Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Bucco News

Keepin' up on the Bucs:
  • Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror has a piece on Aaron Thompson's long strange journey from battered AA starter to a shot in the show. It's a pretty good primer on the vagaries of upper-level minor league life.
  • Jen Langosch and Laura Myers of say the FO is considering about a dozen players to bring up in September; Clint Hurdle says he would like to keep the roster manageable at about 35 players. They mention Matt Hague, who's not on the 40-man roster, along with Evan Meek, Danny Moskos and Eric Fryer/Jason Jaramillo as likely call-up candidates. Other players on the 40-man but not in the show are Pedro Ciriaco/Chase d'Arnaud (depending on today's moves), Pedro Alvarez, Gorkys Hernandez, Aaron Thompson, Bryan Morris, Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson. Factor in that Paul Maholm, Derrek Lee, Ryan Ludwick and Kevin Correia could return from the DL before the season's done, too.
  • Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects takes a look at guys in the running for Super Two arbitration status (they get four years of arb rather than three) this season and next. They include Steve Pearce, Garrett Jones, Neil Walker and possibly Mike McKenry and Brad Lincoln. McCutch looks like he'll miss the cut-off, so maybe that will jump start his contract talks after the season.
  • Pops Stargell will become the third player to get a stamp issued in his honor through the Post Office's MLB series later today, joining Jolting Joe DiMaggio and Larry Dobie, reports the Tribune Review.
  • Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors has a list of players who have cleared waivers so far. No current Bucs are on it, but a couple of old Pirates are: Jay Bay, DJ Carrasco, and Tom Gorzelanny.


WilliamJPellas said...

I've gone back and forth about Garrett Jones. He is a lot of fun to watch when he is on a hot streak. But when he's not, he absolutely kills you. He's not good enough on defense nor does he steal enough bases that he can stay in the lineup and help you in other ways when he's not really tearing it up.

Still, he wouldn't figure to be grossly expensive, and for the money you can do a lot worse than him as a 400 at-bat two position platoon guy. I think he'll be resigned. I wasn't sure about that at the start of the season.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Will, his hot spells are fun; his cold spells are painful to watch. But he's the best of the lot for a couple of years, anyway, unless Hague pulls a Presley.

Will Pearce find himself? I still think that as a platoon guy with a regular, predictable role he's OK, but if he's gonna be a bench guy with spot starts, just cut him loose; he doesn't seem to have the mindset to deal with it.

And if you think first base is problematic, what about third? If Pedro doesn't get his act together, the team has nothing behind him but utility guys.

WilliamJPellas said...

Third base is definitely a real issue for this team. Obviously Pedro solves it in one fell swoop if he's even half as good as the suits want him to be. It's just that he may not be even that good.

To my mind, there is a bit of a wildcard in the deck, though, and that's Brandon Wood. Wood, of course, is another former top draft choice who doesn't figure to ever live up to the billing, but here's the thing: he is significantly better than Pedro will ever be with the glove, and he does have power. In addition, third base as a position seems to be in a decline phase at the moment; you'd be hard pressed to name even half a dozen full time starters around big league baseball who would be much better than the cumulative stats posted by the Pirates' musical chairs this season. Thus, if Wood could give you, say 350 or 400 at bats starting against all lefthanders and about half of the righthanders we'd face, with his defense and power, all he has to do is keep his average....well, no lower than it is right now, and assuming you could use Josh Harrison or Chase D'Arnaud as the other part timer, you might cobble together something that would be sort-of-okay. I'm sure Wood would launch 20 homers if he got 400 at bats. If his average was somewhere between .220 and .240, that would be enough for a year or two when you add in his defense and the contribution from Harrison or D'Arnaud.

You mentioned Hague. I like him well enough for what he is, but I'm afraid with his lack of over the wall power that he's ultimately a righthanded version of Casey Kotchman. I don't have a problem with corner infielders or outfielders who don't have the stereotypical power you would normally want at thos positions, as long as they are otherwise versatile, high average, good defense guys who can beat you every other way. Think, Mark Grace or Jose Cruz Sr. Is Hague in the same class as those guys? I doubt it. If he could play third, though, I'd be happy to take a look at him there, but other than a few games, I think he's been mostly a first baseman in the minors. Lastly, while Hague could probably help us in a part timer role, it's unlikely he'll get much better than he is right now, as he is almost 26. As you know, I don't have a problem with drafting collegians like him, and in fact have advocated the Pirates doing just that, but the tradeoff you most often get with such players is that "they are what they are" when they arrive: what you see is what you get, and that's it.