Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 3/14/13
Mlb-may-pirates-dodgers
Mark Melancon was one of the main pieces in the Joel Hanrahan trade. The Pittsburgh Pirates made their first round of cuts today at the major league level. Two of the players who were cut were Jerry Sands and Stolmy Pimentel, who made up half of the return for Joel Hanrahan over the winter. Almost immediately the complaints started on Twitter about the Hanrahan trade. Most of them were something along the lines of the trade being a disappointment because the Pirates cut two of the players they got in return, showing that the Pirates didn’t have any use for either player. That ignores the details of each player, and the purpose behind the trade. There should be no surprise that Pimentel was cut. He’s never pitched above Double-A, and has struggled at the level. He was once one of the top prospects in the Red Sox system, and is still young enough to put it together. He wasn’t added for an immediate impact, but with the hope that he could turn things around in the minors this year. Sands was added for a more immediate impact, but that doesn’t mean he had to make the team on Opening Day. He was battling for the starting right field job with Jose Tabata and Travis Snider. All three players are in similar situations. They’re all former top prospects who haven’t made the successful jump to the majors, although all three are still young enough to turn things around. The key difference with Sands is that he has an option remaining, while Snider and Tabata are both out of options. None of those players really stand out from the others, although Tabata is making the most noise this Spring. Therefore, it makes sense to send Sands down. You can keep all of them this way, give Tabata and Snider the first shots, and have Sands playing every day in Indianapolis as a backup plan. You’d hope the Pirates wouldn’t need him, because that would mean that Marte, Tabata, and/or Snider were holding down the corner outfield spots. So it made sense to send both players down today, since neither player had a strong chance of making the majors. But what about the purpose of the trade? Why deal Hanrahan for guys who aren’t going to make an immediate impact? That’s not exactly an accurate assessment, since one of the key pieces in the trade was Mark Melancon. He’s a year removed from being one of the top relievers in the National League. He had a down year in 2012, although his advanced metrics suggest he was unlucky — almost exactly how Joel Hanrahan looked unlucky before coming to Pittsburgh. There’s a strong chance that Melancon bounces back to his pre-2012 form. If that happens, then a Melancon/Jason Grilli combo in the late innings could be very productive. Dealing Hanrahan was a classic small market move. Sure, it dumped salary, and that’s an evil thing in Pittsburgh. But that’s what the Pirates should be doing in that type of situation. Look at the Rays. They constantly make moves like this. They trade a high priced player to free up salary, replace him with a lower priced player who could provide the same production, and re-stock their farm system with the prospects acquired in the deal. As long as they manage to replace the production they’re trading away, the deal works. They get similar production for a cheaper price — allowing them to use their limited resources for a bigger need — all while adding more prospects to their farm system. That’s the goal of the Hanrahan trade. The Pirates dealt him away and freed up $7 M. After that they signed Francisco Liriano, Jeff Karstens, and Jonathan Sanchez, aiming to help out the starting rotation in 2013. If Melancon can return to being a dominant reliever, then the move will have paid off. The Pirates won’t lose much production from the back of the bullpen, if they lose any at all. If that happens, then they get similar production for a much cheaper price and for a longer period (Melancon is under control for four years). They’d do all of this while using their limited resources on a bigger team need, and adding three young players (Pimentel, Sands, Ivan De Jesus Jr.) to the system. That’s the approach that every small market team should take. Ideally the Pirates would just be a reliever academy, constantly dealing away established relievers, replacing them with talented young alternatives, and keeping the farm system stocked in the process. Links and Notes **If you’re thinking that Jameson Taillon should be in major league camp, consider his development. He’s not making the majors out of camp this year. He only has three starts above A-ball. He’s also to the point where he’s throwing 3-4 innings per start. Most of the starters in major league camp are throwing 4-5 innings per start, or more. Taillon needs to keep increasing his innings to get ready to be a starter for the season. The only way he’s getting those innings in major league camp is if he takes them from someone who actually has a shot at being on the team on Opening Day. So now is the perfect time to send him down and allow him to prepare to be a starter in the minor leagues in 2013. **Pirates Notebook: Karstens Has Enough Time to be Ready For the Season. **Prospect Notebook: New Focus on the Running Game Extends to the Minors. **Jeff Karstens Throws Two Easy Innings at Pirate City. **Pirate City Notes: Karstens, Taillon, Welker, Lineups. **Injury Notes: D’Arnaud, Garrett Jones, Tony Watson. **Pirates Have Seven Prospects in John Sickels’ Top 150. **Pirates Cut 11 Players, Including Jameson Taillon. **Pirates Release LHP Aaron Poreda. **Pirates Have Five in the FanGraphs Top 100 Prospect List. **The Pirates Have a New International Player at Pirate City.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report suggests C.J. Wilson’s teammates not happy he’s seeking season ending surgery

Clowney’s father arrested for attempted murder outside club

Report: L.A.-area venues wary of temporarily hosting NFL teams

Jimmy Graham to block for Marshawn 75 percent of time

Kobe Bryant not sure if 2015-16 is his final NBA season

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Arian Foster could be headed to injured reserve

Ari Fleischer: Belichick 'can get away with' shutting down media

RG3 on team's expectatons: Not asking me to be Superman

Bills' Kromer issues suspension statement without apology

Report: Patriots restructure Rob Gronkowski's contract

Agent: Rory McIlroy not booked for PGA Championship practice

Knicks analyst Walt Frazier isn’t very enthused about team’s chances next season

Dave Dombrowski is out as Tigers GM

Bubba Watson’s caddie: Bubba has a ‘fear of crowds’

Melvin Gordon’s mom won’t wear his jersey this year

Waiver wire deals to keep an eye on following trade deadline

Chip Kelly: No regrets keeping Riley Cooper on team after rant

Houston Astros have altered their fate

Kris Bryant on changing to feet-first slide: ‘I only have one head’

Gronk, Big Papi go 'country' in latest Dunkin Donuts video

Phillies showing signs of future success

Mortensen on false Deflategate report: Still figuring Twitter out

Sheldon Richardson is down, but is he out?

MLB 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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Kris Bryant on changing to feet-first slide: ‘I only have one head’

MLB season in NY better than expected

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker