The Rumors About the Marlins Being Interested in Pedro Alvarez Can Be Put to Rest

Throughout the off-season, Neal Huntington has said that Pedro Alvarez will be the starting first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Meanwhile, there have been some rumors about how the Pirates could still trade him. A specific rumor came up last week, saying the Pirates and Marlins discussed an Alvarez-for-Nathan Eovaldi deal.

That deal sounded too good to be true. Eovaldi has amazing stuff, with one of the hardest fastballs in the game. He’s under control for three more seasons. Meanwhile, Alvarez is under control for two years, is coming off a down year, has never played first base, and at his best is just a three outcomes guy. It’s not that Alvarez is bad when he’s at his best. He averaged a 2.7 WAR between 2012-13. But Eovaldi was a 3.0 WAR pitcher last year, and could be in line for more improvements, since he’s only going to be 25 next year. If I had a choice, I’d make the Alvarez/Eovaldi deal (assuming it’s realistic, which I don’t think it was), and sign someone like Michael Morse to play first base.

It seems the Marlins feel the same way.

That’s why the rumors never made sense for either side. The Pirates could have traded Alvarez, but would have needed to immediately replace him with a first base option. And if they felt they were better off making a trade and replacing Alvarez with an external option, then why wouldn’t the Marlins just skip the trade and make that external addition themselves?

It’s possible the Pirates were thinking about dealing Alvarez. I just think it would have been incredibly difficult for them to do so.

  • Fwiw, when the conversation turns to “other decent 1b who are rumored to be available”, it’s simply a non-starter for me. Wil Myers is likely to be on another team by end of day. Who thought he was available? Now, the Bucs don’t need Wil Myers. But the point is, you don’t know if a guy is available or not until you find out what the price is and whether you’re willing to meet that price. And everybody has a price.

    • So instead of throwing your hands up in the air and pouting, why not try to come up with a list of possibilities? There’s only 30 of them at a given time. It’s not that hard.

      Start with the requirements fans want:
      -“Proven” First Baseman
      -No platoon split
      -Upgrade over Alvarez

      Now take out the top end making, lets say $20m/yr or more. Now take out the bottom end, who stink. Then take out the platoon guys.

      Who do you have left?

      • “Pouting”? Did you have some lousy coffee this morning or something?

        It’s Christmastime, man. Time for goodwill to all, y’know? No pouting or crying because Santa is coming to town.
        http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/fan_forum/greeting_card.jsp?c_id=pit&partnerId=ed-8855994-762230623

        Goldy, baby. Ask the question. See what the price is. If it doesn’t involve more than two top 5 prospects, maybe it’s palatable even if you have to throw in Polanco. If it’s not palatable, no harm no foul.

        I’d take Morneau back as well.

        My only point here is that there seems to be a distinct lack of creative suggestions and a propensity for settling for the usual suspects, who often don’t represent an upgrade. Plus the expected overvaluing of prospects and thinking every single one will be a hit. I’d like to see some reaches. I don’t care if they don’t come to fruition and honestly don’t expect them to. Just the idea of being more aggressive and out of the box is appealing.

        Besides, I’m OK with finding out if Pedro can be the guy at 1b. I’m not OK with throwing out names of guys who might be a slight improvement in one area, but bounce around MLB because they’re deficient in others. So in the case of replacing Pedro for 2015, it’s simply go big or go home for me. Plus I don’t like the thought of trading Pedro at bottom dollar, so if you’re not going for a big upgrade, then let’s see what happens with the incumbent apparent.

        • Haha, I hope you got that I intended for that to be a good-natured jab, nothing serious.

          I couldn’t agree more with your point, either. If fans truly want those things I listed – and you don’t have to look back through more than a few days worth of threads to confirm – then they absolutely have to give up on the notion that this hypothetical player exists in abundance and without requiring significant cost. They don’t.

          Brandon Belt is the most logical target for me. Two years of control, no split, good bat and glove. But even he comes with injury concerns and most likely demands multiple top 10 prospects.

          Mike Napoli is the guy I have my eye on as an in-season move if Alvarez flops.

          • There actually is a rational reason I mention Goldy. But to understand why it makes sense, one has to take off their Neal hat and put on their Frank hat. Because such a deal has as much or more to do with business than baseball. Certainly not everyone will follow along, but for some of y’all, I think you’ll at least agree that the thought process makes sense.

            The Bucs are stuck with the Root contract for five more years, although they’ll start seriously renegotiating in four. Meantime, the only variable revenue they can control is gate – both number and ticket price. They’re already at 2.4+ million and would reach 100% capacity at a hair over 3 million – and April/May night games are miserably cold and damp, so you really need a reason to come out on Tuesday night.

            So while you can get some bump in revenue, you’re still not going to get sellouts in the early season. So what they really need to do from a revenue standpoint is accelerate the increases in ticket prices. Equalize with the Brewers and Reds and even pass both of them, or at least the Brewers (who can draw considerably more).

            How do you do that? A big deal for a big player that promises optimism beyond a wild card. A bopper at a position of need that will make everyone forget Pedro was an HR co-champ because you got the other co-champ and he’s better. A break from “the Pirates way” of shopping in the discount aisle – and something that energizes the fan base in ways they couldn’t possibly dream.

            Goldschmidt has the unique attribute of being that star while not breaking the bank financially, and with the all-important cost certainty. If you’re going to cash in some top prospects, four years of Goldy certainly buys you a ton more than two years of Price would have.

            Yes, he will cost top prospects, but let’s look at that. The Bucs end of the deal offers Pedro, with two years of affordable control, plus Bell, who becomes somewhat redundant here but becomes the DBags 1b of the future. Bucs will miss out on only his pre-arb controllable years if he progresses to MLB as expected. Pitching? You can afford to give up Kingham for certain. And maybe even Glasnow if you absolutely have to. You still have a solid rotation for the next two years and a rotation led by Cole/Taillon through 2020 along with other prospects who reach MLB (Keller, et.al.) plus your annual “reclamation projects”.

            The big question is whether it costs you another valuable piece from existing MLB talent. And that would be either Marte or Polanco. And I’d argue that even then, the addition of Goldschmidt still outweighs the loss of either as the Bucs have other options and configurations they can use in the OF without a huge drop in results.

            They’re all but certainly a division contender with Goldschmidt.

            So that’s my case. Goldschmidt = enhanced revenue, allowing the Pirates to be more aggressive in spending between now and such time as the TV contract provides another $20 mill or more per year.

            Feel free to poke holes. I’m not saying it can be done, but I think I’ve offered at least a somewhat compelling case why it should be done. Goldy is a unique player offering a unique set of talents at a unique time in Bucs history. To me, it makes sense.

            The defense rests.

