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Transaction analysis: Pirates land Byrd and a no-brainer deal


SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – It’s not like there wasn’t a cost. Dilson Herrera is a fine prospect. He has the potential to have an above-average bat at an up-the-middle position, probably second base. He was likely to crack top 10 Pirates prospect lists in a deep system this offseason.


But this deal  – the Mets sending Marlon Byrd, John Buck and cash to the Pirates  for Herrera and a PTBNL –  is a no-brainer of a transaction.


Herrera might help in 2016. The Pirates needed help in 2013. And they got help Tuesday.


Byrd is having one of the best seasons of his career. He’s posted a a career best .518 slugging mark in 2013, 21 homers, and he’s hitting .285. Not only will he immediately upgrade the offensive blackhole that has been right field in Pittsburgh, but Byrd, a former CF, is an above average defensive right fielder (4.8 defensive runs above average per Baseball Info Soultions). The Pirates’ other RF options are below average both defensively and offensively.


This is a massive upgrade in right field and gives the Pirates a legit No. 5 or No. 6 hitter in the lineup.


(The deal also gives the Mets an awkward T-shirt night Tuesday)



Buck, thought to be the new backup catcher, is batting .215 with 12 home runs. He’s reported to be a great clubhouse guy.


The Pirates will also receive cash, though Byrd and Buck only have $1.35 million remaining on their contracts. Both players are free agents after the season. So not only are the Pirates getting a considerable upgrade at little financial cost, but they also did not have to pony up one of their elite prospects.


Patience paid off for Neal Huntington who can now say he was wise not to overpay for a RF deadline before the non-waiver July 31 deadline.


But waiting after the deadline was a gamble.


Byrd had to clear waivers to make this deal possible. It’s surprising the Reds, Diamondbacks or Nationals did not put in claim to block him from dropping to the Pirates. Also, perhaps the best thing that happened to the Pirates was the Cardinals’ win over the Reds last night which put the Cardinals a 1/2 game in first – but below the Pirates in the waiver order.


Pirates Nation had been waiting for an impact deal, they got one Tuesday, at a relatively low cost.


– TS



  1. Justin says:

    Marlon Byrd: destroyer of lefties

    He, McCutchen, Gaby, Mercer, and Marte create a pretty outstanding half a lineup against lefties. Liiiikkkeee all OPSs in the high .900s and above.

    too bad the other three spots will be pretty bad.

  2. Rich Ferrone says:

    Lets see who the PTBNL is before we hail this trade as a positive. Huntington has already said he will be an “Ouch” instead of a “Who?” player. This doesn’t bode well

  3. Travis Sawchik says:

    Rich, if it’s Taillon, Glasnow or Polanco I will be revisiting my position. Ha.

  4. Travis Sawchik says:

    Good observation, Justin.

    Jon Heyman said the Pirates still have their eyes on Justin Morneau. We’ll see.

  5. Thundercrack says:

    Patience paid off for Neal Huntington who can now say he was wise not to overpay for a RF deadline before the non-waiver July 31 deadline.
    I like the trade but I think we have to wait and see if NH overpaid for Byrd and Buck

  6. Rich Ferrone says:

    I agree Travis but at this point instead of going after Morneau I think its imperative they go after a # 3,4 or 5 starter and some bullpen help. I think they have showed after the last few weeks that the entire staff is tiring and before they let the season slip away yet again, they need to go out and get some help. Before the Allstar break what was the starters ERA? Its a lot higher now. And the bullpen never got rocked like they have as of late. What were they, like 55-2 with a lead after the seventh? Well they are letting those leads slip away now, case in point, last night. With Wandy not coming back any time soon, maybe at all the rest of the season, I believe it is imperative.

  7. Leo Walter says:

    There won’t be any way any one will be able to judge this trade till nearly 2020 when Herrera and/or any ther prospect has established themselves in MLB.

  8. rob says:

    Pirates never had the lead last night.

  9. rob says:

    There is absolutely no way either of those three are included in this deal. Is there?

  10. rob says:

    Disagree Leo. While I’m not a fan of giving up top 10 prospects for one month-rentals (and I’m really nervous about which “pretty good piece” NH will include as the PTBNL), this trade will be rightfully judged sometime this October, IMO. If Byrd coming over helps catapult the Pirates to a division championship and out of the wildcard play-in game, the trade will be judged a success no matter what Dilson Herrera becomes. Finishing second (or third) and losing the wildcard game and then losing Byrd to free agency might start a NH feeding frenzy.

  11. rob says:

    Looking ahead, really don’t see where a lineup that destroys lefties helps Bucs in the playoffs should they reach the NLDS and beyond. The starting rotations of St. Louis, Cincinnati and Atlanta are predominantly right-handed.

    They’d have to face LA to get at some lefties – Kershaw and Ryu. Not pretty.

  12. Chuck H says:

    I like the acquisition of Byrd and Buck, but where does this leave Tony Sanchez? I hope that this
    addition will help both right field and the bench. As to last night’s game, once again Hurdle
    left his starter in a couple of batters too long-especially a starter who has been terrible
    since the all-star game. As it turned out, we could have won the game if Locke had been lifted after 3 runs allowed instead of 5. He has become the second coming of James
    McDonald-his pitches hit too many bats, and he walks far too many batters. We have
    pitchers on the farm teams that could replace him. GO, BUCS!!!

  13. Travis Sawchik says:

    It looks like Vic Black is the PTBNL. Nice piece for Mets, but not a blue-chip prospect

  14. Chuck H says:

    Bad start for Byrd-double play and 2 Ks. Is he trying to be another auto out?

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