Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 11/18/14

Well…this certainly came out of nowhere. Just after midnight on MLB’s deadline day, the Pirates sent Brad Lincoln to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Travis Snider.

“Who the heck is Travis Snider??” you ask? He’s a 24-year old outfielder that his hit for an OK .247/.305/.429 line in just over 900 PA’s over parts of five seasons. Yes, parts of five seasons for a 24-year old. Snider was the 14th overall pick in the 2006 draft, and debuted in the bigs as a 20-year-old in 2008.  Now, the issue is that he’s bounced up and down since then, but his minor league numbers are very good. He’s a big power guy, which of course comes along with a good bit of strikeouts. I’m seeing a few similarities to Pedro Alvarez here, though not quite as extreme with the strikeouts or the power.

Snider will start for the Pirates right away and should be an upgrade over Alex Presley, with potential to become a lethal middle-of-the-order bat. The Pirates control his rights through 2015 (next year will be his first arbitration eligible season). To me, this move as just as much about the future as it is about now. Snider will be useful now but isn’t a finished product or a veteran, but is a pretty good bet to plug a spot for three more seasons.

To get Snider, the Bucs shipped away an MLB piece in Lincoln instead of a prospect. You won’t see me get upset about trading relief pitchers (I still sort of want  to see what Joel Hanrahan would bring back, not that the Bucs would ever consider moving him), and this is no exception. Yes, Brad has been very good. That also means he’s at peak value right now, and you don’t have to look far (Evan Meek anyone?) to see how relief pitchers can go from dominant one minute to useless the next. It’s pretty clear that Lincoln doesn’t have much of a future as a starter, and the Pirates don’t risk losing a whole lot by sending away a reliever (especially when he’s only been good for part of one season). They also dealt from a position of strength (the bullpen) to address a position of weakness (corner OF). Seems logical to me.

Snider may not be the big splash answer that people were looking for, nor is he an established veteran or a leadoff-type hitter. This wasn’t the perfect “GO FOR IT NOW” acquisition for the Pirates, but I think it’s a worthwhile risk that can still help now and has a good chance at helping a lot over the next few years.

I’ll have more on this (and any other deals that happen today, stay tuned to Twitter for the latest) after the deadline dust settles later this afternoon.

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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