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.