Pirates Stand Pat, Why It’s Okay by Samuel Coltrane
The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone. Many big changes were made. Some teams bolstered their chances for a title now, while others sold in order to plan for the future. Neal Huntington and the Pirates did neither. The Pirates stood pat.
“Our best move was to stay as we were at this point” – Neal Huntington
“Our best move was to stay as we were at this point,” said Huntington, as first reported by CBS’s local affiliate in Pittsburgh. Huntington went on to finish saying “We’ve got a good group of guys.”
Many Pittsburgh fans were really hoping for a big addition at the deadline. Those who weren’t, were still expecting something. Neal Huntington didn’t feel the same. The Pirates did nothing.
Most fans would be unhappy with this move, but I am here to tell you why that wasn’t the worst idea.
The Pirates had three big needs to address going into the final third of the season. They needed to add a starting pitcher, a bullpen arm, and a bat off the bench. The Pirates can address two of these issues by making claims for players like Marlon Byrd and A.J. Burnett, who are expected to be put on waivers, according to Matthew Smith of Bleacher Report. Waiting might turn out to have been the best answer. An injury to Cliff Lee will probably be the push the Philadelphia Phillies needed to realize that they should sell now. That factor alone should drive the price down for players like Byrd and Burnett. Other targets for the Pirates could include LaTroy Hawkins, Chad Qualls, or Ian Kennedy.
February 28, 2013; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (76) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at McKechnie Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Perhaps the biggest plus for the Pirates not trading at the deadline is the minor leaguers they kept. According to Mike Rosenbaum, MLB Prospects Lead Writer at Bleacher Report, the Pirates have the sixth best farm system in all of baseball. As I wrote in a previous article, Keith Law of ESPN (subscription required) notes that the Pirates have four prospects in his top 50. Keeping guys such as Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, and Austin Meadows allow the Pirates to promote from within, but also make trades that they might deem more desirable in the future.
It is important to note that many executives were surprised by the David Price deal, the Detroit Tigers just happened to be the recipients on the Tampa Bay Rays phone call. While the other big name on the market, Jon Lester in particular, required a proven major league player in Yoenis Cespedes.
Many Pirates fans won’t be happy that the non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone without the Pirates making moves, but Huntington proved last year that he could make moves in August. For now, I am going to withhold judgment and see what he can do. If anything, at least the future in Pittsburgh looks bright.