First Pitch: Did the Pirates Dodge a Bullet at the Deadline?

The Pirates, like a lot of other teams around the league, didn’t make a move at the deadline. Well, unless you count the addition of Robert Andino, which technically came during the waiver trading period (Andino wasn’t on a 40-man roster, so he could be dealt any time). After the trade deadline had passed, Neal Huntington met with the media. James Santelli has a breakdown of the quotes from Huntington.

The one quote that stood out to me was where Huntington talked about how the Pirates were willing to do something “stupid” but weren’t willing to do something “insane”.

The Pirates have been on the opposite side of this situation. They’ve shopped players while rebuilding. It seems like when they were going through that process, teams were hoarding prospects. Teams still hoard prospects, but it also seems that the sellers are now holding out for massive deals. If the Pirates were on the opposite side of this, and some team was offering them a “stupid” deal, that would be a deal they should take. It seemed like this deadline was “insane or bust” for a lot of sellers.

But we don’t even need to go into the “insane” part. What about the “stupid” part? It’s almost like the Pirates dodged a bullet this year at the deadline with the high asking prices from sellers. There was a weak market, and you didn’t have many teams blowing it up and starting all over. The biggest deal of the deadline was the Matt Garza trade, which I consider stupid for the Rangers. Sure, Garza is a good pitcher, but they gave up a top 50 hitting prospect and three Grade B pitching prospects to get two months of Garza.

I’ve repeated this over and over, but I’ll say it again. The Pirates didn’t need to make a move. They currently have the best record in baseball. They have some incredible depth. They have a 98.9% chance of making the playoffs, which is the best in the league. They also have one of the top farm systems in the game.

There’s the irrational fear of another collapse, which only seems rational because Pirates fans have been tortured by the most unlikely circumstances at every turn over the last 20 years. Anyone looking at the depth and the talent on this team can see that it is clearly different than last year’s or the year before. If they were going to collapse, they would have done it by now. They would have collapsed five starting pitcher injuries ago, or back when the offense was struggling to knock anyone in, or any of the times where Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Starling Marte, or Russell Martin struggled for almost a month at a time each at the plate this year.

The Pirates are pretty much making the playoffs this year. That’s not even factoring in the playoff odds above. It’s looking at the shape of the National League. Outside of the five current playoff teams, only one other team is ten games or less away from the Pirates in the standings. That team is Arizona, and they are exactly ten games back. The question now isn’t whether the Pirates will make the playoffs. The question is whether they can win the division, which would be huge since they wouldn’t be subject to a one game playoff to get in to the Wild Card round.

If you look at the players who were available on this market, there really wasn’t much. The guys who were available weren’t going to provide a huge impact over the remainder of the season. For example, let’s take Nate Schierholtz. He’s maybe a 2.5 WAR player this year, and that’s being optimistic and assuming he’s going to be legit the rest of the year. That’s less than one win added over the final two months of the season. When you get down to a one game playoff or a best of five series, the value added is much lower.

If the Pirates aren’t going to win with their current team, they’re not going to win by adding another player. Right field is a hole for them. They currently rank 14th out of 15 NL teams in wRC+ from the right field position. That’s an offensive position, so to rank low in that isn’t a good thing. But the idea that you need to have every position performing at top level in order to contend is flawed. Let’s look at how the Pirates stack up to the Cardinals and the Reds at each position.

Position – Pirates/Cardinals/Reds (all measured in wRC+)

C – 102/126/71

The Cardinals just lost Yadier Molina, so they’ll lose this production in the month of August. Meanwhile, the Pirates could see an upgrade with their backup catcher by moving to Tony Sanchez, although the impact here is minimal.

1B – 112/120/155

The Pirates definitely need Garrett Jones to perform better than he has been performing since the start of May.

2B – 95/128/80

They could also use some production from Neil Walker down the stretch, or maybe someone to pair with Walker against left-handers.

