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Thread: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

      
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    Default Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    I've been seeing the talk every from here at the Pittsburgh Sports Tavern, to Dejan Kovacevic's recent Article, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs. That talk is about the Pittsburgh Pirates contending for the Division. If the talk isn't about realistically contending for the Division, then any mention of adding the type of talent people tend to mention is fairly pointless.

    It's difficult to not get caught up in what has been both a surprising season for some people and for others the happy side of the progression of the plan set forth in late 2007 by owner Bob Nutting and his management team of Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington. The Pittsburgh Pirates were 2 games over .500 the deepest into a season since 1999. When you see news like that it can only bring about optimism in people.

    So naturally optimism gets dogged by delusion built on excitement. The Pirates have been playing around the .500 mark for most of the season so naturally there's a belief that by adding a player here and there at the Trade Deadline, a team that hovers around 2-4 games above and below .500 could really take off. Really take off in a division that has appeared weak and just got weaker with Albert Pujols' injury for the St.Louis Cardinals. After all, the Pirates are 5-1 in games against the 2010 N.L. Central winning Cincinnati Reds, so there's proof right there of course that the Pirates can win it, to some.

    The problem with buying fully into this is that ...

    • There hasn't even been a half of a season of Baseball played yet.
    • The foundation for the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates success so far has been on the backs of what could be an overachieving Pitching Staff.
    • The Pirates Offense with what they currently field isn't producing enough for a player or 2 improvement at the Trade Deadline to make enough of a difference.
    • According to Jon Heyman at Sports Illustrated, this could be a weak Trade Deadline especially for teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates who would be trying to fill huge voids with player types not often available.

    Taking a look more at Jon Heyman's recent Article which can be found HERE, this is a list of the players that he has listed for the Trade Deadline..

    Player Age POS BA HR STATUS
    Jose Reyes 28 OF .341 3 FA
    Carlos Beltran 34 OF .288 10 FA
    Josh Willingham 32 OF .231 10 FA
    Michael Bourn 28 OF .280 1 Arb Elig
    Pudge Rodriguez 39 C .224 2 FA
    Michael Cuddyer 32 OF/1B .280 10 FA
    Jason Kubel 29 OF .310 5 FA
    Luke Scott 33 OF/1B .248 8 FA
    Hunter Pence 28 RF .321 9 Arb Elig
    Jeff Keppinger 31 IF .311 1 Arb Elig


    There's a couple of players but all of them are either FA's or Arb eligible after this season and most are 30+ years which is more of a rental type of player for the Pirates.

    The biggest question is whether this Starting Pitching Staff can continue performing at the rate it was in April and May because that is what it is going to take in order to win the N.L. Central.

    So far in the month of June, the pitching staff has taken a couple of steps back.

    Name W L G GS IP ERA BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB FIP xFIP
    Jeff Karstens 1 0 4 4 27.2 0.65 0.98 0.33 0.181 91.80% 40.50% 2.50% 3.17 4.35
    Charlie Morton 2 2 4 4 18 8.5 3 0 0.438 52.50% 58.60% 0.00% 2.85 3.54
    Paul Maholm 1 1 4 4 25 3.6 3.24 0.72 0.218 69.90% 44.20% 6.90% 4.28 4.56
    Kevin Correia 1 2 4 4 24.1 4.07 2.59 1.11 0.286 71.90% 41.30% 10.00% 4.36 4.16
    James McDonald 2 1 3 3 15.2 4.6 6.89 0 0.346 74.20% 46.20% 0.00% 4.3 5.68



    Jeff Karstens is pitching lights out and Paul Maholm continues to perform well and impress but the other 2/3 of the pitching staff has struggled in the month of June especially Charlie Morton.

    One question then becomes, when will Jeff Karstens start stepping back into reality? Can Paul Maholm keep this up or revert back to his career average of a 4.37 ERA?

