When the news broke this afternoon that the Pirates were no longer in on Wilson Betemit and that they’d made their roster moves to accomodate Erik Bedard and Nate McLouth without releasing Ross Ohlendorf, my gut feeling was that it was a sign that there was another move in the offing. It turns out that was a good instinct: the Pirates traded Brooks Pounders and Diego Goris tonight to Kansas City for infielder Yamaico Navarro, and it appears that the corresponding move to create space on the 40-man will be to release Ohlendorf.
Navarro’s just turned 24 and he’s spent a bit of time in the big leagues with both the Royals and Red Sox in 2010 and 2011. The Pirates interest likely comes in the form of his decent walk-rate and .430 minor league slugging percentage, even though his big league numbers aren’t great. He does indeed have an interesting minor league profile and you can see why a team in search of a utility guy would be interested in him over, say, Wilson Betemit. I honestly don’t know much about Navarro, but my gut reaction is that if the Pirates are going to acquire a utility guy, I’d rather have a 24-year old with some potential than another re-tread. To be honest, I need to do some more reading on Navarro before I really make any sort of judgment here.
On the other end of the deal, Pounders is a tough pitcher to peg. The Pirates picked him out of high school in the second round of the 2009 draft, when he was billed as a big guy without an overwhelming fastball, but with much better secondary stuff than the average high schooler. He pitched well with West Virginia this year, but it was mostly in relief. As far as I’ve read, I don’t think he’s done much more than crack the low-90s with his 6’4″/260ish pound frame, which may be why he’s on the list of pitchers to be dealt. To be honest, there’s going to be a huge logjam of pitchers in FSL Bradenton when the 2012 season opens and Pounders is way, way down on that depth chart (he’s behind, by my calculation, Cole, Taillon, Cain, Von Rosenberg, Fuesser, and Dodson, just off the top of my head, though I guess Cole may start 2012 in Altoona), so it makes sense that he’d be the one to be traded for some big league depth. I will, however, miss having a player named “Brooks Pounders” in the Pirates’ system.