First Pitch: Bye, Bye, Russell Martin? And Other Analysis on the Francisco Cervelli Trade

When the Yankees lost Russell Martin in 2013 to free agency, they replaced him with Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli. After acquiring Cervelli tonight, it looks like the Pirates are doing the same thing, although I’m not sure which one will start, or if they’ll split the job. This pretty much signals the end for Russell Martin with the Pirates, which isn’t a surprise considering his rumored demands. The Pirates have been linked to Cervelli many times in the past, so you had to figure it was only a matter of time before they got him. So which one of their catchers should be the starter, if there is an actual starter?

Chris Stewart has great defense, and is outstanding in terms of pitch framing. However, Cervelli is better. Here are the Baseball Prospectus numbers for the pitch framing runs per 7000 chances over the last two years.

Francisco Cervelli – 23.8

Chris Stewart – 16.4

Russell Martin – 14.6

Last night I wrote an article detailing how the Pirates could make up for the loss of Russell Martin by re-creating him in the aggregate. Defensively, the comparison of Cervelli to Martin is the same as Stewart to Martin. Cervelli has the edge in pitch framing, although his advantage is much more significant, as he has been worth about a full win more than Martin. However, Martin has the advantage in stolen bases, blocking (although Cervelli rates better than Stewart), and Defensive Runs Saved.

The big difference between Stewart and Cervelli is offense. Cervelli has a career .729 OPS, and is coming off back-to-back seasons with an OPS over .800. The 2013 season is a small sample size, and the 2014 season is due to an unsustainable BABIP (which also fueled career years on offense for Martin and Stewart). But those career numbers are what you’d expect from Martin if his 2014 campaign was in fact a career year that will fall back to earth in 2015. I’d still take Martin as the better player, but the gap in value between Cervelli and where Martin usually is at in his career isn’t insurmountable. The Pirates still need to upgrade at another position like I wrote last night, but this time if they get someone like Adam LaRoche for first base (or his 2014 production from somewhere else), they will end up ahead, rather than just replacing Martin.

I think I would split the work between the two catchers, but Cervelli looks like the better option to get the majority of the workload due to his advantage in the pitch framing department, along with his offense being much better than Stewart’s.

Cervelli is projected to make $1.1 M in arbitration this off-season, which is about what I expected their second catcher to receive if Martin didn’t re-sign. After removing Justin Wilson from the 40-man payroll projections, they’re currently sitting just under $67 M. That would also go down if Ike Davis or Pedro Alvarez get traded away. With the catching position appearing to be set, the Pirates have plenty of money remaining to focus on other areas of the team, such as the rotation and first base.

Of course, this trade also creates another need, and that is for a lefty reliever. With Justin Wilson being traded away in this deal, the Pirates are now down to Tony Watson and Bobby LaFromboise as their only lefty relievers on the 40-man roster. Andy Oliver isn’t on the 40-man roster, and could factor into the mix. He has great stuff, and put up fantastic numbers with Indianapolis this year as their closer. However, he’s had some horrible control problems in his career. That’s a similar case to Wilson, and I’ve felt that Oliver’s upside would be Wilson.

It’s also possible that the Pirates could go the same route that led to success with Watson and Wilson, and that is converting a struggling starter into a quality reliever. Jeff Locke and Joely Rodriguez are two options on the 40-man roster who could go that route. Locke is the better candidate, since he has pitched above Double-A and in the majors. Rodriguez struggled as a starter this year in Altoona, and would probably need more time in the upper minors before he’s an option.

I’d expect the Pirates to pursue some left-handed relief options this off-season, although they traditionally don’t spend money in the bullpen, and I wouldn’t expect them to spend a lot on a second lefty.

