Looking Back: Pittsburgh Pirates 2008 Trades

Now that the Winter Olympics are done I am getting myself ready for my favorite sport. My dad was born and raised just north of Pittsburgh. This means I was raised to be a Pirates, Penguins and Steelers fan growing up. Being that I love statistics and numbers its easy to see why baseball is my favorite sport. Okay I will come out of hiding and admit I am a die hard Pirates fan.

Spring training is now underway and I am looking back at the previous trades made during the 2008 season.  Were the trades in 2008 just salary dumps? Did these trades really supplement the minor league system? Will the MLB players have to compete for their jobs going forward? Was anyone going to step up and seize an opportunity to play some MLB baseball in Pittsburgh? 

July 26th 2008

Pirates get right-handed starting pitchers Jeff Karstens, Daniel Mc-Cutchen and Ross Ohlendorf and outfielder Jose Tabata
New York Yankees get outfielder Xavier Nady and left-handed relief pitcher Damaso Marte.

press release

In my opinion, I believe the Nady trade is a perfect example of trading players at their peek value.  Looking back at this deal two year later it is clear that the tide has changed.  In fact I will go on record and say this might be the best trade the Pirates made since their April Fool’s trade in 1987 that brought over Andy Van Slyke and Mike LaValliere for Tony Pena.

Damaso Marte had an ERA of 9.45 in 2009 and Xavier Nady suffered a right-elbow injury and only played in nine games in 2009.   

Both Ross and Jeff are strong MLB pitchers that will contribute for quite a few years to come.  I know you think I am biased but I am not alone.  ESPN SI.com also thinks Ross Ohlendorf is worth watchingRoss Ohlendorf lead the pitching staff in wins and ERA (11W 10L 3.92 ERA).  Jeff Karstens proved to be a good spot starter and an asset in the bullpen.  Jeff finished the year with good numbers for a long inning reliever (4W 6L 5.42 ERA).   Daniel McCutchen (1W 2L 4.21 ERA) was a late season call up and showed promise.  He will be a strong competitor for the fifth spot on the starting rotation during training camp.  According to Sports Illustrated Jose Tabata is a  five-tool outfielder who may have been the best overall athlete in the Yankees’ system.  While I personally believe this rating is a little high Jose was promoted to AAA last year.  If all goes well he could be an important mid-season call up in 2010.

To recap, the Pirates may have four starters in 2010 while the Yankees could be done with both Nady and Marte.  If the Pirates didn’t make this move I believe both Nady and Marte would have moved on.

July 31st 2008

Pirates get third baseman Andy LaRoche and right-handed pitcher Avery (Bryan) Morris right-handed pitcher Craig Hansen and outfielder Brandon Moss

Boston Red Soxs get outfielder Jason Bay

press release

I know most Pirates fans were in love with Jason Bay. I will admit I was one of them.  My only comment is if the Red Sox’s couldn’t keep Jason Bay how could the Pirates? There is no way one could spin this trade to make the Pirates look good.  That’s not my objective.  The Pirates traded the fan favorite and the teams best player minutes milliseconds before the trade deadline.  While there are still players on the major league roster from this trade its clear that none of them are going to put up numbers like Jason Bay did in Pittsburgh.

Jason Bay has continued to perform as he did in Pittsburgh.  According to ESPN Jason Bay signed a Free Agent contract for five years that could net 80 Million. I wish Jason Bay good luck in New York except when the Mets play the Pirates.