For a team on pace for its 16th consecutive losing season, it seems the Pittsburgh Pirates have a number of valuable assets that potential contenders are looking for as baseball’s trading deadline approaches.
On Friday, they cashed in perhaps their two biggest trade chips.
Pittsburgh (48-55) had won four straight heading into Friday’s game with the Padres, scoring 34 total runs to up its total on the season to 503—third in the NL.
But the Pirates’ offense took a hit in the second inning when Nady, who led the team with a .330 average, was removed from the game. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Nady and Marte—who had been closing in the absence of the injured Matt Capps—had been traded to the New York Yankees for four minor leaguers.
The deal won’t become official until all six players pass physicals, but the Pirates have started to move on.
“It was emotional,” manager John Russell said. “Guys were, I wouldn’t say shocked, but it was kind of a situation where it happened rather quickly. You could feel the outpouring for those guys when they came to say their goodbyes.”
Pittsburgh went on to lose 6-5 despite a pair of homers from first baseman Adam LaRoche, who’s hitting .396 (21-for-53) with five homers and 11 RBIs in his last 15 games.
“Everyone saw something coming, but when it happens, it still gets you a little bit,” Bay told the Pirates’ official Web site. “Hopefully the guys coming are going to be the next Xavier Nady or Damaso Marte.”
While those prospects likely won’t get a chance to make an immediate impact, the Pirates need more of a contribution from one of their former top prospects. John Van Benschoten (1-2, 8.27 ERA) was the team’s No. 1 pick in 2001, but has won just once in 18 career major league starts, posting an 8.42 ERA.
The right-hander made it through five innings for the first time this season on Monday, giving up three runs against the Astros, but didn’t get a decision in a 9-3 win.
The Padres (39-65) earned a rare road win on Friday—they’re 16-35 away from Petco Park. It hasn’t mattered much where they’ve played lately though, as they’re 2-9 since July 12.
San Diego has had trouble scoring all season - only Washington has scored fewer runs - but it’s usually been able to rely on All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, however, hadn’t homered since July 5 and was hitting just .241 since then before hitting a two-run shot on Friday.
Right-hander Josh Banks (2-4, 3.51) will be on the mound trying to help San Diego win consecutive games for just the second time since June 11-12.
Banks got a no-decision in his last start, pitching 5 2-3 innings while allowing four runs in the Padres’ 6-4 win at Cincinnati on Monday.