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The Pirates made a minor post-deadline deal today, shipping outfielder Brandon Jones to the Tigers for a player to be named later. When the Pirates acquired Jones a few months back, it looked like he might get a look as a bench outfielder, but that didn’t happen in Spring Training, and a disappointing season in the minors didn’t help his cause, either.
Reliever Justin Thomas has been recalled from Indianapolis to fill one of the many vacancies left by yesterday’s trades.
Carassco, Chruch, Crosby, Dotel and Lopez go out the door, Diaz, Clement, McCutchen, McDonald and Snyder come in, so the 25-man roster is now filled out again. Have to figure either McCutchen or McDonald is heading to the bullpen, unless McCutchen is sent down for someone else.
The Pirates are also sending $500,000 to the Dodgers in the Dotel deal, Dejan Kovacevic tweets.
Dejan Kovacevic tweets the Pirates have also added outfielder John Bowker as part of the Javier Lopez trade with San Francisco.
In 41 games with San Francisco in 2010, Bowker is batting .207/.256/.354 with three homers and 8 RBIs.
In 51 games with AAA Fresno, Bowker is batting .310/.388/.594 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs.
Regarding that Rosenthal tweet below, it appears the Pirates got pitcher James McDonald and OF Andrew Lambo, both former top prospects whose stock has fallen a bit. I already wrote about them over at Bucs Dugout. Essentially, Lambo will probably start at Class AA Altoona, a level where he’s struggled to get traction. He’s only 21 and could well end up being helpful. McDonald could potentially be added to the big-league rotation right now.
More to come
Martinez is a 27-year-old starting pitcher who has spent most of the season with Class AAA Fresno. He’s nothing special, but he knows how to get Class AAA batters out, so there’s some chance he could step into the Pirates’ rotation and pitch reasonably well. He’s also a big groundball pitcher, which should prevent him from getting lit up, Daniel McCutchen-style.
Martinez is a 27-year old righty.
In four appearances with the Giants in 2010, he is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA. He's walked six and struck out three in 11 innings. Martinez hasn't pitched for San Francisco since June 15.
In 14 games with AAA Fresno including 13 starts, Martinez is 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA, 65 strikeouts and 26 walks.
Looks like the Mets are out on Maholm, too.
Jon Morosi talks Dotel as well.
Seemingly everyone is after relief help right now, so the market still exists, it's just a matter of what the Pirates expect in return for Dotel.
Under 90 minutes to go, and still very little on Dotel. Stark...
So if Dotel and Mahom stay put does that make the Pirates...buyers at the deadline?!
The Dodgers would appear to be out of the Paul Maholm sweepstakes after acquiring Ted Lilly from the Cubs...
Barring a last minute power play by the Mets, it looks like Paul Maholm isn't going anywhere before 4 PM.
Ugh – here’s how to take a good deal and make it worse. The Pirates will use Doumit primarily in the outfield when he comes back from the disabled list. The player most likely to receive less playing time as a result is Lastings Milledge. Milledge is a flawed player, but he's young and talented, and he still needs to develop. He already kills lefties, but he struggles against righties, so presumably the idea would be to have Doumit get some at bats against righties. If he's playing ahead of Milledge one day a week against the Roy Halladays of the world, fine. But if it's more than that, this is bad. Milledge needs to learn to hit righties if he's ever going to become a valuable everyday player, and the way to learn is to practice.
Pirates.com’s Jen Langosch tweets that the Bucs are also getting $3 million from the Diamondbacks to cover part of Chris Snyder’s contract.
The Pirates have recalled starting pitcher Daniel McCutchen along with Jeff Clement and Argenis Diaz.
If my arithmetic is right, the Pirates still need to slash their 25-man roster by one; I’m guessing Jason Jaramillo will be sent down if no further moves are made.
Dejan Kovacevic reports that the Pirates and Diamondbacks have made the Chris Snyder trade official.
I'm happy with the deal. The Bucs get a good major league catcher who can actually play defense, and all it cost them was D.J. Carrasco and a bit of money. Snyder is a risk because of his problems hitting for average, but he brings enough power and walks to be an asset at the plate. He'll become the Pirates' primary catcher, moving Ryan Doumit, whose defense this year had been a disaster, to a bench role.
We heard earlier talks with the Padres had broken off on Paul Maholm...
Now we might know why...
This would suggest that Maholm talks with San Diego aren't completely dead yet, just being put on hiatus until the Westbrook/Ludwick deal gets done. That said, the Padres could be in a one-or-the-other situation with Maholm and Ludwick, so this could be the end of the line.
In other news, the Dodgers and Cubs continue to get closer on a Ted Lilly deal.
At this point, a Maholm trade to one of these NL West teams is looking more and more unlikely.