            • IMO, it would take McCutchen and then some to get Goldy, since it would be the Pirates going after Goldy and not the other way around.
              But to address the attendance issue, IMO the fans don’t come out for any one player any more like they did years ago, the only thing that really matters is W’s and L’s. How long have they had McCutchen and he still couldn’t fill this stadium and your talking about arguably the best player in the game, the sellouts come with the W’s. That’s why Stantons contract meant so little to me, he is not a draw and one could put him in the “arguably” best player catagory. I don’t know of any team that has one player that fills up the stadium these days and that includes Goldy.

            • I almost feel bad offering any sort of critique after that thoughtful, well written post. Even if I come off like a dick sometimes, I always respect the guys that take the time to offer up good thoughts.

              I do have to say I believe you’re being a bit optimistic on how much revenue a single player can bring to a team, assuming you’re including this reasoning because you believe that amount is substantial (let’s say >$1m/yr).

              I also don’t think you get a player of that caliber without at least two top-50 prospects, and not sure the team actually improves much overall if you have to include a Marte or Polanco.

              Regardless, I think this winter has shown that teams are willing to shake up their rosters without necessarily having a clear, obvious improvement so I don’t consider your idea crazy at all.

              • I think what you and leadoff are missing is that it’s not a matter of fans coming out to see Goldy. It’s a matter of fans in completely disbelief suddenly acknowledging that this is a complete change in philosophy and that the team is not just a contender for a WC, but the favorite for the division. Just like that.

                This one move eliminates the “they were lucky the last two years”/”I’ll wait till June to go to a game to see if they’re still contending” crowd. And it would even silence Not the “Nutting is cheap” group, even though cash-wise, the revenue gain outweighs the cost by a multiple factor.

    • The Pirates can call anybody about anybody, they are at ground zero right now at 1st base, I agree that they don’t have to deal with a rumored player, they have Alvarez that they can move and other players that they can move if the right fit is out there. Even if they keep Alvarez, they are still going to have to find someone else that can actually play first base, worse case scenario, a bench player, maybe even as last resort, Gabby Sanchez, he did not get picked up yet.

  • Just a quick comment on the veracity of the “rumor”. As I mentioned late on another post, I asked Tom Singer what the genesis of this rumor was as he had tweeted “revisit”, indicating it had been discussed previously. Singer replied that there were discussions between Fish and Bucs on Pedro/Eovaldi on the first day of the winter meetings. I did not ask, nor did he volunteer, whether there were other players involved in said deal. But I find it amusing everyone assumes it could only be 1:1.

  • My question is, what are we going to argue about when the pirates finally do trade pedro? Probably how cutch should be moved out of center ( ludicrous) because his defensive metrics are bad. (What’s an mvp gotta do to get some r-e-s-p-e-c-t)

  • It is tough sorting it all out. Our Pirates didn’t do anything positive for over 20 years and then make the playoffs two years in a row and get knocked out early. Personally, while I’m disappointed that they got knocked out early I’m still happy as hell to have a team that made the playoffs two years in a row and haven’t torched their farm system to do it. I’m happy AJ is back and really expect him to have a solid season. I also feel good about Pedro at first this year and the outfield with Travis coming off the bench. I feel S Rodriguez will give us what Clint and Josh did as utility men which was very good. But what I really feel good about is we don’t have to pay Brian Wilson $9.5 million to play minor league ball, lol!

  • Major conversation piece. I never understood the rumor, nor thought it had any merit. That doesn’t mean though that Pedro can’t have a productive season – especially with payday riding on it.
    Projections and statistics have their place, but the real human side of things doesn’t account for the amount of heart and work someone can put into their craft. I don’t know if Pedro will perform at an elite talent level, but I see him as a very dangerous 7 hole hitter who pitchers will not want to face.
    Here is a projection on the 2015 lineup:
    1. 3B Harrison – best leadoff hitter and table setter.
    2. RF Polanco – The 2 spot will keep his mind on contact, driving the ball to RF and obp
    3. CF Cutch – mvp
    4. 2b Walker – Neil is clutch, and 100 rbi should be his goal
    5. lf Marte –
    6. C Cervelli
    7. 1b Alvarez
    8. ss Mercer

    • Nice post.

      I wouldn’t fall in love with Harrison at leadoff seeing as he doesn’t actually have great on base skills. His OBP will be almost completely dependent on BABIP, and I want at least one more season of proof that he can maintain high rates.

      I also think Marte or Polanco should slot in front of Pedro. Both should either be able to run wild on all the junk thrown to Pedro or force pitchers to bring heat. Plus, Cervelli isn’t much of a hitter, period.

      • agreed. regardless of the rest of this thread, i think we can all agree that the Pirates’ offense is in pretty good shape if its biggest question mark is a guy who is still 28 and is just a season removed from a 3 Win season.

      • I would swap Cervelli / Stewart with Alvarez, but other than that it looks pretty solid against right handed pitching.

        Against traditional lefties, I would go this way:

        1. 3B Harrison
        2. SS Mercer
        3. CF Cutch
        4. LF Marte
        5. RF Polanco
        6. 2B Walker (batting right handed)
        7. C Cervelli / Stewart
        8. 1B Alvarez

        Going against guys like Lester with good cut fastballs or reverse splits would change things a bit.

      • I’m in love with Harrison at leadoff in the absence of another viable option. At least he has BABIP 🙂

        As to Cervelli, his OBP has been good last couple of seasons. One of those with a .200+ ISO, one barely over .100. Hard to really determine much from that, but one can see the basis for making a comparison to Martin’s offense. I’d be more concerned with him getting 400+ PAs. We know Stewart has no power. Cervelli is still a question mark there, IMO. But if Stewart sees more than 200 PAs, that can’t be a good thing.

    • Note:

      http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/splits/_/id/29590/type/batting3/neil-walker

      In the last three years (2012-2014), Neil Walker’s batting #’s based upon his position in the batting order (minimum 100 ABs):
      Batting 2nd – 164 for 607, .270 AVE, .803 OPS
      Batting 4th – 66 for 263, .251 AVE, .752 OPS
      Batting 5th – 99 for 348, .284 AVE, .777 OPS
      Batting 6th – 31 for 113, .274 AVE, .820 OPS

      Pedro’s cleanup numbers are even worse. Should McCutchen be moved down to the cleanup spot with Harrison, Polanco / Mercer, and Marte ahead of him? I want to say yes because of the chances he will get leading off innings and running the bases with no one in front of him.

