Thoughts on the Grabow/Gorzelanny trade

I was disappointed when I heard the details of this trade. I still have hope for Tom Gorzelanny‘s future, and I think the Pirates sold low on him. I guess it is possible that his arm is still toast from Jim Tracy‘s days as skipper, but his numbers have been solid in Triple-A this year. I see him as a good back-of-the-rotation starter down the road. Thus, when I learned that he was involved in the trade, I was hopeful that there would be something special coming back. Otherwise, I did not see any urgency to deal him, as I did with most of the other departed Pirates.

It’s sufficient to say that I was initially underwhelmed by the players coming back to the Pirates. However, after taking a closer look, I think it is better than I originally thought. Kevin Hart has put up some solid Triple-A peripherals over the past few seasons, striking out over a batter an inning while keeping his walk rate manageable. I see him probably being a decent reliever in the long run, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he ends up as a fourth or fifth starter. I have fairly similar expectations for Hart’s future performance as I do for Gorzelanny, although I would much rather have Gorzo in the system. If we say this is the Hart for Gorzelanny segment of the trade, the Cubs come out somewhat on top.

That leaves us with John Grabow for Jose Ascanio and Josh Harrison. This is a very good exchange for the Pirates. Grabow is what he is: a solid yet unspectacular left-handed reliever. Consequently, even with his potential Type-A status, I did not expect to get much in return for him. I am very excited to get Ascanio in the system. He is only 24, has great stuff, and has performed very well this year, both as a Triple-A starter and as a major league reliever. I think he will be a good back-end reliever at the very least, with the potential to develop into a solid starter. Harrison is a long way from Pittsburgh, but he is an interesting player. He can play a multitude of positions, and hit .337/.377/.479 in 335 plate appearances at Low-A this year. His numbers have dropped a bit upon his promotion to High-A, but he is still performing pretty well. He is a good athlete, and I would not be surprised to see him end up as a super utility player, similar to a Ryan Freel.

This deal will likely hinge on Gorzelanny. If he can regain some semblance of his 2007 form, the Pirates are going to regret this deal. Otherwise, they received a pretty decent haul for what they surrendered. This trade does not have the same excitement factor as Wednesday’s deals, but it is still a decent move.

(P.S. It is nice to feel disappointed about a “decent move.”)

Author: Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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  • http://www.johnstanko.us john

    Given past history and our incredible ability to give with nothing in return, I will say it’s a bad move until proven otherwise. We are also putting a nice spin on what is simply a salary dump, especially

  • http://mozzo.ru electromozzo

    Great post Jon! I have been following the #p2 effort since you started it, and although I have understood its purpose this post does a really great job solidifying the full rationale.

  • Matt Bandi

    Which past history are you referring to? The McClatchy/Littlefield era is irrelevant to this discussion, since management is completely different now. And earlier this week, I showed that the major league team is not regressing much under Huntington, despite the fact that every deal has been focused on the future.
    Also, which trade was a salary dump? Most players were either traded right before reaching free agency or still had an inexpensive salary. In addition, the Pirates have included cash in a few of their deals. Just because a familiar player is traded for prospects does not automatically make it a salary dump.

  • Anonymous

    The biggest problem with the Pirates this season has been the totallack of power. I see nothing being done to address that.

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    Nice post — this really hits home for me.
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