Remember the cries of outrage when the Yankees traded for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for a package of prospects last year? We heard the usual reactions of how ‘it’s bad for Baseball’ and ‘the rich get richer’ from many of the usual suspects. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has a new piece up in his BATS Blog looking at that deal from the perspective of a year later. He writes:
PITTSBURGH – Ross Ohlendorf has had a breakthrough season for the Pittsburgh Pirates, going 11-9 with a 3.97 E.R.A. for a last-place team.
It was a move that seemed to help the Yankees at the time, boosting their chances in the pennant race. But the Pirates are enjoying the long-term benefits now. Karstens is out with a back injury after going 3-4 with a 5.03 earned run average, but McCutchen made his major league debut in Cincinnati last Monday, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings.
He goes on to say McCutchen figures to be in the mix for Pittsburgh’s rotation next year while for Jose Tabata the trade has served as a wake-up call. According to McCutchen, Tabata is playing with a renewed focus and hustle he often didn’t display in his time with the Yankees. He’s hitting .296 with five homers and a .360 on-base percentage this season for the Pirates AA and AAA affiliates. At 21 years old, he’s still a baby and still has years to reach his full potential, but by having reached AAA at that young age, a fast start for Tabata in 2010 could very well land him on the big league club early next year. Players who make their major league debuts that young are often elite talents, so his MLB potential remains vast. Personally, I thought the Yanks had rushed him through the system and it showed in the results he had in 2008 in Trenton. After being traded, the Pirates sent him all the way down to rookie ball initially (most likely for roster reasons) where he seemed to regain his swing and he had an outstanding final month of the season for their AA Altoona Curve team.
From the Yankee perspective, the trade has been a bust. It was a win-now move, and they missed the playoffs last year. They bought high on Nady, in the midst of his best season batting .330/.383/.535. (.919 OPS) with the Pirates last year. His production last year dropped off with the Yankees, putting up a line of .268/.320/.474 (.794 OPS) after being traded. In 2009, he hurt his elbow and required Tommy John surgery (his 2nd) and has been out since April 14th.
The Damaso Marte part of the deal has also yielded disappointing results from the Yankee end. Thought at the time to have been the Yanks long-needed answer to the Lefty reliever AND primary set up man problem, Marte followed Nady’s lead and performed poorly with the team. With the Pittsburgh Pirates last year he was 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA, in 46.2 innings he allowed 38 Hits and 16 Walks while striking out 47 (1.157 WHIP/ ERA+119 ). Since coming over to the Yankees, in 2 seasons he has gone 2-4 with a 6.43 ERA. Pitching just 28 innings in over a calendar year, he has allowed 20 Runs 14 Walks and 4 HRs (1.321 WHIP/ ERA+69 ). He also missed much of 2009 with a shoulder injury. So again the Yanks bought high on an NL player and have yet to see him produce similar results in pinstripes.
The rich got richer? Bad for Baseball? I’m sure the same folks who were saying that last year will be issuing their retractions any day now.
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