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.
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.