For decades, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been known for not having a winning-season. They have also been cursed aloud for their tight purse strings as well. I’ve heard it. I’ve even said it!
The 2013 season seems to be different.
On this Labor Day weekend, as the Buccos are battling the St Louis Cardinals for sole possession of first place in the National League Central division, the front office opened up their checkbook.
It was announced earlier in the day on Saturday, August 31, 2013, by dozens of news sources — Yahoo!Sports included — that the Pirates traded outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named (OR CASH) for first baseman Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins and assumed financial responsibility for the entire $2.2 million remaining on Morneau’s contract. What a relief!
WHY WE NEEDED THIS TRADE
With 29 games remaining in the season, the Buccos entered Saturday’s game against the Cardinals tied for first place in the NL Central, despite inconsistent offensive play at the plate.
There has been contact. We have had tons of ‘long balls,’ some even fell short and were caught in the outfield, but not enough consistent, base-hitting at bats. Cutch, Alvarez, and the newly acquired Bird have been providing a number of key hits (and runs) as of late, but there hasn’t been much offensive consistency throughout the season.
Sure, the Pirates have been in contention — and even lead the division several times — for the majority of the season thanks primarily to a pitching staff currently second in the majors with a 3.17 ERA.
Morneau’s presence should have an immediate impact on an offense that ranks 10th in the NL in runs. Just prior to the trade, the 32-year-old Morneau (batting .259 with 17 homers and 74 RBIs so far this season) finished off a red-hot month — smacking nine home runs. I’m betting it won’t be long before he knocks one in the Allegheny!!
I am excited to see Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington making some great trades this week to give the fans a serious chance at our first postseason in decades! I’ll be at the game.
Giovanni Badalamenti lives in Pittsburgh, just minutes from PNC Park, and often watches the games from his view on Mt. Washington or the Roberto Clemente when he can’t secure a ticket.
“Twins trade Morneau to Pirates”
“Pirates 7, Cardinals 1”; John Perrotto, The Sports Xchange