The Pirates have traded outfielder Jordan Luplow and infielder Max Moroff to Cleveland for utility infielder Erik Gonzalez and minor league pitchers Tahnaj Thomas and Dante Mendoza.
Some additional notes from Brian...
Gonzalez, age 26, got a cup of coffee in 2016 and has been a reserve middle infielder for the Indians since, playing 60 games in 2017 and 81 in 2018, spending all of last year in the majors. I presume he has two options remaining. In those parts of three seasons, Gonznalez has totaled 275 PA in 162 games, batting 263/292/389, although with only 9 walks to go with 79 strikeouts. He’s played 71 games at second base, 35 at short and 30 at third.
Both pitchers, Thomas and Mendoza, were 19 years in 2018 have played two seasons, the highest level being the Arizona Rookie League.
Thomas was a shortstop in his native Bahamas and was converted to a pitcher after being signed in December of 2016. At 6-4 and 190 pounds, the right-hander is reported to touch 95 with his fastball. He struggled greatly with control in 2017, his first on the mound, with 33 walks in 38 innings, but showed a lot of progression in 2018, with only 10 walks along with 27 strikeouts in 20 innings.
Mendoza, a cousin of All-Star reliever Zach Britton, was selected in in 12th round of the 2017 draft (372nd overall) At 6-5 186, Perfect Game reports that he threw 88 as a high school senior.
Gonzalez and Moroff swap spots on the depth chart on each team’s rosters. I’d expect to see Gonzalez spend time with the Pirates backing up the middle infielders but they’d be in trouble if he has to start for any extended period. I could still hold out hope that Jung-ho Kang will play shortstop with Gonzalez as the defensive replacement.
Thomas and Mendoza are lottery tickets, both having a chance to turn into a legit prospect, but don’t expect to see either in Pittsburgh in the next four years.