Brewers swap Morris to Bucs for player to be named

Brewers swap Morris to Bucs for player to be named

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Removed from the 40-man roster and leapfrogged on the organizational depth chart by the likes of Matt Clark and Jason Rogers, former Brewers Minor League Player of the Year Hunter Morris was traded to the Pirates on Thursday for a player to be named.

The Brewers and Pirates have until Sept. 1 to agree on a player in return, assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

"Just a logjam of three similar players," Ash said. "We took the first step of taking Hunter off the 40 in the winter, and then it became apparent with Clark coming back that ... it wasn't going to work. There was interest around the league in Hunter, and the Pirates stepped up."

The 26-year-old Morris hit .275 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 103 games at three Minor League levels last season, missing time with a broken right arm. That injury led the Brewers to sign Clark, who hit three home runs as a September callup and solidified his position in the organization with an excellent Spring Training. Clark was in the running for a spot on the big league bench, but the Brewers preferred to send him to Triple-A to get regular at-bats as insurance against starting first baseman Adam Lind's bad back.

Morris briefly was positioned to be the Brewers' first baseman of the future after he won the Southern League MVP Award and was named Milwaukee's Minor League Player of the Year in 2012 after batting .303 with 28 home runs and leading the league with 113 RBIs. But he slumped the following spring, and was unable to replicate his Minor League success in either of the following two seasons.

Asked why Morris might have backtracked, Ash said, "I think if we knew the answer to that, we would have rectified it. I saw what I saw in Huntsville that year, and it was very impressive. So it's in there. Whether he thought he was roadblocked here and maybe subconsciously gave up, I don't know. But he wasn't the same after that year."

If Andrew Lambo makes the Pirates' Opening Day roster, Morris -- who is not on the Bucs' 40-man roster -- figures to be the everyday first baseman for Triple-A Indianapolis. Lambo is competing with infielder Pedro Florimon for the final spot on the Pirates' bench.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.