The Pittsburgh Pirates recently made a couple of transactions dealing with the position of catcher. Did they make a good choice?
Over this past weekend, the Pittsburgh Pirates entered into what was at that point craziness in the offseason. There was a lot of money spent and a lot of player movement over the last few days. Of course, with the non-tender deadline being this past Monday and now a lockout in place, there were many teams who were trying to get things done.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were one of those teams. They made a couple of roster moves with the most significant being a trade. The team traded away catcher Jacob Stallings to the Miami Marlins in exchange for pitcher Zach Thompson, and two prospects. The two prospects the team received were high pedigree players. Outfielder Connor Scott was a first-round pick in 2018 and pitcher Kyle Nicolas was selected in the 2nd round of the 2020 Draft.
This was a very typical trade of what Ben Cherington has done over the past few years. Obviously, he is always looking for the best talent, but he also seems to look for the talent that might be overlooked. None of the players coming back in the deal were ones that really excited fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, there are others, especially on a national level, who think the team did well in the trade.
Once the Bucs traded away Stallings there was not a single catcher listed on their 40-man roster. So the team had to make a move and they did signing free-agent catcher Roberto Perez to a one-year deal worth 5 million dollars. Perez, 33, spent his whole career with Cleveland and established himself as one of the best defensive catchers in the American League.
On top of that, Cleveland is known for having one of the best if not the best pitching development programs in the game. Perez played a big part in that and hopefully can start to mold some of the Pirates’ young arms in 2022.
Jim Bowden, a former General Manager and now a contributor for The Athletic had some thoughts on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent decision. He did not have much to say in terms of the actual trade, but rather for what the team did after. Bowden said in his recent post on The Athletic:
"“Pérez represents a smart pivot by the Pirates because he’s well-versed in developing young pitchers… if Pérez can stay healthy in 2022, he should rebound from last season and be solid for Pittsburgh behind the plate.”"
As always, it is hard to say which team “won” the trade. In my eyes, both sides did well in the deal. The Marlins, who are trying to open their window of contention, needed to find a more reliable catcher. It was also telling that the Bucs had a plan behind the dish after the Marlins let go of catcher Jorge Alfaro instead of the Bucs pushing for him to be included in the deal as well.
While the Bucs could use that, they are still likely a year or two away from having the talent to truly compete. With Stallings aging and the team needing to acquire more talent, it was easy to see why a deal was being considered in the first place. Hopefully, Perez can fill the void of that veteran presence behind the plate that made Jacob Stallings so great.