MINNEAPOLIS -- General manager Neal Huntington said on July 31 that the Pirates agreed to send a "significant" prospect to the Rays to complete their trade for Chris Archer, and his words proved to be true on Tuesday.The Pirates completed their blockbuster trade for Archer by sending right-hander Shane Baz,
MINNEAPOLIS -- General manager Neal Huntington said on July 31 that the Pirates agreed to send a "significant" prospect to the Rays to complete their trade for Chris Archer, and his words proved to be true on Tuesday.
The Pirates completed their blockbuster trade for Archer by sending right-hander Shane Baz, their No. 4 prospect, to the Rays. Baz, a 19-year-old right-hander from Texas, was the Pirates' first-round Draft pick (12th overall) last year and signed for $4.1 million. He was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 95 prospect in baseball.
The Pirates gave up Baz along with outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Tyler Glasnow, but they felt that was the cost necessary to acquire a proven starter with top-of-the-rotation stuff like Archer.
"We're excited to have Archer, and we knew that Archer's price tag was going to be high," manager Clint Hurdle said on Tuesday. "We wish [Baz] nothing but good things. I hope it turns out to be a great trade for both sides. The other hard part is not every Minor League prospect ever pans out to be a great Major League pitcher. You just don't know. We love the kid. We love the development, the progress, the track that he was on -- just as we did with Glasnow, just as we did with Meadows."
Baz was 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings over 10 starts this season for Rookie-level Bristol. His last two starts, both made since the Trade Deadline deal, were perhaps the best of his young career. Baz pitched 9 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out 12 batters over his last two outings to earn Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week honors.
"It's all part of organizational development and success," Hurdle said. "There's only two types of currency in today's game to go get players that you don't have and you're not raising: you either buy them, or you trade for them. This was the option that we were able to choose."
Baz may one day develop into a top-of-the-rotation starter, as scouts have projected after seeing him throw a fastball that touches 98 mph, a plus cutter and a curveball. But he is years away from the Majors, and while the Pirates aren't all-in on this season, they are confident in their current core. That group now includes Archer, who is under contract next season with club options for 2020 and '21.
Still, it was an unexpectedly aggressive move by Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. Glasnow and Meadows will be under club control for several more years, and both were once ranked among the game's top prospects. Meadows showed flashes of his potential during his first few weeks in the Majors this season, and Glasnow has harnessed his overpowering arsenal during his first three starts with the Rays.
"We believe in this team," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said at the time of the trade. "We believe in the young core that's here, the young core that will be here for several years as we move forward and the wave that's right behind them that we believe in. We wouldn't have paid the steep price that we paid today in terms of Major League players and prospects for a player who was here for two months. But we were able to bring in somebody who we believe can help push us forward this year and then help us in '19, '20 and '21. That was important."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.