Pirates Trade John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny

Nobody can accuse Neal Huntington of being inactive. In the past few weeks Huntington has turned these guys:

Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett, Eric Hinske, Adam LaRoche, Jack Wilson, Ian Snell, Freddy Sanchez, Tom Gorzelanny, and John Grabow

Into these guys:

Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, Gorkys Hernandez, Lastings Milledge, Joel Hanrahan, Eric Fryer, Casey Erickson, Argenis Diaz, Hunter Strickland, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin, Aaron Pribanic, Tim Alderson, Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, and Josh Harrison

Let’s focus on the last few names on each list for this post.

Grabow is a lefty who fares decently against batters of both hands and generates quite a few grounders. He’ll qualify for free agency following this season and the likelihood of the Pirates re-signing a decent but not great reliever is pretty low. He should fit in the Cubs pen fine and well.

Gorzelanny would’ve been eligible for arbitration following this season, but he’s spent all but eight innings worth in the minors. With a few solid seasons under his belt, Gorzelanny struggled last year, but he’s dominated Triple-A, striking out 85 in 87 innings. He’s a lefty who works off his fastball and breaking stuff while mixing some changes in as well. It’s easy to see Gorzelanny in a starter or reliever capacity for the Cubs down the road.

Hart headlines the Pirates return. Baseball America ranked Hart as the Cubs sixth best prospect entering the season. He’s appeared in 36 games for the Cubs over the last three years, starting only three of them, which has resulted in a 4.32 FIP to date. His command has been much better in the minors and he’s pitching well in Triple-A for the third consecutive year. He throws a fastball in the low-90s, a cutter, curve, and every once and a while, a change. Like Gorzelanny, Hart will report to Triple-A.

Ascanio is a relief arm who gets by on his mid-90s fastball and change-up. He gets swings and misses and could join the Pirates bullpen immediately.

Harrison is a 2008 draftee from the University of Cincinnati. His tools are questionable but his numbers have been decent to date. A college second baseman, Harrison is only 5’8” and plays all over the diamond; second and third base as well as the outfield. He doesn’t walk or strike out a lot.

Back to the Pirates trades as a whole, I ran the math for service time. Without including 2009’s service time, the Pirates have traded 28 years worth of team control time for 95 years worth. Obviously not every player acquired is going to reach the majors or be attractive enough to keep through their first six years, but wow, talk about adding some depth.




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17 Responses to “Pirates Trade John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny”

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  1. BillG says:

    I thought this was a great trade by the Bucco’s until I saw what Gorzo was doing in AAA. I had thought he was finished. I thought Tracy had permanently damaged his arm, but it looks like his velocity has returned. It’s very possible that the Bucs know something we don’t (like with the Cubs and Rich Hill and the White Sox and Freddie Garcia), but this trade will look real bad for Pitt if Gorzo has returned to form.

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  2. AndrewB says:

    Correction to your post. Hart will join Pittsburgh immediately and slot into the rotation. Ascanio was assigned to AAA and will be in their rotation.

    As a Pirates fan, I’m disappointed that we gave up on Gorzelanny, his velocity has returned to pre-Jim Tracy/Colborn levels.

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  3. Joe R says:

    I just wonder if the Pirates traded away a possible NL East contender over the past season and a half for long term gain.
    You can make a pretty good lineup using nothing but traded recent Pirates. Well and Andy LaRoche and Ryan Doumit who are still there, though Doumit’s been hurt and crappy.

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    • don says:

      NL Central :)

      But I doubt it. They haven’t won as many as 70 games since 2004, so they were a long way from being a contender with all those guys.

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      • Joe R says:

        God dammit I hate mornings.

        Probably for the best, though, rather than accidentally winning 84 games and making the playoffs one year only to fall off when everyone wants more money.

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  4. Sam says:

    The Pirates have consistently traded for quantity, not quality. Only Lastings Milledge and Tim Alderson has any upside of that list. Pretty underwhelming performance.

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  5. Jon K says:

    The other benefit is payroll flexibility. Other than Doumit and Capps do the Pirates have anyone set to make any money? Their payroll will be less than $30M.

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  6. Zach Piso says:

    On that note, does anyone have any guesses what they use the money toward? I think the first priority will be signing Miguel Sano, and I’m honestly starting to suspect the Pirates expect a nosedive and a signing bonus toward Bryce Harper (especially since the Nats haven’t traded anyone and are fielding a major league lineup if not rotation).

    Beyond that though, Bedard, Harden, Duchscherer, Lackey, and potentially Webb will be on the market this offseason. If the Pirates went out and overspent (much like the Royal’s Gil Meche signing) on an anchor for their rotation, could Duke and Maholm plus whoever sticks allow them to contend by 2011?

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    • Ryan S says:

      I doubt they would sign any one of those guys this offeseason. 3 years is still alot of baseball and each one of those guys has proven to be injury prone. Expect to see Huntington do exactly what he has been doing for another year or two. The money they are saving now will most likely be used in the draft and as hold over for the re-signing of the youngsters that prove their worth before 2012. But until he knows what the core of his team will truly be, spending big money on guys you’re not sure will be around at that time is much too Littlefield-esque. The Pirates are still throwing players against the wall and waiting to see what sticks and what falls to the floor. Next year will be trial by fire, with 2011 allowing the core of the team to gel together. After that if the staff needs an anchor, I could see him doing so if he felt it would be the difference in winning the division. Make no mistake about it, he’s not interested in playing .500 baseball, he wants the division.

