The Pittsburgh Pirates have re-acquired right-handed pitcher Duke Welker in exchange for left-handed pitcher Kris Johnson, per a team press release. Welker was sent to the Twins after the season as a player to be named later in the deal that brought Justin Morneau to the Pirates. Johnson joined the Pirates in August as a reliever, after putting up some impressive numbers in Triple-A.
The trade works well for both teams. Johnson might have a shot of being a number five starter, or a lefty middle reliever. He was going to be far down the depth chart as a starter, and wouldn’t beat out Tony Watson or Justin Wilson as a reliever. He might have a better shot at making the Twins rotation. Welker is a hard throwing right-hander who hits upper 90s, and could be a late inning relief option in the future, especially with the other trade that sent away Vic Black.