The Pittsburgh Pirates have added a big bat today by acquiring first baseman Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins in a waiver deadline deal. The Twins receive outfielder Alex Presley, cash and a player to be named later.
Morneau had spent his entire big league career which began in 2003 with the Twins. In 2006, Morneau won the AL MVP by hitting .321 with 34 HR and 130 RBI. Morneau drove in 100 or more runs for four straight seasons. However, Morneau’s production began to decline after sustaining a concussion during the 2010 season.
In 127 games with the Twins this season, the Canadian born slugger was hitting .259 with 17 HR and 74 RBI. His last home run in a Twins uniform came last night off Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish.
The Pirates have been busy this week. On Tuesday, the Bucs obtained outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the New York Mets. Byrd is having a career year hitting .285 with 22 HR and 74 RBI. While Buck is only hitting .215, he does have 15 HR and 60 RBI.
As of this writing, the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals are tied for first in the NL Central. The Pirates are hosting the Cards for a weekend series at PNC Park. Last night, the Bucs struck first winning 5-0 as Francisco Liriano and Mark Melancon combined on a four hit shutout. Liriano is 15-6 with a 2.57 ERA and has to be considered a possible NL Cy Young Award winner. Of course, Liriano and Morneau were teammates in Minnesota until last season.
The Pirates need only four more wins to earn their first winning season since 1992. But the Pirates want more than a winning record. They want go all the way. The same can be said for Morneau. Although Morneau has played post-season ball with the Twins in 2004 and 2006, he has not played in a World Series.
Normally, I watch the Red Sox, but the Cardinals-Pirates are on the MLB Network tonight and I think I’d like to see the reception Morneau gets in his Pittsburgh debut.
UPDATE: Morneau did not arrive at PNC Park until the sixth inning, but suited up and greeted manager Clint Hurdle and his new teammates in the dugout. The Bucs did not need Morneau tonight as they handily defeated the Cardinals 7-1 and now sit atop the NL Central.