Instead,the Pirates made what looks to be their most blatant salary dump in years and was dismaying to their fan base among three trades at the trade deadline.
The worst trade and most obvious salary dump came in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays as the Pirates traded struggling veteran pitcher Francisco Liriano and two players from the AA Altoona Curve for Drew Hutchison.
To begin,let's look at Hutchison,who did win 13 games for the Blue Jays last season,but did it with an ERA of five and half and a WHIP of 1.48 (not good),so clearly you don't to be Brian Kenny (who hates the win stat) to see that Hutchison was simply the by-product of a good hitting ball club.
The 25 year old has spent most of this season with AAA Buffalo and was a highly thought of prospect just a few years ago.
Hutchison has not had arm woes that I know of,so the Pirates are hoping to work that rehab magic one more time..
Francisco Liriano has been bad this season.
Really bad, with his ERA being almost as bad as Drew Hutchison's 2015 without the offense to make up for it hence Liriano's record being 6-11.
Liriano's velocity is down,his strikeouts are down and he was still owed 13 million for 2017,so I get why the Pirates wanted to move him,but they could have released him and kept two nice prospects.
Was a guy with a 5+ ERA last year that couldn't even make the team for much of this season that valuable to add?
In my opinion-a resounding no.
Reese McGuire hasn't hit for power (1 homer at AA Altoona),but has been outstanding defensively and leaves the Pirates farm system lacking any kind of a catching prospect...
Harold Ramirez hasn't hit for power either,but has hit over .300 at each of his last three stops in the system and at minimum could be a 4th outfielder type.
I know the Pirates are set in the outfield for a while with Austin Meadows on the way,but giving away possible players for the simple cost of saving money makes me think of the Dave Littlefield years-Never a good parallel!
Not happy with this deal at all...
Pittsburgh then continued a bizarre circle with the New York Mets as the team brought back reliever Antonio Bastardo,who left the team after last season to sign with the Mets in exchange for Jon Niese,who had been added from the Mets over the winter for Neil Walker.
Bastardo's ERA is over 4,but he's still striking out a batter an inning from the bullpen and should help a team that lost bullpen depth after dealing Mark Melancon to Washington.
Bastardo is signed for 2017 at six million.
Niese had struggled as well in Pittsburgh leaving at town with a record of 8-6,but an ERA of 4.91.
Niese had a club option for ten million for 2017 with a 500,000 buyout,so I can see this one a little.
If you didn't want to pick up the option for Niese,you saved the buyout cost and added a productive reliever in Bastardo,but doesn't that make the trade of Neil Walker look awful now?
The Pirates in the end lost Walker and got back a guy that they could have re-signed over the winter.
The final trade is the one that scares me as Pittsburgh added pitcher Ivan Nova from the Yankees for two players to be named later.
There has to be more on the surface that we know as Nova is 29,has an ERA around five for the second year in a row and is a free agent at the end of the year.
I would hope that the Pirates have a proviso of some type that the level of prospect or even number of prospects is subject to change if Nova would not re-sign with Pittsburgh,but I haven't read anything of that type.
I'm not against taking flyers on players,but this seems downright weird to me...
All and all,I'm just confused.
Salary dumping players,losing prospects just to say you are receiving something instead of nothing,bringing back players that you could have re-signed?
Making trades that make zero baseball sense because you need to shred salary?
These don't seem like the Neal Huntington Pirates-they seem like the Bonifay/Littlefield Buccos and I don't like that.
I don't like that at all.
Back later with a recap of the final team and their trades-the San Francisco Giants.