Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A pitching duel at PNC...

Hey, make a couple of tough catches and the Pirates are still playing. But Xavier Nady had a ball tick of his glove, Jose Bautista couldn't come up with another, and that's all the help Wandy Rodriguez needed on his way to a 2-0 win.

Well, that and the bat of Kaz Matsui, who went 4 for 4 and scored both Astros runs.

Rodriguez went six innings and gave up five hits, while Phil Dumatrait matched him in innings, yielding his pair of runs on 7 hits. Both bullpens kept the zeros coming.

The bright side is that the Buc rotation shows some signs of a pulse lately. The bad news is it's too little, too late. The Cubs have won 9 in a row and the Pirates are in the cellar, 10-1/2 out and fading.

Thursday's draft will continue Pittsburgh's efforts to restock. And it looks like the Buc roster will be up for bid not too much later.

On the hot stove front: MLB Trade Rumors posts that Xavier Nady is the numero uno target of teams looking for a corner OF'er, and Jay Bay isn't far behind.

"Among right fielders, only Ryan Ludwick has been more productive than Nady this year. He earns $3.35M and won't reach free agency until after the '09 season. It'd be tough for Pirates fans to watch their incredibly productive outfield be dismantled, but trading Nady and Bay might serve the greater good."

>Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post says to "Keep an eye on the Yankees' interest in Brian Fuentes, whom they have liked for years. New York needs a reliable setup man to replace Joba Chamberlain, who joins the rotation.

Also keep in mind that if the price for Fuentes is too high, Brian Cashman can turn to familiar target Damaso Marte of the Pirates."

On the minor league front:
GM Neal Huntington told MLB.com his take on the Pirate farm system:

"Our initial read on our system shows that we have a decent number of guys that could develop into credible Major League players. The largest area of deficit is the overall depth of the system, and in particular, that of potentially above-average Major Leaguers. While we have a few, our overall depth is not where it needs it to be."

Guess he's a half-full glass kinda guy.

>Steve Pearce played 1B for the first time this season at Indy. He also hit his sixth home run, and is batting .261 after having a brutal April at the plate.

>RHP Jared Hughes (2-7, 4.70) pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed three hits. He struck out 3 and walked a pair for Lynchburg. He's another guy that had a terrible start but is beginning to right the ship.

On the ex-Bucco front: MLB Trade Rumors has an ex-Bucco as the next in line behind Nady for the chopping block. "Brian Giles, 37, sports a .313/.398/.496 line in 367 ABs away from PETCO since the beginning of last season. He makes $9M this year (plus another $2M if traded) and his $9M option for '09 carries a $3M buyout. He can block trades to eight teams."


WilliamJPellas said...

I had no idea that Brian Giles is still as good as he is away from Petco Park. The stats you quoted show him with about a .900 OPS in his away games over the past couple of seasons. That's amazing. Petco really is where hitters go to die!

Yes, it would be sad to see the best hitting outfield in the National League dismantled, but at least one of the two corner guys, Bay and Nady, MUST be dealt for major league ready prospects. Ideally both of them for, say, five or six players at double and triple-A. That kind of all-at-once infusion of talent would do wonders for this organization---assuming of course that most of the kids work out. You never know with that, not really. But if we got 6 guys in return for Bay and Nady and maybe Marte, and 4 or 5 of them ended up being average or better major leaguers for the next few seasons, that would be a "win" for the Pirates.

Ron said...

Bill, I think with the Cubs running away from the Bucs in the Central that once the smoke from the draft clears, Pittsburgh will be ready to make a deal.
It'll be telling when we see what kind of prospects they'll be looking for as to whether they plan to build for perhaps 2011-12 or if they look to remain competitive over the short run. The brass has been kinda mum about their game plan.

WilliamJPellas said...

That sounds pretty reasonable, Ron. I think we can add Adam LaRoche to the list of Pirates players likely to be sent packing. If I had to guess, I'd say we can say bye-bye to him, Damaso Marte, and at least one of Bay / Marte (though perhaps not both of them). Ronny Paulino could go, too, though at this point he'd be a throw-in rather than a centerpiece of any trade.

Honestly, I would think that those five players would have a lot of appeal to any number of contenders. There's no reason we couldn't turn them into at least twice their number in really good prospects. That in turn would make the next 2 to 3 years look entirely different for us.

WilliamJPellas said...

Woops, I meant, "Bay / Nady" not "Bay / Marte" as I had already mentioned Marte. Sorry for the typo. Anyway, I'm guessing at least 3 and perhaps all 5 of the following Pirates will be traded before this season is over: Bay, Nady, Marte, LaRoche, and Paulino.

Ron said...

Sounds about right, Bill. And we think that we should be able to haul in 3 or 4 really nice prospects and a handful of youngsters for the group, or maybe a couple of MLB ready pups. We're keeping our fingers crossed that the decision to hold on to the guys, all of whom with possibly LaRoche and Paulino's exception, built up a sweet market value, and that our suits can make the most of it. Knock on wood that the brass keep away from salary dump guys! Now that Matty Mo's gone, Pittsburgh doesn't have any appreciable contracts to move in return.