July 14, 2008

Warning Signs (Part 1)

Here is my take on what possible deadline trades may mean to the Pirates and their fans.

Lets start with the least impactive working our way to "another rebuilding phase".

Xavier Nady - While trading your likely team MVP may seem like launching into a five year plan, it is actually a sign of a GM looking to the future and ready to see if the teams top prospects are ready.

Depending on what team lands Nady, multiple prospects should be a return. He is not a rent a player and will not test the free agent market until after 2009, Boris is his agent.
A return of a starting pitching prospect and another prospect could be quite likely considering the market for an outfielder with power and average. A AAA starting pitcher would likely fly straight to Pittsburgh to be part of a rotation with 2 gaping holes left by Gorzelanny and Dumatrait.
This type of move would also get either McCutchen or Pearce recalled to fill the outfield opening made by the trade. My money would be on Pearce, this makes sense so management can determine if last year was a fluke and see if his power translates to MLB.
OVERALL: A trade that strengthens the rotation and gets a good look at the future without lessening the teams viability in 2008.

Jason Bay - While many may look at this as trading away a cornerstone, it should be looked at much the same way as a Nady deal.

The main difference is the return in trade. Bay should fetch 3 players considering his history and how well he has rebounded from a injury hampered season in 2007.
Look for a pair of pitcher and a position player in return considering he too will not be a rental. Bays contract runs through 2009.
Once again I will name McCutchen here. His position in AAA Indianapolis is left field. With his range and speed he would likely lead off, where he bats in Indy, and play left field, regardless of him being named to the Olympic Team.
McLouth would drop to the 2 or 3 spot in the lineup.
If a AAA pitcher is acquired, look for him to land in the rotation.
OVERALL: A trade that strengthens the rotation and gets a good look at the future without lessening the teams viability in 2008.

Nady and Bay - Now we are talking concern. With both being traded, many others should follow including Doug M., Jack Wilson, Damaso Marte, John Grabow and if anyone would take them Sanchez and LaRoche. I don't believe all would go, but many other deals would surely happen.
The trade of both corner outfielders would be a sign of a complete youth movement. A youth movement at this stage of the year would be beneficial long term, since all parties would have a chance to gel and get some MLB experience. It would also prove this management group was true to their word about building a franchise rather than just a team.

Tomorrow I will continue this topic...With part 2 of warning signs.
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