Don Boomer/Associated Press
Pittsburgh Pirates Get: CL Huston Street
San Diego Padres Get: OF Josh Bell, OF Willy Garcia
San Diego Padres closer Huston Street is having a fantastic season. His team, on the other hand, is going through a significant transition following the ousting of Josh Byrnes at the end of June.
Since then, the club has interviewed the likes of A.J. Preller and Kim Ng for the vacant position, extended the contract of outfielder Seth Smith and tried to maintain a level of accountability during the time leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. And while there are several names on the 25-man roster that could be available, the one that attracts the greatest buzz is Street’s.
Surprisingly, one team that just added a reliever appears to be in the market to take another stab at it. According to Trib Live’s Rob Biertempfel, “one possible bullpen target” for the Pittsburgh Pirates is Street, who has a $7 million team option for next season.
Make no mistake, the Pirates need some help in the relief corps. As a unit, the bullpen has a 3.46 ERA with a 1.294 WHIP and 253 strikeouts in 299.0 innings pitched. To be sure, those numbers aren’t horrendous, but they certainly won't be enough to propel the Pirates into the postseason.
It must be noted that Mark Melancon has done well since taking over for the since-departed Jason Grilli, but Street’s arrival would allow him to return to his former role of setup man, making the ‘pen that much deeper.
In return for Street, the Padres would receive outfielders Josh Bell and Willy Garcia.
Bell, who is ranked as the Pirates' No. 6 prospect, has all of the tools. True, he is not the fastest player on the field, but as Jonathan Mayo from MLB.com noted, “He covers ground well enough” that he projects admirably as a corner outfielder.
Offensively, Bell is a beast, compiling a .333/.380/.495 slash line with 20 doubles, nine home runs and 51 RBI in 327 at-bats at High-A Bradenton. He has also legged out three triples and scored 44 runs.
Garcia isn’t ranked as highly as Bell is, but he could reach the major leagues sooner. In 306 at-bats at Double-A Altoona, he is slashing .248/.283/.469 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI and 17 doubles.
One area of concern for Garcia is his impatience at the plate. On the season, he has drawn only 13 walks and struck out 97 times, but his ability to find the gaps and put the ball over the wall is an attractive commodity. Defensively, his fielding and arm are ready for the big leagues.
While the cost is certainly high, there are two things that make this a good deal for the Pirates.
First off, Street has the option that was mentioned earlier in place for next season. In essence, GM Neal Huntington would lock someone down for the closer’s role through 2015. And if the Pirates aren’t competitive next season, he could flip the former All-Star at next year’s trade deadline.
The other reason why this deal makes sense is that the Pirates already have Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco in the major leagues and five other outfielders among their top prospects. Simply put, there is a glut of talent at the position that should be used to acquire players.