Rockies Acquire Backup Catcher Morales From Twins





The Deal
Twins backup catcher Drew Butera hit just .197 as a rookie in 2010, but Minnesota values his defensive contributions so much that it wants him to continue in that role next season. So with third-string catcher Jose Morales entering the 2011 season with no minor league options remaining, the Twins didn't wait until spring training to trade him to the Rockies for low Class A lefty reliever Paul Bargas.
 
Twins Acquire
Paul Bargas, lhp
Age: 22.
Born: Oct. 13, 1988 in Perris, Calif.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 205. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: UC Riverside.
Career Transactions: Selected by Rockies in 13th round of 2009 draft; signed June 17, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Asheville (SAL) LoA 5 4 3.59 58 0 5 67.2 57 31 27 3 19 64 1.12

The Twins like strike-throwers and Bargas certainly fits that bill. He sinks his fastball at 87-89 mph and throws a quality changeup, but his stuff is a bit short to project him in anything more than a relief role. His high-70s slider breaks laterally and breaks early, so it probably won't play as a swing-and-miss pitch at higher levels.
 
Rockies Acquire
Jose Morales, c
Age: 27. Position: C (46 G), 1B (2 G).
Born: Feb. 20, 1983 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 200. Bats: B. Throws: R.
School: Academia la Providencia HS, Rio Piedras, P.R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Twins in third round of 2001 draft; signed June 30, 2001.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Rochester (IL) AAA .264 73 258 30 68 19 1 3 25 34 63 0 .350 .380
Minnesota (AL) MLB .194 19 36 4 7 2 0 0 7 6 14 0 .295 .250

As backup to Joe Mauer, Morales spent all of April 2009 in the big leagues and finished that season with a .311/.381/.361 batting line in 134 at-bats. He had wrist surgery that offseason, however, and missed the first few weeks of 2010. In that time, Butera established himself as backup catcher, so Morales bided his time in Triple-A until late July. A switch-hitter, Morales can put the barrel to the ball but has minimal power, and in 10 minor league seasons he's hit .286/.341/.383. He has an average arm and receives and frames pitches well, so he profiles as an ideal backup catcher.
 

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