The Pirates have acquired pitcher Dana Eveland from the Blue Jays for Ronald Uviedo. I'm not impressed. Eveland was pretty interesting coming through the Brewers system in his early twenties, but now he's 26, and he hasn't ever pitched well in the majors. He wasn't even good in the minors last year, having pitched 124 innings with mediocre ratios in Class AAA Sacramento. The best one can say about him is that he's left-handed and can start. The Jays designated him for assignment, which basically means they couldn't find any takers on the trade market before resigning themselves to giving him up forever. Why you'd trade an actual prospect for a player like that is beyond me.
I won't kid myself about Uviedo--as a reliever who allows a bunch of flyballs, his upside is somewhat limited. And as I've said before, I'm not a huge fan of relief prospects in general, because even if they reach their ceiling they become... well, what, exactly? But Uviedo was striking out more than a batter an inning at Altoona. He also pitched pretty well as a starter last year. Some folks in the comments are comparing him to Leo Nunez, the skinny young pitcher who the Bucs traded for Benito Santiago and who turned out to be pretty good, and I think that's apt.
This trade strikes me as being a little like the Tyler Yates for Todd Redmond swap, but worse. Eveland probably isn't much better than Yates was and might even be worse, and Uviedo, who has decent stuff, is clearly superior to Redmond, who did not. Like the Yates-for-Redmond deal, this one probably won't turn out to be a disaster, but I still don't understand why a team in the Pirates' position would trade a prospect for a veteran, particularly a bad veteran like Eveland. Unless the entire deal hasn't been reported yet, I give this one a big thumbs down.
UPDATE: Neal Huntington suggests Eveland will join the rotation:
"Dana Eveland is a 26-year-old lefthander who has shown the ability to be an effective major league starting pitcher," said Huntington. "He has an interesting four-pitch mix and we feel this acquisition is a potential upgrade for our current rotation with the upside of years of control and improved production."
The idea, as with Yates, is that the Pirates can keep Eveland for several years if he works out. I just don't see much likelihood that he will.
UPDATE 2:38 PM: I hadn't seen Eveland pitch recently so I just fired up some video of him with the Jays. I don't think the Pirates would make this trade with the idea of putting Eveland in the bullpen. He has more of a starter's arsenal, with a fastball that comes in at around 90 MPH, along with a slider, curve and change that are, actually, all reasonably good pitches. The 90 MPH fastball doesn't sound like much, but that's not horrible for a lefty. In the start I'm watching, he's doing a nice job keeping the ball down. He has a spotty history of generating rounders, but I think he could begin to do so if he developed some consistency. At age 26, his performance record is probably more important than how he looks when he pitches--this is another lesson from the Yates trade--but the deal for Eveland does make a little more sense to me now that I've seen him pitch. I still don't like it much.