Roundly questioned for standing pat at the July trade deadline, the Pirates, who now find themselves 1.5 games back from the NL Central leading Cardinals, acquired veterans Marlon Byrd and John Buck as well as future cash considerations from the Mets. Pittsburgh has agreed to send minor league second baseman Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.
Byrd, who adds depth to the Pirates’ line up after the loss of rookie left fielder Starling Marte, is a potential Comeback Player of the Year Award winner. After hitting a dismal .210/.243/.245 in 48 games with the Chicago Cubs in 2012, the veteran outfielder is in the midst of his best offensive season to date. Overall, he’s batting .285/.330/.518 with 26 doubles, five triples, and 21 homeruns.
According to Weighted Runs Created Plus, Byrd’s total offensive production has been 36% better than the league average, the 24th best mark in the big leagues this season. Some of that production, however, is driven by a higher than normal .350 BABIP.
Buck’s been abysmal at the plate this over the past three seasons – .213/.301/.361 – but has typically been solid behind it and should provide a decent option two days a week for manager Clint Hurdle when starter Russell Martin is resting.
As for the player heading back to New York, Dilson Herrera, I previously ranked him as Pittsburgh’s 16th best prospect before the season. At that time I wrote, “So far, Herrera’s shown a solid eye at the plate, promising power, and a touch of speed. But all of that’s been against the lowest levels of the minors.”
Against older competition this season, Herrera’s hitting a respectable .265/.330/.421 while maintaining his overall skill set. He’s been 15% better than the South Atlantic League average.
This is a nice get for the Mets in the long term. Byrd was a non-factor before the season began and Buck’s contract was set to expire. And New York acquired Herrera, who has a shot to become an above-average regular as his body fills out, for what should amount to only a few weeks of veteran performances.
Granted, it’s not a particularly poor move considering the Pirates’ lack of winning over the last three decades – at least not at this time.
Photo of Marlon Byrd Courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Images via SI.com