Pirates Acquire Three Players in Trades

The Pittsburgh Pirates have made two trades today, per a team press release. They acquired Zach Stewart from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. They also acquired Vin Mazzaro and Clint Robinson from Kansas City for minor league pitchers Luis Rico and Luis Santos.

Stewart was once the top prospect in the Toronto system, and has been involved in several trades over the last few years. His value has fallen, with a career 6.82 ERA in 103 innings in the majors, along with a 5.6 K/9 and a 1.9 BB/9 ratio. He should be given a chance to make the team out of Spring Training, although he does have one option remaining, so he could serve as depth out of Triple-A. He throws a fastball in the low-90s, reaching 95-96, and has a mid-80s slider which is his best pitch. He has been working on developing a changeup, but the pitch hasn’t come along like his other offerings. He could be a guy similar to Brad Lincoln, better used as a reliever due to the lack of a changeup. In his career in the majors he has a 7.51 ERA in 74.1 innings as a starter, and a 5.02 ERA in 28.2 innings as a reliever. His K/BB ratio as a reliever is 3.67, compared to 2.63 as a starter.

Mazzaro has pitched for the Royals the last few years, spending time as a starter. In 286 innings he has a 5.22 ERA, a 5.5 K/9 and a 3.9 BB/9 ratio. In his best season, coming with Oakland, he had a 4.27 ERA in 122.1 innings, with a 5.8 K/9 and a 3.7 BB/9 ratio. He throws a hard sinker in the low 90s, touching 95. Both Mazzaro and Stewart get a lot of ground balls with their sinkers, so these are two similar pitchers at this point. The Pirates seem to prefer sinker ball pitchers, as that’s a growing trend in their minor league system. They’ve had some success with guys like Jared Hughes and Charlie Morton.

Robinson is a guy who a lot of Pirates fans were talking about last year. The first baseman has shown some power in the minors, but was seen as a blocked prospect in Kansas City, with Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer in the majors. In his career in Triple-A he had a .309/.396/.493 line in 990 at-bats, with 36 homers. Those numbers came in the PCL, which is the most hitter friendly league in the minors. Robinson has only had four at-bats in the majors in his career, all coming last year. He’s a good gamble to take, with the hope that he becomes the next Garrett Jones.

The Pirates didn’t lose much in the Kansas City trade. Luis Rico and Luis Santos were both in the DSL last year. Santos had some interesting numbers in the DSL, posting a 2.44 ERA in 62.2 innings, with a 10.6 K/9 and a 2.9 BB/9. That came at the age of 21, which is pretty old for the DSL. Rico was signed last year for $280,000. He throws a fastball that touches 92 and has shown improvements with his curve and changeup. However, he saw a big decline in his control numbers in the DSL this year, with an 8.2 BB/9 ratio. That led to a 7.04 ERA in 23 innings.

The Pirates also designated Matt Hague and Yamaico Navarro to make room on the 40-man roster for the new additions. They previously had one open spot on the 40-man. Hague is about the same age as Robinson, but Robinson has more power potential. Navarro wasn’t really cutting it in the majors after being acquired from Kansas City last year. The Pirates can still retain Hague and Navarro if they clear waivers.

Overall the Pirates didn’t really give up anything for these trades, assuming the player to be named later is a marginal prospect. They didn’t get any guarantees here either. Mazzaro hasn’t had impressive numbers, and looks like a bullpen guy/rotation depth option. Stewart is interesting because of his previous top prospect status and the potential he could have out of the bullpen. Robinson is interesting because of his power in the minors. These aren’t really earth shattering moves, but they are moves that have a chance of paying off, and came with almost no cost. Those are the types of moves the Pirates should be making, although I doubt this is the extent of their off-season plan.

UPDATE 12:44 PM: The 2013 payroll and the Future Payroll pages are both updated with the moves.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • https://profiles.google.com/116366873579930999690 Thom Kay

    I love these types of moves. Robinson looks like he has a Jeff Clement floor and Garrett Jones ceiling. John Sickels described him as a “born DH” but maybe his fielding isn’t any worse than Jones’.

    Stewart and Mazzaro could both be pretty useful. Both have good GB%, and Stewart seems to do a good job keeping his walks down. I can’t imagine his terrible HR rates from last year could possibly continue. Mazzaro isn’t that exciting, but at least he’s a guy who’s had some good Major league outings. Better than low level prospects, for sure.

  • leadoff

    Looks to me like they are getting a little better depth for AAA, none of these guys have a chance of making the 25 man out of ST. or any other time. Who are they going to beat out?

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      Mazzaro will have to make the opening day roster, since he’s out of options. Robinson and Stewart could go to Triple-A.

  • TonyPenaforHOF

    Garbage in garbage out…

    • http://twitter.com/jlease717 jlease717

      Come on man, aren’t you excited about guys with lifetime ERA’s like that? Plus a whole 4 ML at bats for another 1st baseman! Whoo hoo! A guy who with 2 seasons of at bats in AAA has hit 36 homers, or 18 a year. In the PCL. Should translate to about 10 in the majors, if the Pirates are extremely lucky.

