Pittsburgh Pirates Get Marlon Byrd and John Buck
Well, it’s good to see the Pirates make this kind of a trade after so many years of trading away veterans for prospects late in the season. The move makes a great deal of sense for a team almost certain to make the play-offs (the Bucs are presently eight games ahead of the Diamondbacks for the second wild card spot), but currently a game and a half back of the division lead behind the Cardinals. Five weeks of Marlon Byrd in right field and John Buck as a back-up catcher isn’t much, but it could certainly be enough to allow the Pirates to catch and pass the Cardinals and avoid the one-game, do-or-die wild card play-off that’s likely to take place between whichever too teams finish second and third in the NL Central.
Byrd represents a significant improvement for the Bucks in right field both offensively and defensively. I don’t see that John Buck provides a significant improvement over current back-up catcher Tony Sanchez, but Buck at least provides a veteran presence, flexibility at catcher and a right-handed hitting power bat off the bench, although unfortunately Buck doesn’t hit lefties much better than righties.
I definitely buy into the idea that at some level at least, this kind of trade sends a strong message to both the team’s current players and its fan base that the Pirates are serious about winning now that an opportunity at last presents itself and thus is more likely than not to give the team a significant boost going into the stretch drive. Obviously, though, Marlon Byrd will have to keep hitting the way he did for the Mets to really make the Bucs a better team than they are now.
The Bucs certainly had to give up something valuable in 2B prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later who sources say will be a “solid” prospect. Herrera is playing well this year in the Class A Sally League at the tender age of 19, which definitely makes him a prospect, although MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo apparently only ranks him as the Pirates’ 11th best prospect at the moment. Herrera was ranked by Baseball America as the team’s 20th best prospect before the start of the 2013 season.
Herrera was potentially blocked in Pittsburgh by Neil Walker. However, by the time Herrera is ready for the Show, Walker may well be long gone from the Pirates.
Still, you have to give up something to get something, and it’s nice to see the Pirates finally trying to win now.