SS – 74/60/62

Jordy Mercer has been a boost to the offense at shortstop, and this number is still impacted by Clint Barmes. The Cardinals and Reds have both been worse offensively, and haven’t been as strong defensively.

3B – 97/118/93

Pedro Alvarez is putting up great power numbers, but still struggling against lefties, which hurts his overall value.

LF – 117/108/89

Starling Marte has been huge for the Pirates this year.

CF – 140/95/148

So has Andrew McCutchen, although Shin-Soo Choo has him beat slightly.

The Pirates have been weak this year offensively in right field. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
The Pirates have been weak this year offensively in right field. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

RF – 94/129/125

The production from right field is about the same as second base and third base, and better than shortstop. However, those positions provide the Pirates with more defensive value, especially with the infield shifts that are being used this year.

Overall – 104/113/104

On paper the Cardinals have the best offense of the three teams. Adding a better right fielder might help that, but it’s not going to make a huge difference. The guys who were available weren’t going to make that huge difference. And making a “stupid” trade for those guys would have been a bad idea.

One thing the above offensive numbers don’t show is that the Cardinals have been horrible defensively, and the Reds have been about average. The Pirates rank second in the NL this year in UZR/150. The Reds rank 6th, but are on the same level as guys ranked 6th-10th. The Cardinals are last, and it isn’t close.

If you switch over to pitching, all three teams are at the top of the NL. The Cardinals (3.57 xFIP) and Reds (3.62 xFIP) rank first and second, while the Pirates (3.68 xFIP) are tied for third with the Braves. You could make an argument that the Pirates will play above their xFIP, due to the defensive shifts, and due to the fact that the low HR/FB rates from lefties like Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, and Tony Watson probably won’t regress to 10% due to PNC Park.

Do the Pirates need an upgrade in right field? Yes. They could also use some offensive help at second and third against left-handers. But this is a team that is built to compete with the Cardinals and the Reds as it stands. It’s also a team that doesn’t need a huge upgrade, and has internal options who could provide an upgrade without selling off prospects (#FreeAndrewLambo). The Pirates were trying to make “stupid” trade offers to upgrade a team that doesn’t need a big upgrade, and the fact that those offers were turned down is very fortunate. Overall none of the teams upgraded, and the Cardinals were actually downgraded with the loss of Molina. That puts the Pirates in good shape the rest of the season, and by keeping all of their prospects they remain in good shape in future years.

Links and Notes

Trade Deadline Recaps

**Pirates Don’t Make Any Moves at the Trade Deadline.

**Pirates GM Neal Huntington Talks Deadline: 13 Most Important Points.


**Pirates Come Back Again, Beat Cardinals 5-4.

**Pirates Acquire Infielder Robert Andino From Mariners.

**Pirates Playoff Odds at 98 Percent, Best in Baseball.

**Michael McKenry Out for Season with Torn Meniscus.


**Prospect Watch: Taillon Strong In Return, Lambo Homers Again.

**Minor League Schedule: Dickson Tries To Follow Up Stellar Performance.

**DSL Prospect Watch: Pirates Shutout Mets and Marlins.

First Pitch

  • I just noticed Scott Van Slyke got called back up yesterday by the Dodgers. Didn’t even realize he was down because he was playing well earlier this season. He was tearing it up in a hitters league when he got demoted also. He has a1.123 OPS in the minors this year and a .770 OPS vs lefties so far in his mlb career. He is solid in RF too and can paly 1B. Seems he would be a good cheap option to add and he is on a team that obviously doesn’t value him and who is loaded in the OF when Kemp gets back. Not just because his name is Van Slyle but because I think he can provide help…especially when rosters expand.

  • The goal of a baseball organization is to field competitive teams, and do so regularly. A playoff system is an imperfect way of determining the “best” team, or champion.

