Author: Craig Calcaterra

Jacksonville Suns pitcher Trevor Williams fires in a pitch in the first inning against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos during a baseball game Thursday night, Aug. 21, 2014, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Florida Times-Union, Will Dickey)

The Marlins made a lopsided trade with the Pirates as a compensation deal


In late October the Marlins and Pirates traded pitching prospects. Or, rather, “prospect,” with the Marlins sending well-regarded right-hander Trevor Williams to Pittsburgh in exchange for non-prospect righty Richard Mitchell. It was a head-scratcher of a trade, with the Marlins apparently getting fleeced.

Today ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the reason for the imbalance was because the Marlins were compensating the Pirates for hiring away an executive. Stark:

The trade was announced one day after the Marlins hired away [Pirates special assistant Jim] Benedict to be their vice president of pitching. Benedict was one of Pirates general manager Neal Huntington’s most trusted aides, but also is regarded as being among the sport’s top pitching gurus.

Start notes that the Marlins had just recently hired another high-ranking Pirates executive, Marc Delpiano, and that the custom in baseball circles is to not allow a team to hire more than one front office person from another team in a short timespan so as to avoid “raiding” scenarios. When the Pirates complained about the Benedict hire, the Marlins agreed to give up Williams for very little.

Which, given the uncertainty surrounding pitching prospects could amount to nothing. Or, if Williams becomes something special, could look pretty bad in a couple of years.

Yankees trade infielder Jose Pirela to the Padres for a minor-league pitcher

Jose Pirela

I feel like the Yankees have traded with the Padres a billion times in the past 20-25 years. Maybe a little less than a billion, but they seem to trade a lot. And sign each other’s free agents.

These two teams dealt again today. It was not Chase Headley-level deal. It was not Andy Hawkins or Dave Winfield relocating from on coast to the other. But on November 11 we take any deals we can: The Yankees traded Jose Pirela to the Padres for minor-league pitcher Ron Herrera.

Pirela was thought by some to be the Yankees’ second baseman of the future and, to some degree, was given consideration as that by the club. He turns 26 in a couple of weeks, however, and has only been given 103 major league plate appearances in the past two years. His 2014 cup of coffee encouraged those who think things like “sample size” is the stuff of sorcery — he hit well in a mere 25 plate appearances– but in 2015 he hit poorly with a tad more exposure. His decent performance in Triple-A and a fresh start in San Diego could bode well for his future, however.

Herrera is only 20 but already has 82 minor league games — 74 of them as a starter — under his belt. In that time he is 23-24 with a 3.80 ERA and a 296/100 K/BB ratio in 415 innings. His top stop has been Double-A San Antonio where he was rather “meh” in eight starts this year. Figure on him beginning 2016 in Double-A as well.

Police incident report lists “overdose” as a possible cause of Tommy Hanson’s death

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Tommy Hanson (48) works in the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Atlanta, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. The Braves won 6-2. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

When a 29-year-old athlete dies suddenly it’s only natural to wonder how such an awful thing could’ve happened. And, unfortunately, it’s understandable to wonder if drugs played a part.

In the case of former Braves and Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson, we don’t know and won’t know what his official cause of death was for some time, but Atlanta’s WSB-TV and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution are reporting that an initial police report listed “overdose” as a possible “crime” connected to his death. Toxicology reports, however, could take several weeks to come back and a final cause of death determination is for a coroner, not the police.

Sad circumstances regardless.

The Reds are apparently open for business

Aroldis Chapman

The Reds have a lot of good players for being such a crappy team. I can’t decide if that’s more or less frustrating than simply having crappy players.

On the one hand, as a Braves fan, I can tell you that simply having a roster of crappy players is pretty miserable and that it’d be cool to at least see guys like Joey Votto, Todd Frazier or Aroldis Chapman play a lot. On the other hand, if you’re a Reds fan, you have to live with the notion that the team you root for is dramatically less than the sum of its parts and that’s just some existential angst in the making.

Luckily — or unluckily, depending on your point of view — the Reds will likely not have as many good players come spring. That’s because, as Buster Olney and many others are reporting, the Reds are listening to offers on basically everyone, including Chapman. Olney recently referred to it as a Chicago Cubs/Houston Astros-style rebuild.

That may be a tad extreme in that the selling already began last summer when the Reds traded Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake prior to their walking in free agency and unloaded Marlon Byrd. They got some decent players in return — particularly the three lefties the Royals gave them for Cueto — so it’s not like they’re starting completely from square one. The problem is that their offensive core, led by Votto and Frazier, is going to be long in the tooth by the time anything approaching a decent pitching staff has been assembled and matured. And, in the meantime, the Reds are playing in the toughest division in baseball.

Figure Chapman to get the most play in the short term and then, if he’s dangled, Frazier. In the meantime figure on the Reds not being very good for a few years.

The Yankees and Mariners have discussed Brett Gardner

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have discussed Brett Gardner with the Mariners.

Sherman says that new M’s GM Jerry Dipoto has coveted Gardner for some time and that the Yankees would like to add starting pitching. Sherman says that James Paxton could be someone the Mariners would be willing to discuss.

Gardner hit .259/.343/.399 with 16 homers and 20 stolen bases in 2015. Paxton started 13 games at the big league level for Seattle, posting a 3.90 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 56/29 in 67 innings.