According to John Perrotto via Twitter, the Pittsburgh Pirates will acquire catcher Chris Snyder from the Arizona Diamondbacks once MLB approves the amount of cash being sent to the Pirates by Arizona. Snyder is under team control through the 2012 season, although the 2012 season is a $6.75 M club option with a $750,000 buyout. Snyder is owed about $1.7 M for the remainder of the 2010 season, $5.75 M in 2011, and is guaranteed the $750,000 buyout in 2012, which means he will cost $8,187,159 over the next two seasons.
It’s not known who the Pirates gave up to get Snyder. This move also leaves the future of Ryan Doumit in doubt. Doumit is also under contract for the 2011 season, at a $5.1 M rate, which is less than Snyder. Doumit has an option for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, with both years having to be exercised by the end of the 2011 season. The option years come with a $500,000 buyout, which means that Doumit is guaranteed $6,860,929 over the next two years.
The Pirates are receiving money from Arizona for Snyder, but unless it’s a significant amount, I can’t see them keeping Doumit around and spending that much on two catchers, especially when Erik Kratz and Jason Jaramillo provide two potentially strong backup options.
Snyder is an upgrade over what Doumit has been the last two years. He has a low .231 average this year, but his .778 OPS is better than Doumit’s .741 OPS this year, and his .714 OPS last year. Snyder also has the edge on defense, and is fairly consistent, with a .773 OPS or better in four of his last five seasons.
The acquisition pretty much says that the Pirates aren’t confident in Doumit to handle the catching role until Tony Sanchez arrives, and with the injuries to Sanchez this year, that arrival might be delayed until June 2012 at the earliest. If Doumit doesn’t rebound, Snyder would be a clear upgrade at the catcher position until Sanchez arrives. The question is, what do the Pirates do with Doumit? Trade him? Platoon him? Use him at another position? Use him as a backup?
As for the return, it was rumored at the start of the month that the Diamondbacks were close to sending Snyder to the Pirates for Charlie Morton, before the front office firings in Arizona. You have to wonder if Morton will be involved in the deal this time around. That rumor came from John Gambardoro, talk show host in Arizona, and considering that he pegged the Pirates’ interest in Snyder back then, it’s clear he’s on the mark. Gambardoro tweeted earlier today that the Diamondbacks would be looking for bullpen arms in return for Snyder.