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    • Ray says:

      I doubt Harden is going anywhere

      it seems to be the cubs’ MO to keep talented arms, especially ones with the upside of harden’s

      remember, he is giving decent numbers by pitching like a rookie, i.e. throwing a fastball, a change, and nothing else

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  7. Ryan S says:

    It’s pretty simple. When Huntington took over he reviewed the roster realized that all he had were several complimentary guys being used as ‘winning pieces’, and a farm system completely devoid of depth and talent. So he decided the quickest, most efficient (and ultimately best) way to put the organization in a truly positive direction was to trade those ‘winning pieces’ for a ton of young depth and guys that have worn out their welcome with other organizations. The pitching depth he has accumulated through drafts and trades is remarkable considering it was done in under a year and a half. Young, cheap, effective arms is what wins games for small market teams. I applaud Huntington for having the fortitude to gut an organization that had been gutted many times before in the recent past. Littlefield never had the stomach to take the organization in a direction completely ruled by youth, though he claimed many times that’s what he was trying to do. Ultimately his reluctance to gut the organization, coupled with his feeble attempts to save his job near the end is what doomed the Pirates to this fate.

    Fret not Pirate fans.

    2012: C-Toby Sanchez/Jeff Clement?, 1B-Steve Pearce/Pedro Alvarez?, 2B-Josh Harrison/Delwyn Young?, 3B-Pedro Alvarez/Neil Walker?, SS-Argenis Diaz/(Brandon Wood?), RF-Lastings Milledge, CF-Andrew McCutcheon, LF-Jose Tabata, Gorkys Hernandez.
    P-Kevin Hart, Tim Alderson, Hunter Strickland, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, (Duke, Maholm?), Brad Lincoln and Bryan Morris.

    By then we will know what the core of the team will look like, and we will get to watch the youngsters come into their own over the next few years.

    Simply put there’s alot to be excited about, not to mention that Huntington has shown that he rather adept at finding useful players on the cheap (Young and LaRoche), as well as proving that if there is a legit player to draft (Alvarez) he will do so. Something Littlefield was notorious for missing. ::Sigh:: LaPorta, Porcello, Wieters anyone????? There’s still 3 years for the Pirates to draft, trade and sign the remaining pieces. All in all the only true complaint I have is not getting enough for Bay, but that’s a mere footnote in my eyes. I’m just finally glad to have some direction and TRUE hope for the future.

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    • joser says:

      I largely agree, though I wonder if patience will run out before enough of the kids make it up (and get good), and some other GM will take credit for finally making the Pirates successful again using mostly pieces Huntington has acquired.

      BTW, I wouldn’t pencil Clement in as a C — if you’re lucky he’s a once-a-week backup. He hasn’t caught a game since his knees flared up a few weeks into the season, though he reportedly has caught some bullpen sessions recently so it’s possible his knees will heal further by next year… but that’s a dangerous thing to count on. A catcher with bad knees isn’t much of a catcher. At this point he is what the Tacoma Rainiers have been making him: a 1B/DH (and I don’t need to point out that one of those positions doesn’t exist with the Pirates). At least he has the bat to win that 1B job (though he hasn’t shown it in his few stints with Seattle, he has had runs of tearing the cover off the ball in triple A)

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      • Ryan S says:

        Agree completely about Clement, but honestly I see Alvarez honing in on 1B by 2013. So the reality is that the only place he’ll get a chance to start at is C. Either that or he really comes into his own and forces the Pirates to keep Alvarez at 3B, but that’s a long shot to say the least. I think Nutting will give Huntington to at least 2013, especially if the Pirates show some promise in ’11/’12. After that is anyone’s guess, but if the Pirates are winning by ’13 this man deserves to have a solid gold statue put right outside the front gate. Or at the very least an extension :-)

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      • joser says:

        Well, if the only position for Clement is catcher, then there probably isn’t a position for Clement in Pittsburgh. I expect they wait and see, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him traded in the offseason in that case.

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  8. Mike says:

    There is certainly something to be said for organizational depth (I am a Mets fan after all), however I wish the Pirates would have gotten a few more high upside players. Alderson, Clement and Milledge are the only two players on that list who I would think have a chance of being above replacement level players on a major league roster.

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  9. Edwin Nelson says:

    I think there are way more than 3 names on that list who have potential. Remember Shane Victorino was a rule 5 guy. That’s the point of organizational depth. You will always have your top of the 1st round guys that you have high expectations for, but beyond that you need lots of physically talented athletes that may or may not turn into great ball players.

    Mark Reynolds was drafted in the 16th round. Albert Pujols was a 13th round pick and wasn’t considered a real prospect until he was promoted to AAA!

    The Pirates have this going in the right direction. Let’s see what happens next…

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