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.