Pittsburgh Pirates: Grading Ben Cherington's Off-Season Moves Thus Far

Let's analyze Ben Cherington's moves this off-season.

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Boston Red Sox v Oakland Athletics / Brad Mangin/GettyImages
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Acquiring Edward Oliveras

The second big trade of the off-season was acquiring outfielder Edward Oliveras from the Kansas City Royals for minor leaguer Deivis Nadal. Oliveras is coming off a very solid season with the bat, slashing .263/.317/.452. The outfielder provides some good pop as he went yard a dozen times in 385 plate appearances and posted an above-average .189 isolated slugging percentage. While he only walked 5.7% of the time, he also struck out in 16.6% of his plate appearances. Overall, Oliveras had a 105 wRC+ but could be better next season.

Oliveras clocked in with a .340 xwOBA, compared to the .329 wOBA he posted last season. He also had a .452 xSLG%, meaning he could hit for more pop. Although he only went 11-16 in stolen base attempts, he did display above-average speed with a 28.6 feet/second sprint speed. But there is a glaring issue with Oliveras, and that’s his defense.

Most of his playing time in the field was in left where he had -9 defensive runs saved and -7 outs above average. The only positive is that he had a cannon of an arm, as his throws averaged 91.6 MPH, which was in the top 90th percentile of throw speed. In Oliveras’ defense, he was playing in the spacious Kauffman grass. However, I am willing to overlook Oliveras’ shortcomings to some degree because the Pirates gave up so little.

Deivis Nadal is the only thing the Pirates had to give up. Nadal batted .212/.344/.377 with a 101 wRC+. While he walked at a 15.1% rate and had a respectable .165 ISO, he also struck out in about a third of his plate appearances with a 33% rate. Nadal went 33/37 in stolen base attempts and saw playing time everywhere except for first base, catcher, or pitcher.

This trade seems like it could be a massive win for the Pirates. An above-average power-hitting outfielder for a light-hitting utility man who struggled to hit at Low-A in their age-21 season? The Pirates gave up pocket change for a decent player. Sure, Oliveras has his weaknesses, but the Pirates gave up so little that you can overlook those somewhat.

Grade: A