11-19-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter
Well, let’s not bury the lede, Kevin Newman is now a Cincinnati Reds player. In exchange the Pirates received right-hander Dauri Moreta.
We’ll circle back to this and talk about what it means, what I think of the return and a bit more about Kevin too, but first lets plow through the Non-Tender deadline since that was the order of the day.
Here’s the list of who was up for a decision, and what they could make or what they will make.
- Robert Stephenson (5.049): $1.9MM
- Kevin Newman (4.046): $2.8MM – Obviously this is now for the Reds to deal with but the Pirates did tender him before the trade was made.
- Miguel Andujar (4.002): $1.7MM – The Pirates and Andujar agreed to terms before the deadline at $1.55MM, so he won’t go through the arbitration process at all.
- Duane Underwood Jr. (3.044): $1MM
- Mitch Keller (3.026): $2.4MM
- Ji-Man Choi (5.076): $4.5MM
- JT Brubaker (3.000): $2MM
Now, some were a bit surprised to see the Pirates tender everyone on this list, but as some of you avid readers know, not me.
First, they really didn’t have anyone who was super expensive or underperformed their pay rate. Yes, even guys you’re sick of seeing like Duane Underwood Jr., at 1MM which is only a little above league minimum is good value. Should he look awful or fall off because of chronic overuse these past couple seasons as I’ve predicted, well even for the Pirates, dropping a prorated 1MM contract isn’t a concern.
So, really no drama there. I just didn’t see any of these as tough choices. Had they chosen to move on from Stephenson or Underwood, I don’t think there’d be riots in the streets either.
Let’s move on the the Newman deal.
Before I really get into the baseball of this move, let me start with Kevin Newman the person.
Kevin is truly one of the nicest players I’ve ever interacted with, at almost any level of the game. He cared, fiercely in fact, about the losing. He understood the role he played in it and wore it.
I certainly think the Pirates needed to upgrade from him, but I also truly respect him and wish him success, you know, when he isn’t playing the Pirates.
His failures were never from a lack of trying, if anything, some of them were caused by trying too hard.
Now, I’ve seen a ton of takes out there that this “ensures Cruz gets a shot at SS”, or “Now Bae and Castro will compete for 2B”, folks, all of that was happening anyway. Kevin was going to be a backup in 2023.
Ben Cherington already told the national media that Cruz was going to play SS all season. Castro and Bae were already going to get a chance right away.
What this does help with though is thin the herd a bit. They already have Tucupita Marcano and Diego Castillo, then they went ahead and protected Jared Triolo too. Liover Peguero who was protected last year really should make a push this year, Nick Gonzales too. Point is, while they need veterans, they also have a TON of guys they need to work through and at some point, Kevin was going to be pushed out.
Why not non-tender him then? Well, even while meager, instead of nothing for their former number one pick, they get Dauri Moreta.
Moreta is a 26 year old right handed reliever and last year 35 G, 38.1 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.174 WHIP, 10 HR, 13 BB, 39 K. Throws 4-seam, sinker, slider and change.
His peripherals are ok, but here’s the thing that is important. He has options.
If you really want to see the Pirates put the near constant waiver wire dance in the rear view, relievers with options has to be a thing.
Even if he doesn’t work out, so be it. They managed to get something for Newman and at least they tried to get something. At best, they got a reliever with interesting stuff who they aren’t forced to keep on the 26 man if his performance doesn’t warrant it.
As for Kevin in Cincy, let’s be real honest, he’s going to be asked to fill the same role he would of here last year had he not been hurt. Hold a place for a top prospect until mid season. Elly De La Cruz is coming like a freight train, and he could be a monster.
All in all, most of this was as expected, and now we wait to see how they shape the roster before Spring Training.
One thing about having only 1 catcher and no left handed pitchers does for you as a fan, it guarantees more moves are coming.