Justin Morneau just the latest low-cost deal for Pirates

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Saturday, the Pirates traded for Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. To get Morneau, the Pirates gave up Alex Presley and either a minor leaguer someday or cash someday. Either way -- and with all due respect to Presley, a fine Triple-A baseball player -- the Pirates aren't giving up much to acquire Morneau.

Which, as my friend David Todd points out, is a pattern with the Corsairs:

He did miss a big one: A week before the Pirates traded for Gaby Sanchez last season, they traded for Houston's Wandy Rodriguez, giving up three minor leaguers of modest promise; one of them, Robbie Grossman, now looks something like a younger version of Alex Presley. So the point stands: Over the last 13-odd months, the Pirates have picked up some useful players without doing much to weaken their talent base or spending much money.

Well, that last part would be true except for Wandy Rodriguez. The Pirates were on the hook for about $10 million of his salary last summer and this season. They've probably gotten their money's worth, since he's pitched well and won 11 games since joining the club. But they must have hoped for more.

My only question today, though, is why Justin Morneau. He's a lefty-hitting first baseman with a 102 OPS+ this season. Which is quite the coincidence, since the Pirates already have a lefty-hitting first baseman with a 102 OPS+ this season: Garrett Jones. The Pirates already have a logjam in the outfield, or will when Starling Marte is healthy enough to play. And now they've got a logjam at first base.

Morneau's selling points are his career stats and his August. But his July was terrible, and his career stats seem irrelevant in the wake of the various injuries that made him expendable in Minnesota.

This hardly seems a poor deal for the Pirates. But I wouldn't want to be Garrett Jones right now, who seems to have been sacrificed on the altar of the Proven Veteran™.

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