Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Pirates' Team Building

Here's how your top 36 spring camp Pirates made it to Pittsburgh:

Pedro Alvarez: (2008 draft first round)
Clint Barmes: (2011 FA contract)
AJ Burnett: (2011 trade with NY Yankees for minor leaguers)
Gerrit Cole: (2011 draft first round)
Ivan DeJesus: (2012 trade with Boston for Joel Hanrahan)
Jeanmar Gomez: (2013 trade with Cleveland for minor leaguer)
Jason Grilli: (2011 FA contract)
Josh Harrison: (2009 trade with Chicago Cubs for Tom Gorzelanny, John Grabow)
Jared Hughes: (2006 draft fourth round)
Brandon Inge: (2013 minor league contract)
Garrett Jones: (2008 FA contract)
Jeff Karstens: (2008 trade with NY Yankees for Xavier Nady, Damasco Marte)
Chris Leroux: (2010 waiver claim)
Francisco Liriano: (2013 FA contract)
Jeff Locke: (2009 trade with Atlanta for Nate McLouth)
Starlin Marte: (2007 international signing)
Russell Martin: (2012 FA contract)
Andrew McCutchen: (2005 draft first round)
James McDonald: (2010 trade with LA Dodgers for Octavio Dotel)
Mike McKenry: (2011 trade with Boston for cash/PTBNL)
Kyle McPherson: (2007 draft fourteenth round)
Mark Melancon: (2012 trade with Boston for Joel Hanrahan)
Jordy Mercer: (2008 draft third round)
Bryan Morris: (2008 trade with LA Dodgers for Jason Bay)
Charlie Morton: (2009 trade with Atlanta for Nate McLouth)
Clint Robinson: (2012 trade with Kansas City for minor leaguers)
Wandy Rodriguez: (2012 trade with Houston for minor leaguers)
Gaby Sanchez: (2012 trade with Miami for Gorkys Hernandez, draft pick)
Jonathan Sanchez: (2013 minor league contract)
Tony Sanchez: (2009 draft first round)
Jerry Sands: (2012 trade with Boston for Joel Hanrahan)
Travis Snider: (2012 trade with Toronto for Brad Lincoln)
Jose Tabata: (2008 trade with NY Yankees for Xavier Nady, Damasco marte)
Neil Walker: (2004 draft first round)
Tony Watson: (2007 draft ninth round)
Justin Wilson: (2008 draft fifth round)

The majority of the guys came to the Pirates via trade (17), followed by the draft (11), free agents (5), minor league deals (2) and the waiver wire (1).

That trades lead the pack isn't surprising, given that the FO dismantled the team Dave Littlefield gave them. AJ Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald are the core of the staff, Mike McKenry and Jeff Karstens are useful parts of the puzzle and Charlie Morton, Travis Snider and Jose Tabata may yet pay off. Still, there are no real impact everyday players, which may be due to the FOs preference for high upside guys without a track record; they really haven't turned any of them into value yet.

The draft is supposed to do the heavy lifting for the team, and it's had some success - Cutch, The Kid, Pedro and maybe Marte look like keepers. and Cole isn't far from joining that group. The problem is that of the eight homegrown guys who contributed to the roster last year, six (Cutch, Walker, Marte, Hughes, McPherson and Watson) were Dave Littlefield guys. That's partially because the FO went for high school pitching in 2009, creating a system gap, partially because the emphasis on Latin signings pay off slowly considering the young age that the kids sign at, and partially evaluation. Still, it's not much of a showing after five full drafts.

Of the free agents, Martin and Barmes start, Liriano should, and the other pair - Grilli and Jones - were actually minor league FAs. Some of that has to do with budget, and some with Pittsburgh as a destination. But they've done OK on this road; they've inked guys like Octavio Dotel, Javier Lopez, Jose Veras, etc. as purveyors of the second and third tier of available talent.

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