After saying last week that this trade deadline might be quieter than usual for the Pirates, GM Neal Huntington went ahead and made a few deals before the July 31st deadline. Gone are several of the veterans that the Pirates had signed to short term deals in the offseason with the hope they might resurrect their careers.
Also gone is a pretty good bullpen.
In one deal the Pirates shipped closer Octavio Dotel to the Los Angeles Dodgers for RHP James McDonald and outfielder Andrew Lambo. McDonald will head to Pittsburgh and start in the bullpen with the hope that he will work his way into the starting rotation. Lambo will be sent to AA Altoona.
Lambo was the Dodgers fourth round pick in the 2007 First Year Player Draft. Earlier this year Baseball America rated him as the Dodgers best outfield prospect and number seven overall. He is just 21 years old, but was suspended for 50 games this year due to a failed drug test (marijuana) for the second time. “We did our due diligence, and we do feel comfortable that it’s a mistake that a young man made and he’s ready to move beyond it and tackle bigger and better challenges,” Huntington said. “[He] got off to a great start this year … It’s a sweet left-handed swing, it’s a quality hitter, and we think there’s some developing power in there to go along with it.”
In another trade the Pirates sent veterans Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby, and D.J. Carrasco to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Chris Snyder, Minor League SS Pedro Ciriaco, and $3 million to help off set Snyder’s salary.
Ciriaco will be sent to AAA Indianapolis where the organization hopes he can continue to develop into an everyday player. Scouts say he has well above average speed, above average arm and range, but he needs to work on his pitch recognition.
They also sent pitcher Javier Lopez to the San Francisco Giants for RHP Joseph Martinez and outfielder John Bowker. Martinez will be sent to AAA Indianapolis to be a starter while Bowker will be another left handed bat in the Indians lineup. “It’s a good bat that we wanted to add to the system,” Huntington said. “Brandon Moss has swung the bat very well, and we’ve added another quality left-handed-hitting outfielder that could fit on the club as an extra outfielder. But we also have scouting reports not too long ago that have John Bowker as a potential everyday player.”
To help fill some temporary holes in the Pittsburgh lineup, Jeff Clement, Argenis Diaz, and Justin Thomas have been called up.
Change is tough for any team, especially for a losing group. Sometimes it’s even tougher when you only have a few desirable pieces, and you lose the majority of them. “We had pride in our bullpen,” added Joel Hanrahan. “We were a close-knit group. We felt that we were one of the best ones in the league in doing our job. It’s tough to see all the guys leave, and you lose a lot of experience, but, obviously, Neal has an idea of what he’s doing. We’ve got to continue to go out there and get people out.”
All Star Evan Meek said “It’s very disappointing. Geez, it’s frustrating. Again, it’s the business side of the game. All you can do is wish them the best and hope that they adapt and are happy with where they’re at. I’m going to miss them very much.”
There will be a clearer picture of which players will be in Pittsburgh and which ones will be in Indianapolis when the dust settles in a couple of weeks.
With the Pirates again in last place in the division, they will spend the next 6-8 weeks planning for the future.