Saltalamacchia to Save a Sinking Pirate Ship?

I was going to wait until tomorrow for this, but I’ll jump in with my thoughts now.
I’m sure you’ve seen this morning’s Post-Gazette in which Dejan Kovacevic reports that the Pirates have inquired about Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a big-time catching prospect for the Atlanta Braves.
I fired off a quick e-mail:

You wrote today that the Pirates had inquired about the availability of Jarrod Saltalamacchia—and I know that in the past you’ve talked about how you won’t report on a rumor unless you’ve verified it has legs, so now I’m curious.
If Dave Littlefield did indeed contact the Braves, he must think that the Pirates have the pieces necessary to acquire Saltalamacchia, a franchise catcher with a hefty price tag.
Moving Duke or Maholm to Atlanta might be the start of a package, but it wouldn’t even get close to a deal, you’d imagine. I doubt that Littlefield would consider moving Snell or Gorzelanny given what they’ve achieved to date.
Could the Pirates be considering parting with another Brent Lillibridge—maybe Steve Pearce? Would you consider dealing two (or three) young players for one to be a move in the right direction?

… and I received a quick response:

Everything I heard was in there, Cory. I left nothing out.
Just to be clear: I did not “report on a rumor.” I have nothing to do with rumors. That word gets thrown around recklessly as it relates to potential personnel moves.
Just as stated, I have one source quite close to this who confirmed contact between the Pirates and Braves regarding this player.
– Dejan

Since he’s rarely one for speculation—good journalists are rooted in fact—I didn’t expect to get much of a reply from Dejan. I guess that leaves it up to us to figure out what might make a deal work.
Both Pat and Charlie have already weighed in with their thoughts.
To acquire Saltalamacchia, the Pirates would almost certainly have to build a deal around Jason Bay, Ian Snell or Tom Gorzelanny. That’s not likely to happen.
If Littlefield were to make a move from the farm, he might be able to acquire the young catcher using Zach Duke as bait. To even out the talent, though, we’d have to include—at minimum—a prospect like Steven Pearce in addition to another useful player.
Alternatively, we could bring McCutchen and Walker to the table, but that would be akin to discarding the Holy Grail.
So, back to my original question: Would any of the following packages be a move in the right direction?

  • Bay for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and two more elite prospects
  • Snell or Gorzelanny straight up for Saltalamacchia
  • Duke or Maholm and Pearce and Walker for Saltalamacchia

I doubt that Littlefield would pull the trigger on any of those deals … but given the chance, would you? Do the Pirates get better—either for the present or the future—by making a move?
For a Braves fan’s perspective, check out Will Schaffer’s post at Chop-n-Change.

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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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  • DC

    ‘Bay for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and two more elite prospects
    Snell or Gorzelanny straight up for Saltalamacchia
    Duke or Maholm and Pearce and Walker for Saltalamacchia ‘
    As much as I hate to say it the first is a deal I would consider if the 2 prospects where legit. The Braves would wet themselves in getting Bay, the Pirates would get 3 players of good quality.
    You simply can’t trade Snell or Gorzo it would create to big a hole and that is a hard hole to fill.
    The 3rd option is just obscene. Saltalamacchia for Walker and Duke or Malholm maybe but not Pearce(or vice versa) as well. He is after all virtually unproven at the ML level.
    Malholm and Pearce might not be bad. Malholm with the Braves pitchers may turn into something.

  • Aaron

    If we trade Ian Snell or Gorzelanny for that catcher I will no longer be a Pirates fan. These two are the best players on a terrible team and we can not trade them. Get rid of Bay for Saltamacchia and a prospect who is ready to play now before trading the two young players. Maholm and Duke can go before Bay also. Please Pirates dont do something stupid with our studs!

  • Paul

    It is time to trade Bay. Will his value be any higher? He is a good player, but not someone to build around. He is losing some of his dimensions(fielding and speed). I like Salty and Paulino is showing his true colors. He is a catching version of Castillo. Blinding potential followed by lack of effort and trying to pull everything. Trade Bay and get Salty and prospects. To beat a dead horse, if they want a switch-hitting catcher of the future, they could have (should have) drafted Weiters.

  • Randy Linville

    Before the season, Bob Smizik wrote a piece comparing the 1987 Pirates to the 2007 Pirates. I did somthing I rarely do – post a response ( In that post I stopped short of calling Smizik a clown.
    I summarized by writing: “I think the 2007 Pirates are saying “Here is our team. Let’s see how we do. We think we’ll be better than in the past.” The 1987 Pirates were more along the lines of “Let’s find some ballplayers that we can win with. We can’t be worse than we have been.”
    I think that statement remains true. I don’t think DL will be as trigger happy as Syd Thrift was 20 years ago.
    So, I think it is very unlikely that the Pirates will acquire Salty. Considering how badly he’s been abused about the Aramis Ramirez deal, I don’t think DL could stomach trading a proven ML veteran who has mileage left on the odometer, especially if all he gets in return are prospects. Remember DL was apparently offered Ryan Howard, then in the minors, for Kris Benson and instead got Ty Wigginton apparently because Wiggy already had roughly 1,000 ABs in the Bigs. No way does DL have the guts to trade Bay without a guaranteed return, which of course is impossible.
    If a trade does happen, I expect it to be Duke or Maholm and a couple of minor leaguers.

  • Steve

    The one descriptive that stands out about Saltalamacchia to me is “prospect”. I wouldn’t want to trade away proven players for unproven ones. I’d want Brian McCann from Atlata for Jason Bay, not his backup. Trade rumors are going to flow like a waterfall for the next month- I’m going to wait for something to actually happen this year instead of speculating.

  • Cory Humes

    Saltalamacchia is the Andrew McCutchen of the Braves’ system. I’m really surprised that people are talking as if he’s some sort of bum.
    Not that Bay, Snell and Gorzelanny are anything to sneeze at—but to get value, you’ve got to give value.
    Like I said … I’m not sure any of those moves would be a step in the right direction, I’m just trying to talk my way through them.

  • DC

    Nobody is talking as if he is a bum- but he is an unproven player much like McCutchen. Would you bet your house on McCutchen being as good as Bay right now?
    I wouldn’t, as such it’s not an even trade without additional talent- good talent- in the mix.

  • http:/// Will Schaffer

    I have to say that here, the only realistic option is number two. Salty won’t be shipped out for anything other than a front line starter and the offense the Braves are getting from the Harris/Diaz platoon isn’t near forcing them to bring in a big name left fielder.

  • brnt247

    Hey, I’m a Braves fan and was just searching around for rumors of Snell for Salty.
    The trade for Bay wouldn’t really be interesting to the Braves as if they were to need offensive help it would be at first base and thats where Salty is learning. It would be counter-productive to trade away the best option for 1st for an unneeded outfielder.
    The only way the Braves trade him is Salty and maybe Matt Harrison or JoJo Reyes for Snell. Maybe just straight up but I feel as if the Braves would be getting a steal if it was just Salty for Snell.

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