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.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.