SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – So the Pirates did nothing at the trade deadline. All that fuss for nothing. Fewer newspaper to sell. Sigh.
National writers immediately came out with deadline grades last evening, documenting who they felt were the winners or losers at the non-waiver trade deadline.
Like Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan, the consensus, nationally, was the Pirates missed an opportunity despite the tight market. The acquisition of Robert Andino just didn’t move the needle.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Rarely do you see a trade deadline go by with the best team in baseball sitting on its hands entirely. While the Pirates have reached that point where it’s difficult to doubt their viability, the same criticisms as always remain: Namely, can they hit enough and how is their bullpen going to hold up? Already closer Jason Grilli is on the disabled list, and their efforts to add a bat fell short. There is August, though having the best record does have its disadvantages: So long as the Pirates are on top, every team can block them from claiming a player.
CBSSportsline.com’s Scott Miller also labeled the Pirates as a trade deadline loser:
PIRATES: Some clubs should take note of Dombrowski’s aggressive deadline moves, colleague Danny Knobler correctly writes, and one of them is the Pirates. You can argue that the team with the best record in the game is OK standing pat. When that team is the Pirates, who haven’t won since 1992, you’d like to see them add another weapon or two.
However, there were voices that applauded the Pirates’ lack of inaction, because of the tight market and steep asking prices, like Mr. Brian Kenny.
Pirates decision-making excellent past 2 yrs. Think it was today too. Available "veteran bats" were not upgrades. Smart GM'ing.
— Brian Kenny (@MrBrianKenny) August 1, 2013
So after sleeping on it are you happy with what the Pirates did, or rather, did not do?
Or are you in a rage this morning?
WHAT WOULD COUNT AS AN INSANE OFFER FOR GIANCARLO STANTON?
Pirates GM Neal Huntington said adding bats was the No. 1 priority. He said he made offers that made him “uncomfortable.” He failed to suppress grins recently when asked about Giancarlo Stanton. I asked Huntington if he was willing to give up multiple top 50 prospects for an impact player. Huntington wasn’t willing to go there. But as I understand it, he was willing to give up multiple elite prospects.
Huntington said he was willing to make a “stupid” trade just not an “insane” one. It’s the best sound bite I’ve heard from Huntington. So it would have taken an insane offer to land Stanton.
What would constitute insane? He was probably willing to give up two, just not three or four top-50 type prospects.
I’m trying to think about the most insane deadline trade in modern history that involved an impact player. I go back to the Indians’ 2002 deadline deal with the Expos.
In 2002, the Expos acquired Bartolo Colon, who was a free agent to be and a 20-game winner that season, for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore. Phillips, Lee and Sizemore all went on to play in All-Star Games. Colon left as a free agent. Phillips and Lee are still playing at high levels, Sizemore looked like an MVP candidate until his knees betrayed him.
Now, that was a unique situation because the Expos were in contention and knew they were relocating to Washington under new ownership. The front office thought ‘Hey, we’re done, let’s make a run at this thing regardless of the cost.”
That was an insane trade.
An insane trade offer would have been Jameson Taillon/Gregory Polanco/Tyler Glasnow/Alen Hanson for Stanton. Maybe the Marlins really won’t trade Stanton under any circumstance this year. But I think that kind of offer would have been impossible to turn down.
And I’m not even sure it would be that crazy for the Pirates.
Yes, you want a deep system. Quality comes from quantity as Branch Rickey once noted. But most prospects fail – see Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin for Miguel Cabrera – and Stanton has 3+ years of club control remaining and is a potential Hall of Fame talent. He’s not a rental. He has rare power, he’s improving as a hitter and he’s a good defender. He’s the kind of player who could tip the balance.
The more I think about it the more it would have made sense to ship the Altoona roster to Miami.
But fear not, oglers of Stanton, Baseball America’s Ben Badler writes the door might not be closed on the Pirates acquiring Stanton.
The Pirates have a stacked farm system. If the Marlins are ever willing to part with Stanton, they have more than enough to get it done.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) August 1, 2013
Coming to a ballpark on the North Shore in the summer of 2014? Giancarlo Stanton? It could happen. Your dream isn’t dead yet, it’s just on pause, perhaps.