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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Pirates Acquire Russ Canzler For Tim Alderson

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired 1B/OF Russ Canzler from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson. Canzler is on the 40-man roster, and to make room the Pirates placed James McDonald on the 60-day DL. The Pirates have sent Canzler to Triple-A.

In his career in the majors, Canzler has a .271/.304/.396 line in 96 at-bats. In the minors this year he has a .276/.369/.430 line in 323 at-bats in Triple-A. What is interesting is his career success against left-handers.

2013: 1.346 OPS in 82 PA

2012: .860 OPS in 182 PA

2011: .921 OPS in 152 PA

2010: 1.013 OPS in 143 PA

2009: .568 OPS in 95 PA

2008: .925 OPS in 122 PA

With the exception of that 2009 year, Canzler has crushed lefties. That could be a key part to this addition. He has spent most of his time at first base, but also has time at third, and the corner outfield spots. The Pirates don’t have many guys who can hit lefties, and this could give them another option. In a limited sample of 31 plate appearances in the majors, Canzler has a 1.086 OPS.

Alderson had a 2.79 ERA in 42 innings with Indianapolis this year, along with an 8.1 K/9 and a 2.1 BB/9 ratio. He saw his fastball velocity come back in recent years, sitting 90-93 MPH, along with a good curveball. However, he didn’t have success in the rotation and doesn’t have dominating stuff out of the bullpen. He could make the majors as a decent middle reliever, but the Pirates have so much depth in the bullpen that it wouldn’t hurt them if that happened. They’d get more upside if Canzler could hit lefties in the majors.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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I have a photo of Canzler if you want it for your player page.


Tim: In Canzler’s 82 PA’s against LHP in 2013 he has more walks than K’s, and 12 extra base hits. He needs to be in Pittsburgh right now, with Harrison going back down to the minors. And, although 27, he has hardly any ML Service Time and will be a $500K guy for probably 3 more years. Overall, he has excellent double/HR numbers and is another of those guys who needs a chance and could be a real find for the Pirates.


Right on Smurph-bench hitting has been one of their few weak spots this season, & that 1346 ops against lefties (this year too!) is almost Puig-like!!
The punk bench was mostly disguised this year (so far) by the stellar league leading pitching, where they frequently found themselves with a lead in the late innings…as the season rolls on & the starting pitching typically slows down a little (a common phenomenon as was described the other day by Teke), a bench guy with pop can become invaluable.
Another good swap senor Huntington!!!

Bryan Graham

One of their few weak spots? Their whole offense is a weak point. Last night when I checked they were tied for next to last in runs scored in the NL. Thanks goodness for Pedro, he has basically been this years version of what Cutch was last year (the whole offense)


Let me rephrase that then-the bench is their “super” weak spot, & that although the starting lineup isn’t exactly strong, they have been adequate enough to have one of the best records in the majors, with timely hitting & some power. When any starter came up, you had the feeling that something might happen (except for the rt fielder), & with Tabata warming up, even that is becoming poss. solidified into a perhaps a mediocre to decent offense! Top of the lineup is now close to a 300 avg!


I think it is more important for your bench players to be hitters than fielders. They already have 2 (3?) players on the bench who can play defense but noy hit. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guy you could send up there in the late innings of a 1-run game who could deliver for you (Smokey Burgess, Manny Mota, Lee Lacy)?

Susanne Klich Langford

Canzler has played 100+ minor league games at 3B although he has an .870 fld pct there and even worse this year so he may be a butcher there.


This cannot be anything but a need for a player for Indy….his career track record sounds like Jeff Clements and Jerry Sands – another AAAA player.


I disagree. With Inge struggling, Harrison always a question mark, Tabata’s health issues… you can see why Canzler is being looked at. Besides, hes already on the 40 man. If Inge doesnt turn it around then he will probably be replaced sometime after the break.

Alex Henry

Honestly i just don’t like the trade i don’t see this guy as an improvement in any aspect and getting rid of Alderson a 24 year old who has a ERA below 3 out of the pen even if he didnt help the club he could have been a September call up i just dont see the value in the trade plus Canzler was DFA’d we might have had him for nothing.

Alex Henry

I agree he is no big loss also your right i got carried away saying September call-up but i’m just leery on the fact he was DFA’d we could have gotten him for nothing but i hope i’m wrong and it’d be a treat if this acquisition got rid of Inge for good time will tell i hope we get that production out of him i just think there hesitant to get rid of Inge for some reason but if you believe he will actually be on the club and contribute then ill take your word on it thank you


As much as we all would love to have Alderson make it, Tim is exactly right. Black, Welker, Hughes, Morris, Reid… there are so many other RHPs to choose from.


Canzler is from this area and I saw him play recently for Norfolk. He has some power. He has a bit of an uppercut in his swing. I think he was the DH the games I saw him in Scranton. Not noted for his glove.I would like to see Lambo get some at bats this year.. if they have given up on Snider.


Does this mean we have given up on Matt Hague? We could have just called him up and placed McDonald on the 60 day dl and call up Hague instead of trading for Canzler


Getting way ahead of ourselves here with this question but Polanco hits lefties ok doesn’t he? I remember reading that on this site at one point. It would be nice to march the same OF out there everyday and not have to worry about a platoon. Can anyone confirm this?


Last year, Polanco hit .396 against lefties in 126 PA. Seems like he can hit anyone he darn well wants to.


Thanks Tim


alderson will be a free agent at the end of the season i think. would not of been able to protect from the rule 5 draft, if someone wanted to take a shot at him.


I believe Alderson was already eligible for the rule5 last year. Just like Lambo, no teams took a waiver on him.


thank you

Jeremy J Stein

Could be an Inge replacement if another trade doesn’t happen before July 31st.
OR Canzler could just be a Triple A depth if Walker is hurt for a while and Harrison is on the major league roster.


I think you’re looking at next year’s platoon mate for Snider or Lambo in RF with Tabata being the 4th OF.


Canzler has been through quite a few organizations already this year. Obviously they view Alderson as a throwaway. Russ hits lefties much better than righties and can play all the corners- could this be the cheap in-house replacement for Inge?


Those are essentially Inge’s positions and heck he even has a game at 2nd this year.

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