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Pirates trade Travis Snider to Orioles for Stephen Tarpley, PTBNL

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have traded Travis Snider to Orioles. The deal includes pitching prospect Stephen Tarpley, who will be headed to the Bucs.

This trade doesn't make any sense yet, so it's best to see the full deal before judging. The Orioles' interest in Snider makes sense, given that they've been on the lookout for an outfielder, but it's not clear why the Pirates are giving him up. Tarpley is a good lefty pitching prospect -- he was a third-rounder in 2013, and he put up good numbers at short-season Aberdeen last year. But he isn't a game-changer, the type of player who should make the Pirates want to give up a useful big-leaguer in a year in which they hope to contend, and being rid of Snider weakens the Pirates' bench. Let's see who else is involved, but I haven't seen anything in what's been reported so far that makes sense of this for me.

If there's any silver lining here, it might be that the Pirates think Andrew Lambo is a big-leaguer. We'll see, though -- they've never seemed to think of him as one before. If the Bucs are just doing this to grab a couple prospect and clear Snider's spot on the bench for Jose Tabata, I'll be disappointed.

UPDATE: The Pirates will be getting Tarpley and a player to be named, so it might be awhile before we figure out what's really going on here. It's possible this could be a prelude to another deal. Maybe the Pirates think they're getting good value from a player who produced a peak season last year, and they're set to replace him with someone else. Or maybe they feel Snider and Lambo are interchangeable at this point, which might be more accurate than it seems at first glance. We'll see. And, of course, PTBNLs typically aren't key components of a deal, but maybe this one is.

This is worth keeping in perspective -- Snider had a fine 2014 season, but Steamer projects he'll have 0.4 WAR next year. That's in 163 plate appearances, but even if he were to get double that, we're still talking less than one win. Still, with the team expected to contend, I don't like the Pirates giving up good talent without a good reason, and I'm not sure Tarpley, interesting though he may be, is enough of a reason at this point.

UPDATE 9:10: By the way, since I've seen some people wondering -- I seriously doubt the Pirates would trade Snider as a courtesy to him. That does happen, but usually it's done so that interchangeable minor-league veterans don't get stuck in the minor leagues if there's an opening at the big-league level. Snider would have had a clear role with the 2015 Pirates, so dealing him purely to allow him to get more playing time somewhere else doesn't make sense.

UPDATE 9:14: Neal Huntington says the PTBNL will be a player who's "similar" to Stephen Tarpley. Steven Brault, another low-level pitching prospect, also came up with the deal was still in the rumor trade -- someone like that would make sense.