Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Alex Presely and a player to be named later or cash, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
Morneau was not claimed when the Twins had placed him on waivers earlier in the month, according to multiple reports. Morneau has played 11 years in the big leagues, all with the Twins, as he now moves to a contending team with the Pirates. Morneau, 32, is hitting .259/.315/.426 this season with 17 homers and 74 runs batted in. This is his last year under contract, as he becomes a free agent in the winter.
In return the Twins will be receiving Alex Presley, a 27 year outfielder with only 204 games in the big leagues for his career. Presley is currently hitting .264/.274/.389 this season in 29 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates continue to make a case for winning the NL Central. After they acquired Marlon Byrd and John Buck, they still went out and got themselves Justin Morneau. This may be a World Series or bust year for the Pirates, as they are completely stacked for this stretch run.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was officially signed today by the Philadelphia Phillies. He has a fastball that sits at 91-94 MPH, and can reach 96, on occasion. He also mixes speeds with pitches like the cutter, splitter, and changeup. The 26 year old has impressed scouts and evaluators across major league baseball, say that he only needs "a few minor league starts" before he can join the rotation in the big leagues.
Originally the Phillies beat out the Red Sox in a bidding war. They supposedly signed Gonzalez to a six year, 59 million dollar deal. But, the original deal hit a snag, and they continued to negotiate the contract with Gonzalez. Today, the Phillies signed the pitcher to a much less 3 year, 12 million dollar deal with a vesting option for 2017.
There have been questions regarding Gonzalez's elbow after he had bone chips removed in Cuba, which really drove the price down on his contract. Regardless, the Phillies may have made a great deal with Gonzalez, who is projected to be a mid-rotation starter. The Phillies are not going to have Gonzalez join the rotation this year, as they want to have him in the instructional league first.
The Phillies, not known to go all out on international prospects, took a risk here. Obviously, every team take somewhat of a risk when signing these prospects, but with the production of Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, and Aroldis Chapman, the Phillies wanted to get into the mix on these guys.
I think Gonzalez career will be fun to see, and how competative he will pitch will come from his first start in the minors. Phillies fans can just hope that this is a change of strategy and that Ruben Amaro Jr. is trying a new strategy to keep the Phillies above the competition.
Outfielder Michael Morse has been traded to the Baltimore Orioles, according to reports. In exchange, Baltimore will be sending minor league outfielder Xavier Avery for Morse, as they refuse to let go of their playoff push in the American League East.
Morse is hitting .226/.283/.410 this season and has 13 HR and 31 RBI in 79 games for the Mariners. In August thus far, Morse is hitting .179 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. He can hit to all fields, with averages of .253, .333, and .377 when he pulls, hits it to center, and goes opposite field, respectively. He provides pop from the right side, can play all three outfield positions, and can play as a DH.
The Orioles have been in search of a DH, taking a look at Morse, Josh Willingham, and others. They just acquired Morse to fill the void, who has played very well in his career with the Nationals, but has had a down year in Seattle this year. He has played well outside of pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, where he is hitting .239 with 8 HR and 19 RBI.
The Orioles have done a great job filling the void in DH, which was a huge whole they needed to fill in order to stay competitive in the tough American League East. The O's will get Morse, a very good ballplayer, for the rest of the season. He has played well in the past, but is currently having a tough time this season. Maybe a change of scenery will be able to fix up Morse, who is now playing in a
Relief pitcher John Axford has been traded to the Cardinals in exchange for a player to be named later. Axford has a 4.45 ERA, and has 19 saves. He previously had 46 saves in 2011.
Axford will soldify a Cardinals bullpen for the stretch run, at a resonably low price, obviously we won't know until the PTBNL is shipped back to Milwaukee.
Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel has been traded to the Cleveland Indians, according to multiple reports. The Indians may use Kubel as their DH, as they rank 8th in BA from the DH position, among all AL teams. In return, the Indians will be sending cash considerations or a PTBNL the Diamondbacks way. The Indians had been on Kubel for awhile, and were talking to the D-Backs until last night, when the trade was completed.
Kubel, 31, is hitting .220/.288/.324 this season with 5 HR and 32 RBI. He has a WAR of -0.7 this season, as he has had better years in the past. The power numbers have completely fallen off the table, as Kubel had never homered less than 12 times in a full 100 game plus season. He does look to join an Indians squad that currently has the DH hitting .240/.333/.422. Kubel will also provide depth in the outfield for the Indians.
Jason Kubel will become a free agent this year, but has a team option that could keep him under contract until 2014. He signed a 2 year, 16 million dollar contract in 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
I think the trade for Jason Kubel makes sense for the Indians, as they've been looking for a bat. In a down year, I think Kubel's price will be lower than it would be if he was having an average to good year. The Cleveland Indians are using the "buy low" strategy here, as Kubel could provide much more than he's worth in the latter months of the 2013 season.