As for the trade, I think the Pirates got fair value by dealing Wilson. A week ago, the Angels dealt Hank Conger to the Houston Astros, receiving 24-year-old starter Nick Tropeano and 24-year-old catcher Carlos Perez. Those two grade as a potential back of the rotation starter and a future backup catcher with strong defense. Cervelli is basically the same as Conger, and maybe slightly better, but with one fewer year of control. To give up just one reliever for him seems fair when you see what Houston gave up for Conger. Of course, if you’ve read my analysis over the years, you know that I don’t have a problem dealing relievers, especially for someone who could potentially play 50% or more of the games on the schedule.

Quick Thoughts

**Dan Szymborski says that ZiPS likes the trade for the Pirates.

**Cervelli is under team control through the 2016 season. Stewart is also under team control through the 2016 season. That should be enough to bridge the gap until Elias Diaz is ready to take over. Diaz might be ready by the summer of 2015, but I think Cervelli and Stewart should be good enough defensively to give Diaz some time in the minors.

**This trade comes on the same day that Tony Sanchez departed to catch in the Dominican Republic. I don’t see him factoring into the mix in Pittsburgh in 2015 on Opening Day. I think Sanchez will be the number three catcher on the depth chart, taking over if (or when, based on history) Cervelli or Stewart go down with injuries. Based on how things went at the end of the season in Indianapolis, I could see Elias Diaz getting most of the playing time behind the plate, with Sanchez splitting his time between catching, first base, and DH.

**Free agent starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy seems to love Cervelli.

Links and Notes

**Pre-Order the 2015 Prospect Guide

**Pirates Acquire Francisco Cervelli From Yankees In Exchange For Justin Wilson

**Francisco Cervelli Player Page

**The updated 2015 40-man payroll, and the updated Future Payroll Page.

**AFL: Tyler Glasnow’s Final Start Doesn’t Go Well

**Vance Worley and Jared Hughes Are Super Two Eligible

**Ike Davis Getting Work in the Outfield

**Tyler Glasnow and Gregory Polanco Highlight MiLB’s Organization All-Star List

**Winter Leagues: Tony Sanchez Headed to the Dominican

  • Travis Persinger
    November 13, 2014 7:56 pm

    With the right $ figures it’d be nice if Cervelli helped the Buccos lure in McCarthy!

  • I think nh has decided to go out and get the guys he wants, if he has to sacrifice a bit more to do so, so be it.. i think there were lessons learned last year about waiting for demands to drop and he doesn’t want to be left near empty handed with nothing but a pile of loot.. I look for the first part of free agency to be exciting

  • I like the trade for the Bucs. Wilson was a decent reliever but we clearly need a reliable catcher more than an extra middle reliever right now. Cervelli has been inconsistent, but he is a reliable defensive catcher who occasionally hits well. There is a lot of value in Cervelli, and he does not cost much.
    If I were Yankee catching prospects Gary Sanchez or John Ryan Murphy, I would get to know Pittsburgh.

  • I checked out a few of the yankee’s boards, and the majority of the posters do not like this trade. They don’t believe that Wilson is enough in exchange for FC. They are all actually very high on FC. I’ll take their word for it. He won the job over Stewart in 2013 but an injury kept him from playing much. When they brought in McCann, they kept FC over Stewart as the backup. He is a fiery, emotional guy, who is athletic and a good offensive player, along with excellent pitch framing skills. Wilson was passed on the depth chart by holdzkom and Hughes last year, making him our 5th best RP. FC will be our starting catcher. I’d make that trade anyday of the week. Good move

  • Yet another reason to like huntington, he keeps raiding the yankees which should make everybody exept yanks fans happy. Now if only he would send pedro to texas for one or two of there good corner infield prospects then to put the icing on the proverbial cake pick up a reclamation pitcher or two, I would have a very merry christmas and an extra festive new year if neal were to aquire an everyday first basemen. ( although I would be happy with ike and gabby ) like iv’e said before this is going to be a very interesting off season, so strap in and prepare for a bumpy ride.

  • I think the Cervelli trade says more about Elias Diaz than Russell Martin.

