Jon Heyman reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the teams interested in San Diego Padres reliever Huston Street. The article actually focuses on the Angels’ interest in Street, but talks about how the Pirates have checked in on him, and that the Orioles and Giants are speculated as possibilities.
Street is under contract for $7 M this year, with a $7 M option in 2015. He has a 1.09 ERA in 33 innings this year, with a 2.95 xFIP. I’d calculate his trade value, but trade values are never accurate for relievers. Street actually has an 0.5 WAR this year, which projects to a 1.0 WAR over a full season. He had a 1.0 WAR last year, posting similar numbers over 39 innings. That’s not worth $7 M a year on the open market, even without giving up players. But the cost for relievers has been way over-blown for years, to the point where Heyman calls his $7 M option a “team friendly” deal. And that’s true when you consider what Street is doing compared to what other teams pay closers for the same results.
The Pirates have never been a team to pay for relief pitching. They go after low risk, high reward guys, and that approach has worked well for them. Going after someone like Street would be a big change in their approach. They have a good combo in the late innings with Tony Watson and Mark Melancon. Paying prospects and committing $7 M in payroll next year for Street seems like a bad idea. They’d be better off putting that money toward extending Russell Martin. Despite the complaints about the Pirates’ bullpen, they’ve got a talented group. The biggest issue they have right now is that they have two big projects in the bullpen, and they aren’t really using those projects effectively.