Pirates add for now, future
PITTSBURGH–Pirates players were ostensibly relaxing in the clubhouse Tuesday afternoon before their workday started.
But a lot of them were keeping one eye on the TV and one eye on their phones as the last minutes ticked down to the non-waiver trading deadline.
When the 4 o’clock deadline passed, Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow were off to pack their bags.
The Pirates swung two deals, acquiring Texas Rangers closer Keone Kela, then adding starter Chris Archer from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Kela is under team control for two more seasons, and Archer is signed through 2021.
“It’s about the next two months and its also about the next two seasons, three seasons,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “I know I keep hammering that, but it’s significant.
“We gave up a lot, but the belief is that this club is good, and it also positions us to be one of those clubs next year and in the future.”
The Pirates traded Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named for Archer. They dealt Curve starter Taylor Hearn and a player to be named for Kela.
Huntington said Tampa Bay insisted on Meadows in the deal. He also added that the unnamed player would be a significant prospect. (Under MLB rules, the player to be named cannot be part of the current 25-man roster or the major league disabled list).
Meadows had recently returned to the Pirates because of Corey Dickerson’s hamstring injury. He was sent back to Class AAA Indianapolis at the All-Star break after he slumped following a hot start in his major league debut.
Glasnow had been working in mostly low pressure roles out of the bullpen this season as the Pirates hoped he could develop some more consistency.
Meadows was the Pirates’ top draft pick in the 2013 draft. Glasnow was a fifth-round choice in 2011.
Hearn was acquired from Washington along with Felipe Vazquez in 2015 when the Pirates traded closer Mark Melancon.
Archer, who turns 30 in September, was 3-5 with a 4.31 earned run average in 17 starts this season. He had pitched at least six innings in 10 of those starts, and has topped 200 innings in each of the last three seasons.
Huntington referred to Archer as an “upper echelon” pitcher and he’ll clearly be either No. 1 or 2 in the Pirates’ rotation.
Kela projects to be the top set-up man for Vazquez. He has been especially effective against right-handed batters.
“We’ve followed him for quite some time,” manager Clint Hurdle said, noting he leaned on connections with the Rangers from his time as the team’s hitting coach.
“We like the man, we like the pitcher. The skill set speaks for itself. The man has grown into a back end of the game reliever. He’s pitched in every situation the bullpen has to offer.”
Kela, 25, converted 24 of 25 save opportunities this season, posting a 3.44 ERA. His save percentage was second only to the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman. Kela struck out 44 in 36 and 2/3 innings.
Neither player was in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs.
“We were optimistic about what this season could be, but even more optimistic about what future seasons could be,” Huntington said. “That’s why these moves made sense. Even though we gave up significant player value and prospect value, we feel we’ve acquired two really strong players who are going to help us win games this year and beyond.”
Infielder-outfielder Chris Bostick was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis on Tuesday to take Meadows’ roster spot.
Bostick has hit .297 this season with 25 doubles, four home runs and 34 RBIs in 81 games. He is seventh in batting average in the International League.
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