UPDATE 12:31 PM: Jayson Stark says Maholm deals pretty close to dead.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Despite all those Paul Maholm rumors Friday, the only player the Pirates were really pushing to move as the deadline approached was closer Octavio Dotel. They asked teams that called on Maholm for multiple high-end prospects. And indications Saturday were that the two most interested teams -- the Padres and Dodgers -- had backed off. So Maholm and other Pirates in the rumor bin -- Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan and Garrett Jones -- look to be entrenched in western Pennsylvania as 4 p.m. nears.
Ciriaco is a 24-year old shortstop batting .259/.278/.392/.670 with 6 homers, 51 RBIs and 14 stolen bases for AAA Reno.
UPDATE 12:03 PM: Ciriaco heading to Indy, presumably to replace Argenis Diaz.
Looks like neither New York team is biting on a Octavio Dotel at the moment.
So cross New York off the list of possible destinations for Dotel now. There remain many other teams interested in relief help, though, most notably Florida who have rumored to be in on the Dotel sweepstakes from the start.
Jen Langosch of MLB.com reports that the Pirates have recalled first baseman Jeff Clement and infielder Argenis Diaz. Langosch also said that Garrett Jones is not going anywhere.
Diaz is known as a defensively strong shortstop with no bat. I'd think Bobby Crosby is on his way out, but who wants Bobby Crosby?
Update: Apparently, the Diamondbacks want Crosby, as he and D.J. Carrasco are going to the Diamondbacks as part of the trade for catcher Chris Snyder. Even more incredibly, the Diamondbacks wanted Ryan Church, as he is part of the deal. Obviously, the Diamondbacks don't really want Church, as this trade is almost certainly about getting rid of Snyder's salary.
The Pirates will also receive an unnamed minor league player. Carrasco was a useful relief pitcher, but this trade is probably of little consequence: Clement will replace Church, Diaz will replace Crosby, and while both Clement and Diaz aren't likely to produce much offensively, neither did the guys they're replacing.
In addition to Dodgers prospects Scott Elbert and James McDonald, John Perrotto tweets that the Pirates are hot on the trail of AA shortstop Dee Gordon.
Gordon is batting .284/.354/.394/.748 with 2 home runs, 28 RBI's and a whopping 39 stolen bases at AA Chattanooga.
Baseball America ranked Gordon as LA's top prospect in December.
John Perrotto tweets that the Pirates will officially acquire Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder, after MLB approval of money coming to the Pirates. Given that the Diamondbacks apparently wanted the Yankees to take on Snyder's salary in a potential Dan Haren trade, the Pirates may be footing a good chunk of the bill. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has the same info about the trade.
Snyder will earn $5.75 million next year, and has a club option for $6.75 million the year after. If the option is not exercised, Snyder receives a $750,000 buyout.
No word yet on what players the Pirates are sending to the Diamondbacks.
As John Perrotto speculated earlier in the night, Snyder's presence may signal the end of Ryan Doumit’s days behind the plate. In addition to Doumit’s DL stint from a concussion, he’s been a defensive liability.
Update: Jen Langosch of MLB.com says that D.J. Carrasco, Ryan Church, and Bobby Crosby are going to Arizona for Snyder. The Pirates will also receive an unnamed minor league player.
Dejan Kovacevic writes that the Dodgers are the team most likely to trade for Paul Maholm:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed interest in Maholm for weeks. Their attention Friday seemed to be mostly on another left-hander, the Chicago Cubs’ Ted Lilly, but two sources outside the Pirates said the Dodgers still seemed the best bet.
Pitchers that those sources identified as possible matches were left-hander Scott Elbert, 24, and right-hander James MacDonald, 25. Elbert, a flamethrower, was 1-1 with a 4.98 ERA in nine starts for Class AAA Albuquerque before being placed on the inactive list because of apparent dissatisfaction with the Dodgers. McDonald is 6-1 with a 4.41 ERA for Albuquerque.
Either of those players would make sense, given the narrative that’s developed around Maholm. Yesterday, it came out that the Pirates preferred a major-league-ready starting pitcher for Maholm. I don’t agree at all with that preference, and I would prefer that they reach lower in the minors to find a player with higher upside. I’m also not sure either Elbert or McDonald alone would be enough for Maholm, given how important his stability is to the Bucs. They’re both talented pitchers, however, and I wouldn’t mind having either of them around. Elbert, in particular, is a wild card, because his strikeout rate has been very high at various points in his career. He’s the sort of pitcher who could develop into a good starter or an excellent reliever… or he could struggle with his mechanics and flame out completely.
By the way, don’t take these guys’ Albuquerque stats at face value. That’s one of the toughest parks to pitch in in all of professional baseball.