    Acquiring Cervelli doesn’t change the Pirates plan for Martin at all.

    If the organization wasn’t confident in Diaz, this would’ve been the time to trade for a young catcher the team could consider a potential regular for years to come. That guy would’ve obviously blocked Diaz, however.

    • Pirates plan for Martin? Are you serious they have no plan for Martin other than to wish him well when he signs with another organization.Its the dynamic duo of Cervelli/Stewart behind the plate, and if that doesn’t smell like a championship combination you obviously haven’t been drinking enough.

  • Did anyone see this trade coming?

    I do not remember anyone mentioning his name before.

    If he is healthy, it sounds good and we have young
    backups if he does miss some time.

    • Obviously the Yankees thought Cervelli was good enough to start for them, but injuries derailed him. If he is not made of “glass” and is able to stay healthy he could be an above average catcher for the Pirates.

  • This was a very good trade, I don’t know where the Bye Bye Martin comes from, they have as good a shot at him now as they had 2 months ago. This is a good trade because if nothing else it gives the Pirates depth and for the millionth time I have said this depth will get you to the playoffs. They now have Cervelli, Stewert, Diaz and Sanchez, all of them good catchers. A couple of years ago the Pirates ran through 7 catchers in a year. Even if they sign Martin he is not going to catch 162 games, try more like 110 games and possibly less as the years go by. As far as Wilson is concerned, his upside is very good, but they can replace him easier than a full time catcher that can hit and play defense.

    • Could not agree more. Can’t see how this trade means anything about Martin.

      Pirates certainly aren’t going to change their offer because they now have Cervelli in the fold, and they had to know their odds heading into the off season.

  • Zach Duke is out there and golly. he’s become a hell of a lefty specialist.

    But Lafromboise would be fine too

  • Billy Hamilton is salivating thinking of seeing Stewart/Cervelli 16 times in a season. He’s probably thinking thats good for at least 30 stolen bases.

    • oh calm down

    • Billy Hamilton is actually that good at stealing base.

    • Both are around league average at throwing out runners. WHY are people acting like not being Martin at throwing runners out will open the floodgates the likes of Barajas days? League average is still league average and not bad.

  • Monsoon Harvard
    November 13, 2014 9:22 am

    Since Brandon McCarthy likes Cervelli so much, maybe the Pirates will have the edge in signing him to decent contract to join the starting rotation.

    • that’d be mighty nice

      • Assuming Martin doesn’t resign, can you think of any reason the Pirates shouldn’t be able to get one of McCarthy, Liriano, or Hammel?

        • The only reason i can think of is that they reaalllllyyy think they can get #3 starter performances outta like… Morrow, Anderson, Masterson, etc.

          I’d honestly be shocked if we never even hear that theyre in on McCarthy. He’s a Neal Huntington prototype.

          Tall (6 foot 7!), newly found velocity (over 93 mph on his fastball last year) and durability because he has started lifting more and doing more weight, ground balls, low xfip with a high-ish ERA, no walks, smokin’ wife…

          • That pretty much nails it, heh

          • Ah, you’re assuming they only get one pitcher in this case. In that case, yeah, it’s pretty easy to see them going in that direction.

            I think there’s need – and capacity – for both. As has been typical of mid-level SP w/ draft pick attached, I could see Liriano being the last on the board and the Pirates picking him up. And I really want to see what Brandon Morrow can do here. Very similar to what I thought about Volquez last year, in that the potential for quality SP is there, and worst case is that he’s a slightly overpaid quality reliever.

            • no not assuming only 1.

              i’m just saying that they can get do 2 bouncebacks instead of McCarthy/Liriano/Hammel and 1 bounceback if they really really think that both bouncebacks can be as good as McCarthy/Liriano/Hammel.

              But i’d prefer them to get 1 of McCarthy/Liriano/Hammel.

              • Oh, then boy would that be silly, IMO (not saying you think it wouldn’t be).

