It's raining. The Pirates don't play until 9 p.m. What to do? Make the first crazy trade proposal of the season? You got it.
Most trade ideas are crazy. Along the lines of, "we should trade Jeff Karstens and Pedro Alvarez for Matt Cain and Pablo Sandoval." Wait... Ok really, most ideas are crazy, but just because it's April 14th doesn't mean Neal Huntington shouldn't be looking for different ways to improve the organization. Note organization, not necessarily team.
The Pirates aren't making the playoffs this year. This is not a new thought. I suggested here, before the season, this team would win 69 games. There are 155 games to play and the Bucs are certainly not going to throw in the towel, but Huntington should be looking for opportunities and maybe one arose in Boston.
In yesterday's home opener at Fenway Tampa's Reid Brignac fell on top of the Sox Jacoby Ellsbury at second base. Ellsbury tweeted that he suffered a sublaxation (partial dislocation) of his right shoulder. This afternoon the Sox put Ellsbury on the 15-day DL. If you don't follow the American League, you'll probably be surprised by the 28-year old Ellsbury's numbers last year. Pirates fans hope Andrew McCutchen puts up numbers like that one season. Ellsbury finished second in the MVP voting.
The Red Sox have problems. First they are 2-5. If you think there is hysteria about the PIrates start, multiply it by 100. Then by 1,000. Now your close. Second, their division is incredibly good. They probably have four of the ten best teams in baseball. Having another wild card spot is nice, but falling behind by a big margin in the first few months of the season obviously is not part of the Sox m.o. Third, Carl Crawford, their starting left fielder and $126 million man, is already out and not expected back for at least a month. As a result, Bobby Valentine has already been using the unsightly trio of Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney and Darnell McDonald in the outfield. And now Ellsbury is out for six-eight weeks, assuming he can avoid surgery.
So, what to do. The Sox would like a lefthanded-hitting outfielder. Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Beantowners are likely to look at Brett Carrol who was DFA'd by the Nationals last night and Scott Podsednik who is in AAA with the Phillies and has a deal similar to the deal Jason Grilli had last year. That's nice, but that isn't going to solve the problem.
Here is a better answer. Alex Presley. Presley's 26, he's not arbitration-eligible until 2015 and can't become a free agent until 2018. He's making $484,000. Last year he posted a .804 OPS in 231 plate appearances and he has shown basically no platoon split throughout his career. He could step in and bat leadoff for the Sox tomorrow.
Who would the Pirates like in return? Jose Iglesias, the slick-fielding 22-year old Cuban shortstop is one obvious answer. That's not happening. Iglesias is probably the Sox starting shortstop by August 1, but he has fallen a bit as a prospect because of his bat which some now think may not play at the major league level (Does Clint Barmes' bat play at the major league level?). The Sox also have some others SS in the organization who now may be viewed more highly so it's not as pie-eyed as it would have been a year ago.
Who's next? How about Ryan Lavarnway, the 24-year old catcher who went to Yale and posted a 1.002 OPS in AAA Pawtucket last year and is rated the Sox fourth-best prospect? That's not happening as a straight up deal either, but I like the way you're thinking.
Since we're just having fun, let's really make this fun. The Sox have been hit hard by injuries and just before the season they lost closer Andrew Bailey to thumb surgery. Bailey isn't expected back for 3-4 months. You can see where this is going. The Pirates should trade Alex Presley to Boston tomorrow. Boston is in a jam and I'm sure there is a deal that can be made that makes sense for the Bucs. Of course, the Pirates don't have an obvious replacement for Presley, but I'd be fine with some sort of Nate McLouth, Garrett Jones, Yamaico Navarro, Josh Harrison mishmash until Starling Marte is ready, which probably won't be until at least July. But if they can improve the organization, so be it.
But the Pirates should look to see if they can pull off a blockbuster. They should also move Joel Hanrahan along with Presley.
Hanrahan is a stud. He had a great season last year, is making $4.1 million this year and is under team control for another season. But for a team like the Pirates he is a luxury. The Pirates aren't going to use him the way that would make the most sense because of baseball's idiotic affinity for the save statistic, so he's going to pitch in a lot of down 3-0 games like yesterday in order to get enough work. Also, I can't imagine Hanrahan's value is ever going to be higher than it is now.
What do the Pirates want in return? I'll leave that for the comments. I'm guessing some package of Lavarnway, Mark Melancon (In the off-season the Sox got additional bullpen help by acquiring reliever Mark Melancon from the Astros for infielder Jed Lowrie and RHP Kyle Weiland. Melancon has currently serving as the setup man to Alfredo Aceves, but many see him as the heir apparent to Jonathan Papelbon eventually.) and maybe someone like Michael Bowden would be interesting, but I'll admit to not knowing enough about the Sox farm system to feel fully equipped to answer.
Yes, this is all in good fun....but I hope Neal Huntington is making a phone call.