Depending upon who you ask at ESPN, Ted Lilly is either close to becoming a Dodger, or is closer to being a Yankee.
Jayson Stark disagrees here...
If the Pirates are going to trade Paul Maholm, this could all be working either for or against them. On one hand, it could remove the Dodgers as a suitor for Paul Maholm, but it could ratchet up the pressure on San Diego to add a pitcher of their own. On the other, it could keep a potential bidding war between Los Angeles and San Diego for Maholm alive right up until the deadline. John Perrotto reported earlier this evening that the Pirates have interest in the Padres' Wade LeBlanc, Everth Cabrera and AA right handed pitcher Simon Castro.
UPDATE 12:47 A.M: Looks like Stark is giving ground to Olney.
Again, this doesn't end the Maholm talks, it just removes the Dodgers from the discussion and puts the heat on San Diego.
UPDATE 1:48 A.M.: Just a stray Ken Rosenthal tweet...
Looks like the Chris Snyder-from-Arizona rumors are picking up steam as John Perrotto of Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com is reporting that should the Pirates acquire Snyder by the deadline, Ryan Doumit will be out as the Pirates' everday catcher upon his return from the disabled list.
Doumit would serve as the backup catcher and see time in right field and first base while Snyder would catch four to five days per week.
In the event the Bucs don't get Snyder, Doumit will split time with backup Eric Kratz.
Needless to say, though, if the Pirates are already talking about what to do with other personnel once Snyder arrives, you've got to figure there's legitimate smoke emanating from Arizona right now.
The Pirates are talking with the Diamondbacks about a possible trade for catcher Chris Snyder, say Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi:
The Diamondbacks’ recent trades of Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson suggest they are trying to trim payroll. A Snyder trade would accomplish the same thing, as long as they didn’t have to pay his entire salary.
Snyder is earning $4.75 million this year. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, he is due $5.75 million next year, followed by a $6.75 million club option or $750,000 buyout in 2012.
Snyder has a hard time hitting for average, but his power makes him an asset at the plate, and his defense is better than Ryan Doumit’s is (which I realize isn’t necessarily saying much). This isn’t the first time Snyder’s name has been mentioned in connection to the Pirates. If there’s something to it, it could mean that Ryan Doumit is on his way out, although I can’t believe that Doumit’s trade value is high right now.
One would have to think this puts pressure on the Padres, giving the Pirates a little more leverage if they are to trade Maholm.
Dejan Kovacevic writes that the Bucs want a starting pitcher for Maholm:
The Pirates will want a starting pitcher in return for Maholm, preferably one ready to pitch in Pittsburgh, the official added.
Of the Padres, the official described them as “just fishing.”
Maholm, still in uniform and working out, is predictably fidgety, calling and texting to find out more about his future. He told me has not heard anything regarding any possible destination.
The “ready to pitch in Pittsburgh” thing is a bad idea. If a pitching prospect were ready to pitch in the majors, and if he were any good, why wouldn’t a potential trade partner just put the youngster in the rotation and skip the Maholm trade? The Pirates’ insistence upon major-league-ready talent was one thing that got Huntington’s predecessor Dave Littlefield into a lot of trouble. Think of Matt Lawton for Jody Gerut, or Kris Benson for Ty Wigginton, or Aramis Ramirez for Bobby Hill. There were extenuating circumstances in those trades, but one important reason the Pirates got almost nothing from them was that they insisted on getting major-league-ready players back. The Pirates will be giving up on upside if they insist on making trades this way.
Dejan Kovacevic writes that nothing is imminent between the Pirates and Padres regarding Paul Maholm.
Scott Miller of CBS Sports writes that in addition to the Padres, the Mets could also be in on Maholm.
Dejan Kovacevic tweets that in addition to the Dodgers and Padres, other teams could make a move for Maholm as well.
The Bucs have acquired minor league slugger Mitch Jones from the Braves for cash, Rob Biertempfel tweets. Jones is 32 and has excellent power but little else to recommend him, so this deal is unlikely to have direct effect on the major-league roster.
Buster Olney confirms Jon Paul Morosi’s report that the Bucs and Padres are discussing Paul Maholm
The Pirates and Padres are discussing a deal for Paul Maholm, Jon Paul Morosi tweets. Maholm isn't anyone's idea of a superstar, but the Bucs would have to get a nice return for him, since he's been their most reliable starter this year and he's under team control for the next two years.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the team could move a veteran starting pitcher like Paul Maholm or Zach Duke by tomorrow's trading deadline for the right price.
"If the package is appropriate for one of our starting pitchers, we are willing to consider a move," Huntington said in an interview with the Post-Gazette. "If the interest is in one of our starting pitchers who is one year away from free agency, that shifts the tolerance accordingly as we would be able to re-invest their potential dollars into a major-league starting pitcher -- via trade or free agency -- and add valuable multiyear pieces to our major-league club and/or system. Again, we will need to feel good about the return to make a move."