    The “best” team as defined by win percentage, Pythagorean, Simple Rating System, won the World Series half the time in the four team playoff era and around 1/3 since 1995, playoffs are hard to predict. Thus the idea of constructing a team to win 5 or 7 game series that you mathematically have a 5/15 chance at the beginning of each season to reach, is an impossible task. Teams, even very good teams play bad baseball for certain stretches, see the current version of the Cardinals. Faced with this uncertainty, in order to maximize the chance of winning the world series, intelligent teams should not over value the present, or “go for it,” but maximize their chance to get there over multiple seasons.

    Arguments about flags flying forever, need to make a move, strike while the iron is hot, need to worry about playoff pitching match ups, fail to understand the inherent randomness of the playoff system. The future is hard to predict, the idea of trading a prospect (or many) who “may” contribute 2015 for the current “proven” player (in this deadline market) who “may” play well for a week in October is just as irrational at waiting for the collapse 3.0.

    The Pirates competition is Cardinals and Reds because under the current playoff system the goal should be to win the division, because the wild card gets you a coin flip game. No right field upgrade, or additional pitcher would greatly alter the current 98.7% chance of playoffs, 52.0% chance of winning the division.

    And if it does come down to a coin flip game with the Reds, I would take 2013 Neil Walker (+wRC 112), over 2013 Brandon Philips (+wRC 93) in that game, yeah Walker struggles against lefties, but do not let RBIs cloud your judgment.

  • 17 more.
    After that everything else is gravy.

  • I don’t think I’m upset with the pirates standing still here, I’m upset with the market not having anything good out there. The rangers got ripped off especially in the long run. No way are they better even with graza then Detroit, tampa, red sox’s or even Oakland. The 3 way deal the sent peavy to Boston, Iglesias to Detroit, and that stud hitting prospect to Chicago I think all 3 teams will regret doing it expect for chicago.

  • The beauty here is our depth and the fact that more is coming

    We will be sellers this winter and it will be a good opportunity to restock our farm system (since our draft position next year will be lower)

    I can see trades made with Liriano, Jones, Melancon, and Morton

    Seattle and Texas come to mind as trade partners

    • meatygettingsaucy
      August 1, 2013 1:44 pm

      that doesn’t make any sense being sellers in the offseason. Huntington will take the usual path of conservative buyers. Jones will be arbitration eligible and is at risk of being non-tendered after his so-so season. Liriano is the ace of the staff and signed through another year. Unless the FO believes this year is a fluke, which I doubt they believe, he isn’t going anywhere. Morton will not have much value being a 5 starter with an injury history. Lastly, Melancon is the insurance policy with several years of control. He is the heir-apparent at closer if Grilli goes down long-term.

  • Once again Tim you hit the nail on head on all facets.After all the rumors i’ve been hearing it was a huge sigh of relief at 4:00 yesterday.I would have taken the bridge if we traded glasnow for fn bud norris?While i would have loved to see the pirates upgrade in rf,,no way do i make a bold stupid move for a marginal upgrade at best.Actually i could haved lived with a fair trade for both sides on stanton knowing that he is a stud and have years of control and would have no trouble getting a big haul for if decided to trade in the future

  • Buster, I have went to games since 94. I had a flex ticket package from 01-08 when I lived in the area. I have since moved to GA and I go to all series when the Bucs are here and have a yearly MLBTV subscription . I take extreme offense to someone questioning my fandom. I do not comment on this site or any other site bc normally I just have better things to do . I just felt compelled today do to the disappointment of not upgrading the team at the trade deadline and then reading an article that suggests that it’s fine that they didn’t. You want to say I’m being “critical” then that’s fine. Sometimes the truth hurts and the truth is is they aren’t strong enough offensively to win the World Series. I thought that was supposed to be the ultimate goal? Competing yearly is wonderful but I bet if you poll the 38 Rays fans they would tell you that they would trade this run of regular season success for 1 world title in that time frame instead. It’s amazing how quickly we all forget how horrific the offense was against the Marlins last weekend, particularly Friday and Sunday. I just know that if that Alvarez kid and Fernandez kid made us look that bad, what’s Kershaw and Grienke going to do to that line up in a playoff series? Everyone says the Reds and Cards are our main competition. I think its been proven at this point anyways that they don’t have the pitching to match up with our pitching. The Dodgers do. I was citing Rios as an example bc he was rumored the most. Again, Rios, Byrd, Ibanez, the Cubs guys, etc would only improve the team bc then you move Presley, Tabata, etc to the bench full time and that is fine. Also, they need a professional hitter in the cleanup spot. Pedro strikes out way too often and is lousy against lefties and to back up a previous poster, Martin isn’t a clean up hitter. This isn’t being negative or even wanting to sell the whole farm, but the last 5 world series winners made deadline moves .I bet they all were in a similar position that we are currently in and yet they did what was needed to improve the club. Enjoy the ride and go bucs. I hope that I am wrong.

