July 31, 2010

Lopez Traded For Bowker, Martinez

Minutes after trading Octavio Dotel to the Dodgers, the Pirates shipped another veteran reliever west as Javier Lopez went to the Giants for two prospects.

Righthanded pitcher Joe Martinez is the better player coming to Pittsburgh. He's 5-3 with a 3.32 ERA for AAA Fresno and also has a 4.91 ERA in 11 major league innings this year.

Martinez throws a 90 mph fastball to go with a curveball and changeup. He's also 27 years old and hasn't even been successful at AAA until this year. I hope I'm wrong but he looks to me like another replacement level arm at the MLB level.

John Bowker is a 26-year-old lefthanded hitting outfielder who has been in the majors for parts of three seasons now and simply hasn't hit. His career MLB batting line is a very poor .238/.285/.339. Yet at AAA, he's hit .318/.414/.561, evidencing better talent than his Giants performance thus far. He'll probably become a fourth outfielder for the Pirates right away and can't possibly do worse than Ryan Church.

It's disappointing to see the dismantling of a great bullpen, and at first glance the return for Lopez looks like a couple of spare parts. However, keeping Lopez would have been pretty pointless so I am willing to accept that this was the best offer for him.

Lopez, of course, did a fine job here, going 2-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 50 games. He'll be a useful arm for the Giants down the stretch.

UPDATE: Bowker and Martinez are both heading to Indianapolis.

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