Has the Time Come to Trade Away Jason Bay?

Everything I’ve read in response to Dejan’s article about the Pirates’ interest in Jarrod Saltalamacchia has surprised me. Before I go any further, let me clarify two points:

  • It seems extremely unlikely that the Pirates will acquire Saltalamacchia given David Littlefield’s history.
  • The Pirates will not trade Jason Bay.

Still, I was surprised that when the price for Saltalamacchia was set at Bay, Ian Snell or Tom Gorzelanny, the fans didn’t have more of a problem with shipping off Jason. When you consider, though, that this team has lost 95 games for two years in a row—and they’re on pace to do it again—everything starts to come into focus.
Desperate times, desperate measures. And trading your superstar is perhaps the most desperate measure of all.
Let me say one more time: The Pirates will not trade Jason Bay. He’s their cash cow, he puts butts in seats. Trading him, perhaps the best move for the long-term future of the club, would essentially wave a white flag on the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
But an overwhelming number of the comments I’ve read and conversations I’ve listened to over the past couple of weeks have expressed doubt in these Pirates. At this point, all we want is a winner—whether that’s now or three years from now. If trading away Jason Bay were to mean that the Pirates could be serious contenders in 2009, then you’d get my seal of approval—and a number of other fans’, too.
Right now the Pirates are terrible. Do something—anything—to change that.
Shipping out Bay would infuse the upper levels of the minor-league system with the impact players necessary to begin another rebuilding process. The Pirates would be looking for talent in Double-A and Triple-A, players capable of getting a taste of the majors in 2008. Littlefield would demand a king’s ransom, and he’d surely receive it. I’m thinking Bay would command two top-flight prospects and another solid contributor, but I really don’t know. Rarely is a player of his value—young, cheap, productive—made available.
I’m not suggesting that the Pirates should rush to trade away one of their only true major leaguers, but if the right deal were to come along …

Author: Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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  • http://www.financecoachllc.com Travis

    The age of Bay, his intangibles (hustle, good attitude etc), and his power numbers (hurt a lot by PNC Park) far outweigh his bad arm. I have seen him leg out infield hits no matter what the score of the game time and again. The fact that he is NEVER rested by Tracy has to take its toll also. Unless someone offers a GREAT deal out of desperation, I would not trade him.

  • http://mvn.com/mlb-pirates Cory Humes

    My question is this, Travis: Will the Pirates field a winning team while Bay is on the roster?

  • http://joeyporterspitbulls.blogspot.com/ Joey Porter’s Pit Bulls

    Why would the Pirates trade for a catcher, like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, when they just drafted catcher Matt Wieters from Georgia Tech? What’s that, you say? They passed on Wieters to draft a middling left-handed reliever?!! No way!!!

  • http://themteams.blogspot.com thempirates

    It’s so silly that we’re agonizing over trading for a good catching prospect with the way we just passed one up in the draft. I’ve been a Pirate fan all my life. If Jason Bay were to be traded (he won’t be), I would cheer for whatever team he was traded to until we got new ownership.

  • http://www.financecoachllc.com Travis

    As long as the current GM is in place to constantly say: “we are rebuilding”,”our guys don’t have much experience”, “we will be better in 2 years” etc. the team will not ever win. The GM is carrying out the orders of ownership to keep payroll and player development costs at a minimum. A great way of accomplishing this is to always be in a rebuilding process with a “young” player payroll. If there is never GM accountability for losing, then the process will continue to only be a cash cow for the Nuttings due to MLB revenue sharing. BTW Oakland gets about the same amount of revenue the Pirates do and they find a way to win and be profitable. Trading away Bay for a combination of prospects would be another convenient excuse for why the team can’t win for another 2-3 years.

  • DC

    I like everyone likes Bayand certainly don’t want to see him traded as if ever any talent surrounds himhe would be a great piece for a winner. However this conversation is similiar to the talk before Brian Giles was shipped of for Bay with the exception Giles was a little older – but still very productive- one could ask how bad the Bucs would be today if thatdeal wasn’t made and or Bay leaves in 2 years as he is certain to do.

  • http://n/a Gavin

    I agree wholeheartedly with this line of thought. You are a bad baseball team, almost nobody should be considered untouchable because you need so many more pieces to become competitive. To acquire quality talent, you need to part with quality as well, and proven quality at a relatively young age is one sure fire way to fetch that type of return. If we could get a couple quality young bats, or a potential top of the rotation guy with A-plus stuff and a bat, I’d be willing to do it. With DL in charge, you know two things: 1) this will NEVER happen, and 2) if it did happen, he’d find a way to screw it up.

  • http://mvn.com/nhl-penguins Tony Ferrante

    Good topic Cory…
    Even though I get absolutely furious watching Bay take strike after strike, only to strike out swinging at bad pitches, if any position player on this team would be regarded as untouchable, it’s Jason Bay.
    Although if I see one more Little League-ish throw from left field from him, my opinion may change again.
    But let’s say for a second that Bay IS put on the trading block. Does ANYONE believe that Littlefield would do anything other than totally screw the trade up ???
    And in terms of Giles’ departure, let’s not forget that the final year of Brian’s year in Pittsburgh he was anything than a good teammate. Various members of the press that reported that Giles was regularly complaining. He was like Kendall re-incarnated in the clubhouse.

  • http://none Brad Crouse

    I would be happy as a clam if we sold a Bay for the best 0-3 guys we can ASAP. We did it with Ralph Kiner… right? Besides, who wouldn’t love hearing Lanny Fratare try to wrap his tounge around the following:
    “Here is the 1-2 pitch from VanBenschoten to Saltalamacchia.”
    Thats a mouthful!

  • Deter

    Think of the middle relief pitchers DL could get for Bay…….I bet he’s salivating right now just thinking about it….because you can never had too many mediocre to poor pitchers….wait strike that.

  • Deter

    Think of the middle relief pitchers DL could get for Bay…….I bet he’s salivating right now just thinking about it….because you can never had too many mediocre to poor pitchers….wait strike that.

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