      • Cutch is our best hitter, with the best OBP. He stays in 3rd because of that. My offering on the lineups is:

        Against RHP:
        1 – Polanco
        2 – Harrison
        3 – Cutch
        4 – Walker
        5 – Marte
        6 – Pedro
        7 – Cervelli
        8 – Mercer

        Against LHP:
        1 – Harrison
        2 – Mercer
        3 – Cutch
        4 – Marte
        5 – Walker
        6 – Cervelli
        7 – Polanco
        8 – Pedro or Rodrigez

  • Alvarez might end up in Miami anyway as a platoon player, nothing says that Miami is happy with Jones, in fact they have tried to trade him. Alvarez is expendable, he is not going to start at 3rd base, 1st base is unproven territory and the Pirates were actually a much better team after he got hurt, just look at their record in Sept. no other stats needed. Home runs are great, but they could have paid Reynolds 2mil to play 1st base and hit 20-25 Hrs. The difference between Reynolds and Alvarez is that Reynolds is a very good glove 1st basemen. They both strike out at a ridiculous rate, but that is what you get with most power hitters these days. Ideal situation is a power hitter hitting in the 3 or 4 spot, but Alvarez strikes out far too many times for those spots, therefore he has to be stuck further down the lineup and that still leaves the team without a power hitter near the top of the lineup. Watching Alvarez, I get the feeling, someone, somewhere is going to teach this guy how to hit, unlike pitching Guru’s, the Pirates don’t seem to have a hitting Guru. Maybe that is the guy they should be looking for!

    • For his career, Mark Reynolds is a -6.6 UZR/150 defender at first base.
      For his career, Garrett Jones is a -5.2 UZR/150 defender at first base.

      You’re allowed to fact check yourself before saying things, you know.

    • Now, after NMR’s comment, how stupid do you think you look leadoff ? Reynolds ” is a very good glove man ” ? That is hilarious !

  • Maybe Morse flops and Pedro has a career year and then we try this trade again next offseason.

  • Well at least the pirates were thinking about trading the albatross. That in itself is hopefull.

    • So he’s either one of the best hitters in baseball, or he sucks. Sure, completely logical.

      Perfect post to directly follow Andrew.

    • Nothing about Pedro’s contract value vs. value he brings on the field comes close to “albatross” level. Maybe, though i still disagree, one can argue he will be overpaid after he gets the arb raise, but it aint dragging down the teams finances.

  • It is okay to think that Alvarez will hit about 10% better than league average over 550 PAs, be an average fielder at 1B, provide value closer to average than replacement level, and doesn’t have much trade value?

    Or do I need occupy one of the poles and bunker in?

  • I want the Pirates and Pedro to do well and succeed – but what I am really worried about is the grounder to first for the 3-6-4, 3-6-1 or 3-6-3 double play. His throwing errors last year were bad, and got into his head. Sometimes they cost a run but if he starts throwing balls into left center not only will it get into his head but we will be seeing Marte having to make a lot of throws to the plate. I am rooting for Pedro because from the very small sample we got last year I think if he gets comfortable in the field his bat will come back, but there is a big risk factor here.

    • Pedro successfully started 17 5-4-3 DP’s out of 18 attempts last season.

      The Pirates, as a team, started 13 3-6-3/1 double plays last season.

    • Did you worry about that when Garrett Jones was attempting to play 1st base ?

  • Wait, so that one tweet that wasnt based in a background of actual sources wasnt legit? Color me surprised.

  • RichardJarzynka
    December 16, 2014 11:05 am
    • Pirate Fan in MD
      December 16, 2014 11:15 am

      The offensive stats are eerily similar however you lose the argument when you take into account the relateive value of a 3rd baseman versus a stiff in the OF. Up until this year, Pedro Alvarez played a VERY PASSABLE 3rd base. Incaviglia was always a stiff and a liability in the OF.

      • RichardJarzynka
        December 16, 2014 11:31 am

        Alvarez’s career UZR is 29 runs below average. His Defensive Runs Saved is 28 runs below average. He has never had a season in which his UZR was above average. His DRS was above average in only one season.

        From age 23 through age 27, Incaviglia’s career WAR was 5.5. Alvarez’s is 5.9.

        Even with the difference in positions, they have been much the same player with very similar total value.

        • I’m guessing Richard never played baseball and strictly gets his info from a stat sheet

          • Well there is a convincing counter-point, no need further debate.

          • RichardJarzynka
            December 16, 2014 3:15 pm

            Ah, yes, the old, stereotypical stat-geek, nerd argument. From what do you get your baseball info? Have you seen the at-bats of every hitter in the major leagues so you can use your “eye-test” and whatever experience you might have to determine how Alvarez compares to every player since 1970.

            The stat sheets say there isn’t any hitter nearly as comparable to Pedro Alvarez as Pete Incaviglia. Did you ever see Incaviglia hit? And, if so, what are your scouting/hitting-coach credentials?

            I prefer the stats to the amateur eye-test analysis of fans.

  • We are talking about the club that just traded Andrew Heaney for Dee Gordon, correct?

    It’s impossible as outsiders to make claims about what “makes sense” for clubs without knowing what they value individually.

  • Pirate Fan in MD
    December 16, 2014 10:25 am

    I’m not sure I saw any of you complaining in 2013 when he slugged 36 home runs to tie for the National League lead headed into the Divisional Playoff and then single handedly almost carried them past the Cardinals. His glove is above average. It’s his arm that caused the problem last year. 40 HR power does not grow on trees, there are a handful in all of baseball. And you guys are clamoring about a stiff in Michael Morse?!?!? Thank God you’re not the GM’s of this team, we’d be stuck in the Dark Ages again just like we were with Littlefield.

    • Agreeed …. Agreed…. Agreed. We may not see a player with that much power potential here in the next 5 years if Alvarez leaves. He’s a rare one, definitely worth giving him a season at 1st to see what he can do.

    • Even with the homers, we was only slightly above average. Homers are nice, but overrated.

      At best, Pedro is a slightly above average 1b (which would be GREAT. It’s been forever since we’ve had one of those!). At worst…. he is what he was last year.

      There is a point where you have to stop dreaming of the potential and just accept a guy for what he is…. Maybe Pedro’s at that point, maybe he isn’t.

      • You assumed he’s at that point where his potential is realized by stating at best he’s an average 1b. . Some people feel he’s not at that point..

      • Pirate Fan in MD
        December 16, 2014 11:07 am

        35-40 HR’s are never overrated! There are maybe 2 handful of players that have that kind of legitimate ability and players like that have been coveted for as long as I’ve been watching baseball. Even if he hits .230-.240, K’s 175 times, the 35-40 HR’s and the walks (which are on the rise) will make him a presence in the lineup that this team can not easily replace. His glove defense is good enough to become better than an above average 1st baseman. If you wanna trade him at the end of next year when his value has risen dramatically after a successful 2015, so be it. Selling low and watching him mash for another team would be disasterous!

        • It’s fine if we disagree that just because something is rare, it is valuable. no biggy.

          • Pirate Fan in MD
            December 16, 2014 11:36 am

            Of course. But, for me, the value of a 40 HR hitter is the scarcity of that kind of potential. My expectation is that if the Pedro of 2013 shows up with an increased walk percentage and plays a more than passable 1st base, then the BUCS could trade him away and expect a substantial return with 1-2 remaining of control.
            All I’m saying is that Alvarez should get the opportunity to play 1st base and return to his 2013 form which IMO is the difference between a Wild Card finish and a World Series Champion. The way this team is constructed, he and his production is the wild card.

