Found December 25, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Joyous Kwanzaa.  A few dozen players later, and around $35,000,000 spent on free agency, how is the offseason of the Pittsburgh Pirates under GM Neal Huntington progressing?  (Signings or trades that appear to be purely for minor league depth are omitted.) 11/3/12:  SP Kevin Correia, RP Chad Qualls, and C Rod Barajas elect free agency.  See you guys.  Correia was an underappreciated back-of-rotation starter during his 2 seasons in Pittsburgh, but still only posted ERA+ of 78 and 88 (remember, 100 is aveage). 11/9/12:  Sign 3B Jared Goedert.  This is probably just minor league depth, but I’ve always liked the 27-year old that has posted OPS of .890, .858, and .875 over his past 3 minor league seasons.  He could be a decent bench player. 11/21/12:  Sign CF Felix Pie.  The once-heralded Cubs’ farmhand has bounced around forever, and is now 27.  Pie owns an .824 career minor league OPS, plus speed, and posted Major League OPS+ of 98 and 95 in 2010 and 2011.  Like Goedert, he could wind up on the bench at some point. 11/28/12:  Traded RP Zach Stewart from Boston.  The 25-year old Stewart has spent time with 3 MLB teams, yet his career MLB ERA (6.82) is astronomically higher than his minor league total (3.19).  He’s a candidate for a bullpen spot at some point. Robinson; Image credit bleacherreport 11/28/12:  Traded SP Luis Rico and SP Luis Santos to Kansas City for RP Vin Mazzarro and 1B Clint Robinson.  For a franchise supposedly “rebuilding” with young pitching, this minor move was a bit odd.  Both Rico (18) and Santos (21) are young arms that have shown potential in the Dominican Summer League, Santos especially.  Mazzarro is a throw-in, but Robinson is at least an interesting bat.  Despite now being 27, he compiled a career .302 BA and .902 OPS with good walk totals in Kansas City’s system.  He could show up at 1B at some point during the season if the MLB options falter. 11/30/12:  Traded RP Chris Resop to Oakland for RP Zach Thornton.  Resop was lights-out for the Pirates in 2010 (217 ERA+), but has been slightly below average ever since.  So in trade, the best they could acquire was a 24-year old with a great minor league K/IP, that spent all of 2012 beating up on batters 3-5 years younger than him at High-A ball. 11/30/12:  Traded INF Yamaico Navarro to Baltimore for SP Jhondaniel Medina.  Decent move to acquire a young SP prospect with a low-3.00′s ERA and nearly 1K/IP for the rarely-used utility infielder. 11/30/12:  Non-Tender SP Jeff Karstens. Arguably the most significant downfall of the Pirates over the past 2 decades has been lack of proper talent evaluation, both in players acquired- and players released.  The last remaining arm from Huntington’s once-heralded Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte trade to the Yankees, Karstens posted ERAs of 3.38 (110 ERA+) and 3.97 (94 ERA+) in 2011 and 2012.  He rarely walks batters (only 15 free passes allowed in 90+ innings this seasons), and when he effectively changes speeds, Karstens can dominate a lineup, as he did multiple times in 2012.  Yet the Pirates non-tendered the 29-year old to save approximately $3.4MM, and would spend over double that amount to sign an older, wildly erratic SP just a few weeks later… Martin; Image credit nj.com 11/30/12:  Signed Free Agent C Russell Martin to a 2-year, $17MM contract.  More on Martin in future articles, but this is a pretty terrible deal.  Neal Huntington’s free agent signing woes continue.  The Pirates actually offered Martin a 3-year deal, but Martin somewhat saved the Pirates from themselves by only taking two.  When the dust clears, and the Pirates get done patting themselves on the backs for outbidding the Yankees, they’ll be stuck with a 30-year old catcher that hasn’t posted a 100 OPS+ since 2008.  Like Rod Barajas before him, Martin can hit home runs (career high 21 last year), but struggles to make contact otherwise, posting career lows of .211 BA and .311 OBP last season as well.  It’s a tradeoff not worth making.  Once again, the Pirates will be paying big money to an offensive liability. 12/5/12:  Traded C Ramon Cabrera to Detroit for SP Andrew Oliver.  Cabrera is young, and has put up solid minor league numbers, but may be even shorter than the 5’8″ at which he’s listed.  Oliver was listed as a Baseball America top-100 prospect as recently as 2011.  But minor league ERAs near 5.00 for two years straight will quickly drop a player from such lists, despite a still solid K/9 of 8.5.  Oliver could see some spot starts at some point. 12/10/12:  Signed RP Jason Grilli to a 2-year deal.  After excellent 2011 (151 ERA+) and 2012 (128 ERA+) seasons, the Pirates rewarded the journeyman with a multi-year deal, with the intent of making him the club’s closer.  Fans will certainly be excited to see the likeable Grilli return, but already 36 years old and with no previous closing experience, it will be interesting to see if Grilli can take his success from the setup role into the 9th inning. Nasty when he knows where it’s going; Image credit newspaper.li 12/21/12:  Signed Free Agent SP Francisco Liriano to a 2-year, $14MM contract.  More on this one later as well, but again, a pretty awful deal.  Like Martin, the Pirates seem fascinated by acquiring “name” free agents which casual fans will recognize.  The problem is that they’re paying for the name more than the production that made these players “names” years ago.  As much as this author loves pitchers with great K/IP (which Liriano still has), Liriano is one of the most volatile pitchers in the game, with a BB/9 hovering around 5 (!!!) the past two seasons.  It’s tough to win games when you’re handing your opponent 5 free passes a night.Supporters of the signing point to a FIP (fielding independent pitching, a sabermetric stat) among the top 60 pitchers in baseball last year.  But I can’t even get that far, without getting hung up on the following numbers: Year   ERA   ERA+ 2009   5.80   76 2010   3.62   112 2011   5.09   80 2012   5.34   78 Which year looks like the career outlier to you?  The Pirates may have just dropped $14,000,000 on a pitcher that should’ve only received a minor league invite. 12/26/12:  Possbily traded CL Joel Hanrahan (+ player) to Boston for 1B/OF Jerry Sands (+ 3 players)?   We’ll have a full write-up on this if it actually goes down.  For now, it just looks like a so-so deal.  The 24-year old Sands is the prototypical power bat the Pirates desperately need, but is somewhat limited ceiling-wise.  If the other 3 Red Sox’ players involved are just throw-ins, it would be disappointing to not receive more from an organization desperate for a closer, despite Hanrahan’s value probably peaking in 2011.   Overall Thoughts Unfortunately, this is a lot of treading water that doesn’t make the Pirates any better, and wastes a lot of precious financial resources in the process.  The Pirates lost a good, affordable arm in Jeff Karstens for nothing.  They used $31,000,000 to sign two veterans that have name recognition, but have produced at well-below average levels over the past few seasons.  The Pirates acquired two power bats that could factor into the lineup, yet neither are the type of elite prospects that will command the positions from the start.  At best, they’ll compete with a host of older bats for playing time.  Given the magnitude of what other small market clubs have accomplished during this time, once again, it doesn’t appear that the Pirates have done enough. More offseason updates to come.  Thanks for reading.      
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

