Yankees’ Clay Holmes trade just became even bigger disaster for Pirates


Even if Clay Holmes is never a sub-0.50 ERA guy ever again for the New York Yankees, that spectacular half-season of saves has already been banked, and the All-Star will be returning to the Bronx in 2023 and 2024 to chase a championship.

The same cannot be said of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ return in that deal, featuring two players who had precious little impact in The ‘Burgh.

Former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington seemed to forge a pretty solid connection with the Yankees’ front office in 2021, swapping Jameson Taillon for a substantial prospect package before dealing the underperforming Holmes midway through the summer for infielders Hoy Park and Diego Castillo.

Best-case scenario for the Pirates? Holmes goes to New York and still can’t harness his above-average stuff, while Castillo and Park both become bat-first contributors to a burgeoning Pirates team.

Worst-case scenario? Pretty much exactly what happened. A year and a half later, both Castillo and Park are on other rosters. Park was exiled to the Red Sox a few weeks back, then DFA’d and traded to the Braves. Castillo was DFA’d on Tuesday to make room for a blockbuster … Austin Hedges signing. As bleak as it gets.

Pirates just ditched every player from Clay Holmes trade with Yankees

No matter how you slice it, even if the Pirates were at their wit’s end with Holmes, losing both pieces of the return just one year later is the definition of an “F” grade.

The Taillon trade? Seems to be going a bit better, as headliner Roansy Contreras posted a 3.79 ERA in 95 innings (with 86 Ks) at the big-league level last year. Miguel Yajure, the theoretical headliner at the time, is also gone, though, off to the San Francisco Giants a few weeks back. The entirety of two deals now rests on Contreras, Canaan Smith-Njigba, and Maikol Escotto (who hit .202 in the low minors last season).

At the very least, surely the 2022 Pirates got some solid production from Castillo during his time with the team.

(Checks earpiece) Oh. Oh, so … so sorry about that.

Castillo subtracted WAR from the Pirates, who rushed to replace him with defense-first catcher Austin Hedges (who’ll probably be traded at the deadline). Park subtracted an additional 0.3 WAR last season, too.

Holmes fell apart for the better part of two months, but the book on the Pirates’ return for him is already closed. Holmes wins.

Hopefully, the Yankees aren’t interested in any more Pittsburgh players during Cherington’s tenure … oh, that’s where Bryan Reynolds plays? Dammit.