Last week, I took a look back at the trade that sent Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees. You can read that post here. Today, letís check in on Jason Bay and the four players the Pirates received in return from that trade.
Iím not going to spend much time analyzing what Bay has done since going to the Red Sox. He was a star in Pittsburgh. Heís been a star in Boston. We knew what kind of player he was when we traded him, and he will continue to be that player for some time. What is important is the return. Bay has very similar slash stats since the deal (PIT-.282/.375/.519, BOS-.301/.360/.532). He has an .892 OPS in Boston, compared to the .894 he posted this year with the Pirates. As with Nady, his K% (PIT-21.9%, BOS-26.3%) has increased while his BB% (PIT-13.1%, BOS-8.2%) has dropped. He is also chasing more pitches (O-Swing%: PIT-20.65%, BOS-23.38%) and making less contact (Contact%: PIT-80.14%, BOS-72.39%). I think that is probably a symptom of switching leagues, and being forced to learn about new pitchers. Anyway, Bay has been just as productive in the AL as he has always been in Pittsburgh.
On to the new additions. Andy LaRoche has struggled mightily since coming to Pittsburgh. He has hit a putrid .161/.238/.271, and has had quite a bit of difficulty in the field. He has looked tight on the diamond, and has already gone through two extended hitless stretches. His approach at the plate hasnít been terrible, and his K% of 17.8 is pretty solid for such a young guy. His 7.8% BB% is okay, but it is well below the impressive numbers he put up in his minor league career. I have tamed some of the high expectations I had for LaRoche when he was first acquired. However, after watching him for several weeks, I still see good things in his future. His track record is just too impressive, and he is a good candidate for a breakout 2009 season in my opinion. Hopefully, he can loosen up and start improving his numbers.
Brandon Moss has been a pleasant surprise thus far. His batting average has been unimpressive at .234, and he strikes out way too much (27.7%). But he has walked in over 9% of his plate appearances, and has shown off some pop with six home runs and a solid isolated power of .212. Iím not sure heís ever going to be an impact talent, but he could easily be at or slightly above league average for a corner outfielder as early as next season. He should have a starting spot locked up for 2009.
Craig Hansen has not impressed me at all so far. He has a 7.04 ERA with the Pirates, and has walked 17 batters in 15.1 innings. On top of that, his strikeout numbers have been of no help, as he has only six Kís. I donít see much coming from him in the long run, as he has never shown any signs of developing any control. However, after some disastrous outings soon after the trade and a short trip to Triple-A, Hansen has produced five consecutive scoreless outings. These final few weeks will be huge for him as he tries to earn a spot in the 2009 bullpen.
Bryan Morris had a solid first start at Hickory, and got progressively worse over his final two starts of the season. He was shut down a bit early due to a minor arm injury. We didnít get much of a look at Morris after the trade, but I still have high hopes for his future. He is still a long way from Pittsburgh.
I was very high on this trade when it was made, and I still feel pretty good about it. This deal will come down to LaRocheís performance. If he starts producing the way that his minor league numbers indicate that he should, this trade will be a huge win for the Pirates. If his OPS remains below .600, 2009 could be a very long season.