I am exhausted. I spent the day at work, trying to keep up with my professional duties while keeping one eye on the trade rumors. Then it was off to two softball games in two different Pittsburgh areas. After returning home, showering and grabbing some food, I finally have a chance to take a breath and think about this Jason Bay trade. Although it will be time to wake for work again in just a few hours.
So what did we give up and what we did we get in return? Jason Bay is gone. If you are a Pirate fan, you know how valuable a player he is. He has posted a pretty consistent .900-plus OPS his entire career, plays through pain, is a good team player, etc. You know all this. He is also 29, and was less than 1.5 seasons from free agency. The Pirates needed to deal him now before his value dropped.
In return, they received Andy LaRoche. LaRoche hit very well in four consecutive minor league seasons, and was due a starting spot for the Dodgers this year. But they did not commit to him, and he has struggled in his 59 Major League at-bats in 2008. He has continued to hit well when spending time at Triple-A. He should take the third base position for the Pirates, and I expect him to do very well in the upcoming years. He may not be the next Jason Bay, but he wonít be far behind him.
Also from the Dodgers comes Single-A pitcher Bryan Morris. He was a first round draft pick in 2006 before missing all of 2007 due to Tommy John surgery. At 21, he has put together a nice 2008 season as he comes back from that injury.
Boston sends Brandon Moss, a solid outfielder, and Craig Hansen, a hard-throwing reliever, to the Pirates. Moss was hitting .291/.348/.456 with the Red Sox this year, while spending the majority of the season in Pawtucket. He has been even better there, hitting .290/.356/.548. Hansen works in the 93-95 MPH range, and has spent most of 2006 in Boston. He has struggled, especially with his control. He has struck out 58 and walked 38 in 71 career minor league numbers. Both of these players are 24, and though they donít have the upside of LaRoche and Morris, they should immediately be solid additions to the Major League roster.
This is a very good deal, much better than I was expecting. But the most important aspect of this trade is what it signifies. In just over a year and a half, the Pirates have gone from a poorly run franchise to one that really knows what itís doing. Hopefully, they can sign some more of their high upside draft picks in the next two weeks. Combine that with these recent trades, and the talent in the Pirates organization will be looking much more encouraging than it did just a few months ago.
On another note, I already miss having Bay on the team. Good luck, Jason. Take the Monster by storm.