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