Over the winter, Neal Huntington went out and signed a bunch of players that didn’t really overwhelm everyone. Bobby Crosby, Ryan Church, Octavio Dotel, Javier Lopez, and DJ Carrasco were all guys that had a chance to make the 2010 Pirates better without blocking prospects from playing, but didn’t offer much in the long-term.
Today, Huntington flipped all of those guys in three trades, bringing back various levels of return. For the relatively valueless Crosby and Church and middle reliever Carrasco, he picked up Chris Snyder, a catcher who should bridge the gap to Tony Sanchez without sending our pitcher into tremors every time a runner gets on base. For Lopez, who really only has value against left-handed hitters, he got Triple-A masher John Bowker who could be a decent platoon hitter if he’s ever given a chance at the big league level, and Joe Martinez who at the very least provides another arm for the front end of the bullpen or the back of the rotation, where the team needs arms right now.
That all seems like swapping short-term help for short-term help (albiet more helpful help, given the guys that were traded), but the Octavio Dotel trade brings in a couple of players that could be much more useful to the future of the Pirates. James McDonald is a solid upper-middle rotation prospect who at the very least should be a very useful bullpen player. Andrew Lambo is a very young, raw player who’s had some struggles but who is still a good prospect. To pull those two in for a 36-year old reliever is a pretty impressive haul and it’s the sort of trade I’m still smarting from being on the other end of so many times in the past.
The bottom line is this: Every player traded by the Pirates today was signed by Neal Huntington as a free agent this off-season to provide help for the immediate future. Most of them (notable exceptions: Church and Crosby) did that, and when they did Huntington packed them up for players that could be of use to the Pirates in the future. That’s pretty good work for any general manager.
See all of the posts below this one for more detail on all of Saturday’s madness.