Pirates acquire catcher Snyder from D-backs
Bucs also get Minor Leaguer, cash for Church, Crosby, Carrasco
ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates acquired catcher Chris Snyder and Minor League shortstop Pedro Ciriaco from the D-backs in exchange for three of the team's veterans -- Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby and D.J. Carrasco.
The deal was officially announced three hours before Saturday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Pirates also received $3 million from the D-backs to help offset part of Snyder's salary.
Over the next month, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team and -- if there are multiple claims -- the player would be offered to the team with the worst record.
At that point, a team has 48 hours to either try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can only be pulled back from waivers once, but if he clears waivers either the first or a second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club.
Snyder will take over the club's primary catching duties, manager John Russell confirmed, though Ryan Doumit will continue to be involved behind the plate, too. The Pirates also plan to use Doumit in right field and, to a lesser extent, at first base. That means that Lastings Milledge will also have his playing time cut a bit.
"It's no secret Chris is going to catch," Russell said. "How much he catches, we'll go from there. How can we effectively get the bats in the lineup to help us win the game? That will be the juggling act that we do. It's going to be a challenge, but it's a good challenge to have."
Doumit -- currently on the 15-day disabled list with a concussion -- has been the everyday starter since 2008. And once touted as a core piece of the future of the Pirates organization, Doumit was understandably caught off guard by the catching addition.
"I was surprised," he said. "I didn't know what to think of that. I just want to play. I look at myself as an everyday player. I always have. I hope that doesn't change. As far as a catcher coming in, I'm all for improving the team and doing whatever it takes to improve the team. Selfishly, I think I'm an everyday player, and I want to play every day."
At the Major League level, Doumit has played 32 games at first base and 40 in right field. He had a three-game stint at first in June, before the Pirates backed away from that idea.
Doumit said that he expects to leave the team on Sunday for a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. There, he is expected to both catch and play right field in order to prepare for the transition.
|Almost all the parts in the D-backs-Pirates trade were big leaguers, but Pittsburgh did get Minor League shortstop Pedro Ciriaco from Arizona in the deal. Here's some more information on the 2010 Futures Gamer.|
|Ciriaco, 24 years old, is a slick-fielding middle infielder with good tools. He's a well above-average runner with an above-average arm and range. He has some power to the pull side, just enough to get himself into trouble from time to time. He has good makeup with a slender, lean, live body.|
|An All-Star in three different leagues on his way up the D-backs chain, Ciriaco is a fast-twitch athlete. The question is if he'll hit enough. If he can improve his pitch recognition, he could be an everyday shortstop. If not, he's still a good utility option.|
|-- Jonathan Mayo|
"It's a little bit of a challenge," said Doumit, who is expected to come off the disabled list on Friday. "When you're playing multiple positions, it's tough to play all of them because there is only so much time that you can put into practicing each thing. I don't know. I'll roll with the punches. On the flip side, I just want to play."
Snyder had filled mostly a backup role for Arizona this season behind Miguel Montero, who took over the starting job when Snyder missed time in '09 with a back injury.
In 65 games this year, he hit .231 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs. He is a career .233 hitter in parts of seven seasons with Arizona. Snyder has never played anywhere else, having been drafted by the D-backs in the second round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.
"Chris Snyder is a solid Major League player, who will provide us with a quality catching option for this year and next year," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "He brings leadership to the club, along with a game calling and receiving ability that will help our pitching staff mature. Additionally, he will add some home run power to our lineup."
Snyder is under contract for $5.75 million next year with a club option for 2012 worth $6.75 million. There is a $750,000 buyout attached to the option.
He is expected to join the Pirates on Monday after flying back to Phoenix on Saturday. The D-backs were in New York when Snyder, 29, learned of the trade. Jason Jaramillo is expected to be sent down upon Snyder's arrival.
Huntington said that the Pirates will also probably keep a third catcher -- likely Erik Kratz -- once Doumit comes off the DL. Doing so would allow Russell more versatility in using Doumit or Snyder off the bench on days that either isn't starting.
While Snyder was obviously the bigger name in the deal, Huntington also expressed intrigue in the long-term potential of Ciriaco. The 25-year-old shortstop entered the day hitting .259 with 28 extra-base hits, 14 stolen bases and 51 RBIs in 87 games with the D-backs' Triple-A affiliate in Reno. He has above-average speed and defensive ability.
Ciriaco has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis, where the Pirates hope he can continue to develop into an everyday player. The fact that Pittsburgh targeted a shortstop makes sense given the organization's lack of middle infield talent at the high Minor League levels.
"We're going to give him every chance in the world to show us that he can be an everyday Major League shortstop," Huntington said. "We think the bat upside is in there. He can probably fill a premium utility middle role right now ... but at 24, we're going to give him every chance in the world to grow and develop and show us that he can be an everyday player."
The Pirates did not lose any critical pieces in the deal, as none of the three players acquired by Arizona was expected to be a long-term fit in Pittsburgh. All three had been signed as free agents during the winter.
Both Crosby and Church had a chance to earn more playing time this season, but neither seized the opportunity. Church hit just .182 with 18 RBIs in 69 games, while Crosby batted .224 in 61 games.
Church was under contract for $1.5 million this season and has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining. Crosby, who was earning $1 million, will be a free agent again at the end of the season.
Carrasco, who was hopeful of being dealt to a contending team, was a key piece in the Pirates' bullpen. Used often as a long reliever, the righty accumulated 55 2/3 innings and posted a 3.88 ERA. He is under contract for $950,000 this season -- with another $300,000 possible in incentives -- and the D-backs can now retain his rights through 2012.
"We lost some guys that were not only a good influence in our clubhouse but did a nice job in the field," Russell said. "I think the main thing is, we're trying to do what we can for this core of young players to move forward. That will continue to be our goal into the offseason. That's been the goal from Day One."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.