    • Agree with you Roger 100 percent. This team as currently constucted has the possibility of making the playoffs. With some additions they have a good opportunity of advancing in the playoffs once they get there. This kind of opportunity doesn’t come along every year especially with the Pirates. This ownership group can keep building for the future with the hope that they can make and advance in the playoffs as currently constructed, or they could have made a move to make that possibility more likely. They chose to stand pat for whatever reason, whether it was too costly in assets (prospects) or in adding additional salary. I don’t think most people wanted to give Taillon or Polanco for a short term fix, but other prospects should have been on the table for a trade. If they were and the other teams weren’t interested thats one thing, if we were offering only Class B and C type prospects then once again this organization has let its fans down again.

      • The Pirates would have to play .400 baseball and the Diamondbacks would have to play .600 baseball in order for the Pirates to miss the playoffs. They’re making the playoffs…it’s just whether or not they win the central

    • meatygettingsaucy
      August 1, 2013 1:28 pm

      The past five World Series winners large moves at the July trade deadline:

      2012 San Francisco Giants:

      Acquire Hunter Pence for Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin.

      Acquire Marco Scutaro for Charlie Culberson.

      2011 St. Louis Cardinals:

      Acquired Rafael Furcal for Alex Castellanos.

      Acquired Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel and Corey Patterson for Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet, and P.J. Walters.

      2010 San Francisco Giants

      Acquire Javier Lopez for Joe Martinez and John Bowker

      Acquire Daniel Turpen for Ramon Ramirez

      2009 New York Yankees:

      Acquire Jerry Hairston Jr. for Chase Weems.

      2008 Philadelphia Phillies:

      Acquire Joe Blanton for Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman, and Matthew Spencer.

      The 2012 Giants were certainly bolster by the addition of Scutaro and, to a lesser extent Pence.

      The 2011 Cardinals saw an improvement in defense at short with Furcal those his bat faded as they entered the playoffs.

      The 2010 Giants saw one improvement and that was the addition of Javier Lopez. To put this in perspective, Lopez was good for a 0.4 WAR for the entire season, half of which was spent with the Pirates.

      The 2009 Yankees made one move and Hairston was nothing more than a bench player, which he wasn’t very good at.

      2008 Phillies got a 4-0 record out of Blanton. Miraculously, Blantons numbers weren’t great but he benefited from a high power offense backing him.

      So in a way, you are right and wrong. Some teams felt comfortable at the deadline and stood pat. Other teams went out and made upgrades. These upgrades did not play as large of roles as you may think. Pence batted .219 through August and September for the Giants, Jackson was reasonable for the Cards, Furcal played great defense but hit below .200 in the postseason. Lopez was a LOOGY, Hairston saw 76 AB with the Yankees, Blanton posted a 4.20 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and a 6.2 K/9. None of these teams made large blockbusters or significantly improved their team at the deadline unless you count the Giants in 2012 and that was in large part due to Scutaro catching fire after being dealt.

  • CalipariFan506
    August 1, 2013 11:42 am

    I don’t think Dickerson has enough power like Alvarez or speed like Marte to make up for his putrid walk rate. IMO he isn’t much of a prospect.

  • Hamburg ( or anybody else ! ) : please don’t leave Alex Dickerson off your lists of prospective hitters in the orginization. As soon as he gets his BB ratio up he has a good chance of being the Pirates 1st baseman very soon.

