Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Blush

At first blush, it looks like Neal Huntington is better at moving the fringes of a team rather than its core. He did what appears to be a pretty solid job this deadline.

He traded a 36 year-old, Octavio Dotel, and got a 25 year-old back end starter in James McDonald along with a 21 year-old outfield/first base prospect in Andrew Lambo. Lambo is intriguing, and at least adds some depth to the upper-level OF/1B mix.

He traded Javy Lopez, 33, and got a pair of 27 year-old AAA players, pitcher Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker. They'll both help stabilize an Indy team that's been beaten up, and Bowker has a shot as a platoon fourth outfielder, pinch-hitter type for the big club.

The first deal, snagging Chris Snyder, helps fill a season-long void at catching, not to mention clearing the pine of Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby. He also provides a bridge to Tony Sanchez. Snyder is one of the league's better defensive catchers, and has as much pop as Dewey, if a lower average. DJ Carrasco will be missed, but he's not a back-ender.

And shortstop Pedro Ciriaco helps fill a gap at SS at Indy, and allows guys like Brian Friday, Jordy Mercer, and Brock Holt time to develop.

And Huntington made one good move of omission when he held on to Paul Maholm. He may be up and down, but he's a tough man to replace on the staff. PM has averaged 30 starts and 189 innings from 2006-09, and more often than not pitched solidly. That's a big role to fill.

So we like it. Nothing earth shattering nor any major pieces of the puzzle connected this year, but the organization is stronger from the upper levels to PNC Park today than it was yesterday. And it was all done with short-term, throw-away pieces, players brought in as free agents to fill in the roster this year.

There are a couple of downsides. One is that the bullpen, Pittsburgh's knight in shining armor so far this season, has taken a big hit. There's also quite a logjam being created at first base/outfield with the additions of Bowker and Lambo. And for the promise these guys have, their teams all gave up on them - and who should know best?

2 comments:

Big Snack said...

I'm with ya old man, I think they did a good job this year. It's nice that this season we weren't holding the usual July firesale that seems to happen every year.

Granted, we really didn't add anyone of importance, but all we gave up were under performing rentals, and I personally like Snyder a lot more behind the plate then Dewey. I'm hoping some AL team takes him off our hands in the offseason, but he's going to have to be the Dewey of old down the stretch or else we won't be able to find a taker.

No one would want a beaten up catcher that gets injured more often then Mark Prior, but if he can hit then some team (Boston, NYY and possibly the Mets come to mind) with deep pockets may be willing to take him off our hands if the price is right.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Rock, I think Dewey is as good as gone. The rest of it leaves the Bucs with a stronger upper level system, fills a catching gap if Snyder is over his back injury, and leaves them considerably weaker in the bullpen. All in all, probably good moves, considering where the Pirates are at competitively right now.