    Another important question is whether Charlie Morton, Kevin Correia and James McDonald are just having off months? You realistically would need another month to see if this is consistent behavior or just a hiccup in a long season.

    When a pitching staff comes out of nowhere and performs far beyond anyone's expectations it makes full sense to tread lightly and tread cautiously when it comes to making plans for the near long term around these current achievements. Are you willing to risk 2-3 Top 10 prospects to trade for a Jose Reyes? Do you have nothing but 100% certainty that this pitching staff is able to perform at their April and May levels for the entire duration of a baseball season? Anything less and you are increasing the risk of adding major pieces at the Trade Deadline. Major pieces that are either aged, performing above expectations themselves and carry no future years with them contract wise.

    None of this mentions the current Pittsburgh Pirates offense either. It's an Offense that is currently ranked :

    • #27 in all of MLB with a .238 Batting Average.
    • #26 in all of MLB with a .658 OPS
    • #25 in all of MLB with 265 runs scored (teams ahead of us in the Division Cincinnati, Milwaukee and St.Louis are ranked #3, #4, and #10 in producing runs).

    That is a large obstacle to overcome. Without the current Pittsburgh Pirates players starting to hit better on their own, adding a player or 2 at the Trade Deadline won't make enough of a difference especially if the Starting Pitching staff comes back to earth. Adding a player like Jose Reyes improves the Pittsburgh Pirates team batting average to .249 assuming that he continues to outperform his best career number over a full season by .41 points on the batting average. An OPS that is more than 50 points better than his previous career best. There's improvement that can be made but if current over achievements fall, that .249 goes back towards the current .238 Team Batting Average.

    The Pirates will also be getting Ryan Doumit back possibly by the end of July, start of August which will be a big boost to the Offense considering that McKenry/Torega/Brown have hit for a combined .115 since Chris Snyder went down to injury. With any luck in the world, Pedro Alvarez comes back and hits a good 50 points higher with the projected power he's supposed to have. We can hope and wish?

    There's simply a lot of question marks surrounding the Pittsburgh Pirates, far too many to carry a definite "Yes" towards adding big Trade Deadline pieces for a true realistic shot at contending for the Division Title.

    However this isn't to suggest that the Pirates refuse improving their team at the Trade Deadline. The Pirates have holes and weak spots Offensively that can't be filled internally in the present or near future, mainly 1B and RF. A Hunter Pence would look nice in the lineup but what is he exactly worth to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the near and long term future as far as the prospects that would be needed to fetch him? There's a power void that currently hurts the Pittsburgh Pirates and it certainly hasn't helped that the guy relied upon to carry some of that power, Pedro Alvarez has been both injured and supplying less power than Brandon Wood at 3B.

    The issue at hand is if you do choose to improve the team, how far do you go? If the belief is that the Pittsburgh Pirates chances of winning the Division Title requires more pieces than the Pirates can realistically obtain and afford (by means of prospects) then you are essentially eliminating all players over the age of 30 being offered up for Trades since the goal has become more of a longer term than short term goal. Obtaining rental vets for the amount of talent we'd give up and since you don't really want to be extending guys good into their 30's long term, should be out of the question. Improving the team long term with players still in their 20's perhaps early 30's at best depending on their history would make sense but it all depends on the price tag.

    Remember, we still have Free Agency after the season to address these holes. There's no need to rush out and trade away prospects for what little is on the market around the Trade Deadline.

