The Pittsburgh Pirates have placed right-handed starter Gerrit Cole on the 15-day disabled list and recalled pitcher Brandon Cumpton to start tonight’s game. Cole left his last start early due to right lat soreness. The move was made retroactive to July 5th and due to the All-Star break, there is a chance that Cole could miss just one start.
Cumpton will face the St Louis Cardinals tonight. He has made nine starts for the Pirates this season, posting a 4.61 ERA over 52.2 innings. Cumpton has a 1.33 WHIP and a 12/32 BB/SO ratio. He has given up just one home run. The Pirates have a 5-4 record in Cumpton’s starts. This will be the first time he faces the Cardinals this season.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Cumpton deserves to stay up this time, especially if he pitches well tonight in St Louis. DFA Pimentel, Gomez, or Worley. Worley has had 2-3 great starts, but I think the hitters are starting to figure him out and I can see major regression from him soon. He just does not have the ceiling of Cumpton. The Pirates need to start trusting and using their own prospects more.
IMO, they are handling Cole correctly, they have good enough starting pitching to keep them in games without him, but until they address their real problem heartaches are going to continue and so will losing to higher ranked teams.
The real problem being they have only 3 reliable arms in the bullpen. Wilson has been playing with fire all season, Friere is a hittable mess, Gomez is hot and cold, and Stolmy is in witness protection. The Bucs have now lost SEVEN games to the Brewers, Reds and Cards in their final at-bat, including 3 (or is it 4?) that they were leading going into the 9th.
I think it’s defensible to stash Stolmy for long-man work, OR stick with Wilson, managing his appearances because he’s got such great stuff, OR try to work with Friere on getting his command back. But a contending team can’t take on all 3 projects at once. The potential upside isn’t worth the games lost in the late innings. You just can’t hide that many vulnerabilities.
I would try to find a home for Stolmy (Texas?) and get something interesting in return, and add either Mazzaro or Andy Oliver to shore up the middle of the bullpen (if you have to dump someone from the 40-man, I present to you Josh Wall, owner of a 1.91 WHIP in AAA). I’d hang onto Friere for another 2-3 weeks to see if he can turn things around, but would be working the phones the whole time trying to bring in an established arm to replace him.
IMO, the back of the pen is the big problem, they have no one for the ninth inning, Melancon is a setup guy and out of his role when he is closing, his numbers are a full run different when he sets up vs when he closes. His ERA is in the 3’s when he closes and in the 2’s when he sets up. I don’t care how they mix and match what they have, what they have is not good enough.
I’m all for putting Melancon back in the setup role and wonder what the price in prospects would be for Koji Uehara. The Pirates should shop for a shutdown closer and Koji definitely fits the bill.
Houston traded Veras to Detroit last year for 2 prospects, one of whom was Danry Vasquez their #6 prospect going into 2013 (he was #29 for Houston coming into 2014).
The Brewers traded K-Rod to Baltimore for Nick Delmonico, who was rated #4 in the Orioles system coming into 2013, and #12 in the Brewers’ system coming into 2014.
The Royals traded Broxton to the Reds in ’12 for JC Sulbaran (Reds’ #12 ) and Donnie Joseph (Reds’ #27 ). Joseph became KC’s #14 leading into ’13. Sulbaran dropped off the rankings, but is having a resurgence at AA this year.
Brett Myers was traded from Houston to the White Sox for a package of 3 guys, including their #26 and #27 prospects.
So that gives you an idea. Uehara is better than any of the four guys above, and would slot into the closer role immediately, whereas the other four became set-up men for their new teams. It would likely take at least a Top 20 prospect to get this done (and not a faded one like Heredia).
I’d be up for getting Lieutenant Uehara as long as they don’t give up any hitters.
Non-closer bullpen arms can usually be had for 4A type players. It’s been a few years but when the Bucs traded bullpen arms they usually got back John Bowker/Andrew Lambo types. Now I’m still hopeful Lambo. But I’m wondering if a Rojas or Tabata with eating some of his contract could get us a 7th inning guy. That’s all we really need for the pen. We don’t need to overpay for Houston Street even though he’d clearly be an upgrade. Watson and Melancon have been more than holding their own in the 8th and 9th. We could use someone to pair with Hughes when he pitches 2 innings the night before and isn’t available.
Nothing to go on but my feeling is Cole out until August.
If you saw the Cole interview last night it seemed clear that this is precautionary and mandated by the team. Cole made it pretty clear that he wanted to pitch today but was told he would go on the DL so he wouldn’t have anything bothering him in the 2nd half. There is little reason not to expect him on the mound 7/20.
Maybe on rehab on 7/20