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Thread: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

      
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    Default Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?
    For the Pirates, the answer is no.

    Over the course of the offseason the main focus has been on who the Pirates get to share 1B with Gaby Sanchez, whether A.J. Burnett will retire or the Right Field situation.

    One area that hasn't received the attention of many is the need in the rotation. The need isn't for an Ace nor a top of the rotation arm. The need is for that innings eater. Looking at what the rotation looks like currently, there is only one potential 200 innings guy.

    Gerrit Cole - Pitched 185 combined innings during the regular season in 2013. Usually extending a pitcher no more than 30 Innings Pitched per season is the safe bet. I would say Cole is in line for 200 IP this season. However, how will he respond in his sophomore season?

    Francisco Liriano - Pitched 182 combined innings during the regular season in 2013. Liriano has never pitched 200 innings in a MLB season. I would look for similar IP this season, somewhere in the 185 IP range. Liriano is far from a sure bet to repeat his success from 2013.

    Charlie Morton - Pitched 157 combined innings during the regular season in 2013 coming back from injury/surgery. I look for somewhere in the 175 IP range. Coming back from TJ surgery, I can't see the Pirates taking a chance with their new long term investment by running him out there for more than 20 additional inning over the 2013 season. They will play it safe.

    Wandy Rodriguez - Pitched 66 combined innings in 2013. He will be coming back from an arthritic hampered season. The Pirates will be lucky to see 100 IP from him this season, if the arthritis doesn't flare up he could make 150 IP. What the Pirates get from Wandy is a complete gamble. This explains the Volquez insurance policy.

    Jeff Locke - Pitched 166 innings during 2013, all inning were MLB innings. Locke seemed to have never fully recovered from his back issues during the All-Star break or he simply ran out of gas in the second half. I would expect a similar number of innings from him this season, around 170 IP.

    Totaling the expected IP of the rotation, the Pirates are looking at 830 IP from their starters. The Pirates would average 5.1 starters innings pitched, that would be down from 5.7 in 2013 and dead last if compared to the rest of the NL rotations in 2013. Even at 880 IP, they would only average 5.4 starters innings pitched.

    A 200 innings starter would go a long way to get the Pirates at least even at 5.7 starters IP with the starters numbers from 2013. Since this team is built on pitching, shifts and defense they need to address one last rotation enhancement. They need a 200 IP guy.

    Old Acquaintances:
    A.J. Burnett - He obviously is the first choice, but no news is not good news. The Pirates can't wait much longer for a answer. They need to make a move soon.

    Bronson Arroyo - Arroyo has pitched a minimum of 199 innings every season since 2005. He has had a sub 4 ERA for four of the last five years. He had a 4.05 ERA in his time in Cincinnati, half of his starts in hitter friendly Great American Ballpark. He would definitely benefit getting out of hitter friendly environments like he has pitched in at GAB and Fenway Park in his career. As bonuses, he will likely be cheaper than A.J. annually and Charlie Morton would have someone to talk music with.

    Of the other remaining free agent pitchers, you don't have that innings eater type that doesn't cost a draft pick. Even the ones costing a pick aren't innings eaters and aren't worth the pick.

    Am I off the mark on this or should Arroyo be the number 1 priority right now?

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    Default Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    I said at the beginning if free agency that he should be a priority.
    Consistency is everything. The Pirates need guys that they can depend on going out there every 5 days.
    He's not the big name, he's not the top of the rotation guy, but history says he will give you about 200 innings.


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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    One thing to keep in mind is the guy you excluded, Volquez. He could easily give the team 175+ IP.

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Quote Originally Posted by battlingbucs View Post
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    One thing to keep in mind is the guy you excluded, Volquez. He could easily give the team 175+ IP.
    IP or ERA?

    Seriously, the five I named are the likely five in the rotation. If Volquez gets 175 IP, the Pirates will be finishing sub .500.

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    I can't help but think they picked up Volquez to be Ray Searage's reclamation project for this coming season, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he had a great year.

    The issue with Bronson Arroyo is, how many years do you commit to him? He's no spring chicken and he'll want years, plural. Plus I remember there being some bad blood between him and the Pirates... of course several million dollars goes a long way to mend fences.

    I think I'm in the minority at this point, but I'm still holding out hope that AJ will want to play one more season. It would certainly make life easier.
    Or to rephrase that: AJ!!! PLEASE! PLEASE! COME BACK!!!!!

