MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins are indeed in selling mode.
The team announced Thursday that they traded first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitcher Stephen Pryor. The Twins signed Morales back in early June with the hope that the addition of his bat in the lineup could help push Minnesota into contention. But as the Twins now sit eight games under .500, they are now sellers leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.
"We’re at that time of year. We aren’t doing well on the field and we’re getting to the trade deadline area," said Twins general manager Terry Ryan. "There was interest in Kendrys, so we thought it was wise before we get to the free agent period later in the year. It made a lot of sense to see what we could get in return. So that’s the reason. It’s nothing more, nothing less."
To take Morales’ spot on the 25-man roster, Minnesota recalled infielder Jorge Polanco from High-A Fort Myers. Polanco appeared in four games with the Twins earlier this season, going 2-for-5 with a double and a triple. He was batting .291 with 45 RBI in 94 games with Fort Myers.
Pryor, 25, will report to Triple-A Rochester. He pitched for Seattle just once this year — against Minnesota, in fact — but has 34 games of big league experience from 2012-14, posting a 2.81 ERA in 32 innings. In 24 games at Triple-A Tacoma this year, Pryor had a 4.65 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 18 walks in 31 innings. He missed the beginning of the 2014 season while on the disabled list following surgery to repair his right latissimus dorsi muscle.
"He’s got a good arm, there’s no question about that," Ryan said. "He’s had a little bit of a history of injuries, which is somewhat concerning, but he’s healthy now. So we’ll take the arm and see what we can do with it."
Morales never really put up the types of offensive numbers the Twins hoped he would when they signed him. In 39 games with Minnesota, he batted just .234 and slugged .325 with one home run and 18 RBI. He now rejoins a Mariners team he knows well, as he spent the 2013 season with Seattle. The Mariners are currently 53-48 and are in the mix for a wild card berth in the American League.
Ryan said it’s "fair to say" the Twins could continue to look at more possible moves between now and July 31.
"It’s always active. At this time of the year, you’re going to have activity, especially if you’re in a situation that the Twins are in right now," Ryan said. "We’re going to have active calls. Whether you place them or field them, it’s going to be a little busy now."