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Pirates acquire Justin Morneau from Twins

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

The 2006 AL MVP is leaving the only team he's ever known.
The 2006 AL MVP is leaving the only team he's ever known. (USATSI)

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The Pirates are officially going all in. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com confirms they have acquired first baseman Justin Morneau from the Twins for outfielder Alex Presley and either a player to be named later or cash. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports first reported the trade.

Pittsburgh comes into Saturday tied atop the NL Central with the Cardinals at 78-56. The two teams are playing this weekend and still have another series to play at Busch Stadium in September. The Pirates acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the Mets for two minor leaguers less than a week ago.

Morneau, 32, hit .259/.315/.426 (102 OPS+) with 17 home runs in 127 games for Minnesota before the trade. He's been a homer machine in August, posting a 129 OPS+ with nine of those 17 long balls this month. Morneau is owed roughly $2.5 million for the remainder of the year and will become a free agent this winter.

The Pirates have gotten a .260/.336/.432 (99 OPS+) batting line and 16 homers out of their first baseman this year, with Gaby Sanchez and Garrett Jones sharing a platoon. The righty hitting Sanchez can still platoon with the lefty hitting Morneau while Jones sees time in the outfield. With rosters set to expand on Sept. 1, there is plenty of room for all three guys.

Presley, 28, has hit .264/.274/.389 (86 OPS+) in 29 games for the Pirates this year and .298/.376/.427 in 89 games at Triple-A Indianapolis. He's a career .261/.299/.419 (98 OPS+) hitter in parts of four big league seasons, all with Pittsburgh. Presley figures to step right in and help the outfield-needy Twins.

Morneau will be eligible for the Pirates playoff roster since he was acquired Aug. 31. Today is the last day teams can acquire a player and have him be postseason eligible.

Both teams have since announced the trade.

 
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