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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:14 pm 
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val wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:

You can never have enough starting pitching. Period.

I fully agree with you JC. But I think SA understands the FO zeitgeist. You're both right. We need more pitching, but I don't think we're going to get it.


You don't think the Pirates are going to trade for, or sign in free agency following this season, more starting pitchers? I sure hope you're wrong there. If the team goes into 2015 with Cole, Morton, and a bunch of question marks, I'm going to dismayed.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:18 pm 
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RTJR wrote:
This feels like a year where we'll just have to eat where we are instead of trying to upgrade. We don't really have anything to work with unless we start dipping into the big prospects, and I'm not in favor of doing that for short term solutions. I think any help in the rotation comes in the off-season and from within. Maybe Locke can find his groove again?


This.

I wouldn't want this team to trade too much youth for a chance at a WC berth.

It sucks to lose a year, but it's part of a/the learning process and ML experience.

People might not want to hear it, but the Brewers are a case study example to follow in this situation. They followed up their playoff years with a year or two of mediocrity before bouncing back.

Now, they might have accelerated that mediocrity by dealing their better prospects (Jackson, LaPorta, Brantley, Odorizzi, Lawrie, Cain, Escobar, Jeffress) instead of staying the course, but they did bounce back to challenge for pennants (this year included... so far).

There's no need to 'panic' or become overly aggressive right now. There's always the trade deadline and the offseason to make moves to improve this team.

This team shouldn't make any moves that it otherwise wouldn't have if fully healthy.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:21 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
And Hammel is the type of guy they're likely to sign. Just like Liriano and Bedard and Volquez and any other guy they get on a 1-2 year 7 figure deal.

And again, the bodies can't become pitchers until we let them try to be pitchers. They're bodies now but you can probably get a solid 4th starter out of Pimentel, Worley, Sadler, Locke, and Cumpton. At least one of those guys will pan out in the long run and the others will be solid depth options in AAA.

And as much as we might not like it, they need to count on Taillon. They cannot get a pitcher like him on the open market so they need to plan around him being up here. Just like they bit the bullet and didn't block Polanco, they won't block him either. That's just how a small market team operates and it's not reasonable to expect them to act in any way other than a small market team.

Price isn't worth the package of prospects they'll want and the cost of acquiring a guy like that in free agency is prohibitive.


Here's where you're fundamentally wrong. Pitchers are never "blocked." It's not like position players. Due to the incredible attrition rate and the incredibly difficult to predict fluctuations in performance, pitchers are never blocked. No team can write its Opening Day starting rotation in pen and watch it work through October 1. Hence the adage, which you seem not to understand: "You can never have enough starting pitching." Openings will happen, injuries will happen, and Taillon will get his chance even if the Pirates sign three good starting pitchers.

Indeed, because starting pitching is so valuable, if the Pirates have it in abundance in 2015 and Taillon is purportedly "blocked," as you put it, the Pirates would be in a FANTASTIC position. They would be able to trade the most valuable commodity in the sport! Because, once again, you can never have enough starting pitching.

Moreover, while Price may not be worth his, well, price, I'm sure Huntington is testing the market on pitchers with years of control left to bolster this year's team and the 2015 rotation (and potentially beyond). That's the smart play.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:22 pm 
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StarlingArcher wrote:
Well, we'll wind up seeing what Cumpton, Pimentel, Locke, and Worley have to offer. "Proven starters" had to prove it somewhere. Then they'll know how many pitchers they'll need and how many will have to be placeholders for Taillon and Kingham in the offseason.


Mostly this, too.

If the right deal comes along for a buy low/cost efficient guy like McCarthy, then go for it.

Otherwise it's time for this team to see what it has.

If this team is still as hard up for SPs in the offseason as they are now, at least they'll know what they have (talent/value wise) and/or should have long considered available options so as not to make a desperation move.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:26 pm 
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Well, Pat Lackey of WHYGAVS wholeheartedly agrees with me. Here's his latest:

http://whygavs.com/june-2014/its-not-to ... -woes.html

It’s not too early for the Pirates to address their pitching woes

Posted by Pat Lackey on Jun 11, 2014 12:11

Let’s be blunt: with Francisco Liriano looking like he’s headed to the disabled list with an oblique injury, the Pirates have a huge problem with their pitching staff. If Liriano is out for any amount of time (and this tweet from Travis Sawchik/David Manel indicates that he very well may be), the Pirates’ season is essentially at a crossroads right now.

