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Why Did The Pirates Drop Brendan Donnelly?

Dejan Kovacevic at the Post-Gazette answers a question about Brendan Donnelly, the reliever the Pirates cut before trading off several of their other relievers:

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The Pirates told me, at the time, and afterward, that offers were sparse for their relievers even within 48 hours of the deadline. Even for public consumption, they said so, with Neal Huntington tell me Friday in St. Louis that he was getting “moderate interest level” in the three relievers.

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If you stop and think about it, he had no advantage in the trading marketplace to saying that, so it strikes me as eminently plausible.

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But, again per the Pirates, the marketplace very much picked up from there, with teams clearly going after Octavio Dotel and Javier Lopez a lot harder than moderately, judging from the surprising return netted for each.

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The theme of surprise comes up a lot with regard to these trades. Neal Huntington usually thinks a couple of moves ahead, but he ended up getting a player (John Bowker) in the Javier Lopez deal who is interesting, but who the Pirates have no particular use for right now. Bowker could be part of a big roster mess next spring, since he and two other players who play his position (Jeff Clement and Steve Pearce) will all be out of options. I'm not sure Huntington would have cut Donnelly, who the Pirates dumped to avoid paying performance bonuses, if he knew Octavio Dotel, D.J. Carrasco and Lopez would bring so much back. 

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That said, I'm not sure this is anything to worry about, either. Donnelly is 39 years old and had a 5.58 ERA and about the same number of strikeouts as walks, which suggests that ERA was no fluke. While there's certainly a chance he could recover and pitch well down the stretch with some other team, I think Chris Resop and Chan Ho Park, who the Pirates recently picked up for free, are better bets to perform well anyway.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.