Every year after the deadline, we hear a little bit about discussions that didn’t end up turning into deals. The last two years, that’s all we’ve had for the Pittsburgh Pirates, since they didn’t make a trade on either deadline day. This year, the news was that they made a better offer for David Price in terms of talent, but that the Rays wanted young guys who were in the majors.
Naturally, this was met with the usual skepticism and/or anger about coming up short. The skeptics believe that this is just a lie, which doesn’t make sense as it’s coming from a national media member (in this case, Peter Gammons). Is Gammons is reporting false information to allow the Pirates to say “We tried” when they really didn’t, all with no vested interest in helping them out? Or is it just that the Pirates made a really good offer, but the Rays preferred a different one? One scenario involves a lot of conspiracy and stretching the imagination. The other involves something that happens all the time.
I don’t know if the Pirates will go without an addition this year, because there’s still the month of August. This time last year they were in the same situation, and ended up adding Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau at the end of the month. So it’s possible that they could do the same thing again this year.
If the Pirates did go without making a move, then this year would be the exception, and not the rule. They might not have a track record of landing guys like Price or Jon Lester, but they’ve got a track record of adding talent over the last few years while they’ve been in a playoff race.
In 2011 they traded for Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick.
In 2012 they added Wandy Rodriguez, Travis Snider, and Gaby Sanchez.
Last year it was Byrd and Morneau.
There’s only so much a team can do when it comes to attempting a trade, because it takes two to make a deal. That sounds cliché, but it’s true. The Pirates can make a big offer, but if the other team is looking for something different, or something very specific, then there’s nothing the Pirates can do to make a deal. And it’s not like the Pirates haven’t paid big to get a player. They gave up a lot to get one month of Marlon Byrd last year. They made a fairly big trade when they acquired Wandy Rodriguez.
No one likes to hear about the Pirates trying to get a player. Unfortunately, that’s only one of two possibilities when a team is pursuing a player, with the other possibility being the preferred “Pirates acquire (Insert Player Here).” When the former takes place, the reaction is that the Pirates made some sort of mistake, or continued a trend where they never add players, or just didn’t try at all, which is ridiculous. But their track record of actually making deals shows that these theories are false.
The Pirates aren’t going to get every player they pursue, just like how the Dodgers didn’t get Price or Lester, or how several other teams who were linked to those players didn’t land them. That’s nothing more than how the trade market works.
Now we’ll see if the Pirates continue their trend of adding at the deadline for the fourth straight year, or if they’ll make this year the rare exception where they don’t make a move.
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