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Pirates trade Ramon Cabrera to Tigers for Andrew Oliver

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Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The Pirates have traded catcher Ramon Cabrera to the Tigers for pitcher Andrew Oliver.

I wasn't big on Cabrera as a prospect -- he's small and has an unusual body type, so it's tough to see his better minor-league performances making it to the majors. So if the Pirates can get something nifty for him, great. We'll see if Oliver turns out to be nifty, but at this point, he has little to show for his talent. He's big and left-handed and has good stuff, and he has a pedigree as well, having been a second-round draft pick and having been ranked as a top prospect in the Tigers system. Unfortunately, last year he walked 88 batters in 118 Class AAA innings as a 24-year-old.

Maybe there's still potential there. The Tigers rushed Oliver to the bigs the year after he was drafted, and Oliver might benefit from being in a more patient organization. At the very least, it's not at all difficult to imagine him blossoming into a good reliever. (Oliver is at a similar point in his career as another big lefty, Donnie Veal, was when the Pirates took him in the Rule 5 draft. It looks like Veal might end up having a pretty nice career in the bullpen, even though it took him several years and about 80 injuries to get there.) That chance alone arguably makes this is a good trade. But it's worth pointing out yet again that the Pirates don't have much of a track record of turning around fallen prospects like this, and goodness knows they've tried.