Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reviewing the Pirates' Deadline Moves

The Pirates at the 2012 Trade Deadline were in an unusual position: they were buyers.  And not just like last year when they bought Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick for the equivalent of a bag of beans.  The Pirates traded prospects, major league players, and absorbed future salaries this year.

The Pirates picked up LHP Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros, OF Travis Snider from the Blue Jays, 1B Gaby Sanchez from the Marlins, and RHP Chad Qualls from the Yankees.  In return, they gave up Robbie Grossman/Colton Cain/Rudy Owens (to Astros), Brad Lincoln (to Blue Jays), Gorkys Hernandez and the competitive balance pick (to Marlins), and Casey McGehee (to Yankees).  They also designated for assignment super utility man Drew Sutton.

Overall, I'm OK with the moves they made.  They could have been better, but they could have been worse.  I'm not the biggest Wandy fan in the world and I'm less than thrilled that his 2014 club option now becomes a $14M player option.  So at the age of 35, no way does Wandy turn that down.  The Pirates did get $12M in the deal to offset his 2012-14 salaries.  I'm not broken up about any of the prospects lost to the Astros, even though all 3 were in my top 15.  Grossman is the best one, but he seems more like a solid regular than a star.  Owens should be an OK #5 pitcher, but Minute Maid is tough on flyball lefties.  Cain seems to not be a starter long-term and projects as a reliever.

If this were the offseason, I would be ecstatic the Pirates got Snider for Lincoln.  But I'm worried that the Pirates weakened the 2012 playoff-stretch team for a player that has yet to establish if he is a full-time OF or not.  He has 4 years of control left and any time you get a regular for a reliever you take it; I'm just not sure if the timing is right on this move.

Getting Gaby Sanchez (and some non-prospect reliever) for Gorkys and the comp-balance pick is grand theft larceny.  Even though Sanchez is struggling mightily in 2012, he could be a great change of scenery candidate, especially getting away from the zoo known as the Ozzie Guillen-led Marlins.

Chad Qualls is not very good and the Pirates needed to get something for the superfluous McGehee after obtaining Sanchez.  He fills a need for the Yanks and the Pirates get a reclamation project for Searage.

All in all, the Pirates helped the 2012 roster a little and potentially helped the 2013 and beyond rosters a lot. The Braves did not improve more than the Pirates (Maholm and Reed Johnson), neither did the Reds (Jonathan Broxton) nor the Cards (Edward Mujica).  The Giants added Hunter Pence and the Dodgers spent wildly on Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, and Shane Victorino, but I'm not sure any power balance was tipped.  The Pirates still lead the wild card race on August 2nd with a very favorable schedule in the balance.

I can't believe the Pirates are legitimate playoff contenders.  It's a weird sensation.


  1. I like Lunchbox, the player, just not sure I like him for Lincoln for this year. I've been saying the same thing you have about the deal though: Okay for this year, potentially great for '13+. Lunchbox is a hack and half, but he's "strong like bull" and doesn't embarrass himself on defense. Lincoln has kept the music playing in Toronto so far, but any time you can get a regular for a reliever you do it. 100 times out of 100. I don't think Brad will ever be an effective starter. He nibbles when he starts.

    Didn't like the Wandy deal mostly because of the money, but slightly cuz I think they overpaid(given his massive contract). I'd have told the Astros, you can have the two pitchers and we'll eat more of his salary. Take it or leave it. I don't love Grossman, but I don't think he was necessary to complete that deal.

    I like the Gaby pickup. Gorkys pretty much sucks and the pick is likely to amount to nothing as it is to pan out. Gaby smokes lefties and will actually work counts/take a walk. Both are areas of glaring need on this team. I don't think he's "the full time answer" at first, or anything, but he at least has the pedigree to be a legitimate producer for the lower middle half of the lineup. He SHOULD be a nice platoon guy with Jones at 1B for the rest of '12 and with whomever the lefty portion is in '13-'14(since I don't know that they re-up Jones).

    MegaHeeee/Qualls is a non deal to me. It was both teams saying "Hey, do you want this guy before we DFA him?"

    As you said...they could have been better, but they were able to make a couple better-than-marginal upgrades(when you consider how bad Presely/ MegeHeee/Bedard had been), for this year and beyond, and gave up practically nothing of value to do it. Incremental upgrades? Maybe, but they were upgrades and were needed.

  2. So, after a couple weeks now, I'm wondering if we can go back and get a do over on that Wandy deal and just offer those prospects to Toronto for the Lunchbox so we could keep Lincoln.