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Bautista Walks the Plank to Pittsburgh

Just before the Tigers and Cardinals played through a six-hour, rain-delayed, run-filled slog, Dave Dombrowski put Denny Bautista on the I-80 turnpike toward his new employer. Destination: Pittsburgh. Bautista was traded to the Pirates for minor league reliever Kyle Pearson.

(Thanks to Matt for posting the news in last night's GameThread.)

The Tigers had 10 days in which to trade Bautista or release him (unless he accepted his minor league assignment) since he was out of minor league options. Under such circumstances, I suppose Detroit should be happy with whatever they received in return. I think it's kind of a shame that the Tigers put themselves in a position where they couldn't keep Bautista around and stockpile good arms. (Other pitchers did have minor league options remaining, though they all currently seem to be in the Jim Leyland Circle of Trust.) But after scrambling for decent relievers at the beginning of the season, Dombrowski actually found himself with too many pitchers.

Pearson has been in the Pirates organization for six seasons, compiling a 7-19 record and 4.95 ERA in 118 appearances (40 starts). This year, he's pitched in both Single and Double-A, posting a 1-1 record and 6.85 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.

The Pirates could use a starter more than a reliever right now, but Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington jumped at the chance to add a pitcher with Bautista's potential and plans to use him as a long reliever.

"We had a chance to get a guy with very good stuff, and that's something we don't have a lot of," Huntington said.

Meanwhile, Bautista's bounce to yet another major league team didn't escape the notice of some reporters who formerly covered him. Check out what Roch Kubatko had to say in his Baltimore Sun blog:

In case you missed it, former Orioles pitcher Denny Bautista is changing teams again. After the Tigers designated him for assignment last week to make room for Joel Zumaya, they dealt him to the Pirates for minor league pitcher Kyle Pearson.

This is Bautista's sixth organization in six years, proving once again that having an upper-90s fastball isn't enough in this league.

I still wouldn't trade him for Jason Grimsley, but the guy was vastly overrated as a prospect. If we were compiling a Top 5 list, he might have to be included.