Pirates Send Max Moroff and Jordan Luplow to Indians in Exchange for Three Players

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced a five-player trade with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon. The Pirates sent infielder Max Moroff and outfielder Jordan Luplow to Cleveland for infielder Erik Gonzalez and right-handed pitchers Dante Mendoza and Tahnaj Thomas. More on this breaking news shortly.

Gonzalez is the big piece here, as the other two are lower level pitchers. He has played parts of three seasons with the Indians, accumulating just over two years (2.007) of service time in the majors. The 27-year-old gives the Pirates someone who can play three infield spots (plus he has played some first base and corner outfield). He hit .265/.301/.365 in 143 plate appearances over 81 games. According to Baseball-Reference, he posted an 0.6 WAR total, with an 0.2 dWAR. The 2018 season was his first full year in the big leagues. In 162 total games, he has a .263/.292/.389 slash line in the majors.

Tahnaj Thomas is a 19-year-old from the Bahamas, who pitched in the AZL (Same level as GCL), where he had a 4.58 ERA in 19.2 innings this year, but he picked up 27 strikeouts, with a .188 BAA and a 1.90 GO/AO ratio. He was ranked 30th by MLB Pipeline among all Cleveland prospects. He’s 6’4″, 190 pounds, with a 92-95 MPH fastball that has excellent downward plane. Pipeline also says that he has the makings of an above average curve, plus a feel for a changeup.

Mendoza is also 19 and in the AZL this season. He’s 6’5″, 186 pounds, and was drafted in the 12th round last year out of high school. He had a matching 4.58 ERA as Thomas, throwing exactly twice as many innings. He signed for $125,000 (slot after the tenth round) and is the cousin of Zach Britton. Mendoza throws a fastball, curve and changeup. According to Baseball America, he throws 86-90 MPH and needs work on his off-speed pitches. He’s all about projection due to his frame, which has a lot of room to fill out.

As for the familiar faces leaving, both players have seen some action with the Pirates over the last two years, but neither received significant playing time for any stretch. Moroff has hit .193/.293/.331 in 84 games with the Pirates. They didn’t recall him during September this year, so that didn’t look good for his future in the organization. Luplow has hit .194/.274/.371 in 64 games with the Pirates over the 2017-18 seasons. Both players leaving are 25 years old.

Neal Huntington released this statement shortly after the trade was made:

More coming up soon.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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