                I think that’s adding unnecessary risk without any reward. The money is there.

                • yeah sure. there aren’t really enough other holes on the team to really use those savings on…

                  unless you were weird like me and really wanted Chase Headley.

                  But you can argue that they could do McCarthy, a bounceback, and Headley anyway.

        • The reason would be the same reason it always is – other teams want the same guys and the Bucs will be outbid for their services. The reason Bucs got Liriano, Volquez, Worley, Martin, Davis, et. al. is simply because nobody else wanted them.

          • Could happen.

            But Neal is really sounding like he’s learned a lot from last offseason.

            I have faith they’ll grab some good FAs. But we’ll see if they get outbid on everyone.

          • Yes, bucs. Nobody wanted Russell Martin. Your history is spot on.

            • Who did the Bucs outbid for Martin? Nobody, except the Yankees. And if the Yankees want somebody, they get that guy. Thus, the Yankees didn’t really want Martin.

              • Haha, best reply I’ve read in a while. Nobody wanted Martin, except the team that wanted Martin, but didn’t reaaalllyyy want Martin.

                Thanks for clearing that up.

                • Come on, NMR.

                  You know that when another team outbids the Pirates, the Pirates are cheap, but when
                  the Pirates outbid other teams for a player, it doesn’t count. Bucco fan 101 right there.

                  • Jay – if I had a history of “Nutting is Cheap” you’d have a point. But I don’t.

                    • Sorry. I just thought that was the road you were going down. I hadn’t read everything

                • You’re the all-knowing, smartest-in-the-room guy here. Put this together – Yankees wouldn’t give Martin a deal beyond 2013 and only offered $7 million. Then they give 5/$85 to McCann.

                  Surely a smart guy like you doesn’t need to be hit over the head with the obvious.

                  • You’ve just defined the term “moving the goalposts”, sir.

                    • The Yankees didn’t want him. Accept it.

                    • Martin’s offensive performance with the Yankees didn’t warrant a lot of interest by them in resigning him. Martin’s resurgence with the Pirates may have something to do with the Pirates, but probably had more to do with Martin’s rededication of himself to conditioning and preparation. He also said he didn’t like the stadium dimensions in NY. But then neither did AJ for different reasons.

  • lonleylibertarian
    November 13, 2014 8:51 am

    One wonders what a healthy Cervelli playing 130+ games could produce. No power and long history of concussions make this a bit risky – but seems worth it, I was a Justin Wilson fan – and wish him well. But his lack of command could be – and was very frustrating last year.

    So it looks like the Bucs will be going into the season with a payroll lower than the rest of the division – a poor fielding 2nd baseman – and center fielder. No offense at catcher and a hope and a prayer at first base. Real opportunity for Hurdle to win back his manager of the year award if he can keep this team in contention

    • Oh yeah, Hurdle’s really gonna earn his stripes making up for those bums Walker and McCutchen.

      LOL.

      • He didn’t call them bums. He just stated the facts they are poor defensively

        • TIMTIMTIMTIM!!!!

          We need an article examining why we need to flip flop Cutch and Marte in the outfield right NOW!!!!

          Thank you.

          -BB

        • And how does that change his point? Clint Hurdle is as successful as he is BECAUSE of those two players, not in spite of them. Ridiculous to even insinuate he somehow has to make up for their deficiencies.

      • lonleylibertarian
        November 13, 2014 1:04 pm

        Deny it all you want – they are bad defensively at their current positions – cost the team a couple of wins a year…
        They are AWESOME offensively – Walker has shown a nice power increase – and Cutch does what he does with virtually no protection – but that is with bats in their hand. If you want to pitch to contact – and the Pirates do – then you need a solid defense to support that style of pitching.

