Well, well. The Pirates finally got someone for a player they were probably planning on non-tendering, sending RHP Jose Veras to the Brewers for 3B Casey McGehee.
Veras, 31, actually had a nice year for the Pirates, with the occasional breakdowns that come with a team-leading 79 appearances. The righty threw 71 innings and complied a 2-4-1/3.80 line with 79 Ks, running into problems when his control was off.
But he was one of five relievers up for arbitration and in line for a big bump up from his $1M 2011 contract. With several other young guys looking for big league work, he was expendable.
McGehee, 29, hit .223 with a .280 on-base percentage for the Brewers with 13 home runs in 546 at-bats, having a pretty miserable year. But the FO is looking at his 2010 season, when he had 23 home runs, 104 RBIs and hit .285 with a .337 OBP. McG had a nice 2009 rookie line of .301/16/66 as a part-timer, too.
He can play both corners (though he only has a handful of games at first) and provides some pop and a little insurance if Pedro fizzles. If both he and Alvarez have bounce back years, El Toro could get find himself across the diamond. McGehee was also a potential non-tender candidate, especially as the Brew Crew just inked A-Ram. As a first-time arb-eligible player, the Pirates have him under control through the 2014 season.
Per MLB Trade Rumors, Veras projected to earn $2.5M in 2011, while McGehee projected to earn $3.1M through arbitration.
Our guess is that Veras will help Milwaukee more than McGehee will Pittsburgh, but we can't complain about getting a return on a player rather than just cutting him loose ala Matt Capps.
Rob Biertempfel of the Trib tweeted that RHP Jason Grilli signed a one-year deal for $1.1M and appearance bonuses, assuring a veteran presence in the pen, at least until the deadline.
It's still going to be a busy night. Pittsburgh has a hour or so to offer arb to Joel Hanrahan, Charlie Morton, Jeff Karstens, Casey McGehee, Evan Meek, Chris Resop and Garrett Jones. And rest assured they'll be eying the non-tendered list, too. We may need a scorecard this year.