has been impressive so far this year, posting a 2.08 ERA. He has allowed plenty of batters to reach base with a 1.50 WHIP, but his strong 62% groundball rate has definitely helped him limit damage. Scahill has been on the disabled list since late June with right forearm tightness.