Pirates get catcher Snyder

Updated: July 31, 2010, 9:08 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Wrapping up their flurry of deals before baseball's non-waiver trade deadline, the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks shipped catcher Chris Snyder to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday in a five-player swap.

Arizona also sent minor league shortstop Pedro Ciriaco and cash to the Pirates for former AL Rookie of the Year Bobby Crosby, outfielder Ryan Church and right-hander D.J. Carrasco.

The trade was the second of the day for the struggling Diamondbacks, who also moved reliever Chad Qualls to Tampa Bay for a player to be named. Earlier in the week Arizona unloaded a pair of All-Star pitchers, shipping Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels and then Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox.

"I guess maybe you could say it was somewhat of a distraction recently. There's been a lot of talk about these things. But we just want to try and get on track," interim manager Kirk Gibson said Saturday before his team played the New York Mets. "We certainly are not the team that has played so poorly and accomplished so little as we have so far."

The trading frenzy saved the Diamondbacks money and brought several youngsters to the organization.

"We've done a lot of positive things the last few weeks," interim general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "We're a struggling ballclub and we needed to get better."

In a deal between two last-place teams, Pittsburgh receives a catcher who had a 240-game errorless streak end on June 6, the third-longest run in major league history behind those of Mike Redmond and Mike Matheny. Snyder, 29, is hitting .231 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs. He will supplant the injured Ryan Doumit (concussion) as Pittsburgh's primary catcher.

Doumit, who will mostly play right field when he is activated from the disabled list, has thrown out only five of 61 runners attempting to steal (8 percent). Snyder has a 16.1 percent success rate (9 of 56) and is considered a far superior defensive catcher.

"Ryan will continue to get some time behind home plate. It will also allow us to keep Ryan's bat in the lineup by playing him in right field as well," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "There are still plenty of at-bats for all of those guys."

Snyder missed the final three months of last season with a back injury that required surgery. He is making $5.25 million this season as part of a three-year, $14.5 million contract he signed with the Diamondbacks in December 2008. It includes a club option for 2012.

The emergence of 27-year-old catcher Miguel Montero, who has shown pop at the plate when healthy, made Snyder somewhat expendable in Arizona.

"Unfortunately, Chris' playing time has waned the past few years," Dipoto said.

Ciriaco, 24, batted .259 with six homers, 51 RBIs and 14 steals at Triple-A Reno this year and was picked for the Futures Game. He is expected to report to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh also recalled infielders Argenis Diaz and Jeff Clement from Indianapolis. In other deals, the Pirates sent left-handed reliever Javier Lopez to San Francisco and closer Octavio Dotel to the Dodgers, gaining a total of six players whose rights they control for several years.

Of the five players they traded, the Pirates controlled only Dotel's rights for next season.

"We feel this is a pretty solid return and another step for us as we build depth and try to return winning ways to the major league level," Huntington said.

The Pirates are last in the NL Central at 36-66 and headed to a major league-record 18th consecutive losing season. Arizona was last in the NL West at 38-65 going into Saturday night's game.

"We wanted to be in a flexible position. There are still holes to fill. We maintained a core group to build around. We have the flexibility from a payroll perspective to move into next year," Dipoto said. "For the most part, we feel the group of players on the field right now, the core group, is the group we want to build with."

The 31-year-old Church was signed as a free agent in January and is hitting just .183 with three homers and 18 RBIs. His production dipped sharply after he sustained a pair of concussions in a three-month span while with the Mets in 2008.

Church is expected to join the Diamondbacks on Monday when they open a series at home against Washington.

Crosby, a 30-year-old utility infielder, also signed with the Pirates as a free agent during the offseason and hit just .224 with one homer and 11 RBIs. In 2004, he was voted the AL rookie honor after hitting .239 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs for Oakland.

He is expected to arrive in time for Sunday's series finale against the Mets.

"Experience on the bench," Dipoto said. "They are pending free agents, and we know that."

Carrasco, 33, is 2-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 45 games this season, striking out 45 in 55 2/3 innings. He has a 22-18 record in 23 starts and 203 relief appearances in six big league seasons with Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh.

"He brings flexibility," Dipoto said.

The right-hander was expected to be available out of the bullpen Saturday night, taking Qualls' spot.

To replace Snyder, the Diamondbacks recalled catcher John Hester from Reno. He could catch newcomer Daniel Hudson on Sunday, Gibson said. Hudson was acquired from the White Sox in the deal for Jackson.

Qualls, a 31-year-old right-hander, is 1-4 with 12 saves and an 8.29 ERA this season, striking out 34 and walking 15 in 38 innings, down from a career-high 24 saves last year.

"He had a rough year. He was very thankful for his opportunity here," Dipoto said.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press