February 28, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Andrew Oliver (43) poses for photo day in the rec room at the Detroit Tigers headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Pirates Trade Minor League Catcher to Tigers for Andrew Oliver

The Pittsburgh Pirates made a move to acquire left-hander Andrew Oliver from the Detroit Tigers. The Pirates send catcher Ramon Cabrera to Detroit.  If we could best describe Oliver it would this–he’s a left handed Brad Lincoln, but with horrible control.     A two-pitch pitcher in every sense of the word.

Oliver needs to learn a third pitch.   The Tigers are well-known for their lack of development, it appears they simply ran out of patience with Oliver.

Oliver was pushed through the minor leagues agressively and was in the bigs in 2011. The southpaw pitched 31.2 innings for Jim Leyland.  A second rounder from the 2009 draft, Oliver struggled with his control which skyrocketed his ERA over 7. But the stuff is there, his fastball touches 96, but he needs to improve his slider and he must find trust in his changeup.

The Tigers sent him back to AAA in 2011 and he put up 26 starts.   But we think Oliver isn’t a starter.  In 2012 he put up nice strikeout numbers in Triple-A but again allowed an insane number of walks even when he started to pitch out of the bullpen.

But all in all, we like this deal.   The upside with Oliver is there which is something we didn’t see with Cabrera.   Not that there is anything wrong with short players, but damn…Cabrera was just too damn creepy small for me. (Our computer is about to die, so we struggled to get our pictures up–but we have some great ones.)

Let’s make no mistake, the guy can hit, as he showed when he was with Bradenton and late this season in the Bucs system.  But there was a time at the beginning of the 2012 season where we just weren’t sure how a player could go from raking with such regularity that he won the Florida State batting crown, to looking so poor with the Double-A Curve.

Obviously, Oliver will need to work on improving his control and enhancing his arsenal of pitches.  If and it’s a big if….Ray Searage and the spin doctors can pull a Paul Maholm like fix on this left hander, the Pirates grabbed a steal today.

Tags: Pittsburgh Pirates

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