I spent most of the day away from the internet and got to think about this deal a bit. The funny thing about the trade is that it's a lot like a couple of deals I criticized Dave Littlefield for - the swap of pitching prospect Chris Young for reliever Matt Herges, and the deal of pitching prospect Leo Nunez for Benito Santiago.
All three deals involved swapping a pitching prospect for a veteran who had (or has) no real hope of playing for the next good Pirates team. And it's not as if Yates is a great player, either - he's 30, he's a minor-league vet and he has a long history of control problems. What the Pirates are gambling on here, it appears, is that he had his first respectable K:BB ratio in his major league career last year and that, as this AP report suggests, he's been throwing with very good stuff, with a good fastball and a hard slider. In the best-case scenario, he figures out what's going on late in his career, in a Brendan Donnelly sort of way, and the Pirates get a couple cheap years of a power reliever. That scenario, however, is unlikely, and what's more likely is that Yates is just cannon fodder.
Ordinarily, trading a prospect for a player like Yates would be a horrible idea, but I'm willing to give management the benefit of the doubt here. Unlike Young, Redmond isn't six-foot-ten with a 93-mph fastball. Unlike Nunez (who's still young and who's already a pretty good reliever in Kansas City, if you hadn't noticed), he isn't coming off a good year in the minors and doesn't throw in the mid-90s.
This comes down to a difference in scouting - Littlefield and his team probably looked at Young and saw a guy who was getting by on fastballs only, and looked at Nunez and saw a skinny kid whose arm wasn't going to hold up. As we all know,
Littlefield tended to look at players and see what they couldn't do, rather than what they could. The concerns about Young and Nunez were probably legitimate, but both players have ended up overcoming them. Redmond, on the other hand, is coming off a bad year in the minors and, from my vantage point, there's not much of interest there. Polished pitchers who succeed in the low minors and then hit a wall are a dime a dozen.
If I were the GM, I probably wouldn't have traded Redmond for Yates, just out of principle - a team in the Pirates' position shouldn't be trading prospects for veterans. But I can understand why they did it.
In other news, Masumi Kuwata retired today, and Hector Carrasco was sent to the minors. That leaves 27 players left in camp, including Chris Duffy, who's hurt, so it's really down to Phil Dumatrait, Evan Meek and Sean Burnett for the last bullpen spot. \