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Insider Only Trade Analysis: Scouts Buzz on the Pirates acquisitions of Michael Morse and J.A. Happ

A barking elbow caused the Pirates to be more active than expected in the last hour leading up to Friday’s non-waiver trading deadline.
Right-hander A.J. Burnett went on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation a day after having his third straight poor outing since the All-Star break.
That left an unexpected hole in the rotation and the Pirates patched it by acquiring left-hander J.A. Happ from the Seattle Mariners for Class AAA Indianapolis right-hander Adrian Sampson.
The Pirates also got first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Indianapolis outfielder Jose Tabata.
The Pirates will sub J.A. for A.J. in the rotation.
Happ, 32, was 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.408 WHIP in 21 games, including 20 starts, for the Mariners this season. He pitched 108 2/3 innings and allowed 121 hits while striking out 82 and walking 32.
Happ is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
“He’s a good depth guy, a No. 5 starter if you need him,” said a scout from a major league club. “He’s not the type of guy you’d start in the postseason but he’ll get you through the regular season.”
Morse will give manager Clint Hurdle the option to start him in place of first baseman Pedro Alvarez or right fielder Gregory Polanco against left-handed pitchers.
The Dodgers acquired Morse from the Miami Marlins on Thursday as part of a three-team, 13-player trade that also included the Atlanta Braves then immediately designated him for assignment.
Morse, 33, helped the San Francisco Giants win the World Series last season but hit just .212 with four home runs and a .588 OPS in 53 games for the Marlins after signing a two-year, $16-million contract as a free agent with his hometown team in the offseason.
The Dodgers also put $4 million in the trade to offset the difference in Morse’s $8.5-million salary and Tabata’s $4.5-million salary next season.
“He has value because he can come off the bench and pop you a home run,” said another big-league scout of Morse. “He’s terrible defensively, though. He’s the second-worst defensive first baseman in the major leagues behind Alvarez but he’ll get a big hit or two for them down the stretch.”

About The Author

John Perrotto

Pirates Insider

John Perrotto is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Pirates, MLB. John has covered the Pirates for over 20+ seasons and is an exclusive member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

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