Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Deadline Moves: Masterful or Submissive Moves By Neal Huntington and the Crew?


The Major League Trade Deadline is over. The Pittsburgh Pirates rolled over the Cubs. The Reds won again. So, what’s new?

A lot of the young Bucs looked relieved as we watch the replay of this game–holy hell, A.J. Burnett is throwing a serious amount of curveballs tonight, nearly every strikeout has come on that filthy breaking ball.  Remember when the Bucs got – well not quite this stellar –  but nearly similar dominant pitching early in the season?

We think some very interesting moves were made today. Remember when we spoke about that Plan B a few weeks ago?  We saw it come to fruition today.  Travis Snider looks like he fits right in, doesn’t he?  Gaby Sanchez is a really intriguing player for us.  Kyle Kaminska is another long reliever type, while Chad Qualls was probably more about showing Casey McGehee the door.

The only thing that caught us off guard would be the trading of the competitive balance pick, and thus losing the larger cash pool and what could have come with that.  But it appears that could be an afterthought if Sanchez can do what he has done in the past two years.

All in all, not much was given up that impacts the 2012 team other than what, ten, maybe fifteen innings of Brad Lincoln?

The team still has a great deal to prove with the additions.  The coaching staff of Hurdle, Banny and the boys are going to have their work cut out for them working on a few projects in the heat of a pennant race.  It’s pretty easy to see that each of these players have flaws, but  we could say that about nearly every player discussed in trade rumors this year.  Fixing each of them isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities.

Wandy can pitch.  Snider can hit.  Sanchez can find his stroke again.  Well, you get the idea.  We aren’t sure what some of the pundits were looking for… perhaps they dreamed of a power hitting, on base machine riding into Wrigley Field on Secretariat who would swiftly grab the Bucs and drag them to the Promised Land in October?  Um, sorry everyone, but Bill Madlock wasn’t available.

Neal Huntington executed Plan B.  A risky plan for those that feel strongly that the team can win the NL Central,  but it’s also a high reward plan.   Some say a not-so-ballsy plan, something that a contending team has never done before–acquiring players that spent most of their season in Triple-A.  It definitely wasn’t a plan that involved spending much cash, which is always a disappointment to me.

The word we got was sellers didn’t really want to sell, they were out to steal.  Huntington and crew didn’t fall for it.  That pisses a lot of people off.  We get it.  But stay with us for a few more paragraphs.

During an in-game interview tonight, Huntington told John Wehner and Greg Brown that the Pirates still have financial flexibility. Hilarious.  Shit, we hope so.

We can only trust that people a lot smarter than us –  the same people that put this team together, we might add –  have run the numbers and see something that many people don’t.

Look:  Everyone is so quick to provide their opinion on these trades…  if only it were that easy.  Trades take some time to evaluate before judgement is meted out.. .well, unless you’re a pitcher with the ability of A.J. Burnett.

Look around the league, a team like the Orioles are playing some damn good ball, right?  We spent all day and night with two of their season ticket holders chasing a golf ball around Hayfields.  Tell us what the O’s did today?  Sure, it’s easy to say, “What the hell do the Orioles have to do with the Buccos?”

We say a lot.

If we had our choice, we would rather see a Plan B go into place – a plan that goes after picking up some potential pieces that have a reasonable chance to help the 2012 squad – versus the thought of sending Alex Presley out to right field nearly every day and shrugging their shoulders like the O’s did today.

Instead the Bucs made some moves, and oh, yeh they will still send #AlwaysSmooth Clint Barmes out to shortstop everyday it appears.

Players that we spent so much time writing about this week didn’t even get moved today;  guys like Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs, Stephen Drew and Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks, Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Perez of Cleveland, Carlos Lee and Josh Johnson of Miami, Justin Morneau and Denard Span of the Twins, Chase Headley of the Padres, Jason Vargas of the Mariners, James Shields of the Rays, and Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton of Philly.

But the following players did move, and we say it’s as much about what the other contending teams did as it is about what the Pirates did.

The Braves picked up Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson. Meh. They got what they needed, although you know our prediciton on Maholm. He will fade.  See you in October, Atlanta.  #PackPNC

The Dodgers just don’t quit. Spend that coin, Magic!  L.A. added Brandon League to their bullpen.  That four game series coming up August 13 to 16 against the Dodgers should be really interesting.

The Reds got a solid closer in Broxton. If you value a closer, it’s a big move, we guess, and it cost a couple of prospects.  At some point the Reds minor league system is going to disappear… isn’t it?  Isn’t it??  Oh yeah, Broxton has never given up a hit to the Pirates.  Barmes is 0-for-7 (surprised?) Jones and Cutch are both hitless in one at bat each.

The Cardinals picked up bullpen help, getting  right-hander Edward Mujica from the Miami Marlins for 2010 first-round pick Zack Cox.  Mujica is having a down year in spite of allowing righties to hit just .211.

The Giants got Hunter Pence without giving up a great deal, in our eyes. We were shocked not to see Gary Brown go over to Philly in that deal.  Screw Philly.  Watch out for San Francisco.  But don’t worry – they are not on the regular season schedule the rest of the way.

Damn, the Cubs are disappearing quickly into their rebuild. We thought they would get more for Dempster.

So, there you have it.  A big-time move wasn’t made by the people who constructed one of the most exciting teams we have watched play baseball in this town.  Obviously, we are brainwashed, but we get the feeling the team is far from done.

Moves will still be made.

A core of young talent still has plenty to prove.  In fact, it couldn’t have been said any better than what the front runner for the NL MVP said when asked about why the Pirates don’t seem to get much respect….

"“We haven’t earned it.”"

Let that soak in… and remember, they do still have that financial flexibility.