I’ve been a fan of the majority of Neal Huntington’s trades so far. He’s managed to get bullpen arms (Yates, Bautista) and bench players (Michaels, Diaz) for next to nothing.
The one trade I didn’t like was the Salomon Torres deal before the 2008 season. Neal held on to Bay, Nady, and pretty much everyone else before the 2008 season, hoping their value would increase from the 2007 season. I have no clue why they didn’t do the same with Torres.
Torres was coming off a year where he posted a 5.52 ERA in 52.2 innings, lost his job as the closer of the team after blowing six saves in 18 attempts, and publicly expressed his disappointment with the Pirates for not holding up certain agreements in his contract. The latter issues were reportedly settled, but what remained was that Torres was coming off a horrible year where he failed as the closer. He was traded for a low return, and went on to have a bounce back year with Milwaukee, with a 3.49 ERA and 28 saves in 35 attempts.
The biggest trades were the Jason Bay and Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte deals. The book is still out on these trades, and 2009 will tell a lot about how we ended up, but I’m a fan of the potential of these deals. Breaking them down one by one:
-Nady/Marte Trade: I think Jose Tabata can be just as good, if not better than Nady, plus we’d have him under control for at least six years (rather than one more year for Nady). If one of McCutchen, Ohlendorf, or Karstens steps up as a reliable 3-5 starter (which I think is likely) and Tabata lives up to those expectations, this deal is a win.
-Bay Trade: Jason Bay was my favorite player, so I hate to see him go, but I do like the return. Andy LaRoche was the number one hitting prospect in the Dodgers system going in to the 2008 season, and I credit his bad year to a thumb injury. I feel it is easier to find a good corner outfielder than it is to find a good third baseman. The Pirates also got Brandon Moss, who I think can be a .280/20 HR hitter, Bryan Morris, who was a first round pick in 2006 and has the potential to be a #2-3 starter, and Craig Hansen, who is a strong bullpen arm with serious control problems (more of a throw in).
I think the Nady trade has a better chance of being a steal for the Pirates, but I like the talent brought in with the Bay trade, especially LaRoche and Morris. As I said, the 2009 season will tell us a lot about how we ended up with these trades.
Now, on to the trade history of Neal Huntington…