He also added later...
"We do not see moving a core piece."
Jenifer Langosch reports that Pirates reliever D.J. Carrasco wouldn’t mind being traded to a contending team:
“Yeah, I’d like to have an opportunity to go and play in the postseason and play with a contender,” Carrasco said on Wednesday. “I’m not getting any younger. That window gets a little smaller as you get older. At the same time, hopefully it could help the Pirates build if they can get what they need from me.”
Carrasco doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, so ultimately his interest in being traded won’t weigh very heavily in the Pirates’ decision about whether or not to actually deal him, but this is interesting nonetheless.
Octavio Dotel has also expressed interest in being dealt to a better team.
Lopez has been a good situational lefty for the Bucs, and has had a good July after a rough June, posting a 1.23 ERA and three holds in 12 appearances. Needless to say, though, he's not likely to draw near the interest of Octavio Dotel, who won't be netting the Pirates much himself.
John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times echoes Kovacevic and Langosch in arguing that the Pirates will be unlikely to trade many veterans:
Most likely, any deals Huntington makes will be minor. He might trade some of his secondary relievers such as left-hander Javier Lopez and right-hander D.J. Carrasco, getting no more than a second-tier prospect in return.
Huntington really has no urgency to make any big trades this year.
The Pirates started the season with a $34 million payroll, so he is not forced to slash it, even working for the most cost-conscious franchise north of Miami. The Pirates also feel they have increased the number of prospects in their farm system to the point where they don’t feel the need to trade every veteran player for a youngster.
Also playing a role in the Pirates almost certainly being non-factors at the deadline is that the two players generating the most interest are considered all but untouchable by Huntington, right-handed set-up relievers Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek.
Perrotto also notes that the Pirates are unlikely to trade Paul Maholm, because their asking price will be high and because there are a couple other pitchers (Roy Oswalt, Ted Lilly) that potential trade partners might have first in their queues.
The Major League Baseball non-waiver trading deadline is coming up on Saturday, and the Pirates are in a different position than they were a year ago. Then, they had a number of veterans they hoped to unload. In 2010, they have very few. The Pirates will listen to offers, of course, and the most likely players to depart include closer Octavio Dotel, reliever D.J. Carrasco, starters Paul Maholm and Zach Duke, and first baseman Garrett Jones. Of those, though, only Dotel has a good chance of being in another uniform come August.
"This year, we've got some guys that we're not real motivated to move," general manager Neal Huntington said. "If we get a good baseball trade, then we'll make it. But we're beyond the prospect-collection mode, and we're trying to move forward with this group"...
If a reliever is dealt, it's likely to be Octavio Dotel. The Pirates have remained mum on whether they plan to exercise Dotel's $4.5 million option for 2011. If that's not in the plans, the club could get some sort of return for him now.
A number of teams have had their eye on the 36-year-old closer, but the fact that left-handed hitters have had decent success against Dotel this season could scare away some suitors. If Dotel is dealt, he'll almost surely be used as a late-inning setup man, not as a closer.
Dejan Kovacevic agrees that Dotel is the most likely to depart:
Really, right now, most of the focus is on Dotel, who I expect will be playing for another team come Sunday. D.J. Carrasco is in this category, too.
Other names are going to come up in the next few days, mostly because of management's policy to at least listen to proposals regarding just about any player. That's how you get the Dodgers asking about Paul Maholm and the Pirates at least listening. But all it takes is a cursory glance at the Pirates' roster to see that most of it is now made up of players they either would not want to move or could not move if they wanted...
I've never once, formally or otherwise, hear the Pirates rule out a trade for prospects. What they've said, and Huntington repeated to me just a couple days ago, is that they're no longer in the prospect-accumulation mode. That's Pirates-speak that means, essentially, they're past the stage of their plan where they feel an urgency to move a veteran for a volume of prospects, as they did with Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth.
Kovacevic is correct that the Pirates don't have a lot of players they would want to trade and that other teams would want. While it would be silly to rule out trading any player if the right offer came along, most of the Bucs' most valuable guys have several years of service time to go before they become free agents, and thus the Pirates won't be motivated to move them. So it would be highly unlikely for the Pirates to trade guys like Pedro Alvarez, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Evan Meek or even Garrett Jones. Meanwhile, any of the Pirates' older players, like Ryan Church, have been disappointing, and so there's no good reason for a contender to trade anything of value for them. As Langosch notes, it's telling that the Pirates recently designated Brendan Donnelly for assignment - if anyone had wanted him, the Pirates would have traded him by now. For these reasons, the class of players who might be dealt before July 31 is rather small.
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