        • I agree with regards to the defensive part.. the part where hurdle needs to make up for their defenciences kind of implies that their offense is league average and not helping either

          • lonleylibertarian
            November 13, 2014 1:53 pm

            I did not intend to diminish their offensive – and team leadership contributions. I do think a logical case might be made to both that a switch in position would have a financial benefit down the road. Cutch would immediately become a top ten – maybe a top five left fielder – partly because the left field “pool” would have guys like the Matts Holiday and Kemp and no longer have Marte. Walker’s limited range is less of a problem at first.

            • I hear ya.. I thought the outfield switch would have been made by now.. I’m curious as to the reasons why it hasn’t. . Who are you thinking to replace walker at 2b … Someone suggested moving jhay to 2b and getting headley.. I wasn’t a huge headley fan but he did present a solid argument for it.. I think it’s a descent idea now

              • lonleylibertarian
                November 13, 2014 2:33 pm

                I made a pun about not chasing Headley – not a huge fan – but he is a very good defensive 3rd baseman. If I am true to my support the GB/pitch to contact starters he would be a good option. The Yankees seem to be interested in signing him so the price might be too high for the Bucs. Before last season I seem to recall a lot of folks thought that Jay Hay was a better full time second baseman – that he was not quick enough to play third full time – after watching him last year at third I thought he was more than adequate there. Walker was switched from third to second years ago – not sure if he would be willing to go back or could.

                • Haha. . I think the tea leaves are telling us to get use to the idea of pedro at 1b so moving walker to 3b would be a more viable option then acquiring headley.. how much better would the defense be if marte/cutch and walker/jhay switched I wonder.. would the move to 3b lead to in season growing pains or is that an easy transaction? It seems it’s done a lot with rendon/gyorko and others so maybe it’s not too difficult?

    • Are you sure your a lonely libertarian? Ya sound more like a lonely liberal obamniac, (getting lonelier everyday) than a libertarian. Just sayin’ . Anyway have a nice day and try to smile more, it will improve your disposition.

      • lonleylibertarian
        November 13, 2014 1:05 pm

        Uncalled for and rude…
        Debate/discuss the opinions – or go troll elsewhere

      • Very uncalled for and just plain ignorant. Try to not insert politics into a discussion that doesnt call for it and in no way was even supported by something in his post, it’ll improve your level of anger towards politics. Lets stick to baseball and not politically uninformed insults.

        • How folks can still be so touchy after six years of this bum is beyond me, so i will repeat. Smile more it will improve your disposition as well. Furthermore I’m not the one who is angry, my comments where humorous and tongue in cheek. My advice, check the mirror for the angry human. Have a nice day! 🙂

          • Probably because people like you want to carry their political opinions with them everywhere they go. I thought this site was for baseball.

            • Speak for yourself, Leo.

              I, for one, am deeply interested in the political genius that is sure to emanate from an anonymous dude that goes be the handle “pilbobuggins” on a baseball blog.

          • Says something when you insert politics into a discussion about baseball, even in a “fun” way. Go Pirates, the point of this website.

  • I posted this on another article as well….I am not crazy about this trade for a few reasons:

    (1) Wilson had a terrible year in 2014, but he was outstanding prior to last year – and given his stuff and age, I suspect that he will return to his prior form. So, we now have traded away two very talented relievers (Morris and Wilson) when they had temporary lower values.

    (2) This trade doesn’t give me confidence that Martin is re-signing with Pirates. If there was a good chance of that happening, Pirates don’t make this trade.

    (3) I sure hope this doesn’t mean we have Stewart/Cervelli as our catchers in 2015.

    (4) Cervelli is a cheater – wasn’t he one of the BioGen guys?

    • lonleylibertarian
      November 13, 2014 8:54 am

      This Morris stuff is really getting old – I watched him do a GREAT JOB pitching his way out of town for more than a year. Yes players do sometimes find themselves when traded-it happens-but I don’t think a legitimate case could have been made for keeping the guy-he EARNED the demotion/trade all by himself.