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    Default Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    AJ is starting to **** me off. He's holding the team hostage at this point.
    How freaking long does it take to decide if you want to return?
    It's January 6 for cryin out loud.
    If you aren't coming back, they need to use that money to replace you.
    For someone that says he loves Pittsburgh, he's really putting the screws to us.


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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Quote Originally Posted by dharr18 View Post
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    IP or ERA?

    Seriously, the five I named are the likely five in the rotation. If Volquez gets 175 IP, the Pirates will be finishing sub .500.

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    Volquez pitched 170.1 innings last year why is it so wild to think he could throw 175 next year?

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Dhar, Just curious why did you leave Jamison Tallion out of the equation?

    This is not to suggest that Arroyo is not a good option if AJ retires. But in either case Tallion is very likely to be a July call-up.

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Quote Originally Posted by battlingbucs View Post
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    Volquez pitched 170.1 innings last year why is it so wild to think he could throw 175 next year?
    Volquez had a 5.71 ERA in pitcher friendly parks over that 170 IP. If he gets 175 IP with the Pirates, that would mean there were a lot of injuries or the Pirates are just plain struggling.

    I think Volquez is an insurance policy for the rotation and will likely spend time in the pen as long relief and emergency starts. He will also be insurance incase Taillon is not deemed ready in June/July.

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Quote Originally Posted by dharr18 View Post
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    Volquez had a 5.71 ERA in pitcher friendly parks over that 170 IP. If he gets 175 IP with the Pirates, that would mean there were a lot of injuries or the Pirates are just plain struggling.

    I think Volquez is an insurance policy for the rotation and will likely spend time in the pen as long relief and emergency starts. He will also be insurance incase Taillon is not deemed ready in June/July.
    Indeed but he pitched better than his ERA indicated and he was very good in his limited time with the Dodgers. I think he will start the year in the rotation as the #5 man and I expect him to pitch rather serviceably (something like 4 -4.20 ERA).

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Quote Originally Posted by magoo View Post
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    Dhar, Just curious why did you leave Jamison Tallion out of the equation?

    This is not to suggest that Arroyo is not a good option if AJ retires. But in either case Tallion is very likely to be a July call-up.
    Taillon only had 37 innings in AAA last season and 147 innings in the minors overall. There is a good chance the Pirates will hold off on bringing him up until 2015 to get him a full season in AAA and extend his arm to 170-180 IP plateau.

    Comparing to Cole, Cole only had 74 inning in AAA but a 3.04 ERA and 200 total minor league innings in addition to college innings. Cole did come out of college, so he was a much more developed pitcher going into the minors.

    Taillon has a 3.89 ERA in AAA in those 37 innings. It will all depend on how his season is going come June, if he is legitimately dominating in AAA then he will be part of the rotation.

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Quote Originally Posted by battlingbucs View Post
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    Indeed but he pitched better than his ERA indicated and he was very good in his limited time with the Dodgers. I think he will start the year in the rotation as the #5 man and I expect him to pitch rather serviceably (something like 4 -4.20 ERA).
    The Dodgers limited his innings by restricting him to 5 IP per start on average plus a relief appearance. He probably was helped by better defense getting away from the Padres, but it was a relatively small sample size with the Dodgers in 28 innings. Also the starts were in September after call-ups. Not always a valid representation of what is to be expected.

    He went 0-2 with the Dodgers and the Dodgers were 1-4 in games he started.

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    Volquez is certainly a risky pickup but given that PNC has shown to reduce walk rates and that Searage has shown he can be effective turning around ground ball guys I think it is a fairly safe bet to assume he'll be decent. Looking at advanced pitching numbers over the last 3 years Volquez actually compares quite favorably to Arroyo.

    Arroyo: 4.76 FIP, 4.23 xFIP, 4.31 SIERA
    Volquez: 4.41 FIP, 4.12 xFIP, 4.32 SIERA

    Arroyo has pitched more innings over that time period and has a significantly better ERA (4.19 to 5.09) but the advanced metrics like Volquez a little bit better.

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    Default Re: Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

    I listed a few guys in the first part of my preview. There are still a few guys on the board from that list. Paul Maholm, Chris Capuano, Bruce Chen, Clayton Richard, Jake Westbrook and Barry Zito. While Zito might not be economical, any of the rest could be. Your thoughts?

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