Typically when there is a “player to be named later” included in a Major League trade, that guy becomes an afterthought. The buzz of the transaction will have passed when that guy arrives, and it feels rare that those players named later actually make a significant contribution to their new team.
Like his equally neglected cousin “cash considerations,” the player to be named later is typically the uninteresting but necessary piece that puts a trade into place. That is not the case, however, in the trade finalized by the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets on Friday night.
The Pirates acquired first baseman Ike Davis in exchange for pitcher Zack Thornton and, yes, a player to be named later. But in this case, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports, the player to be named later was actually a key piece for this deal to happen.
The player to be named later in ike davis deal is expected to be a 2013 pirates draftee. Hearing that’s key piece. #mets
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) April 19, 2014
As Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors notes, players drafted in 2013 cannot yet be included in trades by rule. That is why that player, whoever he is, cannot officially be dealt until this summer and why he is unnamed in the transaction as of yet. Whenever he is named, however, he will apparently be no afterthought.