Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 8/25/14
The Pirates acquired shortstop John McDonald from the Diamondbacks today. Arizona will receive a player to be named later or cash. McDonald is basically another Clint Barmes–he’s a veteran that’s a wizard with the glove but can’t hit at all. Neal Huntington said he went after him because of Chase d’Arnaud‘s recent thumb injury that will keep him out for 6-8 weeks. McDonald (who is owed $1.5M this season) will almost certainly make the team and will be Barmes’ backup, although it’s hard to see him playing outside of a Barmes injury or occasional day off. The move will probably send Jordy Mercer back to Triple-A to play shortstop every day (until d’Arnaud is healthy, at least). This isn’t an exciting or significant move…all it really does is ensure that the Bucs won’t lose anything on defense if Barmes can’t play for some reason. McDonald is better with the glove than options such as Mercer or Josh Harrison…and while one of those two might hit slightly better, it’s not a very big difference for a bench guy. McDonald is also a well-liked veteran, which certainly will help him gain the approval of Clint Hurdle. The 38-year-old has been coming off the bench for a while now and has some brutally terrible offensive numbers, but like Barmes, his defensive value is very real (1.1 and 1.2 dWAR the last two seasons in just 65 and 70 games). His nickname is apparently “The Prime Minister of Defence”…which is awesome. The Bucco bench now shapes up like this: Gaby Sanchez / Garrett Jones (platoon) Jose Tabata / Travis Snider (possible platoon, probably will split playing time somewhat) Michael McKenry McDonald Harrison or Brandon Inge, most likely. Harrison and Inge can both play several positions, so I think it’s basically a toss-up as to who gets the final spot. Mercer and Alex Presley are probably on the outside looking in. Hurdle seems to like Inge a lot, but he’s having a miserable spring at the plate. I’d give the slight edge to Harrison because he’s probably more versatile and was with the team for all 0f 2012, but either one could end up in Pittsburgh or Indy (or in Inge’s case, back to free agency). Photo: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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