      • Better get used to it, if Morris continues to pitch well for the Marlins – which I am sure he will. We weakened our very strong bullpen with both of these trades, with little to show for it. Cervelli is Stewart 2.0. Not much better offensively, and probably a weaker arm for throwing out base runners.

        • So its not okay to judge Wilson off his bad year because he is young (not really) and had success in the past but its okay to assume Morris and his SSS success will continue without pause. Morris may continue his success, or he could see the same issues he did here. Acting like it was clearly a bad trade is revising history because Morris earned either a demotion or trade. Good for him for finding success in his career after that.

          • Morris was a former first round pick and showed enough in the minors and in Pittsburgh (2013 and before) that it was obvious he had a lot of ability – potential closer ability. To literally give him away, while desperately holding on to much less capable pitchers like Pimentel, Gomez, etc. was poor decision making and came off like a knee jerk reaction. Maybe there was more to it than pitching performance? I don’t know. But, it was a dumb trade – and we are a weaker team as a result – same with Wilson trade. We now have a bullpen with 2-3 solid guys, and a bunch of question marks. They could have just let Morris sit and not pitch in any high leverage situations until he got his act together – kind of like what they did with Pimentel all season. Only difference is Pimentel is nothing more than a mediocre AAA pitcher. Marlins gain, our loss. Marlins now have a great bullpen – maybe second only to KC.

    • Justin Wilson’s great 2013 was propelled by .230 BABIP, that is not a skill. He is a hard thrower with spotty command and no semblance of a breaking pitch. He frequently got ahead of batters but couldn’t put them away, because hitters would foul off his cutter and fastball and wait for him to miss the zone.

      Could he improve? Sure relievers are volatile and effective late inning relievers can come out of nowhere. Thus trading relievers is usually a good strategy.

    • By very talented for Wilson, you mean a guy who throw hard and with his left hand. Those are nearly the only serious positives he has. No quality secondary pitch and a career that has seen command issues at every level.

  • I’m going to preface this by saying I would have made this trade if I were in Huntington’s shoes. Catchers who can play are hard to find.

    BUT…Tony Sanchez better keep his bag packed in his hotel; in fact, he may even want to bring it with him to the stadium. Cervelli is a about as durable as Glass Joe from Mike Tyson’s Punchout.

  • William Wallace
    November 13, 2014 7:17 am

    The concussions with the migraines concerns me about Cervelli. If he is prone to concussions aka Doumit- he could be worthless. With the protocol in place for concussive rehab he could be one foul tip from a 60 day DL. His money is not much so this trade should not impact our still being in the hunt for Martin. As was seen last year you need three MLB catchers during the season. Both Cervelli and Martin also have Hamstring issues.

    • Brain_Buster13
      November 13, 2014 8:53 am

      Who frew dat ham at me?!

    • WW

      Really good point here. However, I see concussion management taking big steps forward and I think the Bucs could afford to split time between the two catchers, making both more apt to be healthy. The grind of catching, when you get wore down … is when your reflexes are just a tick slower and WHAM. Injury.

      Now, that doesn’t say anything about getting hit with a bat, but the more likely culprit is home plate collisions and an overthrown fastball.

      I think if Stewart and the new guy split time they’ll make each other more effective and possibly limit injury.

      One of the reasons I’m not all in for 4 or 5 yr / $15M for Martin is the injury risk at his age. He was injured down the stretch this year past, remember.

      BB

  • Love the idea of signing Billy butler as our 1b. I make a 10-13 mil per year offer for at least 4-5 years he’s only 28 yrs old and had a down year other e raise his price would be much higher. Lambo is also a good backup, time to trade Pedro though.

    • I thought I read that Billy should be a DH because of his lack of defense.

      • He might not even be a DH anymore given the dramatic decrease in ISO. He’s become a high OBP singles hitter – although still among leaders in GDP.

      • he has actually improved to the point of being satisfactory over the past few years, at least according to UZR on fangraphs.