            • i agree that Pedro at his best is probably better than most of the guys the bucs could reasonably acquire.

              I guess it just scares me that he’s just sooooo inconsistent from year to year. flip a coin.

              I guess i just prefer a guy who has an 80% shot at 2 WAR over a guy who has a 50% shot at 0 war and a 50% shot at 3 WAR. Maybe.

              i dunno.

              • Even this argument, that he’s soooooo inconsistent from year to year, seems specious at best.

                Mike Morse put up a wRC+ of 80 in 2013. Adam LaRoche has been worth less than a full win in three of his last five. We all know Justin Morneau’s post-peak history.

                A more accurate statement would be that MOST non-elite power hitters are inconsistent.

          • Wait, now your argument is that a rare commodity that has value isn’t valuable?

            What?

            • no. i’m saying that the rare commodity isn’t valuable because it is rare.

              • In the abstract, sure.

                But we’re not speaking abstractly. We’re speaking of home runs, which are obviously valuable. Specifically, of a player that can hit more than 99% of the rest of the players in the league.

                Yes, that sort of rare is absolutely valuable. You’re over thinking this if you can’t see that.

                • my original argument was that Home runs are overrated and that overrated doesn’t necessarily mean “not good.”

                  home runs have value. a ton of it. i have never doubted that. but i can also think they are overrated.

              • If you use the market value of home runs, there’s few skillsets that command as much money.. seems reasonable to think home runs are valuable

      • The “homers are overrated” argument is as overused as the “Pedro hit 30+ homers argument”.

        Look at the difference between OPS+, which uses slugging percentage, and wRC+, which uses wOBA. The most extreme differences only amount to a couple percent.

      • “Homers are overrated”. Until you hit the postseason, which we plan to do several times in the next 5 years.

        • just curious. what changes about the game in the postseason that makes home runs mean more than usual?

          • Easy answer: sequencing.

            In a short series, you’re absolutely going to want to the guy that could put two or three balls into the seats over the guy who is going to put up a .350 OBP.

            • but if you have a guy whose a 30 homer guy (30 homers/160 games… homers in about 20% of games)… who hits a homer in 50% of his playoff games… don’t you also have to give the same benefit to the .350 OBP guy to potentially put up a .500 OBP in a playoff series?

              a 30 homer guy might hit 0 and he might hit 4 homers. a .300 hitter might hit .100 and he might hit .500.

              I guess my counter argument is that any type of player can overperform in the playoffs.

              • The argument doesn’t change.

                In a series that can send you home in three games, the difference between a .350 OBP and a .500 OBP is less than two bases.

                • my point was just that if you assume one type of player will more than double one trait, you have to assume the other type of player could heavily heavily heavily increase a trait.

                  then i guess i can transfer my argument to that for every powerful player that you just assume will hit 3 homers in a series, there will be a powerful player who hits 0 homers in a series.

                  unless there’s data that shows that powerful players tend to outperform their regular season stats when they are in the playoffs.

                  • You’re just circling your original argument at this point.

                    Again, given the same odds of occurrence, a player who primarily adds value through power will be more valuable than a player who primarily provides value with OBP because of sequencing.

                    Home runs are instant offense. OBP requires multiple events chained together. Over the long run these usually even out making sequencing something you don’t really factor, but the same simply cannot be said over small samples.

                  • Homerun hitters and strikeout pitchers are invaluable in the playoffs.

          • The SSS that is the playoffs makes single at bats or single situations waaaay more important, so a guy that can produce instant offense becomes more valuable. HRs were a large reason KC made its way through the entire playoffs, even though they made the playoffs with everything but HRs.

          • Better pitching/defense.. much less likely to string three singles together to get the same run

      • Home runs are not over rated. They are instant offense and game changing. What good is a 2 out bases empty walk? What good is a single with a guy on first with 2 out? Home runs change games in the blink of an eye, and Pedro adds that demension to our lineup. Tie game in the ninth with nobody on and 2 out, would you rather see Pedro at the plate or like Davis? Or gabby? Keep your obp and I’ll take the guy who can hit it out at any time.

        • Is Gaby facing a lefty?

        • i guess im saying Home Runs are still relatively rare events… even for the biggest home run hitters.

          the contact guy will give the team an extra run in innings 1-8 (and 9, for that matter) as often as the the big bopper will win the game in the 9th (and innings 1-8)

  • RichardJarzynka
    December 16, 2014 10:09 am

    Signing Morse and trading Alvarez for Eovaldi would have been too good to be true.

    The Pirates, now, desperately need a right-handed platoon for Alvarez. He has a .588 career OPS against LHP. Last year, his OPS vs. LHP was .504. Bring back Gaby!

    • Not sure it is too good to be true just not happening. I agree with the overall point, because based on Morse rumored salary of $12 mm, Morse + roster spot = Alvarez + RHH 1B option. And Eovaldi is all surplus, I’m not sure Morse is going to outperform Pedro, he is 33 and has had continued back/core muscle problems and a wrist surgery in the last three years, there has to be some projected aging.

      And no way Alvarez should have to face LHP for 140 PAs.

      • Well said, and I’ll add that is a rumored $12m GUARANTEED money(my apologies for the caps, wish we had italics).

        I’ll be very surprised if there aren’t heavy incentives involved given his injury history.

    • Richard we have gone back and forth on these types of topics a lot on the smizik blog. In theory your.numbers about Pedro make sense. Get him a platoon bat against LHP, unfortunatly what SABR stats do is they do not directly apply perfectly to real life. I truly believe that if you sit Pedro against all LHP it decreases his effectivness agaisnt RHP. There is somethung to coming to the ballpark evryday to play. In oedros best year he played everyday, then when he struggles and you start sitting him he never reallytakes off vs rhp . I want hik in thdir everyday , Cutch has said the same thing. Im not sure why sabr guys dont take this into account. My brother (who played jn the atlantic league last year, amd a LHH) always says he is at his best when he playz everyday. This Bucs team this year looks like its going witha solid full tike lineup, no platoons.

  • You know, I do not know a lot about this stuff, but is anyone worried about sitting behind home plate with bases loaded and a ground ball is hit to first base?

    How about when a runner is on first and a ball is hit deep into the right field corner?

    • lonleylibertarian
      December 16, 2014 10:05 am

      How about you and the rest of the Pedro bashers just giving the guy a chance.
      I want the Pirates to win and Pedro to do well and contribute. 30 HRs are hard
      to find these days.

      • ResistanceIsUseless
        December 16, 2014 10:12 am

        How about you and the rest of the Pedro defender acknowledge that there’s more to baseball than HR’s? Too many strikeouts and GIDP’s, along with a downright bad BA and OBP drag down those HR’s. Tack on bad defense and the whole package just isn’t that great. He’s only had a couple years where he’s been an overall benefit to the team, and the league now seems to know how to get him out.

