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November 27, 2013

Rumor Roundup

Replacing the Departed

by Daniel Rathman


Pirates seeking long-end platoon partner at first base
At the end of August, the Pirates obtained Justin Morneau from the Twins to bolster their offensive output at first base by providing a lefty-hitting complement to Gaby Sanchez. The one-plus month rental, at the cost of outfielder Alex Presley, went okay: Morneau posted a .370 on-base percentage in 92 September plate appearances, then batted .292 in the playoffs, though he did not hit a home run.

Now, Morneau is gone, enjoying his first foray into free agency at the age of 32 after completing a six-year, $80 million pact with the Twins and Pirates. Gone, too, is Garrett Jones, the player over whom Morneau was supposed to provide an upgrade, and whom the Buccos designated for assignment on Monday. Jones slugged 15 home runs in 440 plate appearances last season, but batted just .233/.289/.419 overall, an inadequate output at virtually any position, and especially so at first base.

Sanchez, who was acquired from the Marlins at the 2012 trade deadline, is arbitration eligible for the second time and should get a modest raise from his $1.75 million 2013 salary. He destroyed southpaws to the tune of a .333/.448/.539 triple-slash line, leading general manager Neal Huntington to consider expanding his role going forward.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (11/27)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Beltran... (11/26)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Re-Uppi... (12/03)
Next Article >>
Premium Article An Agent's Take: The A... (11/27)

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