Last week the trade deadline came and went. A lot of trades came in hard and fast in the final thirty minutes. The Pittsburgh Pirates had been surprisingly quiet until that last hour. Within a couple of minutes the Pirates traded reliever Tony Watson to the Los Angeles Dodgers and then replaced him with reliever Joaquin Benoit from the Philadelphia Phillies. These moves confirmed what many in the industry had figured the Pirates would do: buy and sell.
Every trade has its cost and effects on a team. The Pirates basically replaced Tony Watson with Joaquin Benoit. Benoit is older and less effective than Watson but should provide some value out of the pen. The two prospects, Oneil Cruz and Angel German, received for Watson were better than the one prospect that was given up for Benoit. While Cruz and German aren’t big name prospects they could provide some value in the next couple years. Basically, the Pirates traded one expiring contract for another but got additional pieces that may be semi-valuable in the next few years.
The non-waiver deadline may have passed but the Pirates weren’t quite done trading. Sean Rodriguez cleared waivers and was then promptly traded to Pittsburgh. Sean was a Pittsburgh bench staple over the last two seasons. Last offseason, the bucs attempted to resign him but he accepted a contract with the Atlanta Braves. Tragically, Rodriguez got into a car crash over the offseason and was injured until July 17th. His stats were underwhelming and he quickly lost his place in an overcrowded Braves infield. Pittsburgh is familiar with his offensive and defensive prowess and elected to give Sean a change of scenery.
The trade for Sean Rodriguez semi-addresses the the third base problem. While not a major offensive force, Sean can help give veteran third baseman David Freese more breaks and provide better defense in late game situations. “Serpico” can even provide some pop, a fact he illustrated by hitting a walk-off home run in his first game back with Pittsburgh. In return, the Pirates gave up 24 year old Connor Joe, an AA corner outfielder. Joe was middling in the minors and was expendable. This trade could have an impact on the 2018 season. The the return status of Jung Ho Kang is still unknown, which means third base is a question mark. Sean’s contract is through 2018 and he could play a very important role, if Kang can’t obtain a visa.
Just like in previous years, the Pirates didn’t make a big splash but they continue to make trades that should benefit the team both in the short and long term. Most importantly, the dance circle is back!