Trade Deadline Review: Pirates add Lee, Ludwick

It’s a position the Pirates have been waiting to be in for some time. In 2011, they would finally be buyers at the trade deadline.

Unfortunately, it became a sellers market as the deadline came near. The most coveted players, Hunter Pence and Carlos Beltran, had too high of a price tag. Those hoping the Bucs would make a big splash were left disappointed.

The Pirates were still able to make upgrades, albeit minor ones, by acquiring first baseman Derrek Lee from the Orioles and outfielder Ryan Ludwick from the Padres.

Derrek Lee

The Pirates brought in the 35 year-old bopper from Baltimore to help get some more production out of first base. Everyone and their mother knows that Lyle Overbay has been a colossal failure this year, and it certainly made sense to bolster this position.

On the downswing of his career, Lee has posted a .246/.302/.404 line so far in 2011 that is a far cry from the numbers he has put up the past decade. He has been better as of late, reaching base safely in 14 of his last 18 games while posting an average of .309 during that stretch. On the Orioles’ past road trip he hit two home runs and knocked in seven RBIs.

With the acquisition of Lee, the Pirates are looking for just that, a couple of hot months from a player with some pop. Even so, he isn’t a piece that puts the Pirates up to the level of the Cardinals or Brewers. This move was to bring marginal improvement to first base, while avoiding the firestorm that would have come with Lyle Overbay continuing to start at that position. Since they are only giving up a middle-range prospect in Aaron Baker they didn’t give up much to pick up Lee either, which is important given the team’s circumstances.

Ryan Ludwick

After the acquisition of Lee late Saturday night, I along with many others feared that the Pirates would not be able to make another move. Sunday morning, reports began coming out that the Pirates were looking to add an outfielder. Many had hoped for Jason Kubel of the Minnesota Twins, but since they are still in the AL Central race, they would not budge.

The Pirates turned their sights on Padres left fielder Ryan Ludwick. Shortly before 4 p.m. he was officially made a member of the team in exchange for the proverbial “Player to be named later”.

Like Lee, Ludwick has had his struggles in 2011. His line is .238/.301/.373 which is pretty ugly. In fact, his OPS is lower than Garrett Jones, the player he will most likely replace in the lineup.

In his defense, he is hitting .258/.300/.358 on the road as compared to .218/.302/.356 in his former home ballpark, the cavernous PETCO Park. He has been an above average defender in the outfield, something the Pirates have shown that they sorely need after the chest-pain-inducing play from Xavier Paul, Garrett Jones and Steve Pearce as of late. His 61 RBIs while playing on a team that had the worst average and on-base in the National League is impressive.

Like Lee, he isn’t a piece that throws the Pirates over the top, but just some added production so the team can stay somewhat competitive on offense. Given the woes of the team’s hitting the last few weeks, it shouldn’t be that hard. He is also a Type B free agent at the end of the season, meaning the Pirates can get a compensation pick in next year’s draft if he does not resign with the Bucs.

Review

All in all the Pirates did a fair job bringing in players that should be able to improve the popgun offense all while giving up relatively little. I would have liked to see them get a bat for pinch-hitting late in games (Jason Giambi comes to mind) or sell high on some of their relievers such as Jose Veras or Chris Resop. Can’t argue with the results though. Neil Huntington did as good as anyone could have as a first time buyer.

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About suhlmann12
journalism student at Ohio University. Huge fan of Pittsburgh sports teams

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