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What was Neal Huntington thinking when he acquired Eveland?


Dana Eveland
Dana Eveland - Reuters

With today’s DFA of Dana Eveland, a trade that appeared suspect at the time now looks even worse. Essentially, the Pirates dumped Ronald Uviedo for three nondescript appearances by Eveland. It seems like they simply threw away a minor asset. However, maybe there is more to this situation than what meets the eye.

Just before the season began, the Pirates claimed Hayden Penn off waivers from the Marlins. Penn had struggled badly in spring training, and the Bucs were able to acquire him for free. After throwing him out on the hill to get beat up three times, the Pirates designated Penn for assignment. Due to his awful showing in Pittsburgh, he passed safely through waivers and was sent to extended spring training for some tweaking. In May, he resurfaced in Triple-A Indianapolis and has quietly pitched well. He is striking out nearly a batter per inning, with decent walk numbers and an exceptional ground ball rate of 57%. He has allowed zero earned runs in four of his past five starts, sandwiched around a 6.1IP, 9H, 4R, 1BB, 6K performance on June 6th.

Here’s my point. Maybe the Pirates saw something in Penn that needed to be worked out over an extended period in the minors. Maybe they intentionally allowed him to get hit hard a few times in the majors, then snuck him through waivers to begin some serious revamping at the Triple-A level. Maybe they are trying to do the same thing with Eveland. If we assume the front office considered Uviedo expendable, due to Rule 5 roster issues coming up at the end of the season, the situations seem very similar.

Keep in mind that I am simply thinking out loud. The more likely explanation is that the Pirates are desperately trying to find a few guys who can display some ability to pitch at the major league level. But this Eveland scenario has just been so bizarre that I am convinced we are missing something.

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