The Pirates have received Diamondback’s catcher Chris Snyder in return for DJ Carrasco, Bobby Crosby, and Ryan Church today (you can see my trade deadline post for proper sourcing, as it’s been reported in parts all over the place today, but here’s the first post with the full details from MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert).
Essentially, the deal amounts to Carrasco for Snyder. I’m sure some people won’t be happy with giving up Carrasco, but this is a great deal for the Pirates. Carrasco is a very good long-reliever, but the problem is that’s not exactly worth a whole lot. He had a great year for the White Sox last year (better than with the Pirates this year, arguably) and was promptly non-tendered. Then, he ended up in Pirate camp on a minor league contract. He’s great for a club with weak starting pitching that needs someone to take the ball from the second to the fifth inning twice a week. The reason that’s not worth much is because, well, if the starter comes out of the game early there’s a good chance you’re going to lose whether Carrasco shuts the other team down for three innings or Dan McCutchen comes in and lights the boat on fire. Despite his great bullpen work, the Pirates are 15-30 in games that Carrasco appears in this year. That’s not his fault, but there are plenty of people that can pitch in those situations and not have the final result be much worse.
So let’s look at Snyder. Besides his terrible year last year, he almost always puts up decent power and on-base numbers to go with his usually terrible batting average. Last year aside, his OPS is usually in the .770-.800 range, which gives him an OPS+ between 94-100. For a catcher, that’s not bad. He also throws runners out (30% career rate) and can by all accounts can catch a baseball. These are things that the Pirates’ current fleet of catchers all have trouble with to varying degrees.
Mostly this almost certainly spells the end of Ryan Doumit as the Pirates’ everyday catcher; John Perrotto said as much yesterday before this trade went down. He’s regressed to the point defensively that I can’t help but wonder if there’s not some kind of clash between him and the coaching staff (no, I have no inside information here, but something happened between him and JR last year and he’s the only position player left from the team Huntington inherited). I fully expected them to try and deal him at the deadline before his concussion, and I’ll be surprised if he opens 2010 with the Pirates.
This trade lets the Pirates reinforce the bridge they’ve been trying to build between the current catchers and Tony Sanchez. Sanchez’s jaw injury ensures that he won’t be ready for Pittsburgh until late 2011 at the absolute earliest (as opposed to June/July 2011, which was what I thought before his injury) and Snyder is a much better Major League catcher than Jason Jaramillo or Erik Kratz and we’ve all seen how damaging Doumit can be behind the plate on his bad nights.
Essentially, they’ve dumped some dead weight and plugged a pretty big hole, and done it all by taking on a bit of salary (we won’t know how much, but it should be a decent amount if it had to be approved by Major League Baseball) and trading a middle reliever. Chris Snyer doesn’t make the Pirates a playoff team in 2011, but he does make them a better team at a relatively low cost, so it’s hard not to like this deal.