The Pirates made a total of four trades in the past week before Tuesday’s 4pm non-waiver trade deadline. Within those trades, the Pirates did not trade any, I repeat any irreplaceable commodities.
Many fans are disappointed the team did not make a bigger “splash” and acquire a Justin Upton or a Zack Greinke-type player, but every fan should be rejoicing that GM Neal Huntington has a plan and he’s sticking to it.
Brad Lincoln to Toronto for Travis Snider– The Pirates gave Lincoln every opportunity to be a MLB starter. After failing as a starter, Lincoln flourished in the bullpen, but only in a small sample size (35.2 innings). Huntington has proven that bullpen arms are replaceable in the past and looks to again. Drafted in the same round and year as Lincoln, Snider will now receive regular playing time with an opportunity to show off his power.
Snider was hitting .335 with 13 home runs and 56 rbi in AAA this season and if he were with the Pirates, fans would have been clamoring for him to be recalled. Trading Lincoln for a top-position-player prospect is quite an accomplishment. Trading Lincoln for a rental player such as Shane Victorino would have been a mistake.
The bullpen will miss Lincoln for a period of time, but the Pirates have capable arms in the minors just waiting for an opportunity in September, if not sooner. One has to wonder how much longer the Pirates will go before they call up reliever Bryan Morris from AAA Indianapolis. As good as Lincoln was in the pen, a combination of Bryan Morris and potentially Gerrit Cole in September will shore up the void left by Lincoln.
Gorkys Hernandez to Miami for Gaby Sanchez– Hernandez, 24, has a good glove and that’s about it. Hernandez can be a valuable asset in the proper setting, but the Pirates were not in need of his services. Sanchez, 28, is a former All-Star with proven power numbers, who is struggling this season.
It seems likely that Sanchez will get plenty of opportunities for playing time at first base for the Pirates. Sanchez has a career .298 average and .390 OBP against left-handed-pitchers, while it has been well documented that Jones struggles against southpaws.
Casey McGehee to New York Yankees for Chad Qualls– McGehee did not perform up to the Pirates expecations and with the acquisitions of Snider and Sanchez, there was no longer room for McGehee. Qualls has struggled in 2012, but will give the Pirates another option in the bullpen.
The four trades made this 2012 team better and more importantly it kept all the Pirates top prospects in the system and improved the team for future seasons. But 19 years of losing can make people delusional and judging by the half of the fans in Pittsburgh, they are just that.
It really is funny how short-minded our society has become in so many ways. Have people forgotten the Pirates are a small-market team? Have people forgotten that even though the Pirates are playing like the Yankees and Red Sox, they cannot spend like them? Have people ALREADY forgotten that Pirates management went out and traded for one of the most reliable pitchers in the show over the past four seasons?
The way people perceive things anymore is so funny. If I would have told you the Pirates traded for Wandy Rodriguez, Gaby Sanchez, Travis Snider and Chad Qualls all in the same day, it’s a safe bet most fans would say it was the best trade deadline in Pirates history. In today’s world, the fact that Rodriguez was acquired an entire week ago, makes it seem like it never even happened.
Not only did the Pirates do everything they should have done at this year’s deadline, management didn’t do anything they shouldn’t have done–jeopardize the future. Teams that make the big “splash” deals are teams that have a window of opportunity that are closing or teams that are not under good management.
The Pirates window is surely not closing, as it has just now opened in 2012. No one with a sane mind would want the Pirates to throw out years and years of competitiveness for a “chance” at winning the World Series once. After 19 years of losing, the goal is and should be to win with consistency.
These 2012 Pirates simply were not supposed to be this good, this soon. It has left GM Neal Huntington in quite a nice situation to be in, as he is playing with house money at this point. The Pirates were not predicted to contend until Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon joined forces with Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker.
So, instead of sacrificing the future for a mediocre chance at a postseason berth, Huntington added a legitimate MLB starter and two highly powerful bats to this roster with an eye on the present and future. The price tags were simply too high for players such as Chase Headley, Justin Upton, Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels.
It would have been foolish to risk years of competitiveness for just once chance at making the playoffs. Huntington could not do anything wrong, except what he did not do–sacrifice years and years of competing for one chance at respectability.