Duke Welker is reportedly the PTBNL. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Tom Singer reports that MLB.com sources say Duke Welker is the player to be named later in the Justin Morneau trade. The Pirates sent Alex Presley and a PTBNL to acquire Morneau earlier today. After the trade, Neal Huntington said that the PTBNL would be a “legitimate piece”. Welker is certainly a legitimate piece, as he throws upper 90s with a good breaking ball. However, if your view on relievers is that they’re expendable, he’s not a guy the Pirates will miss. That’s especially true when you consider how good the Pirates have been acquiring right-handed relievers.
They traded Vic Black as the PTBNL to acquire Marlon Byrd. If the report is true on Welker, he would have to clear waivers before joining the Twins, thus the reason for the PTBNL status. If he doesn’t clear waivers, the Pirates could pull him back and send him to Minnesota after the season. Welker would have to clear waivers in the NL before he could make it to the Twins in the AL. However, I can’t see anyone blocking the deal, since teams usually have a gentleman’s agreement in place.
Welker had a 3.25 ERA in 61 innings with Indianapolis this year, along with a 64:29 K/BB ratio. He made two appearances in the majors, with 1.1 combined shutout innings.