Pirates Trade Romulo Sanchez to Yankees

The Pirates have dealt reliever Romulo Sanchez to the Yankees for minor league starting pitcher Eric Hacker. Hacker isn't a great, or even good, prospect--he's already 26 and just got to AAA--but he can start. He handled himself well at Class A+ Tampa and Class AA Trenton last year. (Trenton is a good park for pitchers, but still, Hacker was very good). He also has racked up grounders in the minors. As usual, you should take all secondhand reports about velocity with a grain of salt, but his fastball has been been reported as anywhere from the high 80s to 95 MPH. I think we can probably assume Hacker doesn't throw that hard, but he at least has the repertoire of a starter--he also throws a breaking ball and a changeup.

The Yankees recently designated Hacker for assignment, so they had to trade or release him or subject him to waivers, which he probably wouldn't have cleared. The Yanks have a bunch of starting pitching in the high minors and could afford to lose Hacker; the Pirates have few starting pitching prospects, so this is a good trade for both organizations in terms of franchise needs. (This surely wasn't lost on the Bucs, who acquired starters Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen from the high levels of the Yankee minors last year.)

Sanchez could still be a decent major league reliever, but the Pirates clearly had no interest in him, and he hadn't yet established himself in the majors at age 25. There had also been rumblings, at least, about his level of dedication. I'll take an aging, mediocre starting pitching prospect for an aging, mediocre relief prospect any day. The only downside here is that there's no way Romulo will be on a bobblehead now. And we'll have a hard time coming up with a better nickname for Hacker than "Romulo!" From that angle, it's kind of a shame that Hacker isn't a hitter, or the team's IT guy. 

The Pirates placed Phil Dumatrait on the 60-day DL to make room for Hacker on the 40-man roster.

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