Michael Young Trade Tree

Michael Young was traded to the Phillies over the weekend, ending his eleven and a half year stint in the Rangers organization. Young leaves Texas as their all time leader in several categories: games, plate appearances, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, sac flies, total bases and grounded into double plays. Looking back, I had forgotten that Young was not originally drafted by the Rangers. He was acquired in a trade deadline deal for Esteban Loaiza, who himself was acquired from Pittsburgh in a deadline deal two years prior.

Michael  Young Rangers

For the Phillies, they fill their hole at third base with a past-his-prime player who doesn’t field very well anymore. He should fit right in.

Michael  Young Phillies

Yunel Escobar Traded to Tampa

This is just a quick update to the trade tree I made for the big Marlins/Blue Jays trade. Miami has flipped SS Yunel Escobar to the Rays for infield prospect Derek Dietrich. I saw Dietrich play several times at Georgia Tech and he always looked solid to me.

Jose Reyes Marlins

Dominoes Are Falling

The Winter meetings start tomorrow and the Pirates made several moves, big and small, prior to arriving in Nashville.

The big moves:
Signed free agent C Russell Martin to a 2 year deal.
Non-tendered RHP Jeff Karstens, making him a free agent.

The small moves:
Traded a PTBNL to Boston for Zach Stewart.
Traded minor league RHP Luis Santos and minor league LHP Luis Rico to Kansas City for 1B Clint Robinson and RHP Vin Mazzaro.
Traded RHP Chris Resop to Oakland for minor league RHP Zach Thornton.
Traded IF/OF Yamaico Navarro to Baltimore for minor league RHP Jhondaniel Medina.
Signed free agent LHP Mike Zagurski to a minor league contract.

Looking back at my checklist of what to expect, they got the catcher and a bunch of relievers. Look for the team to acquire at least one starting pitcher and several more relievers as the off-season rolls on.

The latest rumors have the Mariners interested in Garrett Jones. The reported deal would have included catcher John Jaso coming to the Bucs, so it may be dead now that they have Martin.

The Pirates Will Do Very Little This Offseason And That’s Okay.

What will happen this off-season:

In the OF: Nothing. Andrew McCutchen is rightfully entrenched in center. Starling Marte is ready for a fulltime job. Travis Snider gets first crack at right field. Alex Presley and Jose Tabata provide depth.

In the IF: Nothing. Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes and Neil Walker are set at third, short and second. Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez will platoon at first.

Behind the plate: A partner for Michael McKenry will be picked up. It won’t be Russell Martin if his price is really 4 yrs/$40M. I don’t know how much A.J. Pierzynski is looking for. Toronto (J.P. Arencibia/Travis d’Arnaud/John Buck) and Boston (Ryan Lavarnway/Jarrod Saltalamacchia/David Ross) both have catching depth to spare. Trading with one of those teams seems like the best option.

On the mound: A.J. Burnett/Wandy Rodriguez/James McDonald will head the rotation. After that things are in flux. Jeff Karstens will be in the mix if he’s tendered a contract. Look for the team to add one starter making $8-10M/year. Kyle McPherson and Jeff Locke will fill the back-end or provide depth.

In the Bullpen: This is where the most change will happen. Joel Hanrahan, Tony Watson and Jared Hughes will be there. Every other spot is up for grabs. This is OK because reliever performance can vary wildly from year to year. Bullpens are also one of the easiest pieces of the team to build on the cheap. For those same reasons, it’s also possible that Hanrahan could be traded if another team is willing to give up a solid catcher or starting pitcher.

So that’s it. The Pirates will sign or otherwise acquire a catcher, a starting pitcher and a slew of relievers.

What else was to be expected? The major moves were made in July – Wandy Rodriguez and Travis Snider.

There aren’t any obvious bargains to be had on the free agent market. Look closely at that list and you’ll find that each player falls into one of three categories: old, bad or prohibitively expensive. Any significant improvement will have to come via the trade route. If they could swing a trade for Giancarlo Stanton or Wil Myers or a shortstop with half a bat to go with this glove it would be beyond great, but I just can’t see a deal like that happening. This is your 2013 Pirates team. And it looks a whole lot like the 2012 team.

Trade Tree: Jeremy Guthrie

Jeremy Guthrie just signed a three year, $25M deal with the Royals. MLBTradeRumors had predicted he would sign with the Pirates so that’s more than enough for me to consider this as semi-relevant. (Guthrie was also Pittsburgh’s third round draft pick in 2001 but did not sign.) Knowing the Pirates’ desire to improve the depth of the starting rotation, it’s likely they considered Guthrie as a possibility.

But that’s neither here nor there now that Jeremy has chosen to stay in Kansas City. How did the Royals get him?

He struggled hard in the thin air of Colorado — certainly not the first or last pitcher to do so. In KC, Guthrie turned back into exactly what was expected – a league average pitcher who can take his turn every time up. How did the Rockies get him?

Colorado traded the talented but inconsistent Jason Hammel, thinking they were getting the Guthrie that eventually showed up in Kansas City. Hammel had a breakout year for the upstart Orioles, becoming the pitcher the Rockies thought they were getting from the Rays at the start of the 2009 season. Man, it’s tough being a pitcher in Denver.

Just to complete the tale, how did the Orioles get him?

So that’s the story of Jeremy Guthrie: a consistently average pitcher twice traded by teams looking for a younger pitcher with a little more upside.

Ex-Pirates In The LCS: Results

Congrats to the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants for winning their leagues and for making my (revised) predictions come true. As such, I’ll stick with my World Series prediction from last round: Tigers over Giants.

Pennant Winners

Giants
Ryan Vogelsong 2 G, 14.0 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 13 K.
Javier Lopez 3 G, 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.
Xavier Nady DNP

Tigers
Octavio Dotel 2 G, 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
Don Kelly 1 G, 0 for 0, 1 R.

Eliminated Teams

Cardinals
None

Yankees
None

Division Series Results

Well, I went 0-4 in my picks for the division series. Now there are no underdogs left. In fact, the last three World Series winners are still alive, which means the only team left that is worth cheering for is the Tigers, who haven’t won since 1984.

New picks, guaranteed to be no less accurate than before:
LCS: Tigers over Yankees, Giants over Cardinals
WS: Tigers over Giants

Division Series Winners

Giants
Ryan Vogelsong 1 G, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.
Javier Lopez 2 G, 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
Xavier Nady 4 G, 0 for 5, 1 BB, 3 K.

Cardinals
None

Yankees
None

Tigers
Octavio Dotel 2 G, 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
Don Kelly 1 G, 0 for 0, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 SF.

Eliminated Teams

Nationals
Adam LaRoche 5 G, 3 for 17, 2 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 2 HR.
Sean Burnett 2 G, 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.
Mike Gonzalez 1 G, 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Tom Gorzelanny 1 G, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.

Reds
Ryan Ludwick 5 G, 6 for 18, 4 RBI, 4 R, 4 BB, 5 K.
Bronson Arroyo 1 G, 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
Xavier Paul 3 G, 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 K.

Orioles
Nate McLouth 5 G, 7 for 22, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR.

Athletics
Brandon Moss 5 G, 2 for 15, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP.

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