Deadline, 2012

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The trading week that was.

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  • (July24:DandyWandy) Firstofall,theabilitytotradeplayersisoneofthereasonssportsareawesome.ImkindofsurprisedthatnoonehasevermountedasuccessfulSupremeCourtchallengetotheconceptoftransferringhumanbeingsacrossthecountrytoanewworkplace(sometimeswith,butmoreoften)withouttheirconsent.Thinkofitinlaymansterms:

    Thatdbeprettycool,unlessyouweretheguytradedtoStarbucksheadquartersinSeattleforacrateofballpointpens.Althoughweveplayedgreatbaseballafterthebreak,itsclearthatweregoingtoneedsomenewbloodifwewanttohangwiththeRedsdownthestretch.Twomonthsago,theBucsneededtopickupabatlikeLazarusneededthatpickmeupfromChrist.Now,withtheoffenseoutpacingthatoftheYankees,astartingpitchermightbethefirstpriority.JeffKarstenshasbeengoodsincehisreturnfrominjury,butBedardcontinuestoflounderandCorreiaisbasicallyatickingtimebomb.Soonenough,eitherBedardwillbesidelinedwithastrainedrightkidneyor

  • CorreiasERAwilljumpintothe6.00range(orboth),soitwouldbeprudentforNealHuntingtontogooutandgetareliablestarter.ThebignamesinthestartingpitchermarketareColeHamelsandZackGreinke,neitherofwhomarerealisticoptionsforthePirates.InthesecondtieristheCubsRyanDempster,theownerofMLBsbestERAthisseason.DempsterisntamarqueenamelikeHamelsorGreinke,buthesafiveandtenguy(fiveyearswithcurrentteam,tenyearstotalintheleague)andthereforehastherighttovetoanytradehedoesntlike.ReportshavelinkedhimtoadealwithAtlanta,buthesstallingonthatanditlookslikehemightultimatelyrejectit.IfhesreluctanttojointheBraves,IcantimaginehedokayatradetotheupstartPirates.Hisloss.Lastnight,wordbrokeoutthatthePiratesmightbeinterestedinAstrosrotationstalwartWandyRodriguez.

    (ImintheOlympicspiritnow.USA.) Rodriguezhasbeenthepersonificationofreliabilityoverthepastfewyears,whichisexactlywhatthePiratesneedatthismoment.PitchingintheanonymityofHouston,hesputupanERAbetween3.00and3.60ineachofthelastfourseasons.IfIhadtodescribeWandyRodriguezinoneword,itdbesolid.Thatscertainlya

  • compliment.Hesundercontractthrough2014,whichmeanshedbebothashortandlongtermadditionbutalsomeansitwilltakemorethanathrowawayprospecttoacquirehim.Aslongasthepriceisnttoohigh,Idjumponit. Midwaythroughadepressing51homelosstotheCubs(theCubs,really?),theWandyspeculationturnsintoreality.

    Well,thisismoreexcitingthanwatchingJMacsputteragainsta3956team.Assumingthenewsistrue,theonlyremainingquestioniswhatthePirateswillbegivingup.TherearefiveprospectsinthePittsburghsystemthatIconsiderofflimitsunlessweretalkingaboutamajorpickup:GerritCole(RHP/21yearsold/2011#1overallpick),JamesonTaillon(RHP/20/2010#2overallpick),JoshBell(OF/19/20112ndroundpickwithupperhalfof1stroundtalent),StarlingMarte(OF/23/2011DoubleAbattingaverageleader),andLuisHeredia(RHP/17/Mexicanwunderkindwithhugeceiling).NoneofthatquintetwouldbeintheconversationforWandy.1ButanythingbelowthemIdbeokaywith.1ItsbecomingcleartomethatWandyisoneofthosenamesthatlendsitselftobeingthepersonsmaintitle.Yousay,Wandyandpeopleknowimmediatelywhoyouretalkingabout.LikeOprah.Hearing,Rodriguezispitchingtonight,islikehearing,Winfreysshowisonat3.

  • 45minuteslater,itsofficial.

    Nice!Letsseetheearlyreviews.(BucsDugout.comcontributor)

    (BaseballAmericawriter)

  • Imrightwiththem.

