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Pirates Lift Chris Snyder

Nobody expected the Pittsburgh Pirates to be buyers at the deadline, but here we are. Today the Pirates finalized a deal to acquire Chris Snyder (and minor league shortstop Pedro Ciriaco) from Arizona for Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby, and D.J. Carrasco.

The Pirates already have Ryan Doumit under contract through next season (with two club option years thereafter) which makes Snyder an interesting acquisition on the major league level alone. Throw in Tony Sanchez in High-A and the Pirates have the makings of a catcher surplus. Why take on Snyder, though, when the team isn’t competing now nor later? Because look at the cost it took to acquire him.

Crosby and Church are both over 30 years of age and have a combined wOBA of .511. Carrasco is the best player going the other way and he’s a middle reliever. In return, the Pirates get a catcher who hits around league average. That’s an asset. The word right now is that Pittsburgh will not move Snyder, and Doumit will play some first base and right field while splitting catcher duties. That doesn’t mean a deal will not happen at some point before the 2011 season begins, and if one does happen the Pirates (presumably) will not have the same sense of urgency to dump without bringing back costs as the Diamondbacks currently do which (should) suggest a better return closer to Snyder’s market value.

You can take some tinfoil and tape it to a cardboard box but that doesn’t raise the value. That is essentially what the Pirates did, and then they dealt that cardboard box for a television. I know nothing about Ciracio but I don’t think he’s a negative value unless he somehow leads to the destruction of the entire Pirates’ minor league system.

The aftermath of this deal won’t be felt for a while. The initial impact, though, makes it hard to blame Pittsburgh for taking advantage of a sweet opportunity.