        • Awfully small sample sizes…

          • To be fair, he was only terrible in small samples too. even when he had 1000+ innings in 2009 and 2010, he was just a -5 UZR.

            Ike was a -5 last year, and he didn’t look too bad.

            I’d be skeptical of Butler, but i think he could fake it at 1b for a few years. i’m more worried about his bat than his ability to fake it at 1b for a few years.

        • I don’t think the most series concern is his fielding ability it is that as Bucsws points out is power has disappeared, and his walks fell last season. Everyone seemed to dislike underpowered Ike Davis, and he got on base more. Also Butler is a legitimate base clogger, costing at least 5 runs on the bases every season,

          • Martin had also lost it at 28 yrs old. Doesn’t look so bad today.
            Butler is a proven bat – not concerned with last year drop… as I said if he was hitting 29 hrs again he’d be a 20 mil player (see Vmart)… this is the kind of acquistion that makes sense and given the choice of LaBum or Butler – I go Butler 99% of the time.

            • Martin’s power is still lost, he altered his approach, improved his on-base, and road some BABIP luck to a career offense year. Going forward he should be expected to hit a little better than league average and that is very valuable combined with elite fielding behind the plate.

              Butlers has posted .124 and .107 ISO’s the last two years after averaging .177 in the prior four. He is a terrible base runner, and sub-par defender at the least important defensive position, even hitting .270 this past season he was a replacement level player.

            • Considering the power has seemed to lessen in a rather large way, Butler is now a singles and doubles hitter at a power spot that he cant play well on defense. Below average defense, below average speed and a lack of power for his position.

  • Cervelli will only be making 1.1 million this year I saw. Time to spend that money on pitching, pitching and more pitching.

  • Locke as a RP would be a nightmare. Career BB/9 of 3.7 (Wilson’s is 4.0). Career HR/9 of .9 (Wilson’s is .5). Wilson without the velocity and more hittable.

    • I’m not saying Locke will be a good BP arm, but you can’t compare SP stats to RP stats.
      Apples & oranges

      • CORRRRRECT, sir. I am thinking how Jeff Locke would be a fabulous bullpen arm and here’s why… Seems to me Locke is good when he’s fresh.

        Compare his numbers over the first three innings to his numbers over innings 4-6. I bet there is a stark difference.

        -BB

        • Maybe not. Looking over his last six starts of last year, there is plenty to recommend Locke but there seems to be an occasional rough first inning followed by some zeros if he keeps the walks down.

          I would bet as a relief pitcher, his velocity would tick up and he’d be more useful than you’d think.

          Uneducated guess here.

          -BB

  • Brian O'Donnell
    November 13, 2014 12:23 am

    I like the move, too. Solid replacement for Martin. Not perfect, but solid. I also like putting Pedro at 1st and leaving him there to mash.

  • Personally I have no interest in seeing a 35 year old Adam Laroche added. I would rather they go with a 27 year old Pedro at 1B. I would rather spend the money on pitching and depth. If someone younger and better than Laroche is available then go for it but not only will Laroche cost much more than Pedro but I think Pedro could easily have better numbers than Laroche.

    • I remember the old days of the PBC Asylum when LaRoche was brought in to be a “Lefty McThump.” By the end of it, they were calling him “The Stoic One.”

      LaRoche… I associate him with the bad old days. I remember there was this one spot where in a key situation, they’d always throw the ball just off the plate away and he’d swoosh through that pitch with alarming regularity.

      I’d support AdLa if they were going to send out both Ike and Pedro, but they are not done trying to unlock Pedro.

      -BB

  • I hope we get to see Cervelli at least once before he goes on the DL.

  • Someone was calling for this acquisition. . I love it as well.. had no idea how good he is

  • I like the trade. I would be open to trade any of our relievers

    • I hate the fact that you just KNOW that Wilson is going to leave and suddenly remember how to pitch, just like Hughes and Grilli last year, but if we had kept him in Pittsburgh he would have continued to fail dramatically. We’ve got to do something about our relief pitcher coaching and development – it isn’t near as good as what we do with our reclamation project starting pitchers.

