The Pirates made a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday that sent right handed relief pitcher Jesse Chavez packing and brought in second baseman Akinori Iwamura. I am probably the last blogger to write about the trade, but I would like to think some people still value my opinions. So here we go.
Ultimately, this trade is going both ways in my mind. I was confused when I first heard it. Akinori is 31 years old and has most likely already hit his ceiling. This isn’t the kind of player the Pirates have been going after lately. He has 1 year left on his contract, which means the Pirates will lose him after this year unless they work out a new deal with him to keep him in Pittsburgh after the 2010 season. Now, Akinori has already said he would definitely be interested in working out such a deal, so that is good news. However, if they don’t work out that deal and we do lose him after one year, this move was definitely not a good one. Yes, the Pirates are pretty deep when it comes to right handed relievers, but losing Jesse Chavez is certainly not worth one year of a player like Akinori Iwamura, especially because no one expects the Pirates to seriously compete this year.
Now just because the team isn’t expected to be in the playoff race, doesn’t mean the management shouldn’t go after guys to help them in the present. Why should Neil throw in the 2010 towel when he has opportunities to make the team better? He shouldn’t, and he is now showing that he is not completely unconcerned with the here and now. This is encouraging for me, although I am a complete advocate of building for the future, it sure is nice to see that the Pirates care about winning in 2010. The addition of Akinori Iwamura isn’t by any means going to put the Pirates over the top and send them on a 90 win season, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Delwyn Young is best served in a bench spot, and now he will be able to assume that role.
The loss of Jesse Chavez means that the Pirates are really going to need guys like Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan, and (especially) Matt Capps to step up and hold down the late innings. The long relief will be in the hands of Jeff Karstens, Kevin Hart, and whoever gets held out of the rotation besides those two.
In other news, the Pirates may be pursuing Jack Wilson. Before they would consider that, the Mariners would have to pick up Wilson’s $8.4MM club option. If the Pirates can sign Jack to a 1 or 2 year deal and save that 8 million dollars, a lot of the fan support they lost during the fire sale last year would definitely come back. I think that is also one of the motives behind this trade, to make the fans realize that they are trying to compete this year so fans will come out to the ballpark. It’s hard to have fans when you do what the Pirates did last year, so I think a move like this was necessary.
All-in-all, the trade was a good one. However, it could be a great one if the Pirates sign Iwamura to a 2 or 3 year deal.
All of this Pirates talk has me excited. My reputation as a Pirates supporter has caught up with me here at Waynesburg, and I have had countless people ask me my position on this trade in the last 24 hours, I am loving life again.
Let’s Go Bucs!