While several Pittsburgh Pirates fans seem disgruntled after general manager Neal Huntington didn’t make a bigger splash as Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline came and went, I for one am happy with the job Huntington did and I’m not alone.
Baseball experts across the nation have been complementing the job the Bucs did and it is well deserved as they definitely came out deadline winners, not just for this year but the future as well.
In Wandy Rodriguez, Travis Snider and Gaby Sanchez, Huntington added three good parts to this team that make them better this season, but who they also control for the next three-plus years. The goal heading into the deadline was to make the Pirates a better team and Huntington did that.
Now wasn’t the time to sell the farm and overpay for a bat. In addition, was there really an impact bat out there that assures the Bucs a postseason berth? That answer is no. parting with a Starling Marte and other parts for the likes of a Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino or Shin-Soo Choo wasn’t the answer. Would it be nice to add an established hitter to the Pirates lineup? Of course it would, but there just weren’t many impact bats on the market worth overpaying for.
Next year or the year after, maybe we can talk about overpaying, but now wasn’t the time. The Pirates are still a young team and most of what this team will look like in two or three years is still in the minors right now. I may be in the minority, but I applaud Huntington for sticking to the plan.
Looking at what he did.
First off he traded three prospects for a top half of the rotation starter in Rodriguez. Robbie Grossman is a guy I hated to lose but ultimately he could end up being blocked in the outfield so it’s not a huge loss. In addition I’m not overly upset about losing Rudy Owens or Colton Cain. Did this deal make the Bucs better? The answer is yes.
Now looking at yesterday’s deals.
Brad Lincoln for Snider is a win for the Bucs. I hated to lose Lincoln as he has been fantastic but what Huntington did is turn a seventh inning reliever into a starting right fielder for the next three-plus seasons. You make that deal 10-out-of-10 times. Snider is a good ballplayer and has plus power potential. I won’t get into the numbers now, but here’s a guy who can hit the ball over the fence and drive in runs. Does this deal make the Pirates a better team? The answer is yeas, both for now and the future.
Then we look at Gorkys Hernandez and a compensation pick for Sanchez. I’m not excited about throwing the pick in but it fills a need as a right-handed hitting bat off the bench and a guy who will start at first base. Both needs for the Bucs. Sanchez has talent and put together solid 2010 and 2011 seasons, even making the National League All-Star team in 2011. This is a deal that likely could have been made in the offseason, but it makes the Pirates better, both for now and in the long-term. They got their first baseman for the next few years in exchange for a defensive replacement. Again, it could have been made during the winter meetings, but I like Sanchez as a player, despite his 2012 struggles. The change of scenery could do him well and the Bucs didn’t give up much to get him.
Finally, Casey McGehee for Chad Qualls is really a wash. I hate to see McGehee go but he was a likely DFA candidate after the Sanchez acquisition and they got a guy who has pitched not only late in ballgames, but a guy that has been a big part of some playoff teams. Qualls is struggling in 2012, but a switch to the NL Central should benefit him and he’s a guy that has gotten big outs in the past. I feel he can prove to be a useful bullpen arm for the stretch run.
Looking at the four trades over the course of a week, they all have a couple things in common. For one they all made the current and future teams better and none of the deals required parting with any parts of the franchises future.
The goal when buying at the trade deadline is to make your team better.
Are the Pirates a better team than they were yesterday? Yes they are, so it goes down as a successful trade deadline for Huntington.