July 22, 2010

Trade Deadline Update

I always wondered how hard it would be to write posts on the Internet consisting of trade rumors that you BSed yourself. It seems like a great business to be in. The answer is 'not hard." Since it's been a few weeks since I first looked at the Pirates trade possibilities, here's a quick update as you prepare to watch the hometown offensive juggernaut...


Javier Lopez - I have seen no rumors on Lopez but I still consider him the most likely Pirate to be dealt. Lopez, 2-1 with a 2.62 ERA, is one of the better lefthanded specialists in the game and is making just $775,000 on a one-year deal. Most playoff teams have multiple strong lefty hitters, and typical bullpen usage makes having two lefty specialists a near essential in the postseason. Finally Lopez has done a good enough job that he's unlikely to return to Pittsburgh.

D.J. Carrasco - Multiple teams are interested in Carrasco, 2-2 with a 3.93 ERA. I think the Pirates will take the highest offer for him. Carrasco is here on a one-year deal for $950,000, so virtually any team could afford him. The one caveat is that he's the type of pitcher who's more beneficial in the regular season than the postseason.

Octavio Dotel - Dotel, 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA and 20 saves, has attracted the interest of the Mets and others. Presumably the Marlins would be interested. But while most people in baseball expect Dotel to be moved, I'd say it's only a 50/50 shot. He has a $4.5 million club option for 2010 which converts to a mutual option if he's traded - meaning Dotel would become a two-month rental.

Dotel has struck out 11 batters per nine innings this year while holding the opposition to a .235 batting average. It wouldn't be a terrible idea for the Pirates to simply keep him and pick up his 2011 option - retaining the back end of the bullpen as a team strength for next year.


Paul Maholm - The Dodgers are reportedly pursuing Maholm. Presumably the Phillies would have interest. I don't expect Maholm, 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA, to be moved. He's signed through next year and seriously, who would pitch his 200 innings if the Pirates don't bring him back? Moreover, even if the Pirates are inclined to trade him, they could keep him for another full year and still get good value.

Brendan Donnelly - Donnelly, 3-1 with a 5.28 ERA, is on a one year deal and would presumably be available. He hasn't been linked to any rumors, probably because of his walk rate of 6.5 per nine innings.

Joel Hanrahan - Hanrahan, 2-1 with a 3.76 ERA, has drawn a lot of inquiries. Yet he's striking out 12.4 batters per nine innings and is under club control for three more years so the price will be high. Too high for any team to meet, in my opinion. There was no point in trading for Hanrahan only to turn around and move him a year later after he's done an excellent job.

Andy LaRoche - LaRoche, hitting .232/.297/.310, lost his starting job to Pedro Alvarez. Yet I think it would be shortsighted to sell low on LaRoche for this reason. He's only making $450,000; why not just keep him as infield depth?


Zach Duke - Duke, 4-9 with a 5.22 ERA, simply hasn't pitched well enough this year to get much in return at the deadline. He's arbitration eligible for 2011 and will no doubt be back in the rotation with little to no raise.

Ryan Doumit - Doumit, hitting .259/.329/.412, apparently suffered a concussion in yesterday's game and went on the disabled list today. That kills his trade value for this year, if his monthlong slump didn't already. He'll be back in 2011.

Ryan Church - There's no way a team would give anything for the beleaguered fourth outfielder, hitting just .190/.246/.325. Church is on a one-year deal and is, however, a candidate to be released outright.

Akinori Iwamura - Iwamura is hitting .303/.465/.424 at Indianapolis. That's nice, but no team is giving up value or even taking on Iwamura's $4.25 million contract after his disaster first half. At best, he'll stay in AAA and help the I-Tribe's pennant chances. At worst, he'll be recalled in September and we'll be subjected to him again in Pittsburgh.

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