2010 Signature Sensations #SS-AL Andy Laroche AUTO
2009 UD Winning Materials Jason Bay/Manny Ramirez JERSEY
Jose Bautista 2005 Bowman Draft Futures Game Jerseyyes I know I've shown this card as recent as 2 weeks ago, but I have more followers now that may have missed it. Besides, it's my only Bautista Pirate card I have that's not a dull base card.
On this day in 2008 recently acquired Andy Laroche, from the Jason Bay/Manny Ramirez blockbuster trade, was officially named the Pirates everyday starting 3rd basemen and the Pirates optioned Jose Bautista to the minor leagues. It's easy for fans to blame the Pirates front office for "not making the right move" in regards to the prospects aquired for Bay. It's also easy for fans to say the Pirates should have kept Jose Bautista. Heck, I've said it before, Jose Bautista is an absolute beast NOW and was traded for minimal return. The reality though is that the Pirates payroll in 2008 was very high for where they were competing at and the farm system was absolute crap. There was no depth at all in the organization. They needed to completely overhaul the organization from top (Jason Bay) to bottom (aquiring players in Low A ball with high upside - Bryan Morris). The Pirates are still technically rebuilding, but are actually looking for veteran upgrades instead of trading veterans for prospects like years past.
From Baseball America, Andy Laroche was a guy that in 2008 was a highly coveted top prospect in the Dodger organization. He was cited as organization's best player in 2007. The only player above him was Clayton Kershaw.
What does all this mean????
Well in hindsight now, it's easy to say that the Pirates should have tried to acquire better talent now than what they got in trades like the Bay or Bautista or Freddy Sanchez deals. The fact of the matter is though that the Pirates needed to get bad (albeit really bad in 2010) before they could get better. Would I like to have Jose Bautista in the Pirates lineup now. Hells fricking yeah.
Was he worth $1.8 million dollars in 2008 with a possible increase to arbitration the following year?
Let's see .242/.325/.404 slash line
77 K to 38 walks
12 HR with 44 RBI
I say no way. Andy Laroche at the time could have put up similiar numbers given the same amount of plate appearances for $325K That's smart "moneyball" on the Pirates half in 2008. Not so great looking now though.
So where does that leave the Pirates now regarding the Jason Bay trade that eventually bumped Jose Bautista out of his starting job by acquiring Andy Laroche?
Craig Hansen's final MLB game was in 2009
Brandon Moss is playing for the Phillies AAA team
Andy Laroche designated for assignment by Oakland A's in 2011
Bryan Morris, the last hope of making something positive out of the Jason Bay trade
2010 Bowman Futures Game 116/199
2011 Bowman Futures Game 79/99
Bryan was selected to the 2010 Futures Game for his very strong start in FSL A Bradenton. He is currently in AA Altoona and has started to be converted to a shutdown bullpen guy.
To show how much prospects can change, it should also be noted that in 2008 a current Pirate was highly ranked by Baseball America as the Dodgers' 7th best prospect. James McDonald, acquired last year for a 1 month rental of Octavio Dotel, was cited as the Dodgers' organization's best control and best curveball in 2008.
Xavier Paul, claimed off waivers in 2011 by the Pirates, was cited as best outfield arm in Dodgers Organization 2008. His aggressive baserunning this season for the Bucs has won 2 games by my count so far despite what WAR says.
After saying all that I'm exhausted and still excited for what the 2011 Pirates are going to bring. 2011 National League All Star Kevin Correia is on the mound tonight vs. the Brewers. Let's go Bucs!