While this happened yesterday it happened in the late hours of the night. I was in a bar with a few people in Chicago after watching the Pirates just get smoked by the Cubs and I got a text message from a friend that said "Buccos dealing." Well that made me kind of curious and excited so I snatched up my phone which only had about 15% batter left and I saw that the Pirates shipped Brad Lincoln to Toronto for outfielder Travis Snider.
This was one of those buy low moves that Neal Huntington has been doing this entire year and I think it is the perfect example of moving a piece at its highest value from a position that isn't too hard to fill for a young left handed hitter with high upside.
While it is true that Lincoln has turned around his career to become pretty dominant this year out of the bullpen. Generally speaking finding someone that could fill the seventh inning long relief role that Lincoln held is trying to find a penny in a wishing well. If there is one thing Huntington is good at it's finding bullpen arms. You don't think so? Last season GMNH got one of his best relievers, Jason Grilli, for nothing. NOTHING.
In return for a position where you can find a bunch of guys to fill, along with some guys that are currently in the Pirates system, the Pirates got Snider who is a 24 year old left handed outfielder. Snider was the Jays first round pick in the 2006 draft and has really had an up and down career so far. In 917 career plate appearances Snider has a .248/.306/.429 with 31 home runs. So far this season in 40 plate appearances he is hitting .250/.300/.556. That is a small sample size for this season but he could be a nice buy low asset. First of which he is only 24 years old and has played in the big leagues for any length of time since 2008.
I know a lot of people are sort of wondering why the Pirates would trade Lincoln for Snider seeing how good Lincoln has been. Fact of the matter is the rest of the way this year Lincoln might throw 30 more innings. Snider is going to be slated into right field for a majority of the game and they will have control over him till 2016. This is exactly what GMNH was looking to do if he couldn't get in on the big name free agents and when it was a foregone conclusion that those sellers were asking to receive $20 for $10 then Huntington had to go in another direction.
While a lot of people are saying that this move doesn't make the team better in 2012 I would probably disagree. This move puts Alex Presley on the bench and puts him in a position where he is more apt to succeed in the fourth outfield role. While Snider hasn't yet got it all together there is still some time to get there and it's not like he hasn't done anything at the major league level. He doesn't walk a lot (7.5%) and does strike out a good bit (27.3%) but the power is there and if the Pirates can fix up the swing a little bit could pay dividents for many, many, years to come. I know a lot of people are too caught up in 2012 but if the world doesn't end in December the team will need some talent going forward.