If there were any remaining pessimists that felt the Pittsburgh Pirates were not serious about a push for October, those people can finally take a seat. Just a few days after acquiring Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the New York Mets, the Pirates have added Justin Morneau from the Minnesota Twins to their lineup Saturday.
Pittsburgh is in a battle for first place with the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central and felt another bat was needed.
Morneau, who won the American League MVP in 2006 is batting .259 this season with 17 home runs and 74 RBI.
What does this mean for the Pirates?
Well, anytime a team is among the bottom of the barrel in almost every offensive category, they tend to benefit from a move like this.
The four-time All-Star brings more playoff experience to the clubhouse, tremendous power from the left side of the plate and a solid glove at first base.
Pittsburgh has been in too many scenarios this season failing to score with runners in scoring position and less than two outs. Morneau can help on this issue that has cost the Pirates in a handful of games (especially as of late).
On top of that, this is a move that makes this lineup that much stronger. Morneau can bat in the clean-up spot in front of Byrd and Pedro Alvarez. As hot as Andrew McCutchen has been over the last month, his numbers will only get better going down the stretch with some more protection behind him through the heart of the order.
Despite being plagued with injuries over the course of his career, Morneau has recorded at least 20 home runs an over 110 RBI from 2006-2009.
Now what does this mean for guys like Gaby Sanchez and Garrett Jones?
Sanchez is without a doubt one of the best defensive first basemen in the league, and has swung a hotter bat than Jones since the All-Star break. With that, Sanchez will probably get the nods at first when facing a lefty.
With the addition of Byrd (who will eventually be an everyday right fielder once Starling Marte returns) Jones will more than likely be a backup and the first guy off the bench.
Morneau has been eyed by the Pirates’ organization for a while, and it was only a matter of time before the two teams reached an agreement.
Minnesota will get outfielder Alex Presley in the trade. They are now 58-75 and 20 games back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.