    • Dickerson is one of those players that you have to wonder about the Pirates evaluation of him, do they still value him as a prospect or is he someone they do not have on their future depth chart? The Pirates are great for labeling their minor league players. Lambo fell out of grace and look how much he has had to do to get back into managements good graces, hopefully they are looking at bringing him up for another shot.

  • Nice article, Tim, and I agree with your points. One thing not covered is the additional positive impact on other players in the lineup that a good bat would add. For example, having Rios hit 4th against LHP gives Cutch better protection. We’ve had Martin at cleanup a couple of times recently. While he’s a great catcher, I don’t think his presence in the on deck circle causes pitchers to give Cutch more to hit. Ditto with Rios hitting 5th behind Pedro vs RHPs. Rios or Pence (who I don’t love) give the pitcher more reaason to pitch to whoever is in front of them. I don’t believe it is coincidence that Jones down year and Cutch’s stats being off some are happening together.

    • Month of July

      Alex Rios 1 HR and 4 double, OPS 677
      Jose Tabata 1 HR and 4 double, OPS 631

      Rios ain’t protecting no body, he has 2 HR since May 18 and his last 100 AB produce the same damn stats as Tabata’s last 100

  • CalipariFan506
    August 1, 2013 10:28 am

    I think you’ll see how long and difficult the rebuilding process for the White Sox, Phillies and some other teams that didn’t trade guys that did have some value. This trend of holding out for elite prospects won’t last long.

    • I agree. Those teams have very large payrolls, and very weak minor league talent. They should have tried to get something for their overpaid non-stars, instead of not budging. Look at the Cubbies. They went all in, won a couple of division titles, but had huge payroll for over-the-hill players, and they will not be good for at least two more years.

  • Sooo much talk about right field, lets look at this issue.
    Every team in baseball has some position that does not produce league average for that position, in fact most of them have 3 or 4 positions that don’t produce league average, having one position that does produce league average usually puts you 2 1/2 games in first place, the Cards have 3 positions that are one way positions, the SS can’t hit, the left fielder can’t field, the 1st basemen can’t play defense. The Reds have 3 starters that are sub-par for their teams.
    The biggest problem with the fans and the media is that stats are mostly pointed at the offense and that is a trap, in the National league balance is most important, you have to catch the ball, but you have to be in position to catch the ball, you have people talking about the starting pitching and the bullpen, but when a ball is hit, did you ever notice that most of the time there is a pirate there to catch that ball, that does not happen by accident.

    • What you’re saying is correct, but the fact that the Reds and Cards have some sub-standard players in the lineup isn’t an excuse for the Pirates to upgrade in right field if a reasonable opportunity presents itself. The Pirates are trying to beat the Cards and Reds, not play down to their level.

      • (that should be “fail to upgrade in right field…”

        • I was not implying or saying the Pirates should not try to upgrade, I am simply saying since they were not able to upgrade that it does not mean that the other teams in the league jumped ahead of them or have less to upgrade than the Pirates.

  • Byrd and Ibanez have extremely small contracts and would be gobbled up quickly . Have to remember that we will be the last team to claim do to our record so that will make it difficult for a solid upgrade to make it to us . I’m not faulting or bashing mgt bc no one else made a significant move either . I just know that we had one of the top farm systems in the late 90s and we know how that turned out. I’m not trying devalue the importance of prospects or building from within bc they have to do it that way. I’m just saying dont be overvaluing prospects that MAY be contributors in 2015 . Again, where are the Nats this yr? The Brewers have fallen quickly . So sorry I’m not sorry for my stance of striking while the iron is hot bc again, the stars may not align again. It take 2 to tango. Shame on the bottom feeders like the Mets, White Sox , and Mariners for not selling there older vets. Bottom line, anyone is lying if they aren’t a little disappointed that they weren’t able to land a couple of MLB caliber players to help now .

