Why Gorkys and Lombardozzi Over Decker and a Taillon Update

The Pittsburgh Pirates promoted Gorkys Hernandez to the majors today, while also making a few other moves that brought up Steve Lombardozzi and sent out Jose Tabata and Chris Volstad. In today’s meeting with the media, Neal Huntington discussed why the Pirates brought up Hernandez.

“Quite honestly we wanted to take a look and see what he would bring in comparison to Jose,” Huntington said. “We know there’s a gamble we could lose Volstad, we know there’s a gamble we could lose Jose but we wanted to re-balance the position player pitcher group to 12 and 13, take look at Gorkys Hernandez and his versatility to the club.”

There might be a chance of losing Volstad, although that wouldn’t be a big short- or long-term loss for the team. It’s doubtful that Tabata would be lost with his contract. It does make sense to look and see what Hernandez can do. He has always been strong defensively, but is doing a good job this year of hitting for average, getting on base, and providing some power. He has a .275/.359/.415 line with Indianapolis.

At the end of Spring Training, Huntington talked about how they liked some of the changes that Hernandez made with his swing. Ryan Palencer has since written about what is going well with the center fielder.

The interesting thing here is that the Pirates didn’t call up Jaff Decker, despite strong hitting from the outfielder. Decker would make a lot of sense, as he’s on the 40-man roster, and a left-handed hitter, which the team lacks. Huntington said that Decker was in the discussion.

“As a GM you try to provide your manager with different options to help win a game,” Huntington said. “The left and right option Lombardozzi provided, the fact he got here a little bit earlier and did a nice job for us in a short look gave him the inside edge…Decker’s done some things in the batter’s box that put him right in the middle of that conversation but this time we decided to go with Steve.”

Decker is currently hitting for a .306/.385/.448 line in 134 at-bats in Triple-A this season. Huntington said that there was no opt out clause with Hernandez, so they genuinely wanted to see what he could do over Decker. Meanwhile, Lombardozzi had a .316/.375/.368 line in 228 at-bats, while playing infield and outfield.

**Huntington also gave an update on Jameson Taillon, saying that he will be getting a second opinion on his lower ab strain this week.

“Working through the details of when that will be. I should have a better update for you when he sees a doctor,” Huntington said. “He’s got discomfort in the lower abdomen which is kind of inhibiting his ability to do baseball activities at this point in time.”

INJURY UPDATE, by Nate Barnes

Huntington gave more detail on Rob Scahill’s injury as well as Andrew Lambo’s continued rehab.

Scahill was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with right forearm discomfort.

“He wanted to battle through it which you tip your cap to him but he felt it grab on him again,” Huntington said. “We felt it was in his best interests to give him a little bit of down time.

Huntington says the club hopes Scahill will return sooner rather than later and he will be monitored daily.

Andrew Lambo was moved to the 60-day disabled list this week as well, to clear room on the 40-man roster for Deolis Guerra.

Huntington said Lambo is doing “some” running but still not feeling 100 percent and his foot is not cooperating.

“He’s frustrated,” Huntington said. “I actually talked with him the other day when we put him on the 60-day disabled list just to tell him know it was a paperwork move. In our minds he wasn’t going to be ready by the end of the 60 days and wanted to just reassure him we’re with him to try to help him get healthy.”

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Mark S

Concerned about Taillon getting a second opinion. Seems all the second opinions lately haven,t turned out well. Still believe Decker needs a chance.


It never hurts to try to get Tabata claimed…We could see this happen again next year. Jose the one guy that can afford to charter a trip from Indy to Pittsburgh himself.

David p

Does taillon have a rehab start in morgantown

Zach H

He’s headed to the GCL next. At least that’s what he was scheduled to do last week.

Bill W


dr dng

Ok, I’ve lost count. With these moves, how many do we now have on the 40 man roster not including Lambo?

I also do not completely understand the Volstad move. I thought he did a nice job in a short appearance. Maybe it was the way to make him available to other interested teams. Kind of like giving him an out clause without giving him an out clause. But with our somewhat short starter options if some would be hurt, I’d figure they may want him around.

Any thoughts?


I think Volstad may be the third or fourth SP option down the stretch with at least Richard and Sampson ahead of him, and Worley being the first option. Good point about the opt out opportunity.


Pretty perplexing roster move by the Pirates, calling up two supposedly plus defenders who cannot hit and sending down a competent 4th OF and passing over a better offensive option.


I disagree Tabata is a competent 4th outfielder. Huntington agrees also.


That’s not how this works.


All major league teams agree with Huntington that they do not want Tabata especially at 4mil a pop.


Lombo is NOT a plus defender. His value lies on the offensive side and his versatility.


Hence the supposedly. Being poor a multiple things doesn’t equal value. Lombo’s career AAA line matches Tabata’s career MLB slash line.


Lombardozzi has almost 300 games in the majors that proves he isn’t plus anything…but I think he can be a scratch to plus player for a few weeks if he hits a little streak.

Stephen Brooks

With respect to Tabata, at this point even his competence as a 4th outfielder is up for debate. His ISO has been trending towards .000 for some time now, he has no speed to speak of, his walk rate is mediocre and trending down, and he’s defensively limited to a corner, where his range and arm grade out below average. I keep hoping the guy who went nuts after the all star break in ’13 would show up again, but it just hasn’t been the case.


To your idle 4th OF, Tabata certainly falls short, compared to the two options just called up, Tabata is better. I’ll take his project 90 to 100 wRC+ rest of season, and league average OBP.

Stephen Brooks

If you feel Tabata > Hernandez, that’s ok. My preference would have been to recall Decker and keep Tabata around for pinch hitting because he does have the superior hit tool. But it is worth noting that Hernandez does add speed, a modicum of isolated power and the ability to play CF, all of which compare favorably to Tabata.

I’ll just assume that Lombardozzi is up with the club because apparently you can never have too many fungible infielders who disdain walks.

Scott K

I guess they wanted IF/OF versatility. No other logical explanation for not bringing up Decker.


Lombardozzi switch hits too, which is what Huntington mentioned.


According to the player pages, Volstad had an option remaining. Apparently that’s not the case?

Wilbur Miller

It’s not. I missed one.

Wilbur Miller

Actually, looking at it again, he was optioned in 2009-11, but all three times it was for fewer than 20 days, so no option was expended. He was also optioned in 2012-13 for more than 20 days. So I’m not sure why they dfa’d him.


Strange. Thanks Wilbur

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