If we assume that Liriano goes on the disabled list, the Pirates will have at least one turn in which their rotation looks something like this:
1.Charlie Morton
2.Edinson Volquez
3.Jeff Locke
4.Brandon Cumpton
5.Vance Worley/Casey Sadler/Jeanmar Gomez

That’s horrifying. That’s Charlie Morton, a reclamation project, and a Triple-A rotation full of replacement players. Gerrit Cole’s return from his shoulder fatigue would obviously mitigate it some, but if we’re being perfectly honest here, I’m pretty skeptical that Cole’s injury is going to be a 15-days-and-back kind of thing. It’s good news that MRIs don’t show any structural damage and it’s good news he’s still throwing from flat ground, but that quote from Cole about having never experienced anything like this before gives me the howling fantods.

Let’s be cautious without being paranoid about Cole (since that seems like the route the team will take, as well) and say that he’s out until July 1st, instead of his first eligible return date of June 19th. And let’s be somewhat optimistic about Liriano and say that he’ll be out until just after the All-Star break. That’s 2-3 more missed starts for Cole and about six missed starts for Liriano. The Pirates are 7 1/2 games out of first place and four back of the wild card. Try and imagine a scenario in which those numbers don’t change while Sadler/Gomez/Worley get three starts, Cumpton gets six more, and Charlie Morton is the Pirates’ best starter over the next five weeks.

The Pirates’ front office started punting on the question of whether the Pirates were 2014 contenders back in November, and they’ve kept on punting ever since. They have to make a decision now, and it boils down to this: trade for a starter, or give up on the season. This comes with an interesting tag, though: the Pirates absolutely, positively, no-doubt-about-it have to acquire a starter at some point between now and Opening Day 2015 (Liriano and Volquez are free agents and it’s hard to imagine the Bucs wanting either one back, or Volquez wanting to come back at a reasonable price in the event that he pitches well enough to warrant a return invitation), whether it’s through a trade or a free agency (so … it’ll be through a trade).

Honestly, if you consider that the Pirates already need at least one starter for 2015, that makes a trade in the near future somewhat more likely; the situation the Pirates are in right now doesn’t really lend itself to acquiring rental players, but picking someone up that can maybe help for 2014 and will still be on the staff in 2015 even if things don’t work out this year makes some sense. I starting ruminating about this on Twitter last week, and Ryan Sendek came up with a good list of pitchers that might be on the trade market that are still under contract for next year. None of those pitchers will come cheaply, but the Pirates are one of the few teams that have a farm system that could support a deal for most of those pitchers.

Of course, Jeff Locke’s last start looked really solid and Vance Worley’s AAA peripherals have been fantastic, so it’s probably much more likely that the Pirates will hope for some miraculous wave of improbable pitching to ride this out, then take action afterwards if they’re somehow still in contention at the All-Star break. This would be the more cautious, reserved approach since it would leave plenty of flexibility for 2015, but I suspect that it’d be more or less akin to giving up on 2014.

On most seasons, I’d say that June 11th is too early to start talking about deciding between buying and selling, but not for the Pirates this year. Liriano’s injury has forced their hand, and the Pirates are going to set the course for the rest of 2014 with how they respond to this injury.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:30 pm 
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And here's the list of potential pitching acquisitions (players the Pirates would control beyond 2014) put together by Ryan Sendek:

http://analysisaroundthehorn.blogspot.c ... witterfeed

List includes:

David Price
Jeff Samardzija
Andrew Cashner
Ian Kennedy
Travis Wood
Tyson Ross
Scott Feldman
Trevor Cahill
Eric Stults

I don't care for the last two, but any of the others would be a nice addition to the Pirates' rotation.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:34 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
StarlingArcher wrote:
And Hammel is the type of guy they're likely to sign. Just like Liriano and Bedard and Volquez and any other guy they get on a 1-2 year 7 figure deal.

And again, the bodies can't become pitchers until we let them try to be pitchers. They're bodies now but you can probably get a solid 4th starter out of Pimentel, Worley, Sadler, Locke, and Cumpton. At least one of those guys will pan out in the long run and the others will be solid depth options in AAA.

And as much as we might not like it, they need to count on Taillon. They cannot get a pitcher like him on the open market so they need to plan around him being up here. Just like they bit the bullet and didn't block Polanco, they won't block him either. That's just how a small market team operates and it's not reasonable to expect them to act in any way other than a small market team.

Price isn't worth the package of prospects they'll want and the cost of acquiring a guy like that in free agency is prohibitive.


Here's where you're fundamentally wrong. Pitchers are never "blocked." It's not like position players. Due to the incredible attrition rate and the incredibly difficult to predict fluctuations in performance, pitchers are never blocked. No team can write its Opening Day starting rotation in pen and watch it work through October 1. Hence the adage, which you seem not to understand: "You can never have enough starting pitching." Openings will happen, injuries will happen, and Taillon will get his chance even if the Pirates sign three good starting pitchers.

