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Pirates vs. Nationals, 1 May 2008

Zach Duke vs. Odalis Perez in the Nationals' new park at 7:10. Here's the box.

Just a quick note -- Dejan Kovacevic is a great reporter, but I hate that he keeps repeating this:

By any reasonable measure, the Pirates' acquisition of Xavier Nady for Oliver Perez two years ago from the New York Mets has been a toss-up, fair and square.

As Mets general manager Omar Minaya put it earlier in the week, "it's one of those deals that helps both teams."

No. No no no. The book on that trade hasn't yet been written, but it's not a toss-up so far. A very good season from a starting pitcher (like the one Perez had in 2007) is not worth the same as a thoroughly mediocre season by an outfielder (like the one Nady had in 2007, and a good month by Nady does not make up for that.

And the other part of this deal -- and I'm not sure why people don't talk more about this -- is that the Mets also got Roberto Hernandez, then picked up the 42nd and 77th pick in the 2007 draft as compensation when he signed with the Indians. Those two picks could have helped a bunch with the problems in the Pirates' farm system. The Mets used them to grab pitchers Eddie Kunz and Scott Moviel. Neither are off to great starts this year, but they're both big guys who put up good numbers in the rookie leagues last year. Kunz is already in AA. It may not mean much, but both those guys would be among the Pirates' four or five best pitching prospects. If the Pirates traded Nady now, they might not get back two guys that good, and that's even before considering Perez.

UPDATE: Now that I think of it, this reminds me a little (only a little) of when Daryle Ward hit pretty well in the early going in 2005 and another Pittsburgh writer actually suggested the Bucs should sign him to an extension. Obviously, Nady is a little better than Ward, but there are plenty of similarities between Nady in 2008 and Ward in 2005. Ward turned 30 during that season; Nady will turn 30 shortly after this season. Both showed promise coming up through the minors, but both had problems with the strike zone at the beginning of their careers, and both had trouble getting better and ended up as disappointments.

By the time a player is 29 or 30, he pretty much is what he is. It's always possible for a player to take a big step forward, but by 29 or 30, it isn't likely. One shouldn't read much into Nady's numbers so far, I don't think.

-P- This is unrelated, but I don't want to put up another thread, so... Here's a pretty wide-ranging interview with Andy Van Slyke.

-P- Also, the Bucs cut relief prospect Olivo Astacio, not only removing him from the 40-man roster but unconditionally releasing him. He apparently violated a team policy; the team hasn't said which one. Astacio was a reasonably promising pitcher with good velocity and a high strikeout rate. He didn't pitch at all this year. I can't wait to read the explanation. He must have done something bad because, in terms of his abilities on the diamond, he's just the sort of pitcher the new management seems to like. This isn't the first time Astacio has run into trouble -- he missed all of 2005 with some kind of "disciplinary suspension." Regardless, I'm sure some other team will take a flyer on him.

Thanks to Thunder for the tip.