    • I agree, especially with most people agreeing that we are close to where we need to be. If we are really that close than isn’t it plausible to think that even a slight upgrade in several areas could get us that extra hit or run we will need come the end of the year? With 6 games in 10 days against the Reds to end the season I would gladly welcome anyone who can get us an extra run or two. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to lose our prospects either and I love checking this site every day to see how they are doing, but they are just that, prospects. We have the pitching this year to carry us through the 9th inning and beyond in the biggest games, let’s get them some relief! I feel like mailing AJ a thank you card for staying so positive and being a leader when he’s getting NOTHING in terms of run support. He should easily be where Locke and Liriano are right now! #GetAJSomeRuns-PLEASE!

      • thats what everyone thought last year and that trading marte and tallion for hunter pence was a no brainer.

        theres no one out there even remotely available that is even 50pts higher in OPS than what we have right now

    • meatygettingsaucy
      August 1, 2013 10:29 am

      To dissect your point about prospects: the Brewers are in the situation they are in large part because they traded away prospects going for it all. The Brewers surrendered a bunch of prospects for CC and Grienke. Didn’t win anything with either. The Nats comment is a bit confusing. The reason their team is solid is largely because of prospects they developed (Strasburg, Harper, Rendon, Clippard, Zimmerman and Storen). They made one trade and got a solid return when they acquired Gio Gonzalez and signed a couple guys in FA. They haven’t won with those signings and trades.

      If anything, that should say “Just cause you trade for prone talent or sign proven talent doesn’t mean you are going to win”. Heck, look at te Hamilton signing thus far for LA. Yikes! I for one am glad no overpay was made and especially glad we didn’t get Rios

      • meaty is right. Though the Rays have not won the WS, they have been consistently competitive, and could be the team to beat in the AL this year. The Brewers went all-in for a two-year window and it didn’t work. This Pirate team looks to be following that same pattern. They have solid pitching prospects at every level. Polanco looks to be a star. And even if Cutch leaves in 4 years, they will have someone to take his place. That is how you have to do it in a small market. The Twins did it for a few years until they decided to give their two stars huge money, which has now hamstrung them.

        • Not many people are saying trade away everything. I think what most people are saying is we are deep enough with prospects that we can take a little bit of a hit without undoing the past or giving up the future. I definitely think the small market mentality is the way to build but I also think you have to eventually make an addition when you feel your team is good, but maybe not quite good enough, which is where I think the Pirates are right now. I think we are one poor pitching performance from being knocked out of the play-in game because the bats never quite got where we needed them to get to. I also don’t know if adding a more solid bat in RF or a platoon or any other position for that matter would make THE difference, but I know we are good right now and all it may have taken was one more timely hit from someone who’s not on this roster right now to make us good enough. Of course this is all just opinion and I flip flopped mine a couple times in this one post, but that’s the way it is right now with everyone, opinions, speculations and hope.

      • The key point her is this – the Pirates are in the playoffs this year. If they don’t win the WS, they will still field a solid competitive team the next few years, and will have multiple shots at getting that WS ring.

    • Not that this is extremely important Roger,but I don’t remember seeing any of your comments here before. Now you are the expert on all things Pirates 2013 ? Sorry,I’m not buying a lot of what you say. I have criticisms of Hurdle’s in game and lineup management myself,but howw can you be so critical when they are 23 games over .500 ? Baffles me… as for trading top prospects for this all important RF upgrade,I take the same stance as another commenter or two. I think : what would the Rays do ? And I think we know the answer !

      • What does the frequency of someone’s posts on this board have to do with the validity of their comments? It’s not like this is ESPN.COM. Maybe he just came across the site and liked it, or maybe he never paid any attention to it and decided he liked the conversations. Regardless of the reason I think you not “buying” what he’s saying should come more because you disagree, not because you haven’t “seen him” on here before.

  • First, excellent work putting this together. Second, many of the players the Pirates were looking to trade for, will pass through waivers. Rios will. Byrd probably will. Schierholtz probably will. Guys like Ibanez will pass through easily.
    Could be to the Pirates advantage because we will not move guys from the active roster to deal. Can be lower ML and PTBNL.