      • I dont know that, particularly since his entire professional career has been a tale of “if only this kid could consistently find the strike zone” and he had multiple years with a top pitching coach in the game to figure it out. If Wilson had a better secondary pitch id see the logic, but right now the kid struggles to find the zone well over the course of the year and only had one plus pitch.

        • In 2013, he had 1.7WAR and a WHIP of 1. Somehow after Morris got away from the “top pitching coach” he figured out how to use his pitches. Watch Wilson do the same.

          • He pitched more in Miami, but the final numbers showed a -0.4 WAR; Grilli a + 0.3 WAR. With the type of stuff Morris has, I expected him to be much more of a strikeout pitcher.

          • The Anti-Searage Club, party of 1?

            The number of pitchers that left and improved stands at 1, Morris.
            Grilli pretty much stayed the same (from his overall run with the team).
            Those who got better with Ray? Liriano, Burnett, Volquez, Worley, Watson, malancon, hanrahan. I’d say the scale leans in his favor.

          • And somehow Morris was able to end up with an ERA of 1.82 last year.

            The starters that he replaced didn’t fare as well seeing how Morris ended up tied for 4th in all of MLB by allowing 17 inherited runners to come around and score which dinged the starter’s ERA and not his. But hey, he really learned how to pitch.

            • lonleylibertarian
              November 13, 2014 10:53 am

              Thank u – finally a voice of reason on the Morris mythology.

            • So just ignore the 1.1 WHIP, the 8 SO/9, 3.0 SO/BB and .4 HR/9. All significant improvements at Miami. Those #s are facts, not a myth.

              • He’s not getting paid to have a nice WHIP, SO/9 or SO/BB rate. He’s being paid to not let inherited runners score. And he’s pretty crappy at that.

      • I think you mean Morris, not Hughes. Agree with your assessment of the bullpen…I’m sick of hearing how NH and Saint Ray always find great RPs off the scrap heap, so not to worry. The bullpen cost us a lot of games last year.

        • And if you go back another year, it was lights out. Its the least reliable position to assume players will continue to play well at. We are taking one year and acting like it shows the team isnt good at assembling a bullpen and that Morris was clearly a bad trade.

      • He very might do that. But dont forget guys like Hanrahan, and many others that sucked when they left Pittsburgh.
        Relievers are just crazy inconsistent like that.
        Only a handful of relievers each year can be said to be consistently good.

        • I think Searage gets a lot of credit, but who’s that other guy with the Bucs who breaks down pitchers? Benedict? That guy is a secret weapon.

          I think that pitchers do well in the Burgh is a combination of park factors and coaching. Searage, yes, but also the other guy, I think.

          NH has probably identified the key elements essential to becoming a dependable major league pitcher and has found the staff (including the use of video) to break down the analytics and prove to these guys what the secret in their individual sauce is.

          Liking the trade. Now to fix first base and go and get a good starter.

          ———————–
          “Eh! Pardon me, Sir. But could I use your, eh, telly-o-phone?”
          -Wabbit

      • I think the key here is the number 27. As in, 27-years-old. Justin Wilson is 27. When the Pirates gave up on Bryan Morris, he was 27. Ian Snell – 27. Hey, even Jose Bautista was, you guessed it, 27 when the Pirates finally gave up on him.

        Guess who else is 27? Pedro Alvarez!! Also, Ike Davis, Vance Worley, Jeff Locke (in few days), Tony Sanchez (will turn it next season), Josh Harrison.

        I’m partly joking, but, I think for an organization like the Pirates that can’t wait around forever on a player, if a guy hasn’t figured it out (and by that, I mean on a consistent basis) by the time he turns 27, it’s time to cut him loose. But, maybe it’s as simple as that – once a guy turns 27, the Pirates decide to move on!!

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