David Todd Podcast: The Alvarez Non-Tender, Happ, Pirates Pitching Depth

I had a radio interview with David Todd this afternoon on ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh. We discussed the Pedro Alvarez move from yesterday, along with several other off-season topics geared mostly towards the pitching side of things. Here are some notes, with the full podcast below.

**We talked about the decision to non-tender Alvarez. Last night David texted me asking if I thought Alvarez would be tendered. We both figured that he would, so you can imagine there was some surprise from both over how things ended up. We also discussed the alternatives at first base — currently Jake Goebbert and Michael Morse. I don’t think the Pirates are set with those two options.

**David brought up Ike Davis, who doesn’t have the bat that Alvarez has, but does have much better defense. That defensive improvement could really help with a team that has led the league in groundballs the last few years, with a clear approach throughout their system and with free agent additions that will only lead to more of those results.

**We discussed the J.A. Happ deal, and whether it was a good deal for Toronto coming off his season with the Pirates.

**After discussing Happ, we skipped to the rotation depth, looking at the addition of Allen Webster. I love the move as a low risk/high reward type move. The Pirates can try him as a reliever, and if things click for him, they can make him a starter long-term.

**I broke down a few of the prospects, including Trevor Williams, Steven Brault, and Stephen Tarpley. The first two are rotation depth options, while Tarpley was brought up because of his connection to Brault in the Travis Snider trade. I could see Tarpley finishing the year in Altoona in 2016.

Check out the full interview here:

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Douglas Byrd

I really hope the Bucs take a run at Kenta Maeda. He’d be way cheaper than Samardzija and without having to give up a pick. At worse, he’s probably an innings eater 4th/5th starter, at best maybe a legit solid 2/3. His posting fee will be 20 million I think, and perhaps he’d get 10 million a year. In the end, that’s not a bad deal. Could be instantly a good deal if he reaches his potential.


Based on Tim’s articles I would not be surprised if Steven Brault turns out to be the “surprise” of next year, & that he turns out to be “surprisingly” good!

So much for everyone screaming about their having traded Travis Snyder! They got him back before last year was over plus two LH starters who appear to have potential to be ML starters & they won 98 games last year.

The only thing that didn;t happen was that the 100 mph + screamers that were hit by Starling & Gregory in the WC didn’t find holes. That is baseball! (Also that they arn into a historically “hot” pitcher who unfortunately for us did not start to hit the wall until his next start – our bad luck – that’s baseball again!

Amazing how much one can learn by reading P2 all the way over here in Oz!

Daniel F

Any thoughts about the Pirates picking up any other non-tendered players? I think Henderson Alvarez and Steve Cishek would be nice, cheap additions to the team. Oh, and Cliff Lee is available.


Really think Williams is there #6 or #7 .


do you mean ‘their’?

otherwise, I am not sure what you just wrote.


I thought you were expecting Alvarez not to be tendered. I must have misunderstood.

dr dng


Do you have confidence that “they have a plan.”

Are you confident that its a good plan.

Kerry Writtenhouse

So far the plan has put them in the playoffs 3 straight years topping out with 98 wins. Not a bad plan.

Thomas H

Part of “the plan” for 2016 was for Taillon to be called up last year. That’s one reason why a one year deal to AJ made more sense than a two – three year deal to Volquez. Another part of the plan was for Pedro to not suck at first base, giving Bell a few years to learn a new position in the minors. Another part of “the plan” was for Kang to be healthy and ready to go so moving on from Walker would be seamless.

The real question is do they gave a good “plan B” because their original plan has to have changed due to injuries and fate. Hard to say because so far this offseason they’ve done bupkis. They’ve lost a ton of players who played significant roles in winning those 98 games: AJ, Happ, Rameriez, Pedro, even Rodriguez. They’re currently discussing losing a few more for money reasons: Melanceon and Walker and there aren’t ready replacements on the team for any of them.

Don’t get me wrong I think you can be optimistic about a few players going into 2016: Cutch, Marte, Polanco. Cole, and Cervelli, but to me there are significant question markss in the pitching staff, bullpen and infield. Honestly they seem further away to winning a championship to me than they have in a long time. Personally I didn’t feel that way this time last year.

That doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t have a successful offseason. It just means we haven’t seen them do anything yet. I’d be surprised if the roster looked the same at Christmas time

Kerry Writtenhouse

All good points. Regardless of what happens, they won’t play at the top of the free agent food chain. It will be the same type of pickups they’ve done in the past.

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