Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Adam LaRoche Trade

I posted this note on my Facebook this morning, in response to numerous posts about people quitting on the Pirates because of the LaRoche trade. Enjoy:

Much to my surprise, the trade of Adam LaRoche has brought quite the mixed reaction from the Pirates fans. Some fans, my self included, like the trade. Others, however, hate it. And I don't understand why people would hate this trade.

First off, Adam LaRoche was going to become a free agent at the end of this year. He was making just over 7 million dollars this year. There is no way that this current management team was going to resign him. If the Pirates had held on to him, they would have gotten nothing for this guy...NOTHING. By trading him, the Pirates at least got two prospects from the Red Sox. They aren't the best prospects, however, what can you expect to get for a guy who is currently hitting .247 with 12 HRs and 40 RBIs and was something like 7 for his last 70 at bats?

We all know the song and dance for Adam LaRoche. He'll end up with 25 HRs and somewhere around .265 for his batting average. His power numbers are not good enough to be our clean up hitter. He never should have been given that responsibility. On a team with a legitimate power guy, LaRoche may end up being a 6 or 7 hitter.

As far as defense goes, I feel like we lost a lot. He was very good defensively at first base. Much like Jack Wilson, if you're going to waste a bat on good defense, this would be the guy to waste it on. In that regard, I'm going to miss having Adam LaRoche as our first baseman.

"This management team has traded away all of our good players!" Ok...let's run with that.

Trade #1: Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte to the Yankees for Ross Ohlendorf/Jeff Karstens/Jose Tabata/Daniel McCutchen

Nady was having a career year in 2008. Marte was a solid lefty specialist. Nady was a part of the most productive outfield, along with Jason Bay and Nate McLouth. Karstens and Ohlendorf were placed into the starting rotation right away. Remember Karstens pitching 16 or so scoreless innings in his first two games? How about the fact that he was about 5 outs away from a perfect game? Ohlendorf has proven that he's a solid 3 or 4 starter.

McCutchen is currently in AAA. He is pitching with a 9-5 record, 4.19 ERA, 3:1 K/BB ratio, and a 1.27 WHIP. He is leading Indy with innings pitched as well.

Tabata is in AA with Altoona. He currently has a .291 average, 2 home runs, .746 OPS.

Ohlendorf is with the Pirates, as a 4th starter. He is 8-7 with a 4.59 ERA. He has a 2:1 K/BB ratio and a 1.32 WHIP.

Karstens, who was moved to the bullpen when Charlie Morton was acquired, has been solid since going to the bullpen at the beginning of June. He has pitched 10.2 innings since July 5 without giving up a run. He has also just given up 2 hits and 2 walks.

Nady and Marte...they have both been on the DL. Nady is going for Tommy John surgery. I'd say the first trade, so far, has panned out to be the best trade for the Pirates. Winner: Pirates

Trade #2: Jason Bay/Josh Wilson to the Red Sox for Andy LaRoche/Bryan Morris from the Dodgers and Brandon Moss/Craig Hansen

There is no denying that this trade at the deadline last year hurt. Bay was our only legitimate power hitter. He excelled at Boston last year, and continues to do so this year. He leads the Red Sox with home runs, and as of last night, was 2nd in the AL in RBIs.

In return, the Pirates got Andy LaRoche, who is projected to have some power. We haven't seen much of that power, however, he has hit a lot of line drives. His defense is also improving at third.

Bryan Morris is projected to be a 2 or 3 starter. He's currently in High-A Lynchburg. He is not pitching very well. He has a 2-5 record, 5.89 ERA, 1:1 K/BB ratio, and a 1.61 WHIP.

Brandon Moss is projected to be a power bat, however, we have yet to see it...despite a lovely walk-off yesterday afternoon. July has been a good month for him power-wise, as he's hit 4 of his 5 homers this month. He's currently platooning right field with Delwyn Young and occassionally left field with Garret Jones. He's still young...25 years old.

Craig Hansen was ok last year when playing for the Pirates. I believe he is currently on the DL.

This trade has been a tough one for the Pirates so far. LaRoche and Moss have not lived up to their potential yet, but give them another year to determine the value of this trade. Winner: Red Sox/Dodgers

Trade #3: Nate McLouth to the Braves for Charlie Morton/Gorkeys Hernandez/Jeff Locke

A shocking trade. After a breakout 2008, McLouth was seen as the keystone for the future Pirates teams. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner. Fact of the matter is, if you look at his numbers, Nate McLouth was very average as a center fielder. His offensive numbers were above average for a center fielder, however, if the Pirates moved him to a corner position in order to make room for Andrew McCutchen, he would have been average, at best. He was the leader in home runs and maybe RBIs when he was traded.

In return, we got Charlie Morton, who many people project to be a legitimate 1 or 2 starter. He has the "stuff" to be a very good starting pitcher. He is currently 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA and a 2:1 K/BB ratio. This is a very small sample size. If he does as well as projected, Morton alone will make this trade worthwhile.

Gorkys Hernandez is an outfielder project to be a similar player to Nyjer Morgan. He's younger than Morgan, and along with Tabata, he is expected to be a part of the future Pirates outfield.

I haven't heard a lot of great things about Jeff Locke to this point, so I'm not going to waste more time looking up his info right now.

Finally, I feel like one of the best pieces of this trade came from within. Andrew McCutchen has the potential to be a rookie of the year. He is exciting to watch and just has been a great spark to the line-up so far. Winner: Pirates

Trade #4 Nyjer Morgan/Sean Burnett to Nationals for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan

Nyjer Morgan was a popular player. All reports indicate that he was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He was a lot of fun and a spark of energy to the clubhouse. Sean Burnett was a lefty specialist and continued to pitch well following his breakout from last year. This was a great loss for the Pirates. However, Morgan is older and does not come close to the power that a corner outfielder should have. With Gorkys Hernandez coming up, it is pointless to have two similar guys in the outfield, especially when one of them will be 31 or 32 by the time the new Pirates outfield was constructed.

Lastings Milledge was a top prospect for the Mets, however, he openly admitted that there was a lack of structure in that organization and in the Nationals. That has lead to some of his crazy behaviors in those organizations. He will be a very good upgrade to the outfield and will provide some decent power for the outfield.

Joel Hanrahan is ok. He's having difficulties right now with pitching, but in working with Joe Kerrigan, I believe he will come around and end up being a decent bullpen pitcher.

Winner: Pirates

There you have it. In 3 out of the 4 trades that the Pirates management has made over the past year, not including the Adam LaRoche trade, the Pirates have been widely viewed as winners in these trades. So, please do yourself a favor before hating on the Pirates now and eventually jumping on the bandwagon if they become winners with these players acquired, do a little research. You don't even have to look things up. Listen to Extra Innings after Pirates games on 104.7. Rocco DeMaro will do the research for you and can provide you with evidence that most of these trades have been wins for the Pirates.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. A lot of people are so frustrated they tend to just jump on the same-ol-bandwagon that the Buccos are just trading more players away, but really it's the simple fact that if you send some talent-today, you will get slightly more to a lot more of talent-tomorrow. Just like a bank, only the Bucs are the "talent" bank (if you can even say that): They give the Red Sox a "loan" of talent, and they pay it back by the maturation of the prospects they send our way.