    In reality, it is not that hard to pass marginal guys through waivers. Some teams put everyone through waivers, as the Bucs have in the past.

  • How does an Alex Rios with a .273 BA, 14 HR, and 22 stolen bases and very good range defensively not upgrade the team? Especially compared to a RF quartet that has a collective .240 BA, 6 HR, and 8 SB

    • It isn’t that he isn’t an upgrade. It’s that for the price, he isn’t nearly enough of an upgrade to make a difference. The Pirates can’t afford to give away top prospects (the asking price) for a player who is only modestly better.

    • He is an upgrade, but there’s no reason to give up a king’s ransom for him. If the Sox come to their senses, they could still make a deal for him–and it’s likely he’ll go on waivers at some point between now and the end of the season, and I could see the Pirates making a claim for him. His price tag is a little steep, but it’s far from Soriano-esque outrageous.

    • I like Alex Rios to but he just went down with an injury before the trade deadline. So keep trying.

    • Rios has 2 HRs since May 18 and essentially identical offensive numbers to Tabata in the month of July

  • Tim….I did not know the Cards were that bad defensively.

    Thanks for that info!


  • More patience needed here? Really? It’s August 1. Not June 1. The guys they have trotted out have shown they can’t get it done. As for upgrading Tabata, Harrison, Snider, and Presley , yeah I don’t think it would be that hard. Even from within . Andrew Lambo not being up is a joke. I agree with the one commenter who said a couple of big teams have ruined the trade market for smaller teams . And I thought we had more prospects other than Taillon and Polanco, yet everyone assumes those are the only 2 that teams wanted . I just find it hard to believe that they couldn’t have acquired a couple of guys who would be better than what they have . I think that u should maybe make 2-3 guys in your system untouchable and make everyone else fair game bc you have to strike while the iron is hot . Ask the Nationals about whether you should hold back or not . Holding back Strasburg eliminated them in the playoffs with the way he pitched all year. You never know if you will get the kinda pitching we have had this year again. This site especially talks bout how Locke is do for a regression and how unreal the bullpen has been especially from a stranded runners rate . You may not have a shark tank next yr . It maybe full of blue gils . And with the lineup being pedestrian , a non dominate pitching staff makes your team go back to being mediocre . That’s why you have to go for it . Next yr Cutch, Marte, or Pedro could get hurt. I get planning for the future but at the same time you can’t shrug off the present bc you’re afraid you may miss out on something .

    • I’m sorry, but in this market there was no way to make an upgrade for the team this year and balance it out with the team’s future. You know why we don’t have to “go for it?” Because Neal sticks to his principles and keeps our steady stream of prospect pieces in place. He and the front office created this “hot iron” you speak of by remaining patient and not overreacting to the moment.

    • Not smart to give up very good prospects for a 2-month rental. Simple fact – teams were asking too much for 2-month players who were only very small upgrades to what the Pirates already have. Make a deal if it’s there. Don’t make a bad deal.

    • How often are rookies valuable as hitters during a stretch run Roger? Do me a favor and tell me the last rookie to be called up during a stretch pennant run who had any significant impact….I’ll wait. Especially one with a high K rate, which is exactly the problem we already have!

      There just aren’t many sellers- if you look at what the cubs got for garza, it was an insane insane insane return for a rental player. that was the market, which is why you see so few trades.

      If next year any of those people get hurt, your prospects and a trade at that time would be done out of necessity. We are in good shape Roger, calm down

  • I’m not a fan of hoarding prospects in a pennant race, but none of these deals made sense. I think you give up some top prospects for Stanton and maybe someone good for Trumbo, but it’s hard to tell if these guys were even available with all the conflicting reports. I would bet all of the names we heard about will be clearing waivers soon and a whole new round of speculation will begin. Until then it’s time to #FreeAndrewLambo.

