Thoughts on the Grabow/Gorzelanny trade

I was disappointed when I heard the details of this trade. I still have hope for Tom Gorzelanny‘s future, and I think the Pirates sold low on him. I guess it is possible that his arm is still toast from Jim Tracy‘s days as skipper, but his numbers have been solid in Triple-A this year. I see him as a good back-of-the-rotation starter down the road. Thus, when I learned that he was involved in the trade, I was hopeful that there would be something special coming back. Otherwise, I did not see any urgency to deal him, as I did with most of the other departed Pirates.

It’s sufficient to say that I was initially underwhelmed by the players coming back to the Pirates. However, after taking a closer look, I think it is better than I originally thought. Kevin Hart has put up some solid Triple-A peripherals over the past few seasons, striking out over a batter an inning while keeping his walk rate manageable. I see him probably being a decent reliever in the long run, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he ends up as a fourth or fifth starter. I have fairly similar expectations for Hart’s future performance as I do for Gorzelanny, although I would much rather have Gorzo in the system. If we say this is the Hart for Gorzelanny segment of the trade, the Cubs come out somewhat on top.

That leaves us with John Grabow for Jose Ascanio and Josh Harrison. This is a very good exchange for the Pirates. Grabow is what he is: a solid yet unspectacular left-handed reliever. Consequently, even with his potential Type-A status, I did not expect to get much in return for him. I am very excited to get Ascanio in the system. He is only 24, has great stuff, and has performed very well this year, both as a Triple-A starter and as a major league reliever. I think he will be a good back-end reliever at the very least, with the potential to develop into a solid starter. Harrison is a long way from Pittsburgh, but he is an interesting player. He can play a multitude of positions, and hit .337/.377/.479 in 335 plate appearances at Low-A this year. His numbers have dropped a bit upon his promotion to High-A, but he is still performing pretty well. He is a good athlete, and I would not be surprised to see him end up as a super utility player, similar to a Ryan Freel.

This deal will likely hinge on Gorzelanny. If he can regain some semblance of his 2007 form, the Pirates are going to regret this deal. Otherwise, they received a pretty decent haul for what they surrendered. This trade does not have the same excitement factor as Wednesday’s deals, but it is still a decent move.

(P.S. It is nice to feel disappointed about a “decent move.”)

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Grabow and Gorzelanny dealt to Cubs

Dejan is reporting that a trade sending John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the Cubs is nearly complete. There are no further details, but I would hope to receive a pretty nice return. Grabow will likely end up as a Type A free agent this offseason, which could potentially net a valuable draft pick for the Pirates. Gorzelanny has pitched pretty well in Triple-A this season, and I still see him as a piece in the future rotation. Hopefully, Neal Huntington has some more tricks up his sleeve.

I will update further when more details become available. As always, watch the Twitter feed and the PBC Blog for up to the second news.

UPDATE (5:45 PM): Dejan reports that the deal is done.  Still no word on a return.  Stay tuned.

UPDATE (5:53 PM): From Jen Langosch’s Twitter feed: “Pirates deal John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to Cubs for RHP Kevin Hart, RHP Jose Ascanio, IF Josh Harrison”

Posted in John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny. Comments Off on Grabow and Gorzelanny dealt to Cubs

Morton Sharp as Bucs Again Beat Frisco

Charlie Morton tossed seven innings of three hit, two walk, zero run baseball to push the Pirates over the Giants. Morton struck out six. John Grabow worked a scoreless 8th and Matt Capps put two runneres on in the 9th before closing out the contest.

Andrew McCutchen had two hits and started a first inning rally that eventually made a loser of Barry Zito who allowed both Pirate tallies in 6-1/3 innings. Zito allowed six hits and no walks while striking out four.

The Good

Two straight wins.

I’ll take that from Morton or anyone else for that matter.

The Bad

Garrett Jones homer streak ended, though he did have a double.

Where is the offense?!

The Rest

Morton’s only other start came last year (8-17) when he was a Brave and resulted in a loss. He tied his career best for Ks tonight with six, which was set – coincidentally enough – against San Francisco last season.

Zito is now 0-3 in his career verus Pittsburgh. He has not yielded more than three runs in any of his three appearances.

Prior to last night’s game, the Pirates were just 1-30 in games in which they scored two or fewer runs. Now they have won two straight.

Maholm, Astros Defense Help Bucs Past Houston

Paul Maholm was effective in winning for just the third time in his last 13 starts. He went six innings and gave up two runs on five singles, a double and a pair of walks.

The Pirates offense was kick started by Jack Wilson who blasted a two out homer in the third. Houston edge back into it against Maholm with single runs in the third and the sixth. But things went the Buccos way in the 7th. Brian Moehler who had retired the side in order in the fourth, fifth and sixth, allowed consecutive walks with one out in the 7th. He was pulled for Tim Byrdak who also gave up a BB to load ’em. Byrdak gave way to Chris Sampson. Jason Jaramillo’s grounder to first baseman Lance Berkman was fielded cleanly. Berkman’s throw home was a bad one, allowing a run to score and all to be safe. Delwyn Young (pinch hitting for Maholm), Andrew McCutchen and Wilson all followed with RBI hits to blow it open.

But it wasn’t over yet. Joel Hanrahan was allowed to pitch in a game that was far from over and was charged with a run in the 7th after giving way to John Grabow. Houston loaded the bases with one out in the 8th before Grabow got Jeff Keppinger to hit into an inning ending DP. Matt Capps got three ground ball outs in the 9th to seal it.

