That deal brought OF Xavier Nady and LHP Damaso Marte over from the Pirates in exchange for Yankee pitching prospects Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf and Danile McCutchen plus OF Jose Tabata.
Tyler Kepner of the New York Times said in his blog on Sunday that with the "breakout season" for Ross Ohlendorf, the Pirates have won that trade with the Yankees.
And Kepner is correct in that assumption, but it is much too late.
Most everyone last July thought the trade was a steal for the Yankees. They were getting Nady, a corner outfielder hitting .330/.383/.535/.919 at the time, and Marte, a lefty specialist primarily needed for the big, bad Boston Red Sox lefty slugger David Ortiz. At the time of the trade Marte was 4-0, with a 3.57 ERA with the Pirates but wasn't that great against lefties.
Like I mentioned, pretty much everyone thought the trade was a steal for the Yankees, except for one person: me.
The Grand Poobah, a nickname I was given by Mike Krenek and Joe Giglio of the Shore Sports Report, a radio duo who I am on the air with every Friday at 5:30 p.m. EST. A nickname for my penchant to be decisive and correct on many baseball issues.
I thought the Yankees gave up way too much last year in the deal, and also thought that Nady and Marte weren't as good as their numbers with the lowly Pirates suggested. Look at the comments in the Dugout Central article. All on the Yankee side. But I was proven correct. Nady has been hurt almost all of this season, and hit .268/.320/.474/.794 as a Yankee in 2008, a season the Yankees missed the playoffs by a wide margin.
With a .320 OBP, Nady won't be getting too many Hall of Fame votes from Joe Posnanski.
And Nady also played horrible defense in the Yankee outfield.
And Marte was just brutal with the Yankees last season, and until recently (4 G, 4.2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 5 K's) he hasn't been much better this season.
The Yankees gave up too much last year in that trade, and I outline my reasons why in those pieces linked above. I have always felt Daniel McCutchen was gong to a bulldog type of major league starting pitcher. He has an aggressive makeup and has always improved during each level of play.
With the starting pitcher issues last season, I advocated giving Cutch a good shot in the 2008 rotation instead of Sidney Ponson or Darrell Rasner. Ohlendorf is a surprise as a starting pitcher this season, but the Yankees typically give up on their young pitchers very easily. After last years trade, the Pirates immediately started the movement of Ohlendorf to a starting pitcher.
While it is important to point out that the Yankees still had a bunch of starting pitching prospects at the trade deadline last season, at this point of the 2009 season the Yankees internal rotation options are slim and/or young.
Injuries and surgery to George Kontos, Ian Kennedy, Christian Garcia and Chien-Ming Wang plus the trading of McCutchen, Ohlendorf, Karstens (not really a prime starter) and Eric Hacker (in another trade), has dwindled the Yankee options. That is why the Yankees needed to sign Sergio Mitre this off season and trade for Chad Gaudin a month ago.
Most other top guys are too young (Ivan Nova, Zach McAllister) or never will be involved in the Yankee plans (Kei Igawa, plus any other 30+ year old relic in AAA). But if Madison Bumgarner can make the jump from AA to the Majors, why not the Zach Attack?
The Yankees got fleeced last season in that trade, and because of injuries and youth, are short on internal options.
The only way this trade even decently works out for the Yankees is if Marte gets a couple of real big outs this 2009 post season and the Yankees win a World Series because of those outs. But then the Pirates will still have won the trade, and the Yankees still lost a couple of real good, young arms.
It's that the sting will not be as severe.