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12-29-2012, 12:38 PM
Big McLargehuge
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The Pirates decided not to look into Tabata's age issues, I believe. There really is little evidence other than hearsay to prove otherwise. The whole argument about his age seem to come from the fact that he was doing too well in the minors for a player his age, which is a pretty weak argument.

Now looking at his career since then it may make some sense...or he could just be a young player with attitude problems who plateud early because of lack of effort/desire/proper life choices (hey, look at who he married).

Tabata, I suspect, will get plenty of starts this year while not being a starter. He'll probably play in left on days when Marte is off and center when McCutchen is off. I suspect Sands would be the top back-up in right, but Tabata will probably see a few games there as well.

The length of that contract is a killer, but the money involved with it is still reasonable enough that he really isn't costing anymore than a free agent 3rd/4th outfielder would anyway. I'm still not going to cut the guy any slack after the lousy season he had. He's got a long way to go before he earns my trust again.

Alright, so I haven't really had a chance to talk about the trade in-depth yet so here goes...

It's a pretty fair trade. Melancon's involvement made all the difference, as did the fact that the 2nd Pirates name involved was a total non-factor.

Going out...
Joel Hanrahan - Love him and I thank him for all that he did as a Pirate...but his best days are past him and I don't see a way he comes anywhere near being worth $7 million this year. Then as a free agent he'll likely get similar money again. His uptick in walks, home run rate, and FIP is extremely concerning, especially when doubled with the fact that he lost 1.2 MPH on his fastball (which is huge deal when you're talking about a closer) over the season. Going to the AL East isn't going to help him get things together.
Mind you, had he stayed a Pirate, he still would have likely had good numbers. Most Pirates pitchers should have a higher FIP than ERA because of our defense and Hanrahan's best pitch there was the slider...but I expect his ERA would be much closer to 4 than to 2 going forward. You don't pay that price for what is essentially an average closer.
Could we have gotten more at the deadline? Maybe. Maybe not. You run the risk of getting absolutely nothing if he struggles. One thing is for certain - trading him at the deadline would not net us a Major League pitcher. We'd almost certainly be dealing with pitchers in the low minors.
Brock Holt - He was a great story and is so easy to root for...but without Walker getting hurt the guy has no defined place in the system. His fielding is way too bad for him to be a utilityguy, or even just a middle-infielder, he's strictly a 2B...and most teams don't keep a guy on the bench who can really only play 2B, especially not when you have a very good player starting there. Holt's a smack hitter with no power, average speed, and bad defense...he's got a career as a 25th/26th player on a Major League roster ahead of him. Remember this time last year when everyone was crying foul that Matt Hague wasn't getting enough looks?
You could, if you'd like, look at Holt for De Jesus as a side deal within the bigger deal, since they're likely going to be filling each other's roster spot. The Pirates value utility guys over straight back-ups and De Jesus definitely looks to be a utilityman. In just 67 games in AAA last year he played 5 different positions (primarily 2B, but also SS, 3B, LF, and RF). Every scouting report I've come across basically says Holt has a slight edge offensively and De Jesus has a decent edge defensively. You really can't get much more similar in value than these two.

Coming In
Jerry Sands - Most of my disdain sent his way was simply out of fear that he'll be replacing Garrett Jones. Until that happens, and almost every rumor involving Jones has been coming from other team's bloggers, it's not fair to make assumptions. I don't care for prospects like Sands because we've gotten our feet wet in this same position-less mid-20s AAA power hitter pool so many times with no results before, but Sands does seem to actually be able to field decently well, so the fact he's listed as 1B/OF is actually an advantage rather than just confusion where to stick him where he'll do the least damage (or like Clement, who was already so damaged he could only play 1st...and do so as a defensive liability).
Opinion of Sands is going to be heavily dictated by how the team uses him. If we use him as a back-up lefty specialist in RF and primarily off the bench then we may have something here. If we jam him into a starting role I'm probably going to be furious...namely because I want Snider to get a legitimate chance because he has all the tools to be a stud in right and because his splits align him too close to Gaby Sanchez to be of any use as a platoon there with Garrett Jones out of the picture. Sands seems like the kind of guy who's going to mash lefties, but struggle against righties.
Stolmy Pimentel - It's hard to look at his minor league stats and wonder what the hell anyone can see in him...but minor league stats are a fickle mistress. The best I've heard Pimentel referred to was a 'lottery ticket'. He apparently has the stuff that makes the sky the limit for him...but he's failed to put much of anything together yet (keep in mind he's just 22) and has a very low chance of becoming anything. In the grand scheme of things I'd rather take a guy like Pimentel who has that 5% chance to become something special than a safer 24 year-old in AA who's high potential is as a #5, but at the end of the day I fully expect Pimentel to be little more than part of a trivia answer.
Ivan De Jesus, Jr. - I already said basically everything I can in Holt's entry. I'd rather have Holt's bat off the bench, but in a utility role I'd much rather have De Jesus.
Mark Melancon - This is the important one here. I really liked Melancon when he was with Houston. He comes to Pittsburgh at 27 as a better pitcher than Hanrahan did. For as ugly as that ERA was last year you also have to look at the fact that his FIP was a whole 0.13 higher than Hanrahan's. Everyone on Boston was struggling when he was there, and after being exiled to the minors (where he dominated) he came back and was lights out down the stretch. I'll just point to Bill James' expected stats for both Melancon and Hanrahan for next year. Yeah, we're talking expected stats...but this is baseball and you're allowed to do that.
Mark Melancon, 3-3, 0 SV, 3.47 ERA, 57 IP, 8.53 K/9, 2.68 BB/9, 3.33 FIP
Joel Hanrahan, 3-3, 40 SV, 3.63 ERA, 57 IP, 9.16 K/9, 4.11 BB/9, 3.61 FIP

Those numbers even include James predicting Hanrahan to have better control than normal for his career, even (4.3 BB/9 in his career and 5.4 last season) and his HR number normalizing.

I wouldn't be surprised if, hell I almost expect, the one-for-one swap of Hanrahan for Melancon ends up working out to the Pirates' advantage...especially considering Melancon is under control until 2017 and will be making a pittance this season since he's not even arbitration eligible yet and Hanrahan would be lost for nothing in October. If they do end up being very similar then we basically added Sands, De Jesus, and Pimentel for Brock Holt.

It's funny reading the blogs on this deal and how huge their variance of opinions are on it. It all comes down to what one thinks of Hanrahan and Melancon, really...though it was funny reading that one blog that was projecting that Holt would be the big name in the deal based entirely on minor league stats.

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick

Last edited by Big McLargehuge: 12-29-2012 at 01:00 PM.
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