    GrossmanwastheprincipalransomfortheAstrosinthisexchange.HehadagreatyearinhighAballlastyear,walkingover100timesandputtingupastellar.418OBP.Itshardtoenvisionhimasaregularbigleaguecorneroutfielder,though,duetohislackofpop.Icouldseehimdevelopingintoabenchbat/platoonplayersortofguy,whichisusefulbutnotanythingtofretoverlosing.Owenswasalowminorsstar,butstruggledmightilyoncehegottoTripleA.Helikelydoesnthavemajorleaguevaluegoingforward.Cainissomethingofaquestionmark;ahigh

  • schoolbonusbaby,hespostedmiddlingresultsinrookieandlowAball.ThechanceshegrowsintoanMLBstarterarentgreat.Alltold,whatweregivingupisprobablynotworth2+seasonsofWandy.AfteryearsoftoilingforhopelessAstrosclubs,ImsureWandysthrilledtojoinacontenderforthestretchrun!

    Oh.Well,uh,thatjustreflectsthekindofcommitmentanddedicationyourelookingforinanewaddition!(?)Justjoshin.IhadthesamereactionwhenIfoundoutmycablepackageatschooldidntincludeMLBNetwork. Therearealsoafewhiddensweetenersinthedeal.Forone,thePiratesaddaveteranpitcherwithoutrestrainingtheirundersizedcheckbookasmuchasyoudthinksuchamovemight.

  • TheAstrosaremovingtotheAmericanLeagueWestin2013.Theyarealreadytheworstteaminbaseballbyatrulylaughablemargin.Giventhestepupincompetition,theywilllikelylosebetween100and105gamesineachofthenexttwoyears.Andinthemidstofoneofthose143drubbingsatthehandsoftheRangers,generalmanagerJeffLuhnowwillthinktohimself,WehavepaidWandyRodriguezthousandsofdollarsduringthisgamealone,andhecannothelpusstopthebleedingbecauseheplaysforthePittsburghPirates.Suchisthepriceofbaseballsometimes.ThePiratesaredoingwelltoexploitthis. Also,shouldWandycontinuepitchinginthegeneralmannerhespitchedthisseason,hisresultswillimprovebyvirtueofchangeinworkplacealone.

  • GreatworkbyJon.HepostedagraphicdocumentingthelandingspotsofallHRsWandyhasallowedathomein2012,imposedonamapofPNCPark.Itsprettyeasytoseethatnearlyallhomerunshesallowedtoleftfieldbecomeoutsor,atworst,doublesiftheyrehitinPittsburgh.AnyonewhoseverwatchedagameinHoustonknowstheleftfieldCrawfordBoxes2arethedefinitionofashortporchandturnmanylongflyballsintocheaphomers.Whatyoumightnotrealizeisjusthowbigofanimpactthatcanhaveonapitchersresultsifhepitcheshalfhisgamesthere.In2011,WandyRodriguezandMikePelfreyhadnearlyidenticalbattedballprofiles:whencontactwasmade,Rodriguezinduced20.0%linedrives,45.2%groundballs,and34.8%flyballscomparedtoPelfreys19.6%,45.6%,and34.7%marksinthesamecategories.Itsnotastretchtosaythatthedifferenceintheirhomerunperflyballrate(HR/FB)13.0%forWandy,9.1%forPelfreyprobablyhadsomethingtodowiththefactthatoneofthempitchedtheirhomecontestsin

    2NamedassuchbecausetheyrunparalleltoCrawfordStreetindowntownHouston,thankyouWikipedia.

  • frontoftheCrawfordBoxeswhiletheotherstarted15gamesinthespaciousdimensionsofNewYorksCitiField.Sciencerules.3 ImnotsayingIhavenoreservations.Weretalkingabouta33yearoldpitcherwhoprobablywontbeimprovingwithage(unlesshegoestheBarryBondsroute,whichisillegalbothbybaseballrulesandfederallaw)andisalreadyshowingsomemildsignsofdecline.