    What is ultimately intriguing is that we can actually finally discuss things like this. We can discuss adding players to the lineup at the Trade Deadline. Contending for a Division Title and various other things that most other fans in Baseball get to experience far more regularly than us Pirates fans.
    Last edited by Kipper; Feb-27-2015 at 02:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    As tempting as it is, the Buccos have to stand and fight with what they have until people start coming of the DL. They have 7 AAA guys that helped them go 2 games over .500, which is really quite remarkable when you think about it. While these guys have helped the Pirates play respectable baseball, they are gaining valuable experience at the same time and at some point they will become more consistent in their "Trial by Fire".If they plan to make a move for anyone via a trade, it should be at the catching position because my "guess" would be that Snyder has caught his last game for our Buccos. The place I would start my search would be with former Pirates catcher Ronny Paulino. He is a career .280 hitter who has some power and is capable of hitting .300 and throwing out base runners while being familiar with the franchise. I would believe he could be gotten rather cheap and would certainly be an upgrade over what we currently have and would benefit from working with Hurdle, who could help bring the best out of him.
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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    As things stand now I wouldn't do anything major. Quite honestly this team is a year or probably two away from being a serious contender. If a minor move can be made, fine, but keep the focus on the long term.


    Personally I'd look for the right deal to trade Malholm. Sell high.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    Pence wouldn't look too shabby out in RF wearing the black & gold. That would give us a pretty darn solid OF.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    As much as I would love to see them get Pence, but he would cost a premium to acquire being in the same division. If I'm the Pirates, Taillion, Allie, Heredia and Marte are off limits in any deal.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    I absolutely agree with the general tone of these posts. Let's enjoy this season for what it is--some seriously unexpected overachievement. NH's plan is in place and any deal that would trade prospects to fill a gap on the MLB club would be taking our eye off the prize. I agree that inquiries should be made about shopping Maholm. He is definitely at high value. He gets really expensive to keep next year. And I would think that a contender with some starting pitching woes (Yankees?) might offer some good value in prospects. I'd concentrate on looking for some potential power bats.
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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    As much as I would love to see them get Pence, but he would cost a premium to acquire being in the same division. If I'm the Pirates, Taillion, Allie, Heredia and Marte are off limits in any deal.
    Would Pence be someone we could attempt to acquire, but then sign to a longer term contract? Do all the pieces we hold onto have to be home grown? Seems like he would be a good player on a 4 year deal or something to add some power to RF. He seems fairly fast as well so he wouldn't be a liability in the field or anything.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    If they continue to stay competetive and in the race, I really think, they'll add not subtract. The experience gained playing meaningful games late in the year would be invaluable. As long as they're not trading top prospects for a rental, I'm good with making a move. A lot could depend on who's going to be back when. Add Doumit, Alvarez and Pearce back to this team and it's much better offensively, provided those guys can produce and stay healthy.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    I gotta feeling Doumit won't be doing much catching when he returns because of the ankle, which they need him more for his bat at the moment anyway. That's why I think they ought to look at getting Paulino back and see about letting Doumit work his way back in the outfield. He can't be any worse than Dizzy.
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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    I truly want no part of RoPaul. I do think Doumit will be back behind the plate. He gets hurt wherever he's at so that won't be an issue. He's below average offensively everywhere but catcher.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    Sign Bonds for the rest of the year and throw him at 1b. Just tell him to swing for the river. Wouldn't cost any prospects and would probably jack 20 HR in the second half of the season.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
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    Sign Bonds for the rest of the year and throw him at 1b. Just tell him to swing for the river. Wouldn't cost any prospects and would probably jack 20 HR in the second half of the season.
    But that would delay Barry's HOF election by at least two years !

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaker100 View Post
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    But that would delay Barry's HOF election by at least two years !
    If he came in and did the right things, he could leave the game on a much better note than he currently is on track to leave it on. I think Clint Hurdle could handle him, and the atmosphere bringing him back would create.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Pittsburgh View Post
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    If he came in and did the right things, he could leave the game on a much better note than he currently is on track to leave it on. I think Clint Hurdle could handle him, and the atmosphere bringing him back would create.
    Now that he's off the juice (big assumption there), he might shatter like glass if he ever got HBP.

    In other words, no ****ing thanks.

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    Default Re: Should The Pirates Be Adding At The Trade Deadline For Playoff Contention Dreams?

    Well if it didn't work out the Pirates could float his head above the stadium and sell advertising across his forehead.

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