Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday pre-game

The Pirates have turned 21 double plays in their last 10 games. They lead the National League with 133 double plays, a tribute to their often make-shift infield, ground ball pitchers, and a quadzillion opposing baserunners on the paths.

> If Jason Davis can hold up his end of the rotation and no one gets hurt in the next 2-1/2 weeks, we don't foresee anyone coming up from Indy until the rosters expand in September.

With all the young guys in the lineup, there's really no point to it. We'd expect everyone that makes it to Pittsburgh after Indy's season is over September 1st is already on the 40 man roster, which is full now. But Phil Dumatrait could go on the 60-day DL to clear a spot if the Pirates wanted a look at a non-roster player (i.e., Andrew McCutchen).

That means the likely possibilities are Gorzo, Ross Ohlendorf, Jimmy Barthmaier and Marino Salas to bolster the pitching and Brian Bixler, Ronny Paulino and Nyjer Morgan as position players. Gorzo and Ohlendorf are locks; the rest will be mix-and-match.

> Why can't we do it here? Indianapolis leads the International League with 156 stolen bases. The Indians have led the IL in thefts in each of the past three seasons (163 in ‘07, 180 in ‘06 and 163 in ‘05). OFs Nyjer Morgan (38) and Andrew McCutchen (28) have the most stolen bases of any tandem in Triple-A Baseball.

> Jim Callas of Baseball America says:
Fear not, Pirates fans, regarding Pedro Alvarez. Or fans of just about any other club with an unsigned first-round pick.

We're going through the usual last-minute rhetoric, with both clubs and players laying it on thick. Pirates president Frank Coonelly worries that "grossly exceeding the well-established market for drafted players" would harm his club's ability to build a winner. (So would not signing Alvarez.)

With the exception of Wake Forest first baseman Allan Dykstra, who has a hip condition that worries the Padres, I believe all of the unsigned first-rounders will agree to terms before the deadline. Here's how I see it unfolding:

Vanderbilt third baseman Alvarez (No. 2 overall, Pirates) and Florida State catcher Posey (No. 5, Giants) will get the most lucrative deals in this year's draft, landing major league contracts worth more than No. 1 overall pick Tim Beckham's deal with the Rays. Beckham signed a draft-record $6.15 million bonus, with MLB calculating the present value at $4.7 million after Tampa Bay spread it over five years under provisions for two-sport athletes.

> Tanner Scheppers threw two or three dozen pitches for the suits at PNC today and looked good. We expect that he'll be signed before Alvarez. Also, it seems that the on-again, off-again talks with Justin Wilson are back on. That's great news for a pitching poor Pirate organization if those arms get added to the system.


WilliamJPellas said...

Alvarez had sure better be worth it after all this drama queen posturing.

Ron said...

It's probably Boras, Will. He likes to take it to the limit. I think the hang up would be over whether he gets a MLB contract or not.
If he does, he goes on the 40-man roster immediately, and you have to use one of his three options to send him to the minors, so I can see where the Pirates, who haven't taken that option off the table, would be leery about using it.
I hear the Bucs have offered him a $6M bonus up front. Beckham signed for $6.15M, but it's spread out over five years. We'll find out what Boras strong armed Pittsburgh for soon enough.

WilliamJPellas said...

Honestly, I wouldn't even blink if our front office decided to let Alvarez walk, provided we sign almost all of the other players who have yet to ink a contract. If we got Scheppers, Wilson, and Grossman in here, screw Alvarez. He can go pound sod in the Atlantic League for a year and see how he likes that. Seriously, I know that this is how "negotiations are done", in many cases. But enough's enough. Man do I loathe Boras. Ugggghhhhh.

WilliamJPellas said...

PS Surely Andrew McCutchen will get the callup in September, right?

Ron said...

They didn't last year, and I'm not so sure they will this year, my friend. My guess is he's in next year, but they need to see if Pearce or Moss becomes the RF'er (assuming McLouth moves into the roomier left), and I expect they'll play a lot.
Still, if they DL Dumatrait, they can put him on the 40-man, though if he does come to the 'Burgh, I don't see many at bats for him just because of the circumstances.
They have to decide on a corner fielder, and Cutch has his ticket to Pittsburgh already punched for 2009. So he's a maybe call-up in my book, though it certainly can't hurt to have him here, even for a month.