Twins trade Morneau to Pirates for OF Presley and cash

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The Minnesota Twins traded former American League MVP Justin Morneau to the Pittsburgh Pirates Saturday afternoon for outfielder Alex Presley and a player to be named later or cash, CBS Sports reports.

Not entirely surprising news given the team's desperation for starting pitching, but the trade will certainly reverberate with Twins fans.

As the Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III summarizes: A third-round pick in 1999 who rocketed to stardom, leading the 2006 Twins to the postseason when he was unstoppable over the final four months of the season.

That same year was the start of a four-year stretch for Morneau with 30-plus home runs, and at least 100 RBI in each of those seasons. He was selected for four All-Star games, as WCCO reports, won the Silver Slugger award twice and in addition to his ’06 MVP award, he finished second in the balloting in 2008.

Then came the concussion he suffered in July during the 2010 season - during which he was primed for another huge year. Morneau hasn't produced the same way since then.

Morneau wouldn’t play another regular-season game until April of 2011. And it took him until May 1, 2011, to hit another home run.

Morneau played only 69 games in 2011 because of lingering concussion symptoms and a nagging wrist injury that would keep him out from June 9 to Aug. 12 and eventually ended his season on Aug. 28.

He is, of course, along with Joe Mauer, half of the "M&M" boys, the twin faces of a franchise that saw a huge rebound when the two became anchors in the line-up.

Morneau is in the final year of his contract, making $14 million, as KSTP-TV reports. He spent his entire 11-year major league career with the Twins and won the 2006 AL MVP Award when he hit 34 home runs along with 130 RBI.

He is 3rd all-time on the Twins home run list with 221, having just passed Tony Oliva with a home run Friday night in Texas. This season Morneau is hitting .259 with 32 doubles, 17 home runs and 74 RBI, and has recently returned to form in August.

Morneau is owed roughly $2.5 million for the remainder of the year and will become a free agent this winter.

The trade means the Pirates are making a serious run at the post season, while Twins fans may be wondering what the heck the team is going to do with another outfield prospect, despite injuries that have depleted the corps.

Presley, 28, has hit .264/.274/.389 (86 OPS+) in 29 games for the Pirates this year and .298/.376/.427 in 89 games at Triple-A Indianapolis. He's a career .261/.299/.419 (98 OPS+) hitter in parts of four big league seasons, all with Pittsburgh.

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