        • He’s only had a couple years where he’s been an overall benefit to the team…

          ___________________________________
          Yeah! How dare people defend a guy who’s been an overall benefit to the team for a couple years! Guys who are benefits to their teams should be dumped at their lowest point of value, no questions asked!

          • ResistanceIsUseless
            December 16, 2014 12:50 pm

            He’s been a detriment to the team duiring those other years he wasn’t beneficial. Why are defending that?

            • Because you could say “during the times he’s not a benefit, he’s a detriment” about anybody. So it seems like not a very good basis for decision-making.

              • ResistanceIsUseless
                December 16, 2014 3:44 pm

                Actually, there could be times when a player is neither beneficial nor detrimental, but neutral. That said, basically you are now splitting hairs. So, to be more fully accurate, I’ll put it this way: Pedro has been in the majors for five seasons. He has overall been beneficial to the team for two of those seasons; for the other three seasons he has been a detriment.

                As I said elsewhere, a player should be evaluated as to his whole body of work, including things like defense and on base percentage. For some reason, lots of people forget this when a player hits a lot of home runs.

                • As I said elsewhere, a player should be evaluated as to his whole body of work, including things like defense and on base percentage.

                  ___________________________________________________________________
                  Yeah, but I don’t have to give the same emphasis that you do to those things. And I evaluate his whole body of work as telling me that you don’t give up on a guy with his power potential just because every other facet of his offensive or defensive game isn’t perfect or isn’t to the fans’ liking.

                  • ResistanceIsUseless
                    December 16, 2014 5:03 pm

                    True, you don’t have to put the same emphasis on things that I do, but I did say that you should evaluate his whole skill set. It seems to me you power lovers just see the power and ignore the rest.

                    As for Pedro’s power, it’s been largely potential, potential, potential. We’re still waiting for that potential to develop to the point that his power consistently outweighs the things that drag down his value.

                    • Largely potential– except for that year he shared the league HR title and the year before that when he hit 30. And then there was the 16 he hit as a rookie in a little over half a season. Heck, even last year’s 18 HR’s was tied for 4th in the NL for 3B. That’s potential well-realized to me.

                    • ResistanceIsUseless
                      December 16, 2014 7:07 pm

                      But there were lots of people predicting that Pedro would be a perennial 40 HR/120RBI hitter. He’s come nowhere close yet and there’s no reason to think that’s he’s going to. Unfortunately, the poor defense and low BA/OBP drag down his value enough that he needs to be a 40HR/120RBI guy to make himself really valuable to the team (assuming he doesn’t improve the other parts of his game).

                    • Just because he’s not a 40 HR/120 RBI guy doesn’t mean he’s useless or should be given up on. I take it your point is something like: he’d be more valuable if he were a perfect player. No kidding. But the things he does do well are in short supply and it’s not like he’s abysmal in all these other area that you keep trotting out.

                      Did you know he’s had a league average OBP every year except 2011 and 2013? Source:

                      http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs.aspx?playerid=2495&position=3B&page=1&type=full

                    • ResistanceIsUseless
                      December 16, 2014 8:25 pm

                      No, that’s not my point. My point is that Alvarez’ negatives pretty much offset his positives. The team can do better. I take it your point is that he hit 30 HR’s a couple times so any and all flaws are forever forgiven.

                      No, I wasn’t aware he had a league average OBP … but that looks to include pitchers.

                      As long as we’re discussing Alvarez skills that are in short supply, are you aware he was second in the league in times striking out in 2012 and led the league 2013? That he’s led the league in errors committed for 3 straight years?

                    • It’s MLB average OBP. It includes pitchers and DH’s. The point is that maybe the parts of his game that you assert are dragging down his overall value aren’t as rock-bottom as you think they are.

                      Yes, the guy strikes out a lot and makes errors. In the as-yet-undefined ResistanceisUseless measure of player performance, that means he’s terrible. According to Baseball Reference and FanGraphs WAR has him as pretty good in his good years. He’d be great if he improved on the things you criticize him for, but even as it stands now– faults and all– he’s still about a 3 WAR player in his good years. That ain’t too bad and I’m not sure there’s another available player out there who’d be significantly better without having a prohibitive acquisition cost.

                    • ResistanceIsUseless
                      December 16, 2014 10:02 pm

                      Sorry to bail on this, but it’s obvious that we’re not going to change one another’s opinions, and things seem to be devolving into insults. I’m trying to avoid such. Although I generally dislike it when it’s done, I feared I wouldn’t be able to avoid such comments, so I tried to delete the thread, but don’t seem to be able to do that.

                      Anyway, it seems we are both passionate fans of the Pirates. Heck, as long as he’s a Pirate I do cheer for Alvarez – he actually seems like a good guy. So I hope we can just agree to disagree and move on.

                    • I’m not getting how you assume it’s devolving into insults, but OK.

                    • You should be exhausted from trying to make any points with the “guest” from hell! Or possibly St. Louis or Cincinnati.

                    • There you go trying to spoil the guy’s fun with facts steve !

              • You are a moron
                December 17, 2014 11:47 am

                I must say, Steve. I respect your passion, diligence, and pride. You, sir, are what makes this country great. Thank you for waking up each morning and bringing that same enthusiasm, tenacity, and will to everything you do.

            • You aren’t too informed on how MLB works in the 2nd decade of the 21st century I see. If I were you I would try a little harder to get up to speed.

        • Pedro’s Defense is actually pretty good aside from his throws from 3B. IF you happen to look at his errors last year at 3B, almost 99% of the errors were throwing errors(at one point it was 1 booted ball and 27 throwing errors). He is still very athletic and can still move as evidenced by several triples he had last year. He handles ground balls and bouncing balls okay. I’m assuming an underhand toss to the Pitcher isn’t an issue. Also, I think the throwing errors really got into his head and that really hurt his batting. You start to press thinking you have to make up for the error, by hitting HRs or getting big hits. When you can’t make that throw, it creeps into your batting. Then Last Year, Hurdle didn’t bat him much near the end of the season, so that can’t help your average either if you’re getting 1 AB a game or so.

          He does strike out, but Power hitters strike out quite often. Power hitters like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire, Jose Conseco, and Ryan Howard struck out quite often. There are the Exceptions to the rules like Albert Pujols. 30 HRs/100+ RBI is nothing to ignore. He is going to struggle against Lefties and maybe he’s a platoon type player. but he is still useful.

          • ResistanceIsUseless
            December 16, 2014 1:28 pm

            Several triples last year? Pedro has 6 triples in his entire major league career, and only one of them was last year.

            Also, he “only” had 25 scored errors last season, so he couldn’t have had 27 throwing errors (he could have had a couple more just from the games I was at, but they were scored differently). Furthermore, it’s hard to attribute fielding issues with offensive issues for a guy who’s overall batting numbers are near his career averages, in spite of those defensive issues.

