As expected, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Pirates claimed Brandon Wood off of waivers today. Wood became one of baseball’s best prospects as he traversed through some offense-happy environments in the Angels’ system, but so far with the Angels he’s struck out about as regularly as you’d expect Pedro Alvarez to after running around his bat in a circle until he was dizzy.
I suppose there’s a smidgen of a chance that he’ll regain something with the Pirates, but let’s put this in perspective. If the Pirates were considering a player that had the exact same stats as Andy LaRoche did when they acquired him in 2008, I’d probably say go for it again. If they were considering someone with the exact same profile as Lastings Milledge had in 2009, I’d be in favor of it. But I think that Wood has a considerably lower ceiling given his strikeout struggles with the Angels.
In the offseason, the players Huntington pursued to replace Ronny Cedeno were JJ Hardy, Jason Bartlett, and Brendan Ryan. The main reason behind going after all three was that they were supposed to be stronger defensively than the notriously spacey Cedeno. Wood probably won’t be. And as much as we all complain about Cedeno’s offense, there’s no guarantee he’ll be better with the bat. If you asked me to predict which player would be better, in terms of WAR, over the next 100 games, I’d probably pick Cedeno
Do baseball’s karma gods owe us Pirate fans one (or several?). Sure. Could Clint Hurdle or someone help Wood fix his pitch-recognition problems? Theoretically, yeah. Is this a low-risk move for the Pirates? Yes. But it’s pretty honestly just not something I see going anywhere for the club. I hope I’m wrong.
UPDATE: Josh Rodriguez has been DFA by the Pirates. Pedro Ciriaco is up for now, but that’s likely just to fill a roster spot for Wood until he gets to Pittsburgh.