Bucs add Nady, Chacon on busy day

Bucs add Nady, Chacon on busy day

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates fans heading to PNC Park on Tuesday night should definitely consider investing in a scorecard.

With four trades and a pair of promotions from the Minor Leagues, the Bucs dramatically reshaped their big league roster Monday in the hours leading up to the 4 p.m. ET trading deadline.

First baseman Sean Casey was the first to go Monday morning in a deal to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Minor League reliever Brian Rogers. A trio of deals followed just prior to the deadline, with veteran reliever Roberto Hernandez and left-handed starter Oliver Perez heading to the New York Mets for outfielder/first baseman Xavier Nady, Craig Wilson going to the New York Yankees for starting pitcher Shawn Chacon and right-hander Kip Wells sent to the Texas Rangers for Minor League pitcher Jesse Chavez.

Pirates GM Dave Littlefield, noting the fact that he traded Perez and four players who were eligible to become free agents in the offseason for four players who will be under contractual control of the Pirates through at least next season, was pleased with the moves he was able to make Monday.

"We obviously are in a position where it makes a lot more sense to trade some players who don't have in the long-term view, the possibilities of playing here," said Littlefield.

"We got some players we liked and feel good about the value we got in [return] for what we had [to offer], particularly a lot of the guys who are going to be two-month rentals.

"Overall, I'm pleased. Obviously, time will tell how these things play out.

The versatile Nady batted .264 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs in 75 games with New York while making starts at first base, left field, center field and third base. He's expected to take over as the Pirates' starting first baseman in the absence of Casey and Wilson.

Nady will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.

"We like Xavier Nady," said Littlefield. "He's played a couple of positions, he's a Major League proven hitter and he's got some power."

This was not the Pirates' first attempt to acquire Nady, 27, who has hit .263 with 39 home runs and 131 RBIs in parts of five seasons with the Padres and Mets. The team had interest in Nady when they sent Brian Giles to the Padres in August 2003. The Pirates ultimately agreed on a package from San Diego that included Perez and All-Star Jason Bay.

By acquiring Nady, the Pirates have cut ties with one of their most reliable relievers and a pitcher who was expected to be the ace of the staff for years to come.

Perez, 24, went 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 239 strikeouts in his breakout season of 2004. Since then, however, the southpaw has become an enigma. He lost a few miles per hour off of his fastball and struggled with the command of all of his pitches. Perez was demoted to Triple-A on June 29 after going 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA in 15 starts with the Pirates this season.

Because the Pirates already have young southpaws Zach Duke, Paul Maholm and Tom Gorzelanny in their starting rotation, Littlefield was willing to deal Perez, who was once viewed as untouchable because of the combination of his age, experience and stuff.

"There were inconsistencies and we had to make a decision in regards to the future of Oliver and what we thought we were going to get," said Littlefield. "We've got a lot of left-handed starting pitching. Ultimately we made the decision that we like Nady enough that we were willing to part with Perez."

Wells, like Perez, is a former Pirates Opening Day starter. After undergoing surgery in March to repair a blood clot in his right arm, Wells returned to go 1-5 with a 6.69 ERA in seven starts with the Pirates. He had been with the Pirates since 2002.

"Pittsburgh has been home for me for five years now. I've made a lot of relationships and friendships in Pittsburgh. But that's the nature of the game. Things change," said Wells.

"It's going to be exciting. I'm looking forward to going home within a few hours of where I grew up and helping the Rangers challenge for a division championship."

Wells' role as the veteran in the starting rotation will be filled by Chacon, who was 5-3 with a 7.00 ERA in 17 appearances with the Yankees, including 11 starts. An All-Star in 2003 with the Colorado, the right-hander has a career mark of 36-51 with a 5.09 ERA in six seasons with the Rockies and Yankees.

Chacon will not be eligible to file for free agency until after the 2007 season, which played a part in Littlefield's decision to acquire him.

"To be able to get a guy who has had some experience as a starting pitcher, knowing that we have very young starting pitchers, and the fact that we'll have him under control for another year, it seemed to us to make sense to try to help him recapture some of the success that he's had in the past," said Littlefield.

To get Chacon, the Pirates had to part with Wilson, their longest-tenured player.

Wilson, who has spent each of his six big league seasons in Pittsburgh, batted .267 with 13 home runs and 41 RBIs while being used primarily off of the bench as a fill-in for Casey and right fielder Jeromy Burnitz. He had become increasingly disgruntled by his lack of playing time in recent weeks.

"It's the only organization I've known in the big leagues. But I guess there comes a point in time that everybody has to move on. This is mine," said Wilson.

"I'm leaving a bunch of friends here, and I've had a lot of good times here. The bright side is that I'm with a contender now and I'll be playing meaningful games in August and September, which I've never done before."

Casey, a native Pittsburgher, hit .296 with three home runs and 29 RBIs and was plagued by injury problems in his first season with Pirates. He suffered two fractures in his back during a collision at first base and was sidelined for six weeks. He sat out two games this past weekend with an oblique strain.

"It wasn't exactly how I planned it out," Casey said of his time with the Pirates. "But it felt like home. Just being back here in Pittsburgh was a great experience for me."

Chavez, 22, went 2-5 with a 4.42 ERA and four saves in 38 appearances with Double-A Frisco and allowed one run in two innings in his lone appearance with Triple-A Oklahoma. He will be begin his career with the Pirates at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Rogers, 24, was drafted by the Tigers in the 11th round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. A starting pitcher during his first two years as a professional, the right-hander has excelled since being moved to the bullpen in 2005. In 37 relief appearances with Double-A Erie this season, Rogers went 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA and one save.

Rogers has been assigned to Double-A Altoona.

"He's had a nice career in the Minor Leagues with the Tigers," said Littlefield. "We feel good about him being a big leaguer in time."

To fill the openings on the big leagues roster, the Pirates will recall center fielder Chris Duffy and top pitching prospect Josh Sharpless on Tuesday.

Duffy, 26, batted .341 in 39 games with the Pirates as a rookie last season and began 2006 as the Bucs' Opening Day starter in center field. But, after struggling to a .194 average in 98 at-bats, Duffy was optioned to Indianapolis on May 14.

Duffy refused to report immediately to Triple-A and briefly considered giving up baseball before ultimately joining Indianapolis on July 1. Since then, he's rebounded to bat .349 with two home runs, 19 RBIs and 13 steals.

Duffy is expected to get regular playing time in center field, forcing rookie Jose Bautista to move to right field.

The Pittsburgh-area native Sharpless went 1-1 with one save and a 2.45 ERA in 23 games with Indianapolis after going 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and eight saves in 14 appearances with Double-A Altoona. He'll be used primarily in the middle innings.

Although the non-waiver trading deadline has past, the Pirates could continue to be active in August, particularly if veterans such as Burnitz and Joe Randa clear waivers.

"It's certainly more restrictive. But deals will get done in August," said Littlefield.

Because Chavez and Rogers did not need to be added to the 40-man roster, the Pirates' 40-man roster currently stands at 36 players. This does not include former top draft picks John Van Benschoten and Bryan Bullington, both of whom have spent the entire season on the 60-day disabled list.

Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.