I just went back over the Pirates' transactions from the hiring of Huntington at the end of the 2007 season. Here are some highlights bitten from Baseball Reference, who borrows this information from Retrosheet.
July 26, 2008(Standings)
July 31, 2008 (Standings)
As part of a 3-team trade, traded Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox. Received Bryan Morris (minors) and Andy LaRoche from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss from the Boston Red Sox. In addition, the Boston Red Sox sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
December 10, 2008
If buy low, sell high is the idea, these moves make sense. Whatever you think of Nate McLouth, you can't deny that the Pirates did not sell him high. 5 season 1700 at-bats, 801 career OPS. (770 is average.) At his peak, Nate is a much better option than Rob Mackowiak. But he's not Jason Bay good. He could develop into a Jason Bay-like hitter some day, but his track record suggests that's not likely. Nate is already 27.
Nady has eight seasons, 2500 at-bats, and a 792 career OPS. He has delivered that OPS for the Yankees. He's on the DL right now. Late last year, the Yankees declined Marte's $6M option for 2009 and re-signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract with a club option for 2012. He is also on the DL, which is also tough luck. Still, with Ohlendorf pitching well as a regular starter, that trade looks good this morning.
Other borderline-controversial moves since NH took over involved Shawn Chacon (released), Jose Castillo (released), Salomon Torres (traded for Kevin Roberts and Marino Salas), Doug Mientkiewicz ('07 signed, '08 released), Tyler Yates (acquired for Todd Redmond, a soft-throwing AAA starter still in the Braves' system), Matt Morris (released), Jose Bautista (traded for Robinson Diaz), Franquelis Osoria (released), and Chris Duffy (released). Torres had a good season for the Brewers in 2008. And then he retired. The rest of those moves look good.
It's too early to judge the players acquired in the Nate McLouth trade: RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez. But it looks like the Nady deal (which looks good for Pittsburgh) or the Bay deal (what do you think of Andy LaRoche?)
Putting the McLouth deal aside because it's such recent history, I'll say the only guy that has slipped through NH's fingers that I would want back this morning is Jason Bay. Bay is not a perfect player -- his "arm" was not a good match for left field in PNC Park -- but he's close to as good as it gets as a slugger. With the bad economy, he will get four-five years at $13M-$15M in this coming off season. Even though Bay is far and away the best player the Pirates have lost, the haul for Bay looks reasonable and guess what, Bay will be a free agent at the end of the year.
You know what that means. If the Pirates are serious about winning, they will re-sign Jason Bay. (laughter)
Seriously, I am inclined to give the Pirates the benefit of the doubt on the McLouth deal and the Sanchez pick. To me, the comparisons to the Dave Littlefield era are not compelling. And I don't see how the Pirates would be a big winner this year or next had NH not made all those moves.