This is kind of random and out of the blue: the Pirates announced today that they traded Bryan Morris to the Marlins for the 39th pick int his year’s draft. The 39th overall pick is one of the “competitive lottery” picks given to bad/small market teams after each of the first two rounds of the draft, which are the only tradeable picks in the draft. You may recall that the Pirates traded a first round competitive lottery pick to the Marlins in the Gaby Sanchez trade back in 2012. The Pirates don’t have a first round competitive lottery pick of their own, but they do have a second rounder, so this trade gives them four picks in the first 73 picks of the draft.
You can say a lot of things about acquiring this pick; it will increase the Pirates’ slot money, should someone interesting fall to them at #24 in the first round (I kind of suspect that this is the reason for this trade, to be honest). It also will put another prospect in the system at the same time that one will come out to complete the Ike Davis trade (at this point it seems obvious the second player in the Davis trade will be one of the non-Meadows/McGuire early round picks from last year’s draft). And heck, sometimes the 39th overall pick turns out to be a decent player: Lance Lynn, Todd Hundley, Jerome Williams, and Don Baylor were all 39th picks. Joey Gallo, the 2013 #39, was a top 100 prospect this spring. Barry Bonds was a 39th overall pick, too, not by the Pirates, but by the Giants in 1982, though he didn’t sign and elected to go to Arizona State, instead.
As for Morris, well, the results have just never really matched the promise. Between last year and this year, he’s only racked up 51 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings, which is just obscenely low for a relief pitcher these days. He’s got 40 walks in that span, too. He is, pretty much, the definition of a replacement level reliever at this point in his career. It’s kind of unfathomable to me that the Marlins would trade anything for a player like Morris, because Morris was probably one one bad outing away from being sent on the DFA/waivers carousel the next time the Pirates needed a 40-man roster spot. I suppose he could find himself at put up better numbers at some point in the future, but he’s 27 and it hasn’t happened yet.
As far as I can tell, the Pirates haven’t announced a corresponding move yet. Presumably they will before tonight’s game against the Dodgers.