First Pitch: What is the Next Move For the Pirates?

Could Garrett Jones be the next to go? – Photo by Mark Olson After Jason Grilli was signed, we waited for the other shoe to drop with a Joel Hanrahan trade. Now that the Hanrahan trade is completed, we’re left waiting for another shoe to drop. One of the big returns in the deal was Jerry Sands, who joins a crowded corner outfield/first base situation. That crowded situation already...

Pirates Designate Chad Beck For Assignment

The Pittsburgh Pirates have designated reliever Chad Beck for assignment. That clears a spot on the 40-man roster for today’s trade. Beck can be outrighted to Triple-A if he clears waivers. The right-hander was claimed off waivers in October from Toronto, probably so the Pirates could try to sneak him through later in the off-season. He throws 94-97 MPH, but has control issues.

Pirates Trade Joel Hanrahan to Red Sox in Six-Player Deal

Today, it was announced that the Pirates and Red Sox had, indeed finalized a deal that sends RHP Joel Hanrahan and 2B Brock Holt to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for RHP Mark Melancon, OF/1B Jerry Sands, 2B Ivan De Jesus, and RHP Stolmy Pimentel. Hanrahan, 31, was acquired by Pittsburgh in 2009 from the Washington Nationals and served as the team’s closer the past two seasons...

