After an exasperating night and day, they finally pulled the trigger, but with Boston and LA, in a 3-way deal.
The Pirates ended up with 3B Andy LaRoche, Adam's bro, OF Brandon Moss, and RHPs Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris. LaRoche, Moss and Hansen will join the Pirates for their game tomorrow in Chicago. Morris will be assigned to Class A Hickory.
> Brandon Moss, 24, an 8th round pick in 2002, is an athletic outfielder with a good arm that hits to all fields. He has slightly above average speed, and is supposed to be a solid fielder that plays the game right. It looks like they plan to plug him into Bay's LF spot.
The lefty Moss is still a work in progress, ala Steve Pearce, in that he switched from first to the OF in late 2007. In the past couple of years with the Red Sox, he's garnered 103 AB's, with a .291 average, 2 HR's, 12 RBI, 10 BB's and 31 K's. You can also count on him going down on strikes every 3 or 4 at bats.
> RHP Craig Hansen, 24, has a fastball that clocks at about 92-93 mph and touches 97. He also has a high-80s slider, which sometimes disappears. But he also struggles by getting behind early in counts. Hansen will fit right in at Pittsburgh that way.
He was used purely out of the pen by Boston, and will go as far as his command takes him. Hansen's arm is live enough to close if he can find the plate often enough.
He spent the last three years with the Sox, and was called into 74 games, covering 71-2/3 innings. Hansen had a 3-5 record and 6.15 ERA over that time. He's 1-3 with 2 saves and a 5.58 ERA in 2008.
> Bryan Morris, 21, is a RHP drafted in the first round by the Dodgers in 2005 out of junior college, and Scout.com has him ranked as LA's #11 prospect. He has a 93 MPH heater that sinks and an above average curve.
Morris underwent Tommy John surgery on Sept. 28, 2006, and just came back this season, pitching for the A Great Lake Loons. He's 2-4 with a 4.00 ERA and 1.29 WHIP as a starter there, and still obviously needs to build up arm strength.
He's projected by most baseball gurus as having middle of the rotation talent.
> Baseball Prospectus has RH Andy LaRoche, 24, listed as the Dodger's #2 prospect and a five star player. He's gotten 152 at bats in LA the past two seasons, hitting .216 with 3 HR's and 16 RBI. LaRoche has got a pretty good eye, K'ing 31 times and walking 30.
In March, LaRoche tore the ulnar collateral ligament of his right thumb, and was on the DL until May, just enough time to allow Blake DeWitt to bump him from the hot corner. To further crowd the position, Casey Blake came over from the Indians.
LaRoche showed some decent power in the minors, but hasn't flashed that muscle in the bigs. LA hasn't really given him much chance to strut his stuff.
It makes us kinda wonder just how far apart Pedro and the Bucs are in signing that contract, and if LaRoche isn't here as an insurance policy, or perhaps leverage to apply some pressure on Scott Boras.
He was drafted as a SS, so it's not a great leap of imagination to see him converted to 2B if the hot corner gets glutted.
All in all, better than the package deals floated in the past 24 hours. Pittsburgh got a couple of mid-level MLB players in Moss and Hansen - Boston got away cheap - and some slightly damaged but upside talent from LA with LaRoche and Morris.
And Pittsburgh kept Jack Splat and John Grabow around to fight for another day. So the Pirates still have their field captain and avoid another hit on the bullpen.
Still, it's disappointing to see the three heavy hitters leave town without an elite arm coming back. The suits did stick to their guns though, and wouldn't come down in price for Tampa or Florida.
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.com:
For 1.3 years of Bay, the Pirates receive LaRoche, Morris, Hansen, and Moss. Moss becomes the regular left fielder, LaRoche takes over at third until Pedro Alvarez is ready. When that happens, they might have a good problem on their hands. Future Pirates' outfield: Moss, McCutchen, McLouth. The pitchers are a couple of live arms at this point.
The deal necessitated some housecleaning by the Pirates.
To clear space on the 25-man roster, the Pirates optioned SS Brian Bixler back to Indy and DFA'ed RHP Frankie Osoria. CF Chris Duffy was also DFA'ed to make room on the 40-man roster. We were hoping to get something from, or at least for, him, but injuries and Nate McLouth dimmed his star.