Indeed, because starting pitching is so valuable, if the Pirates have it in abundance in 2015 and Taillon is purportedly "blocked," as you put it, the Pirates would be in a FANTASTIC position. They would be able to trade the most valuable commodity in the sport! Because, once again, you can never have enough starting pitching.

Moreover, while Price may not be worth his, well, price, I'm sure Huntington is testing the market on pitchers with years of control left to bolster this year's team and the 2015 rotation (and potentially beyond). That's the smart play.


The Pirates won't have an abundance of starting pitching unless they figure out what they have in the 5 guys at or near the ML level now and they definitely can't afford to pay for an abundance of it.

Right now they have a minimum of 10 bodies for next year, depending on how they feel about Joely Rodriguez and Adrian Sampson. That's a fine place to be as a jumping off point for the offseason or if they want to go dumpster diving at the trade deadline for more boom or bust arms that teams are trading for cash and org. players. Doubt they'd get good value for a guy like Price or Samardzija and I can't imagine a situation where they could get a 4th starter like Ian Kennedy for some C-level prospects. Arms are too overvalued and legitimate contenders will bid up the prices.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:37 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
val wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:

You can never have enough starting pitching. Period.

I fully agree with you JC. But I think SA understands the FO zeitgeist. You're both right. We need more pitching, but I don't think we're going to get it.


You don't think the Pirates are going to trade for, or sign in free agency following this season, more starting pitchers? I sure hope you're wrong there. If the team goes into 2015 with Cole, Morton, and a bunch of question marks, I'm going to dismayed.

I think they might in the offseason, but I'm not expecting any reinforcements for this season. Which is what your original post alluded to.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:37 pm 
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If you're counting players in AA who exhibit control problems and have posted mediocre numbers as legitimate (not emergency) options for the 2015 starting rotation, then you don't understand how baseball works. Read the blog post by Pat Lackey. Research how teams develop pitching and how/why they sign major league pitchers. Learn some things.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:38 pm 
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val wrote:
I think they might in the offseason, but I'm not expecting any reinforcements for this season. Which is what your original post alluded to.


Yup. But the options are not mutually exclusive. You can acquire a starting pitcher that the team gets for this season AND next season (and potentially beyond).


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 2:56 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
If you're counting players in AA who exhibit control problems and have posted mediocre numbers as legitimate (not emergency) options for the 2015 starting rotation, then you don't understand how baseball works. Read the blog post by Pat Lackey. Research how teams develop pitching and how/why they sign major league pitchers. Learn some things.


I think you might be confused in addition to delusional. Kingham has a walk rate lower than last year and there is literally 0 evidence to demonstrate whether or not any of these guys have what it takes to stick in the majors. At most, they've encountered one adjustment period. In most cases they've pitched under 100 innings.

Cumpton has a 3.06 FIP at the ML level. How is that mediocre (it's a small sample, but still, you aren't dealing from a position of reality)? That's certainly worthy of an extended look, in any case. Vance Worley has a career 3.86 FIP. Again, how is that mediocre? Both are better than Kennedy and McCarthy's career numbers. Jeff Locke has a 4.16 FIP, which isn't great, but McCarthy is over 4.00 and Kennedy is 3.97. Seriously, we want to pay for "upgrades" like that?

Those numbers above are fine numbers for #3/4 type starters...which is exactly what the Pirates are in the market for.

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Last edited by StarlingArcher on Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:05 pm 
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You referenced Joely Rodriguez as well, which is the pitcher to whom I was referring. Rodriguez sports a 4.41 ERA in Altoona with 19 walks in 12 starts. He's not a legitimate option for the 2015 rotation, StarlingArcher. So please remove him from your list.

Cumpton and Worley should be depth options, not first choices for the rotation. The league has a book on Cumpton now, and they're teeing off on his off-speed stuff and laying off his inside sinkers. Worley's good numbers came two and three years ago.

The only real "prospects" that the Pirates should be projecting to contribute to the 2015 rotation are Nick Kingham, who's never pitched above AA, and Jameson Taillon, who's coming off of Tommy John surgery.

So no, I'm not delusional. I'm a realist.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:12 pm 
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Maybe they have a book on them. Maybe they don't. We don't know because they haven't adjusted. Even with this "book" on him, he still has a 3.55 FIP this year. He deserves a shot to have the league adjust to him and adjust back.

