A few days ago, reports broke that the Pirates had placed reliever Juan Nicasio on irrevocable waivers, meaning when he was claimed they couldn't do anything to keep him. For a quality player like Nicasio, it's essentially a release. 

Nicasio was claimed by the Phillies on Thursday. That's the first team in the claim order, by the way, so he was obviously a coveted player. 

Nicasio, 31 (Thursday is actually his 31st birthday, by the way), has a 2.85 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 60 innings this season. Surely when the Pirates first placed him on revocable waivers they could have gotten something of value from him from a contender, right? 

Well, let's check out the statement by Pirates general manager Neal Huntington: 

This is an incredibly forthcoming statement. Good on Huntington and the Pirates for that. 

Of course, I have questions. 

  • Keeping in mind that when players go through waivers, they go from worst-to-best record in the same league before going to the other league, did Huntington really think Nicasio on irrevocable waivers was getting all the way to an AL playoff team? This is a good reliever and every playoff team is always looking for bullpen depth. He's really getting past all the NL playoff hopefuls when they don't have to give anything up to get him? 
  • If Huntington is resigned to the notion that the Pirates won't make the playoffs this year and Nicasio is going to hit free agency after the season, why does Huntington care if Nicasio goes to a "direct competitor?" I guess he could say he'd rather an AL team win the World Series than, say, the Cubs, but I don't really see how that should impact the way he does business. Does it really crush their brand that much more? 
  • Isn't "marginal value" better than none? 
  • How is spending the last month of the season with the Phillies better for Nicasio than with him playing on a contender with a chance to win a ring? 

Man, I'd love to know just for fun the teams being mentioned. "Direct" competitor makes it seem like an NL Central team, so were the Cardinals or Brewers trying to make sure the Cubs didn't get Nicasio? Or maybe he got to the Cubs and the Cubs were blocking the Nationals (who will be the Cubs' NLDS opponent, should the Cubs end up winning the Central) or even the Dodgers. Less likely, it could be the Rockies blocking the Diamondbacks or Dodgers. Or the D-Backs blocking the Dodgers. 

It's a statement we don't often see, for sure, but it did make a relatively harmless move interesting.