Pirates Claim Travis Ishikawa From the Giants

The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced that they’ve claimed Travis Ishikawa off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. No corresponding move yet, but the team said they will make a move once Ishikawa arrives in Pittsburgh.

Ishikawa is no stranger to the Pirates, obviously. He started the 2014 season as part of the first base platoon in Pittsburgh, before being sent to Indianapolis. The Giants eventually signed him as a free agent, and he went on to play for them the rest of the year, hitting for a .274/.333/.397 line in 81 plate appearances. He even started for them in the Wild Card game against the Pirates, along with the rest of their World Series run.

Ishikawa has been in Triple-A this year with San Francisco, hitting for a .271/.342/.421 line in 149 plate appearances. The fact that the Pirates said there will be a 25-man roster move suggests he will be coming up to Pittsburgh. I’m guessing he will replace either Gorkys Hernandez or Steve Lombardozzi. This addition doesn’t look good for Corey Hart, since Ishikawa has some actual defensive value at first base, and can play the outfield.

UPDATE 5:40 PM: After the game, Clint Hurdle had this to say about the move:

“I think once he gets here, we will get a more definitive jargon based on the move that we might make accordingly. We liked the player. It wasn’t an easy move when we moved him out before. He’s got some experience as a left-handed bat. He plays some first base and some outfield, and he’s a guy that can help our club.”

  • Makes no sense to me. Disliked the signing last year, ditto this year. Sooner or later the Pirates have to get a true 1st baseman, and stop this constant “who’s on first” parade. I think Bell is out of position at 1st and is a band-aid move. TI, Bowker, Hart, and the list goes on. We have our own version of “who’s on first” 🙂

  • Just my .02 cent guess on this move, but I believe the Pirates are done with Corey Hart? His repaired knees look very shaky to me running around the bases and in the outfield? And he has NOT looked good the past month at bat. Very shaky there.

    So the wheels are turning to get another replacement, even though Ishikawa is left handed, into the scheme of things at first base and the outfield.

  • This makes me think the Bucs really don’t like Jaff Decker….I mean if they wanted a lefty bat who could play the OF you’d think they’d give him a shot. TI isn’t unseating Pedro and isn’t a defensive replacement either…he’s the lefty bench bat.

    • Actually, at 1B Ishikawa has pretty much been solidly above average with the glove. Serpico has been great as Pedro’s defensive replacement, but using him as the more or less full time late-inning sub is far from ideal because 1) he’s got no bat, and 2) it defeats the purpose of having a guy who can play multiple positions. The way this team struggles to score runs on a consistent basis, having a guy who can field the position and offers at least close to league-average production is an upgrade. It was mentioned above, but to me he fits the role Lambo was supposed to fill pretty well, and since Lambo still hasn’t started baseball activities, might as well.

      The downside is he doesn’t hit lefties well either, so you still have that problem. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Ishikawa and Corey Hart on the roster together for at least a few weeks, with Hernandez being sent down.

      • Ishikawa can “play multiple spots” in the sense that he owns a glove and can stand in the OF, but he certainly doesnt play more than 1 spot well. He’s a 1Bmen, and anywhere else you put him makes the defense worse. I doubt he totally takes over a rover role and i dont think S Rod has done poorly in his role. If they use S Rod purely as a late inning replacement, his offense is not really the key factor.

        • Looks like you misunderstood my point, probably because it wasn’t worded well. I’m saying Rodriguez’s best asset is his multi-positional flexibility, but that asset is negated if all he does is play 1B in the late innings. By rostering Ishikawa, who is a good defensive 1B, it frees Rodriguez to play all over the diamond, as needed.

          As for the hitting, it may not be the primary factor, but he’s still managed to rack up 116 PA (almost 70 at 1B) and done nothing with them (.259 OBP). If you’re going to 70-odd PA to that role, why not use Ishikawa, who can give you the defense with much better offensive output. Rodriguez then frees up to fill in elsewhere.

  • Better first base depth than anybody the pirates cuurently have available.

  • I don’t understand the endless search for a 25th man.

  • Seems to me that he’ll take the role that Andrew Lambo had before he was injured. Left hand bat off the bench and can play first base and outfield.

    • It does seem like a “Lambo isnt getting better, unlikely he returns much this year” move.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 5, 2015 5:51 pm

    If this means the end of the Hart era, I endorse this move!!

    • Yeah because he hit much better than Hart when he played 1B for us last year.

  • Ish kinda sorta stinks as an OF. I do not understand this move unless it’s to have him continually show off his ring in the dugout as a carrot.

    • Cold provide a player to replace Pedro for the balance of the year if Pedro is moved before the deadline.

  • He was run out of town last year so I don’t know what he will add.

  • Depending on the severity, could be Marte to DL

  • TurnerWardHitsTheWall
    July 5, 2015 3:04 pm

    Replacing Gorkys or Lombardozzi?