Pirates Add Oliver And Robinson
PITTSBURGH — The two trades weren't the kind that might gain Pirates general manager Neal Huntington the nickname "Wheel and Deal Neal."
However, acquiring a pair of stalled prospects—lefthander Andrew Oliver from the Tigers and first baseman Clint Robinson from the Royals—is the kind of low-risk, high-reward move Huntington likes to make as the GM of a small-market team that has had 20 consecutive losing seasons.
"We're always going to look to acquire talented players who are controllable and affordable whenever possible," Huntington said.
Robinson, a 27-year-old who was blocked by Eric Hosmer in Kansas City, hit .292/.393/.452 with 13 home runs last season with Triple-A Omaha. He won the Texas League triple crown in 2010 with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, batting .335/410/.625 with 29 homers and 98 RBIs. In 2011, he hit 23 homers with Omaha.
If the Pirates end up dealing first baseman Garrett Jones, Robinson could wind up in a platoon with righthanded-hitting Gaby Sanchez.
"Clint is very intriguing as a lefthanded hitter with power and a good on-base percentage," Huntington said. "Whether the numbers translate to the major league level remains to be seen, but they are eye-opening."
Oliver, 25, has opened eyes with his radar-gun readings going back to his days as a college standout at Oklahoma State. He was the Tigers' second-round draft pick in 2009.
However, Oliver was 0-5, 7.11 in seven combined starts with the Tigers in 2010-11. He spent all of 2012 at Triple-A Toledo, his third consecutive season with the Mud Hens, and led the International League with 88 walks in 118 innings while going 5-9, 4.88.
Oliver will get a chance to win a spot at the back end of the Pirates rotation during spring training and could also make the club as a reliever.
• Catcher Ramon Cabrera was sent to the Tigers in the trade for Oliver. The switch-hitting 23-year-old batted .276/.342/.367 with three homers with Altoona last season.
• Righthander Kyle Kaminska was sent to Boston as the player to be named in a trade for righthander Zach Stewart. Kaminska, 24, went a combined 9-4, 4.19 between Double-A and Triple-A with the Pirates and Marlins in 2012.