    Wandyhastraditionallybeenahighstrikeoutguy,buthisK/9hasbeenfallingincrementallysince2008andcurrentlysitsat6.13.Hittersaremakingmorecontactonhispitchesbothinandoutofthestrikezone,whichindicatesthatthedropisntjustacoincidenceofsequencing.4Fortunately,itdoesntlooklikeaproductofdiminishedstuffhisaveragefastballvelocityisactuallyhigherthanit3Yes,thatwasaBillNyetheScienceGuythemesongreference.Borninthe90sandproudofit.4Coincidenceofsequencing?Considerthis:PitcherAandPitcherBbothget10swingingstrikesinagame.PitcherAracksup10strikeouts,becauseallhiswhiffscamewithtwostrikes.PitcherBstrikesnooneout,becauseheinducedswingsandmissesearlyinthecountexclusively.Theyprobablyhavesimilarwhiffskills,eveniftheresultsdiffer.Ifyouhadtopredicttheirfuturestrikeoutrates,youdwanttohavethisinformationonhand.

  • wasinhisbeststrikeoutyear(2008).PitchFXdataalsorevealsanuptickin2seamfastballsthisyear,indicatingthatthespikeingroundballsisintentional.Themoregroundballsonegets,themoreonecangetawaywithfewerstrikeouts,becauseoneisreducingthepossibilityoftheballbeinghitintheairforahomerun.Asexpected,weconcludeourdescriptionofWandyRodriguezwiththewordsolid.WandyRodriguezisasolidpitcher.(July26:ChangeYouGottaBelieveIn)

    WheelinganddealingisnttheonlymethodofrosterimprovementavailabletothePirates.Tonight,theyllupgradefromwithin.MuchballyhooedprospectStarlingMarteissettomakehismajorleaguedebutinHoustonafteritwasannouncedyesterday,towidespreadglee,thathedbejoiningthebigclub.

  • Tothispoint,thePiratesleftfieldsituationhasconsistedofAlexPresley(.231/.269/.364),therecentlydemotedJoseTabata(.230/.295/.341),andfolkheroDrewSutton(.241/.250/.431,butwiththedefensiveprowessofawanderingsheep).Meanwhile,MartesbeencomingintohisownatTripleAIndianapolis(.286/.347/.500,with13triplesand12homersin99games),andtheclamorsforhispromotionhavegrowndeafeningrecently.Iunderstandthereluctancetorushaprospecttothebigleaguesbeforehesabsolutelyready,butdiretimescallfordiremeasures.Unfortunately,ImsittingonaplanerightnowenroutetovacationinSouthCarolina,soIwontbeabletowatch.Starlingsbattingleadoff.Hopethekidmakessomethinghappen.[Flightlandsat8:20,IimmediatelyturnmyphoneonandrefreshTwitter]

  • Firstpitchoftheballgame!Hecouldgo0forAugustandstillmaintainthefanssupportafterthisentrance.Thefuturessobright,wegottawearflipdownshades.5(July29:Speculation) EveryoneishappyabouttheWandyacquisition.Withtheexceptiontheguywhogotforcedoutoftherotationasaresult.5PatentedbyPiratesHallofFameplayermanagerFredClarkein1915!#BUCN

  • Correiawantstobeastarter,andhesnotcontentwithbeingalongreliefoptioninPittsburgh.Understandable.Beingastartingpitcherhasacertainbadgeofhonorqualityaboutit,especiallyforsomeonewhosstarted105gamesinthelastfouryears.Iwouldntbehappyeither.ButIthinkIdrealizethatIwasareplacementlevelcommoditytobeginwith. TheotherthingIveheardtodayisavaguerumorthatthePiratesareoneoftheteamsprobingtheIndiansaboutShinSooChoosaskingprice.Allegedly,itwouldincludeMarte.Thatsgonnabeanogo.

    WelosttotheAstrostoday.JMacwalkedSEVEN.Imstartingtobecomeconcerned.HereallyneedstoturnitaroundorelsetherestoftheseasonisgoingtobeA.J.andWandyandprayforrain.46hourslefttomakesomedeals.InNealWeTrust.

  • (July30:Bye,Bye,Brad;Salut,Snider) EverseethatJeanClaudeVanDammemovieSuddenDeath,wherethesettingisGame7oftheStanleyCupFinals6butthefocusofeverythingistheeventshappeningofftheice?TonightsgameagainsttheCubsisexactlylikethat,exceptthatWrigleyFieldisntladenwithbombsintendedtokilltheVicePresidentandabunchofotherimportantpeople.TheBucsaregettingsmashedbytheBabyBears,butweremorefocusedonpossibletransactionsthatarebeingnegotiatedduringthegame,andtheyremoreconcernedaboutsendingtheirrecentlytradedplayersoffwithhugs.

    Chica