The Pittsburgh Pirates traded first baseman Adam LaRoche for minor league SS Argenis Diaz and minor league pitcher Hunter Strickland. Diaz was rated 29th and Strickland 38th best prospects in the Red Sox system according to http://www.soxprospects.com/.
Diaz 22, SS:
Scouting Report: Diaz is an elite defensive shortstop, and if he improves his concentration on routine plays, he could compete for a gold glove in the bigs right now. He has plus range, excellent footing, an impressive glove, and an outstanding arm. Makes impossible plays in the field. However, he does make a lot of errors on off-the-mark long throws off of grounders that he has no business getting to in the first place. He also really struggles with routine plays on occasion, almost as if he has a mental block. That is a definite area in need of improvement. The other key for Diaz is how much he will hit. He's a slap hitter with below average to average on base ability and without much power, but he's swung the bat very well during a few prolonged stints here and there. Good bat speed through the zone. Struggles with advanced off-speed stuff. Can show lack of plate discipline in stretches. Hits lefties significantly better than righties. Excellent at laying down bunts. Won't steal a lot of bases.
Strickland 20, RHP:
Scouting Report: Tall righty with projectable frame. Fastball sits about 88-91 mph, topping out around 93. Fastball is a little flat, but shows some good movement when he takes something off of it. Strickland has a slow, easy delivery without much explosion at the moment. Good balance. Also works in a 79-82 mph slurve along with a change that sits at 83-85 mph. Changeup could stand to have some more separation from his fastball, look for that to be an area of improvement in 2009.Repeats delivery well, needs to work on his release point to improve his command. His father played in the Tigers organization.
Scouting reports are from Sox Prospects.
Diaz is planned to head to Indianapolis while Strickland is expected in West Virginia.
The Pirates essentially got a 22 year old Jack Wilson and a right handed pitcher that seems to fit Huntington’s profile for pitchers: Tall and Projectable. The key with Diaz, Wilson just became a little more expendable. Expect Diaz to see some time in Pittsburgh if/when Jack Wilson is traded.
2:28 - Steve Pearce was pulled from DH duties in Indianapolis’ game today. Lastings Milledge did not play in the game either. Both may be recalled with Jeff Salazar returned to Indianapolis. Huntington all but confirmed Pearce is being recalled and that Pearce has made some “significant” adjustments.
More BTW Take:
Considering LaRoche’s contract and pending free agency, add the fact the Pirates received two prospects in return, the deal seems to be a pretty even swap.
MOSS JUST GOES YARD TO TAKE THE SERIES!!!!!!….Wish this was October.
Some quotes from Huntington on the trade:
"Diaz is an intriguing shortstop prospect who projects to play above-average defense with soft hands, good first step quickness and an above average throwing arm," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington. "He is developing on the offensive side of the baseball, but Argenis quickly becomes the best defensive shortstop prospect in our system."
"Strickland is a young developing right-handed starting pitching prospect with a good frame, solid delivery, clean arm action and an interesting pitch arsenal," said Huntington. "He is a quality strike thrower with a fastball that has averaged as high as 93 miles per hour, with the potential for a Major League caliber breaking ball and changeup to complement his fastball."
BA had Diaz rated the Best Defensive Infielder in Boston’s system.
More Huntington Comments:
3:59 On MLB Home Plate Huntington flat out said the Pirates will not pick up the options on Wilson nor Sanchez.