Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Clay Holmes to Yankees, Get Two Prospects in Return

Photo Credit: Christopher Horner/Tribune Review

 The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up right where they left off on Sunday, making another trade on Monday, this one a little bit on the unexpected side.

While it was expected that one or multiple relievers could be traded by the deadline, Clay Holmes wasn't a name that was mentioned.

Holmes has had an up and down season, he has shown flashes of being a really effective arm out the bullpen but has also been down right awful.

So when it came out that the Pirates traded Holmes, few expected any type of return worth noting, but at least on the surface it looks like Ben Cherington has pulled another fast one on the New York Yankees.

In exchange for Holmes, who is arbitration eligible next season and who wasn't likely to return to the team, the Pirates got two middle infield prospects in Hoy Jun Park and Diego Castillo.

To Yankees:

Clay Holmes

After their bullpen fell apart on Sunday- going from a 4-0 lead while throwing a no-hitter to losing 5-4 - you had to expect the Yankees to go out and look for help. While Holmes wasn't the most obvious candidate, he does provide an intriguing option for the Yankees.

Holmes pitched a perfect month of May, not allowing a run in 11 outings. That seems like forever ago, because he has posted a 9.39 ERA this month to date. He allowed four runs in 2/3 of an inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks, part of a complete meltdown by the Pirates in that game.

On the other hand, Holmes does offer a mid-to-upper 90s fastball as well as a slider that still plays well when it comes to stat cast. Opponents have an expected batting average (xBA) of .178 when facing Holmes' slider, to go along with a .221 xSLG and .198 xwOBA. 

To Pirates:

Hoy Jun Park

With the Pirates trading of Adam Frazier on Sunday, it left an open spot at the second base position. While it was originally expected that a combination of Wilmer Difo, Rodolfo Castro, Erik Gonzalez (when healthy) or even Cole Tucker could potentially make up the at bats now freed up.

Now enter Park, one of the top international prospects of his signing class, who could get some playing time at second base for the Pirates.

Park, 25, is currently enduring an amazing season at Triple-A Wilkes-Barre, hitting to a slash of .327/.475/.567 with 10 home runs, 44 runs scored, and 29 RBIs. He's also stolen eight bases and has identical walk and strikeout rates (20.6%). 

Originally signed at the age of 19 out of South Korea for $1.2 million, Park moved slower through the minors than had hoped but advanced his way through and finally got his first at bat in the majors this year.

He's a shortstop by trade, but has also played second and third base along with left and center field.

Diego Castillo

Signed as an international player in 2014 out of Venezuela for $750,000, Castillo has seen his power tool develop this season hitting 11 home runs in 53 games. He had just eight in 452 previous games. With that new found power, he was Double-A Northeasts Player of the Month in June and has slugged over .500% this season. 

He hasn't let the new power impact his hitting, as he's striking out at just a 13.7% rate. Castillo is also projected as a bench infield option and will likely report to Altoona.

While the Pirates have built a nice little surplus of middle infield prospects, its nonetheless impressive that Cherington was able to get anything of value for Holmes. That's not a knock on him, just with his performance the last two months, it wasn't expected to be an option to get something positive in return.

This should also give hope on potential Chris Stratton and Richard Rodriguez trades, that they may be able to get more than what was expected if the market dictates it.

What did you think of the trade? Which of the two newcomers do you like better? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site using the link at the top, and follow us on Twitter @SportBlogMurphy.

Also follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.


  1. Park really excited me, I think he should probably be the starting 2B for right now.


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