Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Deal Is Changing

Apparently, the Pirates/Yankees trade wasn't nearly as set in stone last night as we thought it was. According to Ken Rosenthal, the deal is going to change from Marte and Nady for Tabata, Ohlendorf, Coke, and Kontos to Tabata, Ohlendorf, Daniel McCutchen, and Jeff Karstens. They're both 25, both in AAA, and both have decent but not great peripherals. I'd say they're both better prospects than Coke, but maybe not as good as Kontos. The change in the deal makes Huntington's intent incredibly clear. His goal with this move was two-fold; to get Tabata and too add pitching depth at the highest levels of the minors, where we very clearly have none.

I have, of course, been spending a lot of time thinking about this deal since it happened. I've mostly been trying to talk myself into not hating it, then yelling at myself for trying to talk myself into another Pirate trade that I don't really believe in, then countering in my head that this is a much better trade than Littlefield would've ever made, then pleading with myself to leave Littlefield out of this, then going back to the beginning and doing it all over again. Regardless, there are some good aspects to this trade that I like, even if I'm not entirely happy with the outcome. A day's perspective on things never hurts either.

Huntington's not afraid to roll the dice. His goal in this deal was obviously to get Tabata. The guy's had his problems, but he's still a 19-year-old good enough to be in AA and without those problems, he's not available in this deal. Huntington's taking a ball of clay and handing it to his player development staff to mold. Much like the first Nady trade, there's nothing that Nady or Marte can do to make or break this trade; it's all in Tabata's hands.

That speaks volumes about both Tabata and Nady. Nady, despite his .330 average this year, hasn't convinced me that he's a better player than I thought he was prior to the seasons when I argued that the team would be better off non-tendering him and calling Pearce up. He has hit righties much better in the past two seasons, which makes him a useful everyday outfielder, but he's not an all-star. He's a cog in the machine that needs a .365 BABIP to put his OPS over .900. If I know that, you can bet that the smarter GMs in the league know the same thing. I argued before the season started that a good year from Nady wouldn't do much to change his trade value, so being upset that it didn't seems a little short-sighted of me.

That being said, I do still feel like a trade for Nady AND Marte could've netted the Pirates something a little more solid in the prospect department than a 19-year-old full of ephemeral upside. I'm still not entirely sold on Tabata given the way the last two years have gone for him. Still, he's who Huntington wants and he's who Huntington got and at least he's not Ty Wigginton or Shawn Chacon or Matt Morris. If anything, his trading for a 19-year-old has helped to assuaged my fears about the team being hellbent on trying to finish .500 this year or next year at the expense of building for the future. If this is the deal Huntington's making on the Friday before the deadline, I'm not convinced he's done yet. This could be an interesting week.