Friday, July 31, 2015

Deadline Deals: JA Happ, Mike Morse, Joakim Soria, Joe Blanton, A-Ram

The Pirates picked up LHP JA Happ from Seattle for Indy RHP Adrian Sampson. Happ, 32, went 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 21 appearances (20 starts) this season for the Mariners. He has a career record of 55-59 with a 4.29 ERA and 790 strikeouts in 185 games (160 starts) between Philadelphia (2007-10), Houston (2010-12), Toronto (2012-14) and Seattle (2015). For the time being, it looks like he'll plug into AJ's spot while he's on the DL. Happ's a rental, going into free agency in 2016. In fact, the surprise deal actually resulted after the Pirates had determined Burnett was DL-bound.

Sampson, 23, projects as a back-end starter/ long relief guy who's close to big-league ready in those roles. A neat little twist: he's from Redmond, Washington, and is returning home.

1B/OF Mike Morse had three pretty good years for the Nats from 2010-12, was bad for Seattle & Baltimore in 2013 (.215/13/27), bounced back for the Giants in 2014 (.279/16/61) and is in the midst of another nosedive this year as a Marlin (.213/4/12).He's a right-handed bat to caddy for Pedro Alvarez, but an OF'er in name only, so we don't expect to see him as a viable option for Gregory against lefties.

Morse has virtually no career platoon split, so he's handy off the bench. With the Corey Hart experiment having gone south, Morse is the resurrection of Petey's new playmate. He cost the Bucs Jose Tabata, Pittsburgh's black sheep, as the FO finally found someone to take his contract. Morse is no bargain; he's making $7.5M this year and $8.5 in 2016, so the Pirates made sure they had some cash (an undisclosed amount right now) tossed into the pot.

The Bucs got a much needed back-end reliever to spell Tony Watson and Jared Hughes in Joakim Soria. Soria's a serious closer, so high leverage situations should be his cup of tea. He has 23 saves and a 2.85 ERA (3.29 SIERA), using a fastball/cutter combo with a slider, cahnge and curve in the toolbox. Soria is a rental, becoming a FA after the season.

SS JaCoby Jones, 23, who was his trade mate, is fast, athletic and has some pop for a SS. He also K'es a lot and walks a little; at age 23, he's like buying a lotto ticket, with a chance to hit big but a much greater likelihood to crap out.

RHP Joe Blanton, 34, was DFA'ed by KC and the FO picked him up for cash. In 15 games (four starts), Blanton has a 3.89 ERA and 40 strikeouts with seven walks in 41-2/3 innings. The Pirates DFA'ed VAnce Worley to make space; they saw similar pitchers, but in Blanton they got a guy who they can use as anything from a spot starter to a bridge arm, and that versatility is the reasoning behind that move. He's also a rental

3B Aramis Ramirez gives the Bucs a competent finger to stick in the dike until Josh and Jordy return, altho he and JHK on the left side aren't exactly an athletic duo They club gave up RHP Yhonathan Barrios, a converted infielder who touches three figures, but has no secondary pitch; the Brewers are taking a chance on being able to coach him up some.

The roster counter moves?  For Mike Morse, we'll find out Sunday, and for JA Happ, AJ Burnett went on the DL. Joakim Soria was swapped out for Deolis Guerra. To clear Joe Blanton's space, Vanimal was DFA'ed. Brent Morel got the same treatment when A-Ram arrived.

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