Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bucs In the Marketplace: Moves To Made Around the Edges

The Pirates have been on a roll lately, but they're certainly not a team without blemishes. Where will the FO look to boost production in the second half of the season?

They may look for a back end pitcher, depending on their confidence in Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke. Clay Buchholz, who is now on the DL, was a guy that could fit for a couple of reasons - he's signed through 2017, so he could pick up the slack left by injuries to Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham in the 2016 rotation, and would probably be an upgrade. The Pirates were said to be looking at Miami's Dan Haren, who would be a pure rental. Scott Kazmir was another name associated with the Pirates, but he's probably pitched himself out of the Pittsburgh price range.

We don't believe they'll be in the sweepstakes for any of the top-to-mid range guys; if they fill in here, it's likely to be a back ender because the depth has eroded due to injuries. A pitcher with a year of control left would be ideal.

The bullpen has been fairly decent, but with Jared Hughes being used more as an emergency, mid-inning specialist, the odds are that a seventh inning guy would be on the wish list; we're thinking a Koji Uehara or Tyler Clippard arm might provide Clint with a little more consistency that Antonio Bastardo or Archimedes Caminero have.

Neal Huntington negotiates the "extreme sellers" market (photo Matt Slocum/AP)
As far as the position players, the FO could go a variety of ways. They're almost certain to add a bench piece with Josh gone until September; the infield rotation without his versatility is shot. They could keep Sean Rodriguez as the RH 1B/OF'er, and try to land a Brett Lawrie or Ian Kinsler for duty in the dirt. (Yah, we know Michael Morse & Chris Johnson are out there, but they offer no noticeable improvement) The club could also fill in internally; they have two excellent glovemen at Indy in Pedro Florimon and Gift Noegbe, though the bats are iffy.

They could move S-Rod to an infield reserve, his usual calling card, and go after an OF'er like Marlon Byrd or Ben Revere. The problem with them is that they are starters, and Gregory has been showing signs of coming along, so an outfield move carries a little more risk in filling a Pirate need at a reasonable cost. But OF is fairly deep, so this could be an easier route to travel.

Of course, Neal H is always full of surprises; he did make a serious play for David Price last year and for Hunter Pence in 2012, while he's also sat on his hands. We think this campaign that his only holes are at first, which is pretty well a position of weakness around baseball (is Paul Goldscmidt on the block? Adam Lind might be.), a bench body, possibly a back-ender on the mound and a bridge guy in the pen. He'll fill in around the edges.


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