  • The rangers this year and the giants a couple years ago have ruined the trade market for small market teams. When you set the precedent of giving up some of the top prospects in the game for 2 month rentals, other teams will hold out for those deals in the future. And those are the exact opposite type of deals a small market team can afford to make

    • not unlike the big deals big markets throw at free agents?


      • Good point. Some of those chickens are coming home to roost: angels dealing with high priced veterans that are damaged goods, and the Yankees would love to get out of ARod’s contract.

  • I have been disgruntled with Hurdle as an in-game manager. I feel that he does things that don’t help the team a whole lot in games. 1) is Gaby Sanchez truly that much of a superior defensive player at 1st compared to Jones? And if so, is Jones that much of a liability in RF? 2) I’ve been baffled all year at the utter refusal of having Neil Walker penciled in daily in the #2 spot. He has excelled there prior to the year and I think a lot of that is do to the protection he has behind him and that he is a good enough hitter to take advantage of the spot. Well, since Walker returned from the DL he has been a fixture in the #2 spot. It just feels that he is contributing more and I am curious as to the splits in his numbers hitting from that spot and if it spikes the teams overall production.

  • I have to question the legitimacy of a stat that shows that the 2013 Neil Walker ranks ahead of Brandon Phillips and Sin Shoo Choo ranks ahead of Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates need to upgrade their lineup. 2 guys with a BA of .275 . They rank 19-21 in runs, BA,, SLG, OBP, and OPS. 3rd highest in strikeouts. Last in sac flies. The lack of production from RF is near the bottom in every category. I mean I love the site and much of your analysis but I feel this article is you trying to convince yourself that they are fine with what they have offensively. Pitching wise, absolutely. No disputing the pitching. But the offense is putrid. I’m not saying that there were many options to upgrading the team b/c there weren’t. However, not difficult to upgrade Jose Tabata, Josh Harrison, Alex Presley, Travis Snider, etc.

    • HamburgBucco
      August 1, 2013 7:35 am

      Just a little more patience needed here. Yes, our offensive production is below average and could and should be a lot better.
      You wrote it wasn’t difficult to get an upgrade on Tabata, Harrison, Presley and Snider.

      But apparently the selling teams we were in contact with regarding adding another bat asked ridiculous prices. And we’re not talking a top batting prospect like Stanton in return.
      You need to ask yourself: Would you take a small upgrade in RF and give up Taillon and/or Polanco for that ?

      I’m glad we still have all our prospects and finally we have some legitimate hitting prospects in there too (Bell, Barnes, Lambo, Polanco, Allie, Meadows, McGuire).
      These will start to filter into the Pirates’ lineup in the next few months/years, so rest assured we’ll have a much better offensive season (I feel) next season.

      And I wouldn’t give up hope that Presley, Tabata and Snider will start hitting better now that the confidence is running high throughout the entire team.

      • We also now know that Snider has been battling an injury for a little over a month. If he can get healthy, we may see more of his early season production.

    • He did point out that the Pirates need an upgrade in RF and can use upgrades in other spots. However, is it worth giving up a top prospect for a short term role player? The return that teams wanted for a Tabata/Snider replacement made a trade prohibitive. Just look at the lack of trades across the league.

    • Actually Roger, it kinda is. Josh Harrison provides a lot of position flexibility which is needed on a team which is trying to utilize platoons, and he costs almost nothing. Pinch running and giving good AB’s as a pinch hitter, Josh and Alex since ame back up a week ago, they have helped us win 2 games and give us a lot of what our bench was lacking earlier in the year. You aren’t going to be paying a lot to upgrade a bench spot, it makes no sense.

      The offense goes through Putrid stretches due to bad situational hitting, but Tabata, Harrison, Presley haven’t been the causes of that. They are role players and with the exception, they are PAID to be role players. Point the finger at high K guys like Gabby when facing righties, Pedro, Garrett, Inge, and definitely Snider as culprits. Hopefully the recent stretch of greater efficiency will continue with the players we have