What is it about a veteran bench player that makes him valuable to some teams and not to others? The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t want John McDonald on their roster and basically traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates for nothing. It wasn’t just the Pirates taking a chance on an older guy or giving the veteran a chance, though. McDonald is exactly the guy the Pirates were craving.
To see McDonald talk about his new team is to realize that he should have already been with the Pirates. That is nothing against the Diamondbacks but he is clearly excited to have found the perfect place for his game. It is one of those perfect matches. A good player generally will find a team and have the attitude of being willing to do anything the team needs. Secretly they all wish, as would anyone that the need the team has meets what they love to do.
That is the situation for the Pirates and McDonald. The Pirates badly needed a utility bench player that was capable of sitting on the bench for potentially several games at a time, then being able to get up and hit or play anywhere in the field at the drop of a hat. That is precisely what McDonald does so well and loves to do. It is a rare ability to be able to stay loose and keep your head in the game when you don’t get in regularly. McDonald is great at it and excels at it. This is a match made in baseball heaven and the Pirates haven’t even had to pay anything for him yet.