Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/3/12

Check out Part 1 of the series (overall postivies) here.    (Opening image Wandy Rodriguez; Image credit zimbio)

Here are my overall grades for the 4 pieces GM Neal Huntington and the Pirates acquired prior to the 4PM July 31st MLB Trade Deadline.  The grades factor in not only the player’s current ability and production, but also their fit on the team, timing of the trade, and with what the Pirates had to part to acquire them.

OF Travis Snider- Grade: A

Snider; Image credit bucsdugout

My initial reaction is that this trade could challenge Huntington’s Octavio Dotel-for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo deal as his best to date.  Fans loved the fact that former 1st round pick SP/RP Brad Lincoln was finally paying dividends out of the Pirates’ bullpen, but the reality of a team is that its relievers are almost always expendable for potential long-term hitters or starting pitchers.  The Blue Jays could transition Lincoln back to the rotation as early as this year (although they’re starting him in their bullpen as well), but already at age 27, it’s unlikely the Pirates lost a high-ceiling starting pitcher.

A lefty power bat truly made for PNC Park, Travis Snider is still only 24, and owns a career .910 minor league OPS.  He’s enjoyed MLB cups of coffee since age 20, and has posted MLB OPS+ of 114, 95, 105, 65, and 120.  His once-questionable defense is now considered at least passing for the OF, and Snider has shown a marked improvement in his minor league BB:K ratio.

My one concern (preventing an A+ grade) is that the Blue Jays opted Snider back to the minor leagues on four separate occasions, often times depiste promising offensive production for a young player.  Is he truly flawed, or has he simply never been granted extended MLB playing time?  My guess is the latter.  An OF of Starling Marte-Andrew McCutchen-Snider could provide excitement for years to come.  Great trade.

SP Wandy Rodriguez- Grade: B+

His acquisition coming a few days prior to the deadline, I already listed Rodriguez’s positives here.  Overall, I think acquiring Rodriguez early- and without moving a prospect higher than OF Robbie Grossman- was an excellent trade.  Rodriguez is a lefty starter tailored to the dimensions of PNC Park, and has rated well-above average in ERA+ for 4 of the past 6 years, and above average for the 2 others.

The reason this trade isn’t an “A” is because although Rodriguez is a solid addition to the staff, he also isn’t an elite-level acqusition like the Angels SP Zack Greinke.  Then again, Greinke cost Los Angeles their best position prospect in Jean Segura, plus 2 other minor leaguers.  Given the cost of landing an arm better than Rodriguez- even former Cub-now-Ranger SP Ryan Dempster- this was a great value trade for Huntington and the Pirates.

1B Gaby Sanchez- Grade: B-

I like this trade better than most Pirates’ fans, but will admit that it has a higher BIFF (Blow up In Face Factor) than the others.  Many people are upset that the Pirates parted with their first new tradeable compensatory pick (#33 overall in 2013) so quickly, especially for a player in Sanchez that was posting a terrible .556 OPS for the Miami Marlins prior to the trade.  Opponents further point to the fact that, despite being a firstbasemen and former All-Star, Sanchez has yet to post even an .800 OPS season- a fairly standard watermark for power bats.

Still, for those that complain that the Pirates don’t follow a “Moneyball” approach, it doesn’t get much more Moneyball than this.  The righthand-hitting Sanchez has a career .873 OPS against lefties, whereas the lefthand-hitting Garret Jones  has an .839 OPS against righties.  Put them both together, and the Pirates may have “one” very productive firstbaseman down the stretch.

RP Chad Qualls- Grade: D

His fist pumps may be limited here; Image credit metsmerizedonline

Huntington’s trade deadline should’ve ended a move early.  In fairness, sending INF Casey McGehee to the Yankees for this below average reliever shouldn’t hurt the Pirates much, but it definitely doesn’t help either.  If Sanchez is a straight roster swap for McGehee, the Pirates are losing versatility off the bench.  Gaby Sanchez is strictly a 1B, while McGehee plays both corner INF positions.And if Qualls is a straight bullpen swap for the departed Brad Lincoln, the Pirates missed an opportunity to promote AAA Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke, or Justin Wilson into a non-critical bullpen role with the team, as they gradually learn the ropes of the MLB level.  Qualls simply isn’t good anymore; such relievers are readily available off of the FA scrap heap without dealing anything in return.

Overall however, the Qualls trade was a minor gaffe in a deadline full of positives for Pirates’ fans.  Both Sanchez and Rodriguez should be Pirates for another 2-3 seasons, while Travis Snider could grow into a core producer for years to come.  Huntington was able to acquire long-term options that also offer short-term reinforcement, all without moving the organization’s top young prospects.  This deadline was a great time to be a Pirates’ fan, and the much-maligned GM certainly deserves some credit.

Follow me on Twitter @jim_krug

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bills suspend assistant coach for first six games of 2015

Trent Richardson has 50-50 chance at making Raiders roster

Rex Ryan takes subtle jabs at Jets' upper management

Everett Golson responds to Paul Finebaum's criticism

Mark Sanchez says it ‘crazy’ to call Chip Kelly racist

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Malcolm Butler daring Brady to throw his way in practice

Geno Smith confident worst is behind him and the Jets

Ronda Rousey knocks out Bethe Correia in 34 seconds

Von Miller earns dismissal from NFL’s drug program

Ian Kennedy watches birth of daughter on FaceTime before start

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

WATCH: Dez Bryant throws punches at training camp

There's no need for Notre Dame to join a conference

WATCH: Benches clear during Royals-Blue Jays game

Jim Harbaugh gives Nicki Minaj a shoutout on Twitter

The Kardashian sisters still call Caitlyn Jenner 'Bruce'

Tennessee fan recreates Neyland Stadium in backyard

Lolo Jones: I could last at least a minute against Rousey

Bears have very strict rules for media during training camp

Jamaal Charles: I feel like I'm the LeBron James of football

Ronda Rousey: I'll fight Cyborg if she stops taking steroids

Danny Garcia beats Paulie Malignaggi, remains undefeated

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks agree to contract extension

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

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

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

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