Kendrys Morales didn't have a lot of trade value for the Minnesota Twins, but his name and history still held enough power for the Seattle Mariners to come calling. Morales has been sent back to Seattle in return for right-hander Stephen Pryor.
Pryor, who just turned 25 yesterday and who will take Morales' spot on the 40-man roster, has spent most of the season in Triple-A (recovering from last year's surgery to repair his latissimus dorsi muscle) where he's appeared in 24 games in 31 innings of relief. He's struck out 27 but walked 18. Command has been an ongoing issue for Pryor, who consistently posted impressive strikeout totals prior to reaching Triple-A.
After debuting for the Mariner bullpen in 2012 in his age-22 season, he appeared in just seven games in 2013 and one game so far this year. In 32 Major League innings he owns a 2.81 ERA, including 35 strikeouts and, not surprisingly, 16 walks. He's also thrown four wild pitches.
Armed with a low to mid-90s fastball and a mid-80s slider, although his velocity was down on his fastball in his 1.2 innings with the Mariners this year, Pryor looks like a power pitcher (he's 6'4" and 245 lbs) but hasn't consistently been able to dominate like one. And that's the trick. Rick Anderson has some work cut out for him if the Twins are going to turn Pryor into a valuable, long-term member of the bullpen, but the good news is that the Twins were able to get a player who at least has the tools to be an effective pitcher.
Morales, 31, was a good situational hitter for the Twins but was never really productive. He batted .234/.259/.325 for the Twins in 162 plate appearances, scraping together 11 doubles but just one home run.
Essentially the Twins paid just over $2 million for 39 games from Morales and the future of Stephen Pryor. We always knew it would probably come down to this with Kendrys. The only thing left to figure out now is: who do the Twins call up?
Edit: the Twins have recalled Jorge Polanco.