The Pittsburgh Pirates have claimed third baseman Brent Morel off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. This is the second time this off-season that Morel has been claimed off waivers. He was previously claimed by Toronto from the Chicago White Sox in December.
Morel has a career .229/.276/.333 line in 669 plate appearances in the majors. He’s a right-handed hitter who has been better in his career against lefties, although he only has a .684 OPS in the majors against left-handers. He has been a decent defender at third base, with a career 0.2 UZR/150.
As I wrote earlier today, the Pirates don’t have many options beyond Pedro Alvarez at third base. Morel isn’t a good option, but he’s a natural third baseman, which beats the alternatives of playing Gaby Sanchez at third, or shuffling the lineup to have someone like Jordy Mercer, Neil Walker, or Russell Martin play third base if Alvarez goes down.
Morel does have one option year remaining, so the Pirates could stash him in Triple-A, rather than starting him off in the majors. He will probably battle Josh Harrison for an infield bench spot, although Harrison would have more value due to his ability to play second base and the outfield. Morel’s main value is depth at third base if Alvarez goes down.
The Pirates will need to make a corresponding roster move to create a spot for Morel. They are expected to announce that move later tonight.
UPDATE 3:28 PM: Morel seems happy about the move:
Being a diehard Steeler fan, always wanted to play for the city of Pittsburgh.. Now I might just get that chance. Go Pirates #blackandyellow
— Brent Morel (@Bmorel_22) February 24, 2014