Rodriguez was never in my 10 bodies list. Only a guy who can get them up to 12. They have the 5 aforementioned bodies, plus Cole/Morton, plus Taillon, Kingham, and McPherson. 10 AAA or better guys for 5 spots. Plus whoever they sign.

Again, we're itching to trade for guys with FIPs up at 4.00. Pretty sure they can get that from at least 1 guy. Locke alone is at 4.16 and people think he's useless.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 3:23 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
urbman21 wrote:
Wade Miley won't take a lot to get if we act now. He's having a bad year so far. If we're going to give up a bunch of prospects I would go after Chris Archer.


That's a tough get given his 6-year, $25.5M deal with the Rays (along with club options for 2020 and 2021). Looks like the Rays, who LOOOOOVE cost certainty, see Archer as a big part of their team's future.



Trust me the Rays are going to unload everybody before the deadline. They will deal Archer if they can get 4-5 good players in return. It would take probably 2 major league ready players and 2-3 prospects. Something like Tabata, Tony Sanchez, Willie Garcia, and Heredia. Have them throw in Ryan Hanigan - he's locked up until 2017. Maybe that gets it done. I would give up Tony S if we were confident we could at least sign Martin to a 2-year extension. I'm not crazy about signing catchers after the age of 30 to multi-year deals but if Tony S would get the deal done for Archer I would do it.

Archer is the guy we need. Him and Cole would solidify the top of rotation for the next 5 years.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:23 pm 
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I think if the Rays take a package like that then you do it in a heartbeat. I'd be shocked, though, Archer is excellent. And while they're willing to move guys, they rarely will undersell.

More than likely it'd take a Glasnow, McGuire/Meadows, and Harold Ramirez/Josh Bell package to get conversations started.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:07 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
You referenced Joely Rodriguez as well, which is the pitcher to whom I was referring. Rodriguez sports a 4.41 ERA in Altoona with 19 walks in 12 starts. He's not a legitimate option for the 2015 rotation, StarlingArcher. So please remove him from your list.


I watched Rodriguez pitch last night for Altoona. He was getting hit hard, even the outs were solid contact. Unless he somehow has some big 2nd half, I don't see him in AAA next season let alone Pittsburgh.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:10 pm 
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urbman21 wrote:
J_C_Steel wrote:
urbman21 wrote:
Wade Miley won't take a lot to get if we act now. He's having a bad year so far. If we're going to give up a bunch of prospects I would go after Chris Archer.


That's a tough get given his 6-year, $25.5M deal with the Rays (along with club options for 2020 and 2021). Looks like the Rays, who LOOOOOVE cost certainty, see Archer as a big part of their team's future.



Trust me the Rays are going to unload everybody before the deadline. They will deal Archer if they can get 4-5 good players in return. It would take probably 2 major league ready players and 2-3 prospects. Something like Tabata, Tony Sanchez, Willie Garcia, and Heredia. Have them throw in Ryan Hanigan - he's locked up until 2017. Maybe that gets it done. I would give up Tony S if we were confident we could at least sign Martin to a 2-year extension. I'm not crazy about signing catchers after the age of 30 to multi-year deals but if Tony S would get the deal done for Archer I would do it.

Archer is the guy we need. Him and Cole would solidify the top of rotation for the next 5 years.


I'm worried about Garcia and just about the entire offense at Altoona. All of them are undisciplined at the plate. None of them know how to take a pitch.

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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:53 am 
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Looks like the Pirates may be willing to start the service time clock on Nick Kingham later this season. They just promoted him to Indianapolis:

http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06 ... polis.html

Interesting.

I called in DK's radio show yesterday to talk about Pirates pitching, and he mentioned that another option the club had was to just throw out their best pitching prospects and see what happens, a la the Marlins. Maybe Nick Kingham and Tyler Glasnow could be thrown right into the MLB fire this year and help the team, while also gaining valuable big-league experience. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I will say that it's an interesting idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:24 am 
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I don't see that happening because the Pirates don't operate that way. It would be a stretch to see Kingham in the bigs this year. No way with Glasnow since he's all the way down in Bradenton.

Locke, Cumpton, Sadler, and Pimentel, maybe Worley too, are going to have to sort themselves out. If we're buyers come July we can hopefully add someone good.


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 Post subject: Re: Decision Time -- 2014 Pirates Season
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:39 am 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Looks like the Pirates may be willing to start the service time clock on Nick Kingham later this season. They just promoted him to Indianapolis:


It really isn't a surprise that he would promoted mid-season this year, since he also spent a couple months in AA last year (collectively 144 IP, pretty standard amount for a level before being promoted). No way he is up this year.


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