Pirates trade for Twins first baseman Justin Morneau

Tim Brown
Yahoo! SportsAugust 31, 2013
Hunter hits and runs to help Tigers beat Twins 7-1
Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau runs after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the third inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired long-time Minnesota Twins first baseman and former MVP Justin Morneau, sources said Saturday, their second trade in four days designed to strengthen their lineup and reach the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.

A Twin since days after his 18th birthday, Morneau, 32, has struggled with injuries and concussion symptoms in recent seasons, but still hits right-handed pitching with some authority. The Pirates rank in the bottom third in the National League against right-handers in batting and OPS.

[Related: Justin Morneau a definite upgrade for Pirates]

For Morneau, who can be a free agent after the season, the Pirates dealt outfielder Alex Presley, who, at 28, has spent most of the year at Triple-A Indianapolis. The Twins also will receive a player to be named later or cash, according to reports.

With a month left, the Pirates are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central, primarily because of one of the better pitching staffs in the league. On Tuesday, they traded for New York Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck.

Morneau is likely to get regular playing time at first base. Garrett Jones, who had three hits and four RBI in Friday's 5-0 win over the Cardinals, would move to the outfield, at least until Starling Marte is disabled.

[Related: Garrett Jones helps Pirates beat Cards, pull even in NL Central]

After a quiet July, Morneau has nine home runs and 21 RBI in August.

Said one AL scout: "He'll be fine there. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a big month."

Fox Sports was first to report the trade.