I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 18 years old and working a summer job washing dishes before heading off to college. The Pirates were in complete fire-sale mode and I was loving every minute of it. The day that Freddy Sanchez got traded still sticks out in my head. I had just got done washing a really burnt up pot that the cook made marinara sauce in when I got the text message. Sanchez had been traded to the San Francisco Giants for one Tim Alderson. I was stoked.
Alderson was coming off a 2008 season where he posted a 2.79 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and just 2.1 BB/9 and looked like a future big league ace. Sanchez’s career seemed to be trending downwards and the Pirates weren’t going anywhere fast, so this trade seemed like the steal of the century for the Bucs.
However, Alderson got progressively worse after that trade and now sits as an unranked prospect with basically no hope of ever making a substantial contribution in the Major Leagues. In 2010 he posted a 6.03 ERA with 5.9 K/9, and last year he put up a 4.12 ERA with 6.9 K/9 in a relief role. His days as a starter seem to be over, and he has lost a ton of velocity. His career path has been trending downwards fast, and it’s been very frustrating. This guy used to have a plus curveball and a really good fastball, now he has basically nothing. It’s rare that you see a minor league guy just lose velocity on his fastball, but that’s what happened to Alderson. He went from a possible ace to a guy that nobody expects to see in the big leagues in a matter of two seasons, basically.
Obviously Freddy Sanchez wouldn’t be helping the Pirates much right now, and it was nice to unload that contract, but the whole Alderson thing was a huge disappointment.