The Minnesota Twins have traded veteran first baseman Justin Morneau to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later or cash, the Pirates announced on Twitter.

Evidently, the Pirates aren’t content with simply ending their extended streak of seasons below .500, which stretches back to 1993. Adding Morneau shows the current co-leaders of the NL Central are focused on postseason success.

The veteran infielder won the American League MVP award in 2006 when he slugged 34 homers and drove in 130 runs while hitting .321 for the Twins. Although he’s struggled to maintain that type of production at the plate, he’s still a valuable contributor.

In 127 games this season, Morneau has tallied 17 home runs while posting a solid .741 OPS. He presents the Pirates with an upgrade over Gaby Sanchez at an important offensive position.

He will also provide the club with some much-needed support for Andrew McCutchen, who’s often carried the team on his back. Add Morneau along with strong finishes from the likes of Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte, and suddenly the Pirates would be in great shape.

In return, the Twins get Presley, an outfielder who’s split his time between the majors and Triple-A this season. In 29 games with the Pirates, he hit just .264 with two home runs.

At 28 years old, Presley no longer falls into the prospect category. But with Morneau set to become a free agent after the season ends, the asking price had to be reasonable in order to move him. And the Twins will get another piece from the deal at a later time.

That said, this deal boils down to Pittsburgh loading up for the stretch run. Morneau should supply the Pirates with an immediate boost.


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