The team announced the trade in a tweet Monday evening before their 8 p.m. game in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. In exchange for McDonald, who was batting 2-for-31 on the season in 16 games for the Pirates, the Indians will send over a player-to-be-named-later and/or cash considerations.
McDonald, 38, was a fan favorite during his years with the Tribe. Drafted by the team in the 12th round back in 1996, he advanced up the system through Akron and Buffalo, then made his MLB debut with the Indians in 1999. Serving as an occasional defensive backup for Omar Vizquel and others, the slick-fielding shortstop batted .231/.269/.308 in 285 games with Cleveland through 2004.
He has then traveled the league ever since, most notably spending seven years with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was then with the Arizona Diamondbacks the past two seasons before signing a free-agent deal with Pittsburgh. Dating back to 2003, among the 45 shortstops with at least 3,000 innings logged, McDonald ranks eight in UZR/150.
Obviously, Cleveland feels more confident in McDonald’s defensive abilities than 24-year-old Juan Diaz, who has been up with the team ever since Asdrubal Cabrera went down with his injury last week. Diaz is similarly inept offensively and was only batting .211/.275/.316 in 52 games for Triple-A Columbus this season. He has not yet appeared in a game for the Indians in 2003. He’ll likely move back down to the minors shortly.
To create space on the 40-man roster, the Indians transferred right-hander Brett Myers to the 60-day disabled list. Myers was initially placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 20th with right elbow tendonitis, so this likely gives the team at least an extra 10 days to make any further roster decisions. Last we heard from Myers, who signed a $7-million deal in the offseason, there were murmurs he could eventually shift to the bullpen once healthy enough to return to the majors.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.