Lots of Pirates news late last night.
Let’s start off with the trade. The Pirates traded relief pitcher Jose Veras to the Milwaukee Brewers for infielder Casey McGehee. Both of these players were probably going to be non-tendered for their respective teams anyway so both teams go something for “nothing” in a sense.
I slept on the trade after initially loving it, and I still do. Veras was probably the most overrated/overhated guy on the Buccos roster last season. What do I mean by that? Veras was okay last season. He wasn’t the world beater his defenders made him out to be, and he wasn’t the absolute schmuck his detractors claimed.
I’m usually a proponent of trading relievers for position players. This one is all about potential. I know we throw that word around a lot, almost like it’s the Holy Grail of baseball but this time it’s different. McGehee has done it. He had two really good seasons before he fell off the face of the earth this past season. McGehee, still just 29, had two .800+ OPS seasons in 2009 and 2010.
He did hurt his thumb this past season which might be part of the drop-off.
McGehee has the ability to mash, hitting 23 homers in 2010 with 38 doubles.
He will probably serve as insurance for Pedro Alvarez and get some starts at first and third. If he turns it around he adds a big bat in a power starved lineup.
A lot of people think this is strictly a depth signing but I don’t think so. McGehee is looking at around $3 million in arbitration, an amount the Pirates seem unlikely to just throw around.
A lineup with the addition of Rod Barajas should actually have a pretty large increase in power.
Right after this news broke word came out that reliever Jason Grilli had re-upped with the team for $1.1 million.
Grilli came over from the Phillies farm system last year and was actually quite good in relief. He struck out 10.2 per nine and had a really solid 1.194 WHIP over his 32.2 IP.
None of those guys are really surprising. The health of Meek and the emergence of Grilli really made Veras expendable.
Resop is still under 30, and had a solid season. He came in during pretty high leverage situations and performed admirably. He has more upside than Veras, who I think is a great candidate to fall off this year due to his inconsistency.
The other guys are pretty open and shut. Charlie Morton is valuable after the huge step forward he took last season, though he is still recovering from hip surgery.
Karstens was the Pirates best starter so there is no way they could have let him go.
If Meek is healthy he is a closer candidate when/if Joel Hanrahan gets moved.
Hanrahan was a lights out closer last year, no way he walks for nothing.
Garrett Jones looks to at least get a platoon spot at first base. Maybe with Nick Evans.
This lineup has some potential, especially with the added power. I still think we are spending too much time making the bench deeper though.