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)
— Andrew Harts (@AndrewHarts) August 27, 2013
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.