Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pirates Acquire Justin Morneau

From Ken Rosenthal:



More to come later.

The more:

This was something that really was hinted around post non-waiver deadline. The Pirates were said to be really in on Justin Morneau but much didn't seem possible with Morneau having to be dealt and on the roster by the end of the day today to be on the playoff roster but it looks as if Neal Huntington was able to get it done.

The Pirates basically gave up nothing for Morneau. They actually gave up Alex Presley and picking up the rest of the money owed to Morneau which will be around $3M but in my mind that is basically giving up nothing. Presley was sort of a late bloomer (I guess?). He is 28 years old and has been up and down on the Pirates roster for the past couple of years. He had a breakout his rookie year in 2011 when he hit .298/.339/.465 in 52 games but in his major league career he only has a .261/.299/.419 line. He is a guy who has some speed and can play the left field at PNC to an average degree. He doesn't walk a lot and with little power there really isn't much of a spot for him on the team.

In Morneau the Pirates get a veteran bat that can play some first base and upgrade the bench at the minimum. He is far from the days where he can be counted on as a middle of the order bat but with the struggles of Garrett Jones this really is a good move for the Pirates. Here is Morneau's career numbers:

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2003 22 MIN 40 115 106 14 24 4 0 4 16 9 30 .226 .287 .377 .664 73 40
2004 23 MIN 74 312 280 39 76 17 0 19 58 28 54 .271 .340 .536 .875 122 150
2005 24 MIN 141 543 490 62 117 23 4 22 79 44 94 .239 .304 .437 .741 93 214
2006 25 MIN 157 661 592 97 190 37 1 34 130 53 93 .321 .375 .559 .934 140 331
2007 26 MIN 157 668 590 84 160 31 3 31 111 64 91 .271 .343 .492 .834 122 290
2008 27 MIN 163 712 623 97 187 47 4 23 129 76 85 .300 .374 .499 .873 134 311
2009 28 MIN 135 590 508 85 139 31 1 30 100 72 86 .274 .363 .516 .878 130 262
2010 29 MIN 81 348 296 53 102 25 1 18 56 50 62 .345 .437 .618 1.055 187 183
2011 30 MIN 69 288 264 19 60 16 0 4 30 19 44 .227 .285 .333 .618 70 88
2012 31 MIN 134 570 505 63 135 26 2 19 77 49 102 .267 .333 .440 .773 112 222
2013 32 MIN 127 543 495 56 128 32 0 17 74 37 98 .259 .315 .426 .741 102 211
11 Yrs 1278 5350 4749 669 1318 289 16 221 860 501 839 .278 .347 .485 .832 121 2302
162 Game Avg. 162 678 602 85 167 37 2 28 109 64 106 .278 .347 .485 .832 121 292
Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2003 22 MIN 40 115 106 14 24 4 0 4 16 9 30 .226 .287 .377 .664 73 40
2004 23 MIN 74 312 280 39 76 17 0 19 58 28 54 .271 .340 .536 .875 122 150
2005 24 MIN 141 543 490 62 117 23 4 22 79 44 94 .239 .304 .437 .741 93 214
2006 25 MIN 157 661 592 97 190 37 1 34 130 53 93 .321 .375 .559 .934 140 331
2007 26 MIN 157 668 590 84 160 31 3 31 111 64 91 .271 .343 .492 .834 122 290
2008 27 MIN 163 712 623 97 187 47 4 23 129 76 85 .300 .374 .499 .873 134 311
2009 28 MIN 135 590 508 85 139 31 1 30 100 72 86 .274 .363 .516 .878 130 262
2010 29 MIN 81 348 296 53 102 25 1 18 56 50 62 .345 .437 .618 1.055 187 183
2011 30 MIN 69 288 264 19 60 16 0 4 30 19 44 .227 .285 .333 .618 70 88
2012 31 MIN 134 570 505 63 135 26 2 19 77 49 102 .267 .333 .440 .773 112 222
2013 32 MIN 127 543 495 56 128 32 0 17 74 37 98 .259 .315 .426 .741 102 211
11 Yrs 1278 5350 4749 669 1318 289 16 221 860 501 839 .278 .347 .485 .832 121 2302
162 Game Avg. 162 678 602 85 167 37 2 28 109 64 106 .278 .347 .485 .832 121 292
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 8/31/2013.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/31/2013.

As I said before Morneau isn't going to be the middle of the order guy. In the second half of the season so far he's hit for a .230/.282/.467 line with 10 home runs. He doesn't walk too much (around 7%) and has been worth about a win according to FanGraphs.

He will mostly be used against right handed pitchers. Here are his splits from this season:

SplitGGSPAABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSBAbipsOPS+
vs RHP as LHB1213823429626015583158.281.343.488.831.296121
vs LHP as LHB951611533260216640.209.248.288.536.27067
vs LH Starter282611511093190422325.282.313.473.786.333119
vs RH Starter9997428385479723013523473.252.315.413.728.276103
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/31/2013.

What this can do is free up Jones to play some right field. That doesn't seem like a big deal but with Starling Marte out for a couple weeks and the unknown that is Jose Tabata it doesn't hurt to have that flexibility and to have his bat off the bench. The problem the Pirates have had is that when Jones plays first base he was an easy platoon option for opposing managers as they could force him out of the game and then you are stuck with Gaby Sanchez at first base where the opposing managers could use right handed pitchers against Sanchez to handcuff the Pirates. This gives the Pirates some other options, which is a good thing.

I don't think Morneau has that big of an impact but I think he does upgrade the team. When you can get him for Presley (and I assume money) then you take that.

Good point by Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects in terms of Presley:

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