Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic

I am not going to spend much time talking about Ron Cook’s article in this morning’s Post-Gazette, but I did want to make one point.

[Neal Huntington’s] trades have been mostly failures… At least to this point, they range from bad to awful.

[snip]

Bad as those deals were, sending Jack Wilson and $3.3 million to Seattle to get Jeff Clement as the key acquisition was worse. Clement was given the first-base job in the spring and hit .189 before being sent, finally, to the minors Wednesday. Then, there was the Aki Iwamura fiasco. Huntington traded to get him in the offseason when the Tampa Bay Rays were ready to release him and took on his $4.85 million salary, which is highest on the Pirates. Iwamura is hitting .177 and has no range in the field because of a bad knee.

Jack Wilson is hitting .253/.275/.347, good for a .266 wOBA. He has been out since May 5th with an injury. When he returns, he will be Josh Wilson’s backup. I repeat…he lost his job to Josh Wilson. As poorly as Ronny Cedeno has played this season, he has been superior to Jack Wilson.

Curiously, Ian Snell was not mentioned in this article. Snell has a 6.41 ERA and a 6.48 FIP in 46.1 innings for Seattle in 2010. He has 26 strikeouts and 25 walks. He continues to display off-the-field issues. If he makes it through the season without being designated for assignment, it will be a miracle. (UPDATE – 5:55 PM: He didn’t make it.)

Jesse Chavez has a 7.33 ERA and a 5.04 FIP. He was bad in 2009, and he has been worse in 2010. (UPDATE – 5:55 PM: The Braves demoted Chavez to Triple-A today. What a perfect day for both of these transactions to occur.)

Clement and Iwamura have certainly been awful this season, but Cook is ignoring half of the equation by only discussing the players the Bucs received. These trades were “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic” maneuvers. This is all Huntington can do while he waits for talent to arrive from the minor leagues. Sometimes, things will work out and a player such as Jose Tabata will arrive. Sometime, it will be an Iwamura or a Clement. When you trade mediocre/bad players, expect mediocre/bad players in return.

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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  • mattygabe

    I certainly have to agree with you here. For some odd, strange reason I’ve heard people say that “you can’t look at what the players we’ve traded away have done since they were traded” and yet it’s somehow perfectly fine to look at the season the players sent to Pittsburgh are doing. On top of that, they some how absolutely must arbitrarily assign one player as the “keystone” player in any trade, and if that player doesn’t equal the other “keystone” player, then it’s a terrible move by the general manager, even if the other players acquired end up being manageable depth for the team, or, GASP, decent above-average players.

    When will everyone finally see that this team had absolutely nothing in terms of “valuable assets” in September 2007 (save for Mr. Bay), and they’re essentially requiring the GM to turn water into wine in two and a half years.