      Plus, his name is Clint, and his homers have decreased each of the last 3 years. 29, 23, 13. I’m spotting a trend here.

      Doesn’t strike out nearly enough though, although he has whiffed 2 times in his 4 hitless ML at bats.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

        ive seen CRob in person a few times. hes a decent hitter, and hes much better that Matt “spring training hit machine” Hague. The Bucs traded very little to aquire him, so I dont see the big deal at all.

  • http://twitter.com/beatembuccos21 beatembuccos21

    ‘Robinson is a guy who a lot of Pirates fans were talking about last year. ‘

    Where was he being discussed by Pirate fans? Maybe I missed something, but I just did a search on this site and found nothing. I also searched at OBN and found one mention of Robinson as a possible trade target in June 2011. I’m not trying to bust your chops – I legitimately want to read what Pirate fans have been saying about him in the past.

    • http://daleberrasstash.blogspot.com/ Kevin Creagh

      It seems as if Robinson was a popular “guy is blocked” target at Bucs Dugout. Robinson is a AAAA-player. Always 2 years old for his levels and appears to have a slider-speed bat by looking at his video. Not much defensively.

      He was just a trendy “we need a 1B prospect” pick for some folks.

      • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

        I think it was more “who are some potential Garrett Jones candidates”. The thinking behind it seemed to be that Robinson had strong power numbers, but was blocked and never got a chance in KC. That was similar to how Jones was blocked in Minnesota and never got a chance in the majors.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

        so with this mantra, CRob will succeed once he turns 35, because he’ll be 2 years older than his level.

        He was not a trendy 1B pickup at all. The Royals dropped him, and CRob is much better than Matt Hague. Even if he starts at AAA, this is a very good pickup by the Bucs.

        And for the record, Garrett Jones was once LITERALLY an AAAA player, yet he broke out at an advanced age. Theres no reason to think that CRob wont do the same. How about givin’ the guy a chance before we claim he’s QuadA material?

        By the way, CRob won the doubleA texas league triple crown at the age of 25. what was the median age for texas leaguers that season? 24.

        enough already.

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

          heres a link to baseball america’s median age averages for each minor league.

          http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2012/04/median-age-for-every-full-season-minor-league/

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

          one more thing: CRob was dealt because the Royals have Hosmer and Butler. If they only had one of these guys, I’m pretty sure CRob would not have been traded at this juncture.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

            I wonder who the better ‘firstbaseman’ would be…Clint or Billy….lol

        • http://daleberrasstash.blogspot.com/ Kevin Creagh

          Clint Robinson is going to be 28 for the 2013 season and has had a grand total of 4 at-bats in his career. A player’s theoretical peak is age 27-30, so Robinson is not going to get any better than he is right now. He’s not a ‘prospect’ by any stretch.

          Also, there’s a big difference between ‘median’ age and ‘prospect’ age for each level. To be considered a prospect at AA, you should be 22-23. Robinson is the equivalent of Kramer beating up little kids in karate class in Seinfeld. Robinson has also had the luxury of hitting in hitter-friendly leagues for much of his upper level Royals career.

          As depth for AAA, this move is fine. I just hope people aren’t thinking that it will be anything more than that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

            i dig what your sayin, Kevin. but CRob is not a prospect. neither was Garret Jones. my point is that he could blossom late and have a decent career, and quite frankly hes now the best 1Bman we currently have in the system. (not including Jones)

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      Last year I saw him mentioned a lot on various forums and sites. The guys at Bucs Dugout really seemed to like him. I talked about him at the end of May.

      http://blogs.piratesprospects.com/williams/first-pitch-the-case-for-jeff-clement-over-casey-mcgehee/

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams
      • http://twitter.com/beatembuccos21 beatembuccos21

        Cool – thanks. I like Charlie’s site. But I find his comments section to be too messy to follow. So, I have a tendency to read articles and then not even read the comments (although I’m sure plenty of them are worthwhile).

  • Rebel

    Once again, acquire players nobody else want. It’s a great track record

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

      you mean, no other team aquires players for their minor leagues, with hopes that one or some make the big leagues???????

      i learn something new every day.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

        White Angus….be nice….lol

        Btw, can you see the Royals’ fans? Is THIS all we got for Mazzaro and Clint R?

        Foo

        .

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

          its just frustrating to see fellow Buc fans get all bent out of shape about a trade that absolutely DOES NOT hurt the team at all.
          the bucs traded two pitchers that almost no one has even seen pitch for a guy that is much better than Hague and Curry and probably even Dickerson. CRob even has a option remaining so he can start the season in AAA if need be.

          this is getting ridiculous.

          • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

            I feel your pain….

            Actually, I’m more excited (if I can use that word) in getting Mazzaro and Stewart.

            Foo

            .

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

    Charlie Wilmoth, in the comment section, said that Zach Stewart’s FB had dropped down to the 89 MPH range.

    Anyone see anything on that? Perhaps that is why his HR rate has gone way up?

    Foo

    .