            He didn’t bat much at the end of the season because he was injured. True, he couldn’t improve his average while not playing, but he also couldn’t make it worse. Given his seasonal average was pretty close to his career average, I don’t think he’d have done much to his average either way if he had been healthy and in the line up.

            As someone who fondly remembers Stargell, I know about power hitters striking out a lot. Nearly every baseball fan knows this; being told this every time something is said about a guy striking out a lot is insulting and tiresome! Back to the subject: The trouble is that Pedro doesn’t do enough to make up for those strike outs; sticking with a comparison from my youth, he is more like Dave Kingman than Stargell or Reggie Jackson.

            Pedro’s defense seems to be something that people argue about also. Some say he’s great, except the accuracy of his arm. Others say he’s limited in range and only average in actually fielding the ball. I don’t get to a lot of games, but when I have seen him play I think he’s been okay, but not spectacular. FWIW, his baseball-reference dWAR has only been positive in one year.

            As far as I know, no one is ignoring 30HR/100 RBI (Pedro has hit exactly 100 once, he’s not surpassed it yet). However, the whole player is what needs to be evaluated. Alvarez is a so-called 3 True Outcomes hitter; the trouble is he gets too few walks and hits too few HR, and too many K’s.

      • @lonley – I have a hard time keeping up with all the people you are bashing and all the people you are defending. Could you give us a quick bullet point list?

        • lonleylibertarian
          December 16, 2014 10:42 am

          Don’t think i am bashing anyone on the current roster – Davis is gone – thank goodness 😉
          I am on a better defense crusade so would like to see Walker move to a corner and Marte take over in center – but am a big fan of Cutch and Walker overall.

          • Lonely has been pretty consistent with his bashing and praise..

          • @lonley – looks like you and I agree on more than I thought. I’m also glad Davis is gone, also a big fan of Cutch and Walker. Marte looks like he’s capable of becoming the best player on the field, even better than McCutchen, but he’ll need to continue to improve his plate discipline to reach his potential. Regarding Walker, I’m not sure how you cover 2nd right now if he moves to a corner, unless you simply switch him and Harrison between 2nd and 3rd. Might not be a bad idea.

          • If you look into Walkers stats he is an above average defensive 2nd baseman (I was surprised too). He has less range than some guys, but the stuff he gets to – there aren’t many mistakes to complain about. I will admit to being a Walker fan, but I do wish people would go beyond the eye test with him. The back problems are worrisome as he gets older, but his bat keeps improving, his plate discipline keeps improving, and hit defense is above average. If his appendix hadn’t almost ruptured – APPENDIX mind you (not exactly a baseball injury) – he would have had a good argument for an all-star appearance. Walker may still be one of the most underrated guys on the team, and considering he is a local guy that is kind of surprising. Maybe it’s because I’m not local and only moved here a few years ago but I think with Martin gone Walker is your 2nd most reliable / important bat right now after Cutch.

            • @Asd – Hopefully Marte will be the 2nd most important / reliable bat right after Cutch this year. Otherwise we might be in trouble.

            • By what measure are you seeing him ranked as an above average 2nd baseman. He has had a negative UZR and UZR/150 every single year of his career and last year he ranked as the 17th best defensive 2nd baseman

              http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=7539&position=2B#fielding

              http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=2b&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=y&type=1&season=2014&month=0&season1=2014&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=24,d

              • @Tetra – UZR is not the only metric to look at. Neil was top 10 among 2nd basemen in the MLB last year in fewest errors (3rd), most double plays (10th), most innings (10th), total chances (10th), putouts (9th), assists (10th), fielding percentage (3rd), and range factor (9th).

                Neil is serviceable, definitely not a guy who jumps out of the stadium, but dependable. He probably would be better suited as a corner infielder with his body type and injury history. Our problem is that we don’t really have a decent replacement for him, unless you want him and Harrison to swap bases (which may not be a bad idea for the short term).

                • Tetrapharmakos
                  December 16, 2014 2:48 pm

                  Seriously? Errors, double plays, put outs, assists, fielding% These are either simple count stats, which don’t depend on the player’s quality to accumulate, just playing time and opportunity. Or they are rate stats that are effectively incorporated into a far better composite, i.e. UZR/150.

                  • @Tetra – “These are either simple count stats, which don’t depend on the player’s quality to accumulate, just playing time and opportunity”

                    That would be true if his #chances were down or his range factor was bottoming out, but his quantity numbers across the boards were above average and on par with other top 10 second baseman. Therefore his percentage of positive outcomes per chance are not terrible. Not that I disagree with you – he’s clearly limited, and the Bucs need to find a different spot for him. One of the areas where he’s below average is starting double plays – something we could use a lot more of. But, he’s acceptable for what he does and for what’s being asked of him, especially when you consider his contribution at the plate.

                • You cant use errors or fielding percentage to judge a player, since i can stand in one spot and field only that right at me and be great. Double plays also is a bit tricky, since it doesnt really account for things like range or situation. Innings doesnt make any sense to me in judging defensive quality. Chances is also flawed, as its really a rod to the pitcher giving up a ton of GB as opposed to him being all over the field. Putouts and assists are fine, but easy GB to 2B that he throws to first can really skew that, particularly for a team that gets a ton of GB. Really the only thing you used that is legit is range factor, with UZR taking into account range. UZR is really a pretty solid way to measure the defense of a player that tries to avoid measures that are arbitrary.

                  • @Lukas – “You cant use errors or fielding percentage to judge a player, since i can stand in one spot and field only that right at me and be great.”

                    That’s why you’ve got to look at stats like total chances, assists, double plays, etc. Those stats show that he’s putting himself in position to accumulate a lot of positive outcomes. A guy who stood still would have a lot fewer chances and other measurables. You can’t just disregard the fact that he’s top 10 in total chances, putouts and assists, and top 3 in fewest errors at the same time. It’s clear that for the limited things he does, he does them fairly reliably.

                    Even so, he’s clearly benefiting from the defensive shifts, which cut down the area he needs to cover in a lot of cases.

                    • Tetrapharmakos
                      December 16, 2014 5:04 pm

                      A guy without advanced shifting and a staff full of flyball pitchers would also have a lot fewer chances, so while you can’t disregard, you certainly can questions and discount total chances, et al.

                      The only thing that give me pause is the range factor, because I am unfamiliar with the methodology, but “range” along with assists errors, etc are all baked into UZR, so I don’t know why I should put more stock in the individual component parts and weight each component arbitrarily rather than look at the composite score that has adjusted by linear weights. In other words, UZR doesn’t disregard the things you are talking about, it just weights them with an empirically determined coefficient and compiles them into a single number.

                    • @tetra – “The only thing that give me pause is the range factor, because I am unfamiliar with the methodology, but “range” along with assists errors, etc are all baked into UZR, so I don’t know why I should put more stock in the individual component parts and weight each component arbitrarily rather than look at the composite score that has adjusted by linear weights.”

