This is part two of a three part 2011 season preview. The other two parts are below:
2. The Pittsburgh Pirates 2011 Trade Market
The Pirates have been no strangers to trades over the last few years. In 2008 and 2009 they blew the team up, trading almost every player off the 25-man roster. In 2010 the trades weren’t as extreme, although they did ship out a few guys on one year deals, getting some nice returns in the process, such as James McDonald/Andrew Lambo for Octavio Dotel, and Chris Snyder/Pedro Ciriaco for D.J. Carrasco, Ryan Church, and Bobby Crosby.
This year the Pirates should follow a similar approach, trading away guys with one or two years left on their contracts. Ideally they will be able to get pieces like McDonald or Snyder, to help out the 2011 roster. Don’t be surprised if we see a few dark horse trade candidates, which I will cover later. For now, let’s take a look at the players who are most likely to be traded in 2011.
One Year Deals
Chris Snyder – I would actually say that Snyder has the smallest chance of being traded out of this group. That’s not necessarily due to a lack of demand, but due to a need for the Pirates. It will all depend on how Tony Sanchez is progressing, and how guys like Jason Jaramillo and Dusty Brown are performing. If Jaramillo and Brown are doing well, and Sanchez is looking to be ready by early in 2012, I could see the Pirates trading Snyder. Otherwise, I could see them keeping him, picking up his 2012 option, and holding on to him until Sanchez arrives in the majors.
Ryan Doumit - Doumit is also no lock to be dealt, although that’s mostly due to his salary, injury history, and poor performances the last two years. If the Pirates do end up dealing him, they will most likely have to pick up a large majority of his salary, in order to get anything of value in return.
Lyle Overbay - Overbay is in on a one year deal, and could have some value if he has a surprise season with the Pirates. One issue with Overbay is that teams will need to have a specific need to be interested in him. That reduces the size of the market for him, and in turn, reduces the potential trade return.
Paul Maholm - Perhaps the biggest potential return could come from Paul Maholm, especially if he puts up a season similar to his 2008 season. Maholm is in the final year of his contract, and has a $9.75 M option for the 2012 season, which is reasonable if he does bounce back to those 2008 numbers. The Pirates should have guys like Rudy Owens, Brad Lincoln, and maybe even Bryan Morris/Jeff Locke/Justin Wilson challenging for major league rotation spots later in the year, which could force Maholm off the roster.
Kevin Correia - Correia was brought in this off-season on a two year, $8 M deal. That will look to be a steal if he can rebound to his 2009 numbers. If that happens, he could fetch a big return, especially with one year remaining on his deal following the 2011 season. Overall, the Pirates have held tight on their starters the last few years, with the exceptions of Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell, who were both struggling in the majors and demoted to AAA. I wouldn’t bank on Correia being traded, unless the rest of the rotation proves to be a huge surprise.
Matt Diaz/Garrett Jones - The right field platoon is under control for at least the next two years. However, the Pirates have three outfielders at the AAA level in Andrew Lambo, Gorkys Hernandez, and Alex Presley. If one of those options emerges as a potential long term option for right field, I could see Diaz and/or Jones getting dealt, especially if the team is out of it in July.
Ross Ohlendorf - I’m hesitant to list Ohlendorf here, mostly because I think it’s more likely that he bombs this season, and removes any trade value. However, with three years of control remaining beyond the 2011 season, Ohlendorf could fetch a big return, especially if he proves that his Spring Training numbers were a fluke, and puts up an ERA close to 4.00 again.
Joel Hanrahan – Hanrahan is in his first year of arbitration this year, and could be a candidate for a trade if teams are willing to pay the right price. Last year we heard rumors that the Pirates asked for Neftali Feliz in exchange for Hanrahan. That tells me that if another team wants him, they will have to overpay. It wouldn’t be a bad move for the Pirates to deal him, as they have Evan Meek and Chris Resop to potentially take over, and a starter or a position player would be more valuable than whatever Hanrahan does as the closer.
Prospects - Perhaps the biggest sleeper this year could come in the form of prospect trades, and perhaps some buying. The Pirates have a big roster crunch coming up next year, with a lot of players eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Those players include Chase D’Arnaud, Matt Hague, Josh Harrison, Andrew Lambo, Quincy Latimore, Brian Leach, Brett Lorin, Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, Rudy Owens, Aaron Pribanic, Justin Wilson, and Diego Moreno. The reality is that some of these players will be added to the 40-man roster throughout the season, while others will struggle and lose their prospect appeal. Still, that’s a lot of players, and the Pirates can’t afford to protect them all.