The Pirates, coming right down to the wire, have traded Jason Bay. Most of the rumors around this deal involved the Marlins, but Pittsburgh abandoned that idea this afternoon (the Marlins sounded like they were demanding Manny, minus most of his salary, for Rick VandenHurk and a first baseman’s mitt) in favor of a swap with the Dodgers. The Red Sox will get Bay, who is nearly as good as Manny but without all the drama. Watch his numbers (RBI, runs, HR) balloon with great hitters around him and the Monster instead of a 390-foot fence in left field. The Dodgers will get Ramirez and probably a boatload of cash. The Pirates get a great take (from their perspective), both unloading some payroll on a player whom would probably be gone after his contract was up anyway, and in picking up some young prospects. They receive Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris, Brandon Moss, and Craig Hansen.
Andy LaRoche was great in the minors but for some reason (even with all their injuries) the Dodgers just wouldn’t let him play. Definite upgrade (and younger to boot) at third from Bautista, who should now take his real role as an excellent super-sub. Morris will go to the class A Hickory Crawdads to show off his stuff. I’ve heard good fastball, excellent slider, and boy do the Pirates need some pitching depth. Brandon Moss should be a pretty decent fill in for LF until McCutchen is ready to come up for the CF job (September or 2009 season) and he’s young. Not bad even if he ends up being your bench guy. Finally, Craig Hansen is ready to join the Pirates now terrible bullpen, and at 24 he’s probably not getting any worse right now.
To me, it seems like Dodgers pretty much got the hose. Yes, they did get Manny, but they didn’t really need an outfielder. Ethier and Kemp are young and very good. They will continue to play Andruw Jones in center even though they probably shouldn’t, and they have Juan Pierre (who should be on the bench at most). Likely they will bench one of the young guys and leave the great Pierre in the lineup. And Manny is only getting older, and Dodgers park is way bigger than Fenway. Weird.
I am sad to see Bay leave Pittsburgh because, at least publicly, he said that he wanted to stay with the Pirates, but he will likely have far more success in Boston than with Pittsburgh. Anyways, good luck to all involved.
Update: Bay, Manny, Moss and LaRoche have all hit their first home runs with their new clubs. Manny has been crushing the ball, hitting .615 with 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI. Bay is also hitting well, .364 with 3 BB, a HR, 3B, 6 R and 3 RBI; plus he has an outfield assist throwing a runner out at second and made a game-saving diving catch in left. Moss has been hitting pretty decent for Pittsburgh, only .250 but with 4 BB already and a HR. LaRoche has been less than perfect, only batting .182, but he has managed 2 R and 2 RBI with that, and his homerun last night makes me think he is finding his groove.