GM for the Day: Pittsburgh Pirates

Wasn’t it cute how the Pirates pretended to be relevant in 2011?  For a while, they had us all fooled, even ESPN was swinging on their jockstrap!  Reality set in and Pittsburgh became the sub-.500 team that they’ve been since 1992, finishing the season at 70-92.  With the NL Central wide-open with the departure of Albert Pujols and the possible suspension of Ryan Braun for 50 games, the Pirates have a shot, right?  Nope.  The team has pieces but not enough.  Their elite prospects were draft picks out of high school in recent years, outside of last year’s #1 pick Gerrit Cole (who may not have even been the best pitcher on UCLA’s staff, see Trevor Bauer).  Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie were elite high school pitchers and Josh Bell was a possible steal of a mashing high school bat last year.  That is why this team should continue to build for the future and hope that they actually build a core that they can KEEP.  Until then, more trades and wishing for stability.

The current 25-man roster would be:

2 Catchers: Rod Barajas and Michael McKendry

1B: Garrett Jones

2B: Neil Walker

3B: Pedro Alvarez

SS: Clint Barmes

LF: Alex Presley

CF: Andrew McCutchen

RF: Jose Tabata

Bench: Casey McGehee (1B/2B/3B), Nate McLouth (OF), Josh Harrison (3B), Chase d’Arnaud (INF)

Starting Pitchers: Jeff Karstans, Kevin Correia, Charlie Morton, James McDonald and Erik Bedard

Relief Pitchers: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Chris Leroux, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli

This team isn’t going to win a whole lot, but they have some pieces to keep and some pieces to trade.  They shouldn’t keep signing the leftovers to multi-year deals.  No way is Clint Barmes in their long-term plans, especially when he costs $5.25 million per year on a 2-year, $10.5 million deal!  He had a .698 OPS last year for Houston and hasn’t mattered offensively since 2009 in Colorado (still just a .734 OPS), posting a .656 in 2010 before going to the Astros.  They need stopgaps on the cheap, not overpaid solutions.  They always sign guys like this and then deal away young, talented players.  They continue doing this no matter who the GM is.  The Pirates could have signed Ronny Cedeno, Adam Everett or Edgar Renteria to not hit for a hell of a lot less than they’re paying Barmes.  They already signed Barmes, so we’ll just say they should start over again, like they have the last 2o years.

I’m trading Andrew McCutchen because he isn’t going to stay there long-term when they continue to not build around him from year to year.  McCutchen just turned 25 in October and he won’t be a Free Agent until after 2015.  He will be arbitration eligible in 2013, so, clearly, he’s about to leave Pittsburgh anyway.  Lets do it now.  I’m sending him to the Texas Rangers for Martin Perez, Mike Olt, Miguel De Los Santos and Engel Beltre.  It’s going to be a Mark Teixeira-type of return, only this time, it’s the Rangers giving it up instead of getting it.  Perez is an ace.  Olt is a solid defender at third who needs to cut his strikeout rate.  De Los Santos has amazing strikeout totals and is a work in progress, so who knows where he’ll end up.  Beltre was a top prospect that fizzled out due to attitude problems, so a change of scenary could get him going again.

Jose Tabata is someone who should stick around since the Pirates signed him through 2019 if you count the two option years.  If he hit for more power, it would be nice.  They could bring up Robbie Grossman to play center after dealing McCutchen.  They once brought a guy up from High-A ball to play, Jose Guillen, and it worked out well.  Grossman is an interesting bat because he had a 111/104 K/BB and a .418 OBP with 49 extra-base hits and 24 SB last year.  It would be rushing him, but what do they have to lose but more games?  Presley is the kind of gritty player that Pittsburgh fans love.  His all-out style fits well and he can hold down the fort in left until Josh Bell comes up and pushes Tabata to left.

Pedro Alvarez will be 25-years-old on Opening Day of 2012.  When someone is so highly acclaimed coming out of college and signs for a $6 million bonus, teams and fans expect big things.  Alvarez has weight issues and skill issues, getting sent to the Minors last year hitting lefties to the tune of a .211/.291/.329 slash.  He’s heading towards a platoon and the Pirates should make it with Josh Harrison, who also stinks against LHP, because someone will need to platoon with Garrett Jones at first!  Jones is a .204/.242/.371 hitter since 2009 against lefties.  The Pirates were trying to re-sign Derrek Lee, but they received Casey McGehee from the Brewers in a recent deal, and he could platoon with Jones, saving the Pirates from another multi-year deal with a veteran.  Neil Walker is a star in the making at second, but the rest of the infield is garbage at this point.  They need to hope that Alvarez finds his swing and/or motivation to become what he is capable of, which is a guy who strikes out a ton but mashes 40 homers, a younger version of Adam Dunn without the walks and .159 average.

The Pirates pitching staff is a work in progress.  James McDonald is capable of a lot more than he has shown.  If he limits his walks, he could strikeout 200 this year.  His 4.04 ERA in over 300 career innings show that he isn’t a horrible pitcher.  With some work, he could be useful.  Charlie Morton’s mocking of Roy Halladay’s windup is about as close as he comes to the ace, but he had great results in 2011 for some time.  Karstans doesn’t walk anyone but he doesn’t strike anyone out either, posting a 96/33 K/BB in 162 1/3 IP and Correia is about the same, posting a 77/39 K/BB in 154 IP.  The Pirates signed Erik Bedard.  Nice job on a $4.5 million, one-year deal.  If he makes 10 starts for the Pirates without an injury, TRADE HIM!  Even after shoulder issues and mixed results, the Red Sox and Dodgers made a trade with the Mariners last year to get the M’s some talented prospects for the lefty.  Hopefully, the Pirates can do the same thing.  The bullpen is solid.  They should probably deal Joel Hanrahan but that can wait until the deadline.  There are so many relief pitchers out there in Free Agency that they wouldn’t get great value.  Waiting for a collapse and jumping on it in July could net them a great return.

So, making a huge deal for the future by dealing McCutchen, you’re left with a 25-man roster of:

2 Catchers: Rod Barajas and Michael McKendry

1B: Garrett Jones

2B: Neil Walker

3B: Pedro Alvarez

SS: Clint Barmes

LF: Alex Presley

CF: Robbie Grossman

RF: Jose Tabata

Bench: Casey McGehee (1B/2B/3B), Josh Harrison (3B), Nate McLouth (OF) and Chase d’Arnaud (INF)

Starting Pitchers: Erik Bedard, Charlie Morton, James McDonald, Jeff Karstans and Kevin Correia

Relief Pitchers: Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Chris Leroux, Tony Watson and Jason Grilli

About these ads

2 Comments

Hah. They were adorable for a whole week. Could you be the Sox GM for a day and fix our pitching situation? Thanks!

Like

I was going by division but I may skip to the AL East instead of doing the NL West next. The Sox should probably overpay for Yu Darvish and pray to God that he doesn’t suck like Daisuke. I know that they are trying to be careful with the luxury tax, so they’ll probably need to deal prospects. Unfortunately, the system isn’t what it used to be. They could always sign Wakefield for 10 more years and hope for the best. Beckett, Lester and Buchholz are ok. If they didn’t dick around with Michael Bowden for all of those years, he’d probably be a rotation fixture by now.

Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 406 other followers

%d bloggers like this: