Today the Pirates acquired OF Jaff Decker and P Miles Mikolas from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league first baseman Alex Dickerson. To make room for Decker and Mikolas on the 40 man roster the Pirates designated Garrett Jones and Kyle McPherson for assignment. McPherson is currently rehabbing following Tommy John surgery. There is a good chance the Pirates will end up signing McPherson to a minor league deal. This likely spells the end of the Garrett Jones era in Pittsburgh. Jones was a mostly mediocre player during his tenure with the Pirates. But he helped bridge the franchise from some truly dreadful seasons in 2009 and 2010 to the Pirates first foray into the playoffs in 21 years in 2013. Jones was a likable guy and easy to root for. He should be remembered fondly by Pirate fans. As a tribute to Jones, here is the moment I will most remember him for. This was his game tying splash shot home run into the Allegheny River off the Reds Jonathan Broxton on 6/2/2013.
The trade itself is a bit curious. Alex Dickerson was the Pirates only legitimate 1B prospect. That has to be an issue. The Pirates currently have a hole at 1B on the major league roster and no prospects of note waiting in the wings. Jaff Decker is an interesting pick up. The 23 year old left handed hitter got his first taste of the majors in 2013 playing in 13 games for the Padres. He hit just .154 in 26 ABs. He has shown rare patience at the plate during his minor league career by posting an exceptional 17.1% walk rate and a .402 OBP in nearly 2300 plate appearances. If Decker can carry that over to the big leagues he would be an asset. He should be in the mix to make the big league club out of spring training as a right fielder. He has options remaining so he could be sent down to AAA Indianapolis.
Miles Mikolas also has a chance to contribute to the major league club. He has posted a 3.44 ERA for Padres in 27 relief appearances over the last two seasons. The 25 year old right hander has a mid 90′s fastball and above average curve. He could provide depth as a middle reliever. He also has an option remaining and could be stashed on the Indianapolis roster to start the season.