                      True, and I’m not discounting UZR. But you have to consider the possibility that Neil might be giving the Pirates what they want, by handling a large volume of chances with a very low error rate. It’s clear that the shifts and the groundball pitching are designed to create more chances for that spot on the field.

                      It’s also possible that the Pirates are using an entirely different, proprietary metric (quite likely in fact), and that they have somehow factored defensive shifts and groundball pitching into their overall algorithm.

                    • So if i have a high number of chances, it makes me a great defender? You dont see how that can be flawed? You assume that stat=him being in a spot to make a play, when it is just as likely that could mean the team shifted him well and the pitcher (in a system that wants it) induced a GB. I can somewhat disregard him being top 10 in areas that do not account for the overall game. You are taking that which shows very limited, and often not his pure skills, factors and assuming it makes him a top 10 defender or above average. Every single person who for a living studies it called Walker well below average last year. I dont like it, but its a fact. He does benefit from shifts, and that still made him a liability last year. Another year like he had and he gets moved from 2B BECAUSE of his defense.

                      Walker is a great guy, and a solid hitter. But he regressed big time on defense and does not have the range to stick if he plays like he did last year.

                    • @Lukas – “So if i have a high number of chances, it makes me a great defender? You dont see how that can be flawed?”

                      No, I’m not saying that #chances makes him a good defender. For some reason though, he’s getting a lot of chances, probably due to the shifting as you’ve stated.

                      Once he starts making a bunch of errors, I think you’ll see a bigger outcry to move him. In the meantime, it seems that the club considers his offense to make up for his defensive shortfalls. He somehow managed to tie for 1st in the NL in total WAR among 2nd basemen last year.

                    • You went from saying chances are key, to then saying as long as he doesnt make a ton of errors he is fine (which is just so not how teams should judge a player” to saying his overall WAR means his being a big time problem on defense is fine. On this team, defense means a whole lot. Its been documented that the philosophy of inducing GBs and relying on defense has likely improved this team multiple wins per year. So overlooking Walker’s flaws on defense isnt okay, and a Jeter like “well, he doesnt make many errors so he is good at defense” ignores a large portion of what makes a good defender. He wont make many errors with his crappy range.

                    • @Lukas – “You went from saying chances are key, to then saying as long as he doesnt make a ton of errors he is fine (which is just so not how teams should judge a player” to saying his overall WAR means his being a big time problem on defense is fine.”

                      No – I started by saying “don’t just look at UZR, here are some other measurables”. You’ve argued those other measurables one-by-one, and I was just providing some possible counter-points. Doesn’t mean you are wrong – you probably aren’t.

                      “He wont make many errors with his crappy range.”

                      What’s weird is Neil’s #6 standing in OOZ, but #19 in RngR. How do you rank so high in out-of-zone plays and rank so low in Range Runs? Jose Altuve is another odd one – #1 in OOZ, #20 in Range Runs. Is that common for those metrics not to correlate at all? In fact, all but one of the top 6 in OOZ are bottom 14-20 in RngR. The one guy who is top 6 in both is Howie Kendrick – a big burly dude who doesn’t look anything like the Ozzie Smith prototype middle infielder.

                    • Tetrapharmakos
                      December 17, 2014 9:47 am

                      “What’s weird is Neil’s #6 standing in OOZ, but #19 in RngR. How do you rank so high in out-of-zone plays and rank so low in Range Runs?”

                      THIS. This is the empirical evidence of that Walker is benefiting from shifts. OOZ “for purposes of the definition, is considered those parts of the field in which on average a fielder is able to convert half of his chances into outs.” The “average fielder” takes no account of the individual’s starting position (e.g. shift). While RngR is “…determined by how the fielder is able to get to balls hit in his vicinity.” And in this case “his vicinity” takes starting location into account. I would bet anything that the Houston Astros also employ a lot of shift which would explain Altuve.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_zone_plays_made

                      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/glossary/

              • Any idea how Walker compares to Johnny Ray? He was all bat, had the range of a telephone pole.

                • Tetrapharmakos
                  December 16, 2014 4:46 pm

                  Well, UZR doesn’t go back that far, what we do have is Total Zone rating, which is less reliable. So take what follows with a grain of salt. Johnny Ray (Pirates/Angels ’81 to ’90) had a career TZ score of 20 runs above average, so he averaged a 2.2 runs above average over his career. His median TZ rating was -2.5. His best season was a +20 run season, his worst was a -14.

                  When it come to Walker we a largely comparing apples to oranges. Luckily (maybe not for Neil) 2010 was the last year of TZ ratings and in that season Neil Walker had a -11 (which would have been Johnny Ray’s second worst season). Furthermore, as I said before, Walker has never once posted a positive UZR score, while Ray had 5 such seasons and a postive TZ score over his career.

                  Based on that, one might conclude that Johnny “range of a telephone pole” Ray was a better defender than Neil Walker.

                  http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1010727&position=2B#fielding

                  http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=7539&position=2B#fielding

                  • Thanks for the info. I wonder what shaped my perception that Ray’s defense was not that good. Maybe I remember him at the end of his career, or maybe it seemed that way since he played on astro turf.

            • Walker was, last year, solidly below average overall on defense at 2nd. Not sure where you acquire the backing to say he was above average, because about 3 people who do defensive stats rate him as having been shockingly bad. His range got worse and he was unable to get to many balls he had the previous year. Could be a blip, but he wasnt above average on defense last year statistically.

      • RichardJarzynka
        December 16, 2014 10:35 am

        When Alvarez hit 36 HRs in 2013, his OPS was .770 and his wRC+ was 112. The major league averages for 1B were .772 and 112.

        Alvarez, at his home-run-hitting best, produces no better than average overall offense for a first-baseman.

        • And when was the last time the team could say they’ve gotten average production out of the position?

          People talk like ONLY getting Alvarez’s production is akin to failure. Please.

          • RichardJarzynka
            December 16, 2014 10:49 am

            Signing Morse would have given them far better than average production from 1B and a player who does not require a platoon. His career and 2014 OPS against both RHP and LHP are all over .800.

            And the most recent version of Alvarez was well below league average offensive production at 1B.

            For his career, Alvarez’s wRC+ (overall offensive run creation) is just 104. That’s only 4% better than league average for all positions.

            • If the expectation of morris is providing ‘far’ better than average production then why is he commanding only a two year deal at his age 32 season.. and why would marlins first entertain giving up prospects to get much less expected production

              • Because those things Richard said aren’t actually true.

                But you knew that already.

                • RichardJarzynka
                  December 16, 2014 12:11 pm

                  Morse’s OPS against LHP and RHP, for both his career and 2014, are all over .800. His wRC+ last year was 133; 33% better than the league average for all positions. The average for 1B was 109. 24 percentage points equals ‘far’ better than league average.

                  Alvarez hit for a .717 OPS last year, with a .504 OPS against left-handed
                  pitchers. His career OPS is .745, with a .588 OPS against LHP.

                  Morse’s UZR per Season at 1B is -2.2; just slightly below average.

