It seems it’s been a busy week, not just for me, but also for the Pirates. Unlike them, I’ve accomplished some things of great importance, but, again unlike them, mine don’t matter much to people. However, I am here to talk about the week for the Pirates, when a number of moves happened, none of them of particularly great import, some of greater surprise though than others. Let’s recap the week quickly, and see what’s going on out there.
Octavio Dotel signed. This has been expected for so long now that it felt like “Whew! Finally, it’s done!” It’s a good signing for the Pirates, even though they had to give him the closer role to lose. His contract is reasonable, both for this year and the next.
The signings of Brendan Donnelly and Dotel to major league deals meant that space had to be cleared of the roster, and the Pirates did so by trading Brian Bixler and DFAing Steven Jackson. Like many, I was incredulous on hearing that Bixler had been traded, and even more so on finding out that he had been traded for a real prospect. Neal sure must have used all his connects in Cleveland. I fully expect to see Bixler back in AAA or with a different team by the end of the season.
But, the prospect- Jesus Brito. Here’s a link to some thoughts on the trade from an Indian perspective. As noted, even though Brito had a great year last year, he’s still been a little old for the level he’s played in, and next year will be crucial in finding out whether he’s for real. He’s yet to display any signs that the power potential will manifest itself, even at the levels he’s played, and he doesn’t really have a settled position in the field. But, he has the advantage that he doesn’t need to be on the 40 man for another year at least, and if he doesn’t play as well as last year at least, I think he’ll be left unprotected, although that probably won’t be a big deal, since a team would be unlikely to claim him at this point.
As much praise as the Bixler trade received, if only because we got something back for Bixler, the Steven Jackson DFA was a good counterpoint. It seems people hated it, but it’s a meh deal as far as I am concerned. Jackson had a good ERA and appears to have pitched in decently high leverage situations, but I’ll be surprised if he’s claimed, and I am not a big fan anyway- the K/BB isn’t great, although being his first year it could improve. I wouldn’t expect that, though, if I were you.
The most interesting thing by far was the pickup of Brandon Jones, which may have been done to block a team that might have wanted to claim him in the hope of making a trade to clear space on the roster. At this point, Jones is a fringe candidate at best, and I don’t see much value there. However, he’s a year removed from a solid prospect, and could get back in the reckoning if he has a good year at AAA. There has been some idle speculation on a potential trade– as far as I can tell, there has been no real interest from the Pirates or Royals in a real trade like this. In fantasy terms though I love Kila for Jones+Jackson, although at this point the Pirates don’t need to clear space- Kila has an unbelievable K/BB split and seems to have kept it up; he deserves a shot sooner than later, and might not get it in KC.
Finally, late in the week, the Giants DFAed Jesus Guzman, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the Pirates pick him up. The scouting report on him seems to say his value is entirely in his bat, which sucks but we have little depth in the upper minors, and this guy has a good bat at that level. If Iwamura is trade bait, as he should be, I wouldn’t mind seeing Guzman get a shot.
Around baseball: Amidst the Brito and the Guzman talk, and this is a bit off-topic, Oakland Athletics’ OF prospect Grant Desme has decided to follow the path of Jesus, and has retired from baseball to pursue his calling. It cannot have been easy for him or the Oakland fan base to deal with the decision, and I wish him as well as the A’s the best.
The Phillies may not be able to afford Jayson Werth next year. Why GM Ruben Amaro decided to make it known is confusing to me too- perhaps to say he is available in a trade?
Freddy Sanchez had a setback in his recovery from surgery, and I don’t envy Sabean right now. If I had to guess, I’d say Minaya will be the first out the door among current GMs, but Sabean is treading water in San Francisco, not at all helped by deals like the one for Freddy Sanchez, after which they went and signed him for 2 more years, bidding against themselves for an injury prone former All-Star, followed by signing Molina (though the deal there isn’t too bad, just unnecessary, but if it helps them avoid Super-2 with Posey, while giving him more time in the minors, I think it could be a good thing).