Pirates Notebook: Two late offers for Bay spurned
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CHICAGO -- The Pirates had made up their minds not to trade Jason Bay six minutes before Major League Baseball's trading deadline Thursday, general manager Neal Huntington said, rejecting two firm offers on their table.
But they left open one exception.
INDIANAPOLIS (54-62) beat Toledo, 8-4. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (2-2, 4.25), one of the prospects acquired in the Xavier Nady-Damaso Marte trade, allowed three runs and six hits -- two home runs -- in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out nine, walked one. He threw 61 of 95 pitches for strikes. RHP Jesse Chavez (3.52) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for his 10th save. LF Nyjer Morgan (.280) went 4 for 5 with a double, three RBIs and two steals. CF Andrew McCutchen (.280) went 3 for 4 with a double, a walk and a steal. 3B Neil Walker (.230) went 1 for 4 with two RBIs.
ALTOONA (51-64) lost to Bowie, 10-2. RHP Dan Reichert (1-2, 5.75) allowed seven runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. 2B Shelby Ford (.273) went 2 for 5 with two doubles.
LYNCHBURG (46-67) lost at Myrtle Beach, 5-2. RHP Brad Lincoln (1-2, 5.57) allowed two runs and four hits -- one home run -- in six innings. He struck out three, walked two. LF Jared Keel (.213) hit his 13th home run, a two-run shot, and went 1 for 4.
HICKORY (44-69) lost to Rome, 5-3. RHP Rodolfo Aguirre (0-2, 7.00) allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. 1B Erik Huber (.271) went 2 for 5 with a double.
STATE COLLEGE (9-34) lost at Mahoning Valley, 9-1. RHP Emilis Guerrero (1-5, 7.40) allowed eight runs and 10 hits in three innings. 3B Jeremy Farrell (.292) went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
BRADENTON (22-15) lost to the Twins, 3-2. LHP Tyler Cox (1-2, 2.30) pitched four scoreless innings and allowed two hits. CF Edward Garcia (.190) went 2 for 3 with a triple, walk and RBI.
"At 3:54, we made the decision that we're either going to wait for this Boston-Los Angeles deal or we're holding onto Jason Bay and walking away from a couple other deals," Huntington said by phone from Pittsburgh.
He did not divulge specifics, but one was known to be from the Tampa Bay Rays, offering shortstop Reid Brignac, pitcher Jeff Niemann and perhaps another lesser prospect. The Pirates preferred pitchers regarded more highly than Niemann.
The other was a variation of the deal that ultimately was struck, with Boston offering outfielder Brandon Moss and reliever Craig Hansen, Los Angeles offering third baseman Andy LaRoche and another prospect that did not satisfy the Pirates. By that point, the Pirates were communicating only with Boston, and it was the Red Sox who called to say that the Dodgers would include Class A pitcher Bryan Morris at 3:55. That sealed the deal at 3:59.
Sounds as if that might have been a fairly stressful span for a rookie general manager.
"Candidly, no, it wasn't," Huntington said. "I felt like we'd gone through so many what-if scenarios, we've gone through the clubs in such great detail that we felt like we knew what we had to have. If it wasn't reached, we were ready to walk way. If it was, we were ready to move."
Huntington credited his calm to the work done by his scouts and new statistical analysts, Dan Fox and Eddie Epstein, the latter armed with a database for every name tossed about in late talks.
"We definitely jumped into the deep end, involved with the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and being very deep into conversations with other clubs, too," Huntington said. "But I came away very pleased with the process, with the dynamic in the room."
Huntington did not call it a take-it-or-leave-it offer, but he did strongly suggest that the Pirates have placed an internal valuation on first-round draft pick Pedro Alvarez and do not wish to exceed it.
"We have put a dollar figure out there, and we'll see what happens," Huntington said. "We're still optimistic he'll sign. If not, we'll have the third pick in the draft next year."
The signing deadline is Aug. 15. As per rules instituted last year, if Alvarez, the No. 2 overall pick, does not sign, the Pirates will be awarded a compensation pick at No. 3 next year.
Huntington weighed in on the travails of the Pirates' short-season affiliate in State College, which is 9-34. Roughly half the roster is made up of the June draft class, the rest mostly spare players from extended spring training.
"Our third- and fourth-round picks both were shortstops, so one had to go up," Huntington said of third-rounder Jordy Mercer, now with Hickory, and fourth-rounder Chase D'Arnaud, with State College. "And our fifth-, sixth- and seventh-rounders haven't signed."
Neither have Alvarez and the second-rounder, injured pitcher Tanner Scheppers.
"We're obviously not happy with what's gone on in State College," Huntington said. "It's a situation that we hope never happens again, but we see it as an aberration."
• First baseman Adam LaRoche did his first running since his rib muscle was injured eight days ago and could begin swinging a bat Wednesday.
• Second baseman Freddy Sanchez's back pain has subsided to the point he was able to pinch-hit yesterday. He struck out looking.
• Measuring the Pirates' eight newcomers within the minor league system, Huntington said, "I'd say all eight would be in our top 15, maybe our top 10."
• It had been widely believed for nearly two years that starter Ian Snell was out of options, even by some in the organization, but that is not the case, a team official confirmed this weekend: He has one left.
First Published August 4, 2008 12:00 am