Jayson Stark is reporting that the Trevor Williams trade between the Marlins and Pirates last month was a compensation deal for the Marlins hiring Jim Benedict away from the Pirates. That’s no surprise, as the deal was one-sided and when we asked Neal Huntington about the trade being compensation, he didn’t deny it.
The Stark article does point out that teams don’t usually let another team hire two front office people to protect themselves from being raided by that team. Because of that practice, the Pirates were able to demand compensation for losing Benedict, who was still under contract with the Pirates.
Williams was a second round pick and was sought after by the Pirates during the 2013 draft, but the Marlins took him a handful of spots before the Pirates next pick came up. He is currently in the AFL, where Tim Williams was able to talk to both him and Justin Meccage for this in depth report of the new acquisition.
The Stark article is a bit critical of Richard Mitchell’s value, but he is a little better than it makes him out to look. Mitchell went through a mechanical change late in Spring Training this year and didn’t adjust well to it at first, but finished strong with his best career outing. The scouts who likely saw him were watching him pitch through a mechanics change in actual games instead of working on it during Spring Training.
Mitchell was signed for $150,000 in 2011 and the Pirates were very high on him. He doesn’t throw hard, topping out at 91 mph, though he has a nice three-pitch mix and pounds the lower half of the strike zone, working the inside corner often and pitching to contact, limiting his pitch count. There is a big difference in the prospect status of the two pitchers, especially with Williams in AAA and Mitchell in Rookie ball, but I wouldn’t write off Mitchell like the Stark article does. All reports we have got on him call him a very smart pitcher, who sticks to his game plan. He also turned 20 years old in late July, so youth is on his side.