Tyler Kepner penned a piece on the amazing Ross Ohlendorf, who will spend his offseason tracing diseases in livestock through devices implanted in animals for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s a great read, I suggest you check it out. What I want to talk about Rob Neyer’s take, which for all intents and purposes says the Pirates fleeced the Yanks in the deal that brought Ohlendorf to Pittsburgh last year.
Look, Ohlendorf’s been real good for the Pirates this year, and Jose Tabata has enjoyed a nice resurgence in their farm system. However, let’s provide some context. Ohlie’s got a 5.57 K/9, a 4.74 FIP, and a 5.44 tRA. He’s managed to put up a 3.97 ERA in the NL Central, but wouldn’t anywhere else. FanGraphs pegs him as +0.9 WAR pitcher, which ranks 62nd out of 67 pitches with 150 IP. Brad frickin’ Penny has been a +2.3 WAR player in 23.2 fewer innings and he got his ass handed to him all season. Ohlendorf is servicable, but for the Yanks he was never going to be anything more than what he was: a longman/middle reliever and trade bait.
Ben already looked back at the deal earlier this summer, and said if he was able to go back in time without knowing what the future held, he would have done it all over again. Remember, when the deal was made the Yanks were just two games back of a wildcard spot, Ohlendorf had been banished to the minors, and Tabata had already been disciplined twice for insubordination. It’s not like the Yankees made the move just for the sake of making it. Hindsight’s fun, isn’t it?