Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One Decision Made

-- The Pirates made eight cuts today, and wayward pitcher Kevin Hart was one of them, neatly resolving one of the camp dramas.

Hart was shipped to Indy, along with RHP Chris Jakubauskas and UTIL Neil Walker. 1B Brian Myrow, C Hector Gimenez and pitchers Brian Burres, Wil Ledezma, and Jean Machi were sent to minor league camp for later assignment. The roster is beginning to take shape; there are now 37 players left for 25 spots.

We know the Bucs were hot to have Hart break camp with them, but we're not real sure where their confidence came from. He was a wild child in Chicago, walking 40 batters in 66-1/3 innings, or 5.4/game, and improved marginally here, issuing 26 free passes in 53-1/3 frames, or 4.4/game.

So congrats to Daniel McCutchen; we'll see how long he can hold off Brad Lincoln. Of course, he could be strong enough to allow the Bucs to deal one of their more veteran pitchers, too, from a staff of decent but not top-of-the-rotation arms.

-- The suits' newfound attention to performance, be it as it may, is probably not very good news for Brandon Moss, who is in a 1-for-23 funk while trying to hold off Rule 5 claim John Raynor. That's the next drama to be played out.

-- Speaking of dramas, Jeff Clement is looking more likely to break camp with the big team. Though batting just .143, he's only struck out five times in 28 at-bats and has been handling first base OK, which was a much greater concern than his bat.

-- With major-league ready middle infield prospects kinda slim in the Bucco system, GW guesses that the winner of the Ronny Cedeno-Bobby Crosby battle (and not just the camp battle, but the one that will waged throughout the 2010 season) gets a two-year deal; the loser walks.

GW also has noticed that the Pirates haven't given up on Delwyn Young at second base yet; the pricy Aki Iwamura has been erratic in regard to range so far in camp, which isn't too surprising considering that his knee is in a brace.

With a full season to work with instead of 2009's crash course, it seems like the Pirates are going to try to get Young's mitt game-ready; second has been where he's been getting the lion's share of his playing time. And it's a good idea; you're probably looking at a .290/15/75 second base line if he plays full time, maybe better.


WilliamJPellas said...

Reading between the lines, Ron, I think you're getting a little bit concerned about Iwamura. I am, too. A knee injury for a middle infielder is nothing to sneeze at. As for the winner of the Cedeno-Crosby dustup getting a 2 year deal, that sounds about right. However, I think you might see BOTH of them stick around together for at least one of those years, because I don't think we want to make a rookie the utility infielder. So, unless D'Arnaud or Friday or somebody is so good that they can start as a rookie in 2011, I think there's a good chance that both Cedeno and Crosby will return.

As for Hart, it's about flippin' time. The thing that gets me is that while he DOES throw harder than McCutchen, it's not like McCutchen is chopped liver. He's had a better than average 7-plus K's per 9 innings in his minor league career, and his fastball still hits the low 90s. It's not like Hart is Nolan Ryan and McCutchen is Bob Tewksbury, ya know?

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Will, I am. Aki played the last month of the year, and I thought that may have put his knee to rest. maybe he came back too soon. And Felipe Lopez and Kelly Johnson were both out there, at very little cost.

As for Hart, McCutch won the competition every bit as much as Hart lost it. The Pirates may have shot themselves in the foot conceding the spot to him, both as evaluators of talent and maybe by giving Hart a false sense of security.

And by all reports, McC has come up with a dependable change-up. So I'm looking forward to his work.

And I do believe the staff is every bit as transitional as the lineup - Lincoln's close, Ascanio, Veal, Alderson, Morris, and maybe Owens are on the horizon. I'm surprised they haven't moved someone already; maybe they think there's more value to be had at the deadline.