Why the Joel Hanrahan Trade is a Good Move

The Joel Hanrahan trade was completed today, with Hanrahan and Brock Holt going to Boston. The Pirates received four players in the trade: Jerry Sands, Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, and Ivan De Jesus Jr. Here are my thoughts on each player in the deal, and the overall trade. From the Pirates Joel Hanrahan - Hanrahan is a great reliever. However, I’m not a believer in small market...

Hanrahan, Holt Deal Done; Four Players Traded Away

It's not quite a megadeal, but it's pretty big. Joel Hanrahan will become the Sox closer, and infielder Brock Holt (pictured) will join the team. Hanrahan is 31 and one of the National League's best closers. Holt is 24, and hit well last season, but only played 24 games.Gone are Jerry Sands, Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, and Ivan De Jesus. Sands and De Jesus were acquired...

Liriano the Buc, and Three Starters on the Comeback Trail

Francisco Liriano has reportedly agreed to a two-year contract worth $12.75 million with the Pirates according to Jon Heyman. In less publicized news, a trio of once exciting pitchers agreed to minor-league contracts. Jeremy Bonderman signed a deal with the Mariners, Scott Kazmir signed with the Indians, and Rich Harden inked a deal with the Twins. None of the three pitchers pitched...

Winter Leagues Recap: News and Notes

In an abbreviated schedule from last night, Darren Ford made his return to Winter ball in Venezuela. He left Leones de Caracas after the team’s game on November 19th to return home to spend time with family and his return to the VWL wasn’t certain at the time. Ford went 1-for-4 last night, with a walk and run scored. Through 32 games, he has a .281/.358/.378 line. In Puerto Rico...

Pirates Trade Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt to the Red Sox

After hearing on Sunday that there will be no news on the Pirates and Red Sox deal for Joel Hanrahan until after Christmas, we hear news this afternoon from Peter Gammons on Twitter that the deal is done. No details as of yet, but if he is saying the deal is done, I’d expect them shortly. -JD They were right. The Hanrahan deal was finished after Christmas, as in done today, Boxing...

Pirates, Red Sox complete Joel Hanrahan trade

The long-rumored trade between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox that would send Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan to Boston has been completed. Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt will be sent to the Red Sox, and in return, Pittsburgh will receive pitcher Stolmy Pimental, reliever Mark Melancon, outfielder Jerry Sands, and shortstop Ivan DeJesus Jr.  In case you missed it...

Red Sox Acquire Joel Hanrahan From Pirates

The Red Sox officially acquired closer Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates on Wednesday in a six-player deal with Pittsburgh. The Sox sent two of the players they acquired from the Dodgers in last summer’s salary dump — first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan De Jesus — to Pittsburgh, along with pitchers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimental. In addition, the...

Hanrahan Trade Finally Done.

The players going to Boston are Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt.  Two fan favorites.  In fact it only seems like the Pirates trade fan favorites. Fan love means little to me. The Pirates will get Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel.  We covered that part of the trade earlier. The addition of Brock Holt to the [...]

Pirates and Red Sox finalize Joel Hanrahan deal

The Pirates and Red Sox didn't waste much time after Christmas to get the Joel Hanrahan trade finalized, and the result isn't much different than what we were all speculating about back on December 23rd. We already knew the deal was going to involve Hanrahan going to the Red Sox with Jerry Sands, Stolmy Pimentel, and probably Mark Melancon coming to the Pirates. The teams...

Is The Hanrahan Trade Ever Getting Done?

Well it’s been almost a day since we found out that Joel Hanrahan has been traded to the Red Sox for at least Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel and still no word on the final pieces.  Apparently the Pirates are sending one more player to the Sox and the Sox are sending two players to [...]

Joel Hanrahan Trade Strengthens Red Sox’ Bullpen, But True Impact of Deal Relies on a Few Factors

Red Sox fans received a lot of hip joke material on Wednesday, as the club announced that it has acquired closer Joel Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt from the Pirates in exchange for Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimental, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus. The sooner we get all of the Steve Holt Arrested Development gags and Tommy Hanrahan Slap Shot puns out of the way, though, the sooner...

Links of the Day 12/24/12

Merry Christmas everyone! I can still post links before I go to bed and have visions of sugar plums et al, right? A former Olympian is also an escort. This is a Christmas card, apparently. Hey, Francisco Liriano is making a lot of money, isn’t he? SCOREBOARD NFL Carolina 17, Oakland 6 – Carolina really came on strong late in the year. Just costing themselves a draft pick, really...
Pirates News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.