                  We don’t know that the Marlins first entertained giving up prospects for
                  Alvarez. That was a twitter-based rumor, which, as Tim pointed out,
                  never made sense.

                  • Man. If that’s how future expectations are set we might want to consider trading jhay for bumgardner

            • Your comment only makes sense if you believe recency bias is a good thing.

              It is not.

              • RichardJarzynka
                December 16, 2014 12:02 pm

                I cited his 2013 statistics, which were better than his most “recent” statistics. We could go to his full career, in which he has a .745 OPS and 104 wRC+; 4% better than league average for all positions.

                • You’re still doing it wrong…if you’re making a statement like so-and-so is GOING to be better than so-and-so you should probably frame your argument on what they’re projected to do in the future, not what they’ve done in the past.

                  Morse and Alvarez project to be extremely similar players.

                  • RichardJarzynka
                    December 16, 2014 3:06 pm

                    Based on past performance, over the last 5 seasons, Morse projects to be the much better player next year. On what do you base your projection?

                    • Actually, projections have Morse as a….wait for it…. 112 wRC+. 2012 and 2013 both saw Morse as league average or below if he were a 1Bmen, with 2014 being a huge year for him. Projections have Morse at .5 WAR with the aforementioned wRC+ with Pedro at 115 wRC+ and 1.8 WAR. The BABIP for Morse is simply unsustainable at .348 from last year (he saw BABIP of .254 the previous year). Even if Morse keeps a high BABIP, it’ll almost assuredly come down a bit. His ISO is also likely to drop a bit. All that would give him similar overall power, a lower average and lower OBP which places him similar to Pedro.

                    • Um, actual projections?

                      My goodness…

              • Man, I hope you don’t apply that thinking to Josh Harrison 🙂

          • I think his point is that his upside is overrated.

            My opinion (and i think his opinion) is that “overrated” doesn’t necessarily mean “not good.” However “better than what they had before” doesn’t necessarily mean “good” or “not wildly inconsistent” as well.

            Sometimes the 36 homers are cited like that’s the only stat that matters. Like just because he hits dingers, he has this massive upside. But i think the situation is more like “he NEEDS to hit 36 in order to be even an average player. which would be fine… if he hit 36 dingers”

            Slightly above average player is the upside here. And that’d be great. but we’ve also seen the downside.

            • “However “better than what they had before” doesn’t necessarily mean “good” or “not wildly inconsistent” as well.”

              No, “better than what they had before” means league average. Like I said. This point doesn’t need to be tugged in either direction any more than that.

              Fans seem glad to accept league average offense at shortstop and catcher, but for some reason it always is presented as ONLY league average when speaking of Alvarez and first base.

        • lonleylibertarian
          December 16, 2014 10:43 am

          Average is an improvement over what has been on first for the Bucs for the last few seasons – I am optimistic that Pedro will not only bounce back but thrive as a first baseman.

        • I think the idea is to give pedro a chance to continue developing as a hitter.. I take that as not just excepting that 770 is his peak.. just his hr hitting best to date.. It’s not too difficult to reason last year as a lost year given his struggles with yips

        • Only if you assume that OPS and wRC+ is the exclusive and all-inclusive definition of offensive production, right?

      • Lonley, not a basher here. To be honest, he is one player I would personally like to meet. I believe he is a quality person and a good family man. I wish him all the best, but being a non baseball person, I just cannot understand how after so many years, his throwing could all of a sudden become a problem. Can you explain it?

        • I will tell you that you need to ask Steve Blass that question first. Then move on to Steve Sax. Then find one Mackey Sasser and ask him. Maybe they will have an answer for you.The problem with people like you is that you think nothing ever happened in baseball before 1985 or ‘ 90.

          • Throw in knoblauch, ankiel, the list is probably endless. It’s a mental issue that has to have some effect on his offensive game. It would be a shame to trade him as low as he is now. But I also wonder how much value he can possibly recover.

            • Knoblauch, Sax, and Ankiel all regained competency, though, didn’t they?

              • Sax did through some serendipitous thing he did with his dad. Knoblauch and Ankiel both went to the OF. Sasser took years and didn’t fix it until well into his post-playing coaching career.

                You can add Bruce Ruffin, Mark Wohlers and Dontrelle Willis to that list.

                In short, the success rate for overcoming this during the player’s career seems low. So it’s Pedro at 1b or DH or OF, the latter two requiring a trade – and pretty much giving him away. Given that option, let’s hope he does well at 1b as it’s the best possible outcome.

              • Actually, the throwing issues for Knoblauch led to an early demise and he was never the same player. Ankiel had a mediocre career as an outfielder, but he could have been so much more as a pitcher.

            • I forgot about Ankiel somehow. Two of my examples having been Pirates and listening to Sax on MLB XM radio , they came to my mind immediately. Ankiel might have been the saddest case of all. That guy was a terrific pitching prospect, and a real baseball player.

      • Lonely, it is not bashing to say stink stinks. It’s just the truth without sugar coating.

    • You are right

    • You do not seem to know a whole lot. Unlike some, you admit it. Thank you.

    • People continually wonder about Alvarez throwing to other bases as if he didn’t have to do that last year.

      Think about this just the slightest bit before typing.

    • How many errors did he have throwing to second on a double play

      • One I can think of, but not sure how many chances overall. And one going to home.

        I want to see Pedro succeed. But let’s be real, if he didn’t have all these issues, we wouldn’t be talking about them.

        Here’s hoping he overcomes them.

        • I think the one to catcher was funny cause I believe sanchez had a throwing error on the same play.. fittingly

      • bucs is right. One error to 2nd, one to home, which is one less overall than Ike Davis last year and I don’t hear many complaining about his arm.

        Pedro Alvarez, last year, started five more double plays than Garrett Jones started during his entire career as a Pirate.

        • So maybe the Pirates are secret geniuses. “Pedro cannot make the throw to 1B, what are we going to do??” “We could have him play 1B….”

    • Look, even you’re justifiably worried about these plays, it’s not like they happen 5 or 10 times per game or something. I’ve never looked into how common it is for a 1B to make worrisome throws, but my very unscientific and uneducated guess is that he’s gonna be called on make those kind of throws maybe once or twice a week. Odds aren’t he won’t screw all of them up and even if he did, there ain’t many 1B out there that are perfect in that department– heck, the reason they keep track of errors in the first place is because every player, given enough opportunities, is gonna commit at least an error or two.

      So maybe everybody should not worry so much about it.

    • There’s a net behind home plate. So no, I’m not worried.

    • As long as he can take that grounder himself ..As long as he isn’t throwing , I’m cool w it.

    • William Maloni
      December 17, 2014 5:02 pm

      But, he can’t throw from there and gets the “yips.”
      Guys mysteriously have developed this inability to successfully throw to first base–or in Steve Blass’s case to the plate–it happens.
      They are better off dumping PA and using some combination of a RH and Lambo.

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