Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Reliever Bryan Morris To Miami, Pick Up Extra MLB Draft Pick


May 25, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Bryan Morris (29) pitches against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Nationals won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is the only major North American professional sport that limits the number of draft picks a team can trade, but the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins took advantage of one of the few opportunities to swap futures.

The Pirates announced Sunday afternoon that they had dealt right-handed reliever Bryan Morris to the Marlins for the 39th overall selection in the upcoming MLB Draft. The pick was Miami’s so-called “competitive balance” choice, which are awarded at random to low-revenue teams and are the only type of picks that can be traded.

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Morris, 27, was close to earning a late-inning role out of spring training, but his continued inconsistencies kept him from doing so. Acquired in 2008 via the Jason Bay trade, Morris has pitched in 81 MLB games, all since 2012 and all with the Pirates.

Although Morris has a mid-90s fastball and a sharp breaking pitch, he has yet to fully harness his ability. His career earned-run average of 3.46 and WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of 1.35 are representative of his current status as an average MLB reliever.

On the Pirates’ website, general manager Neal Huntington played up the advantage of adding another high draft pick and alluded to the team’s depth in the bullpen as reasons for the deal:

"“In the short term, this trade will add a quality prospect to our system that will enhance our ability to make additional prospect-for-Major-League-player type deals while helping us to better sustain crucial prospect depth. Additionally, we feel we have made this move from a position of strength, as we have kept our core bullpen intact.”"

An additional move will have to be made to fill Morris’ spot on the Pirates’ 25-man MLB roster. That adjustment must occur before Pittsburgh finishes its series in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.