July 31, 2010

Catcher Snyder Acquired

As speculated here earlier, the Pirates acquired catcher Chris Snyder from the Diamondbacks. He'll immediately become the starting catcher for the MLB team.

Snyder is hitting .231/.352/.426 this year; .233/.335/.402 career. He's an average defensive catcher at the MLB level which is a lot more than can be said for Ryan Doumit. Doumit is also hitting worse than Snyder at .258/.329/.412 and is perennially on the disabled list including right now. Snyder is signed through next year with a pricey option for 2012 that probably won't be picked up.Going to Pittsburgh are D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Crosby and Ryan Church. As you well know, Carrasco is the only useful piece out of that bunch. He's gone 2-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 45 games. Crosby hit only .224/.301/.295 and was a minor disaster at all four infield positions. Church hit .182/.240/.312 this year and frankly it's shocking that any major league team would want him.

This is a great move which upgrades the Pirates in 2010 and for the upcoming championship season of 2011. Snyder will never hit for a great average but has walked in 16% of his plate appearances over the last two years, meaning he gets on base at an above average rate for any player let alone a catcher. He also has 20 home run power although he's never been a starter for a full season. Starting Snyder over Doumit clearly is a major upgrade to the defense as well. Doumit's lack of prowess at catching balls in the dirt made the late innitngs a real adventure. With a competent backstop, pitchers are able to confidently rely on their full arsenal including low breaking balls with men on base.

The Pirates apparently will convert Doumit into an outfielder/first baseman. Hasn't this been tried before? Expect problems at any position Doumit plays.

The Diamondbacks threw in Pedro Ciriaco, an AAA infielder who plays good defense and can't hit. He's 24 and hitting .259/.278/.392 in the Pacific Coast League. I'm not sure what role he plays in the organization other than minor league filler.

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