Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pellas On The Pirates: Son Of 10 Days To Go

My take on your observations, questions, and comments with "10 Days To Go..."

* Virgil Vasquez will not go north with the club, but he is no worse than the second option if/when any of our starters get hurt or implode. He definitely gets after enemy batters, though I don't know how good his raw stuff really is.

But he appears to be another in an increasingly long line of smart, low profile but highly productive moves this team has made since Neil Huntington took over as General Manager. While guys like Vasquez are not going to lead you to the promised land, they are the kind of baseball lifer - professionals that every organization needs and can use, sometimes more often, sometimes less, but you need to have them (think: Luis Sojo with the great Yankees teams of the 90s).

PS: Karstens is going to start the season as our fifth starter, but it's pretty clear the Pirates' front office would prefer than someone else seize that spot sooner rather than later. Vasquez could slide down the food chain a spot or two if Daniel McCutchen gets his head out and/or if the Pirates sign an end-of-spring-training-out-of-options pickup. But I'm still glad we have him.

* Will Ohman would be an excellent signing by this team, but he is holding out for interest from a contender. I don't think he'll come here though I'd love to see him in black and gold.

* I'll believe it when I see it from Ian Snell.

* I do think Evan Meek is the real deal. His performance last season at both double and triple-A was exceptional. I don't know that many Pirates fans understand just how dominant Meek was in our system after he got sent down. Let's hope his shoulder woes aren't anything serious. If healthy, he could get a sniff of the closer's role before long.

* Phil Dumatrait can flat out pitch. The only issue with him is his health, as it always is. I don't know that he'll ever hold together long enough to give us more than a dozen effective starts or so, but it sure would be great if he could. I believe he will be our fifth starter for the remainder of the season if/when he makes it back from injury. If not, presumably Daniel McCutchen would be next in line, then Vasquez. Forget Gorzellany, but more on that below.

* Andy Phillips is far better than any other infield utility options the Pirates have anywhere in the system. But, he's another one in the M*A*S*H unit. Back injuries are tricky. Again, he's another "he can really help us if he can stay on the field" kinda guy.

* Jeff Baker wouldn't be a bad fallback option, but why give anything up to Colorado to acquire him when we've already got Phillips? If Phillips is not seriously hurt, I'd just as soon make do with Cruz or even (*SHUDDER*) Bixler for a month or weeks until Phillips makes it back.

* Monroe will make the team. Pearce doesn't appear to have a future with this organization; he's not a true outfielder and Garrett Jones has, I think, passed him up at first base and will get the first shot there once Adam LaRoche is traded or walks. Salazar is a nice little player but is another lefthanded bat and so is not likely to spend much time in Pittsburgh barring injury. Unless....

*....unless Nyjer Morgan keeps stinking it up again. What is up with Morgan? Last year he had a chance to stay with the club and blew it, but we all said, well, he needs to be in there every day and look how he played when he came back up.

Surely this year was going to be his year if EVER there was going to be his year, but he joins Andrew McCutchen and Daniel McCutchen as guys who inexplicably fell flat on their faces when big time opportunity was staring them in the face. Morgan, like Karstens, will go north with the club, but both are on a short leash.

* Robinzon Diaz. Robinzon Diaz. Robinzon Diaz. Robinzon Diaz. 'Nuff said!

* Gorzellany's fall-down-go-boom was no surprise to me. I'll say it yet again: if he's hurt, can we all stop the stupid charade and fix whatever it is that needs fixing?

If he's not hurt, he richly deserves his demotion, not only because of his performance, but because by most accounts he's a serious jerk. No, I don't know that for sure, I don't know the guy, and yes we have to take scuttlebutt with a grain of salt.

But Gorzellany definitely appears to have earned more ire from the front office than his performance alone would merit. How many teams keep running underachieving lefthanders out there year after year after year, hoping they'll catch lightning in a bottle? The Pirates' patience with Gorzellany has been much less than similar cases with similar players on other teams. That lends credence to the Gorzo The Jerk theory.

(GW can't sneak anything past Will Pellas)

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