GW commentator Will Pellas weighs in on the Hanny deal and the possibility of another move in the works:
The trade of Joel Hanrahan to Chowdah Nation was one of the more significant deals of GM Neal Huntington's tenure. The Pirates probably did about as well as could reasonably be expected, given Hanny's "Hanrattacks" last season and given that Joel is carrying more than a few extra pounds around his waistline.
Add in the fact that he is in his free agent walk year, and unfortunately there wasn't as much leverage for the Pirates to work with as would have been the case had they traded him last year. If they had done that, though, the natives (probably including both Ron and me, to be honest!) would have stormed the Bastille. So, you win some, you lose some.
Of the players the Pirates acquired in exchange for Hanrahan and overachiever utilityman Brock Holt, I am cautiously optimistic about relief pitcher Mark Melancon and believe he is a good bounceback bet.
It would be great if 1B/OF Jerry Sands became a mirror version of Garrett Jones - and let's all hope that he will - but Sands hits righthanded and isn't able to handle same side pitchers very well (lifetime MLB lines - .314 BA/.904 OPS v LHP; .204/.589 v RHP).
On the other hand, by virtue of hitting lefthanded, Jones is more useful because he can play against "opposite handed" pitchers much more often. So you have two very similar players in Sands and Jones, but unfortunately the younger, cheaper guy is less likely to be on the field than the older, more expensive guy. Jones is
arbitration eligible this winter and coming off his best production since his incredible half season debut for the Pirates in 2009. As a result, he will cost more than a player with his respectable but not great career resume should.
I'm not expecting anything from trade throw-ins Pimentel and DeJesus, but Brock Holt couldn't play any position other than second base, and he didn't even do that particularly well. DeJesus at least can catch the ball and he can definitely play shortstop.
Holt brings up another point, though. The real issue with the Pirates' utility infielders is that Clint Hurdle "Ciriaco'ed" not only Ciriaco himself, but also Jordy Mercer. Ciriaco would have been a GREAT help to this team as a utility
infielder and he would be ideally positioned to become the Pirates' starting shortstop after Clint Barmes almost certainly leaves town at the close of the 2013 campaign.
But the Pirates blew it with him the same way they've blown it, repeatedly and at great loss to the team, with their, ahem, "evalutions" of many other young players over the years. That happens in all organizations, of course, but such mistakes are greatly magnified in small markets where it's unlikely that the team can just buy a major league ready replacement for such mistakes off the shelf.
At the end of all this rumination and dealing, you would think that another trade is pending. Surely the Pirates can't go into 2013 with all of the part time/platoon 1B-DH-OF types on the roster at the moment. Jones, as previously noted, is getting a tad expensive in arbitration, and Sanchez is arb-eligible, too. MLB Trade Rumor's Matt Schwartz has their arb figures pegged at $4.4M for Jones and $1.8M for Sanchez.
Beyond these two there are Sands and Clint Robinson. Both are guys who were on the same career path that Jones was before he came to Pittsburgh in what must surely be one of the most effective minor league free agent signings of all time. That is, both Sands and Robinson were more or less trapped in the upper minors because their progress in their original organizations weas blocked by
established major leaguers immediately above them.
Sands didn't sniff the field at Fenway Park after going to Da Sawx, stuck at Albuquerque until the season's end to remain eligible as the PTBNL in the deal. Boston obviously didn't think much of Sands because they conceded 1B to the distinctly underwhelmling and underachieving James Loney - who ironically was his blocker in LA - instead of taking a look at
Sands. They passed him off to the Pirates without giving him a single at-bat in anger with the organization. Another yellow flag for his future in Pittsburgh, perhaps, but he has nothing left to prove in the minors and is at least worth a look.
Turning to the outfield, it's pretty clear that either Tabata, Jones or Presley will leave town this offseason. If I had to guess which one would go, it would be Presley, since as the team is currently constructed, you have Snider and Jones as outfielders who hit lefthanded. I much prefer "The King" to Tabata, particularly for the fourth outfielder role, but Tabata is (supposedly) a little younger and also has a team friendly long term deal in place. Of course that same contract could make Tabata very attractive to other clubs.
Looking at all of this it's hard to escape the conclusion that one more deal, maybe a big one, is very likely in the works. You could get quite a return from a Jones/Tabata/good prospect package. Maybe even the next starting shortstop, since it is apparent that that will not be Jordy Mercer or Chase d'Arnaud as long as the current regime is in charge.
In the aftermath of a trade like this, it would mean a right field platoon of Sands and Snider, with Presley as the fourth outfielder. Hmmm....that would leave the Pirates a bit thin in terms of outfield depth. So, perhaps an additional prospect along with Jones instead of Tabata. There are many possibilities, but I'll make this prediction: maybe not two, but definitely one from among Jones-Tabata-Presley will be traded before spring training.