Moehler went 6-1/3 and gave up three earned runs on three hits and two walks.

The Good

Bucs made the most of a few opportunities. Seven hits and six runs.

McCutchen, Wilson and Jones each had two hits.

Maholm was good.

Bucs turned three double plays.

The Bad

Why is Joel Hanrahan in a game in the 7th?

Freddy Sanchez was out again.

The Rest

Jones stole two bases. He had one swipe in the Show coming into the game (in 37 career ML games) and 54 career steals in 1,038 career minor league games.

Wilson’s homer was his 10th in Houston, making it easily his favorite road homer park. Next closest is Great American in Cincy with 4. He also hit two in Cinergy/Riverfront.

This was the second time in July the Pirates scored six or more runs on fewer than 10 hits. Other time was July 3rd against Florida.

Barring an injury, McCutchen is set up to have the best debut season by a Pirate since Warren Morris (not rookie season as that would be Jason Bay, but debut season). No Pirate since Morris has had 50 runs and 50 RBIs in their debut season.

Ohlendorf Frustrates Cubs on Momentous Day

So why was this a momentous day? Two reasons:

1. The 100th anniversary of the opening of Forbes Field

2. For the second straight year the Pirates have traded away 2/3 of their starting outfield.

Ross Ohlendorf picked up his 7th win by tossing seven shutout innings to overshadow (at least temporarily) all of that. He allowed three singles, a double and no walks while striking out eight.

Freddy Sanchez played the role of a man picking up the empty pieces of an offense. He had a part in all three Pirate runs, driving in a pair and scoring the third. He also stole a base.

The Cubs didn’t threaten until they put two on with none gone against John Grabow in the 8th. But Grabow held on, whiffing Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome before getting Derrek Lee to ground out. Matt Capps pitched the 9th for the save.

The Good

A winning June. First one since 1996. Unbelievable.

Nice job by Ohlendorf. Second on the staff in wins.

Need more of that from Sanchez.

I have to say I’m happy thus far on the return for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett. Lastings Milledge seems to have been around for a while, but he just turned 24. The only member of the club younger than him is Andrew McCutchen.

Ted Lilly gave up all three runs to the Pirates. The first of which scored when Freddy Sanchez scored from second on a strike three when Geovany Soto’s throw to Lilly covering home went through the pitcher’s wickets.

The Bad

McCutchen is just 1-18. His first struggle at this level. Hopefully he works out of it soon.

Delwyn Young has two hits in his last 18 at bats.

The Rest

Ohlendorf established a single game mark for whiffs.

Welcome Garrett Jones who was brought up from Indy before the game. He didn’t appear tonight. He spent the better part of the last four years in AAA averaging better than 20 homers a year.

Lilly was 3-0 in his career against the Pirates coming in.

Maholm Sharp as Bucs Win 4th Straight

Paul Maholm allowed just four singles, a triple and two runs in seven innings to beat KC. He put the Pirates in a hole early as Billy Butler had RBI singles in the first and third innings. But Delwyn Young popped a three run homer in the fourth and added an insurance RBI in the 8th to pace the offense.

Bruce Chen was the loser. He made his way back from Tommy John surgery to make his first appearance since April 20, 2007.

John Grabow and Jeff Karstens finished up with an inning each of shutout relief.

The Good

Young continues to be a productive bat.

Maholm has scuffled a bit lately (4-6 with a 5.22 ERA in his last 10 starts). It’d be great to get him going.

The Bad

Andrew McCutchen failed to reach base for the first time since June 10 and had his first ever streak of consecutive hitless games.

The Rest

Chen’s last start was 8/4/06. Chen’s last appearance against Pittsburgh was 6/8/05 when he was beaten by the pitching of Kip Wells and four RBI from Rob Mackowiak.

Young established a career best in RBI.

McCutchen Rallies Bucs Past Tribe

Anyone here not impressed by Andrew McCutchen. The Bucs rookie CF was involved in all three Pirate runs – scoring once and driving in two – as the Pirates erased a two run deficit against Cliff Lee.

Lee and Ross Ohlendorf each allowed two runs in seven innings of work. Neither got the decision. That would be left to the bullpens. Both relief corps walked the bases loaded in the 8th. For the Pirates John Grabow walked three but escaped when he whiffed Ryan Garko. Earlier in the inning Nyjer Morgan tracked down a long fly off the bat of Victor Martinez. Joe Smith walked two in 1/3 IP and Rafael Perez walked one, but got Jason Jaramillo to ground into an inning ending DP.

Matt Herges was on in the 9th but gave up three straight singles – to Jack Wilson, Eric Hinske and Cutch – for a walk off win for the Pirates. Matt Capps tossed the 9th for his first win of the year.

The Good

Have to be happy taking 2 of 3.

Ohlendorf was fine, allowing five hits and three walks in seven.

McCutchen has a 13 game hitting streak.

The Bad

The offense continues to gimp along. There was clutchness when it counted most tonight.

The Rest

This was the fourth time this year Ohlendorf pitched seven or more innings. Ian Snell has gone that far just three times. Jeff Karstens pitched seven or more just once in his 10 starts before being pulled from the rotation.

A scary thought hit me that Cutch’s start is too reminiscent of Chris Duffy’s hot start back in 2005.

Jack Wilson had his fifth game this year with three or more hits. He had just five such games in all of 2008.