Life After Littlefield: Pirates trade for Byrd and Buck, option Locke and Sanchez


After splitting a four game series out west with the Giants and losing the first game of this series with the Brewers last night, the Pirates will get a shot in the arm with the additions of outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck, as GM Neil Huntington acquired the two of them and $250K from the New York Mets for infield prospect Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.  The buzz in the Twittersphere is that the player to be named later that the Mets will get is an “ouch” prospect and not a “who” prospect, with it potentially being reliever Vic Black.

The soon to be 36-year-old Byrd is in his 12th major league season having played for the Phillies, Nationals, Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, and Mets over the years.  Byrd will fill in nicely in the middle of the Pirates order, especially against left-handed pitching, and will spend most of his time commanding right field throughout the rest of this season.  His 2013 slash line of .285/.330/.518 is very similar to his career numbers except for his SLG%, as he’s really seen a jump in his power numbers this season (21 HR, 26 2B, 5 3B).

Buck is another solid addition to this team’s bench.  The 32-year-old backstop has played parts of 10 seasons for the Royals, Blue Jays, Marlins, and Mets.  His .215/.285/.367 slash line this year is a shade below his career line of .233/.301/.401, but Buck does bring 15 HR and 60 RBI this season to the Pirates lineup and bench.  The fact that Huntington was able to add some punch to this lineup without selling the farm was key for this team down the stretch.

To make room on the roster for Byrd and Buck, the Pirates sent catcher Tony Sanchez and starter Jeff Locke to Double-A Altoona until rosters expand on September 1st.  Locke will get a much-needed short break, as he hasn’t won in his last seven starts and hasn’t pitched at least 6 innings in his last 6.  The Pirates have yet to name a starter for Saturday’s game, which Locke was scheduled to pitch.  I’d guess that Hurdle goes with Jeanmar Gomez or (if recalled September 1st) Kris Johnson or Brandon Cumpton.  The Pirates also released catcher Kelly Shoppach from Triple-A Indy and promoted catcher Carlos Paulino from Double-A Altoona to Triple-A.

Charlie Morton pitches tonight against the Brewers and looks to continue his recent success, as in his last four starts he has gone at least seven innings three times and hasn’t given up more than 2 runs in each of those starts. Game is scheduled to start at 7:05 P.M., but storms are headed this way so a delay may be on the horizon.