The Indianapolis Roster is About to Get More Crowded

BRADENTON, Fl. – The David Freese addition this weekend improved the Pirates’ situation at third base at the start of the year, and improved their depth throughout the season. The one fallout of this deal is that it will eventually make a crowded Indianapolis roster even more crowded. That’s not a “problem”, as there’s no such thing as too much depth being a problem, or even a real thing. But it does make things complicated, especially with so many versatile players up for multiple positions.

At the start of the season, the Pirates will have Chris Stewart, Sean Rodriguez, and Michael Morse on their bench. That leaves two spots open for Jason Rogers, Cole Figueroa, Matt Joyce, Jake Goebbert, Alen Hanson, and Pedro Florimon. I’d include other players, but these guys seem like they have the best shot of making it. And even then, half of those guys don’t really have a shot. I can’t see Goebbert, Hanson, or Florimon making it at this point, outside of an injury.

That leaves the final two bench spots down to Rogers, Figueroa, and Joyce. I think Rogers has the inside track here, and I could also see Figueroa getting a job, due to how much playing time he has received. That would leave Joyce as the odd man out, and outfield depth in Triple-A.

But when Jung-ho Kang returns, things get tricky. Michael Morse would go from the right-handed first base role to the bench, with Freese taking his old spot. That would make things very difficult for the Pirates to also keep Rogers, who has options remaining. My guess is that Rogers goes down when Kang returns, and either Figueroa or Joyce stay in the majors (I’d expect Figueroa to be the guy staying up).

With those assumptions in place, here is how I see the Triple-A playing time:

First Base

This position is going to be primarily Josh Bell’s spot. This is obviously the best spot for Rogers, and Dan Gamache has been learning the position. But I see little opportunity here for Rogers, and no chance at all for Gamache to get time if Bell and Rogers are on the same team. Jake Goebbert can also play first base, but would be an outfielder if he goes down to Triple-A.

Second Base

The Pirates are keeping Alen Hanson at second base to work on his consistency, rather than moving him around like the other infielders. Just like first base, this will limit the opportunities for other players to get time at the position.

The other guys who can play second base are Max Moroff, Gift Ngoepe, Adam Frazier, and Dan Gamache. Of that group, I think Moroff would be the Jason Rogers of this situation, getting time behind Hanson when it’s available. Pedro Florimon is also an option here, although I’m not considering him much, for reasons stated in the next position.

Shortstop

Here is where things start getting complicated. The shortstop candidates are Max Moroff, Adam Frazier, Gift Ngoepe, and maybe Florimon. I’ll address Florimon first. He’s out of options, so he would have to clear waivers to be sent down. He’s also been outrighted off the 40-man roster before, which means he can decline the assignment and become a free agent if he gets outrighted again. I think he’d take that choice, since there’s not much of an opportunity for him here. It wouldn’t hurt the Pirates, as they’ve got an all-defense shortstop option in Ngoepe.

Frazier isn’t getting much time at second base with Hanson in the mix, and he’s available as an outfielder. I could see him getting most of his time there, just like he did last year in Altoona for the first half of the season (before Gift Ngoepe moved up to Indianapolis and created an opening at shortstop).

Moroff could get some time here, but also has an option at third base, where he’s been getting a lot of time this spring. I could see him getting most of his time at third, with a few starts at second and short to fill in time.

That would leave Ngoepe as the starting shortstop. I don’t think he’d start as much as Bell or Hanson, so there would be more opportunities here for Moroff and Frazier to get extra playing time.

Third Base

I said above that I see Moroff getting the most time at third base. The other options would be Gift, Jason Rogers, and Dan Gamache. Gift would primarily be at shortstop, and wouldn’t factor in much at third, although it’s an option for him.

Rogers isn’t going to get much time at first base, and I don’t see him getting much time here either. The Pirates have been using him there during Spring Training, but he’s also an option as an outfielder, and there’s more of an opening at that spot in Indianapolis. I could see him getting maybe a start per week at first, and a start per week at third. But I think a lot of his time will come as the designated hitter or in the outfield.

Gamache seems to be the odd man out in all of this. He might get a start per week at second and a start per week at third, but other than that, he becomes a strong bench option when Rogers gets sent down. All it takes is one injury to one of the other guys and he’s back in the mix.

Outfield

The only outfield prospect who isΒ a lock for a position is Willy Garcia. Other than that, the rest of the top outfield prospects will start off in Altoona. Adam Frazier should see a lot of time in the outfield, with the ability to play all three positions. That will relieve the strain on the infield situation.

Jake Goebbert will play the outfield when he is sent down, which gives you the third outfield starter. If Matt Joyce makes it down, then you’ve got a crowded situation where the designated hitter might come into play. And then there’s Jason Rogers factoring into the mix.

The Normal Lineup

The lack of outfielders makes it possible to start almost everyone, although it will be a squeeze for playing time when Rogers arrives. There won’t really be a “normal” lineup in Indianapolis, as the positional flexibility means there could be a different lineup each day. But here is my best guess at what the usual lineup could look like when Rogers goes down.

C – Elias Diaz

1B – Josh Bell

2B – Alen Hanson

SS – Gift Ngoepe

3B – Max Moroff

LF – Jake Goebbert

CF – Adam Frazier

RF – Willy Garcia

DH – Jason Rogers

Searching for playing time – Dan Gamache, maybe Matt Joyce or Cole Figueroa

  • What ever happened to Mel Rojas Jr?

  • the announcers were recently talking about the bullpen and considered Hughes a lock. I’m not so sure about that. If Holdzkom has a good spring,he has a better upside, don’t yinz think?

    • Hurdle *lurves* Hughes and his strand rate. No way, imo, he doesn’t start out 2016 in the MLB rotation.

  • Michael Sanders
    March 14, 2016 6:23 am

    See if the Cards would be willing to deal for Florimon. This might help out both clubs as opposed to losing Floriman for nothing considering he’s out of options.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    March 13, 2016 8:15 pm

    Diaz is clearly superior to Stewart in all respects, and its a crock that he has to stay in Indy for another year. He should be in Pittsburgh backing up Cervelli for a year and then starting next year. He could be used whenever the Pirates play a running team (like the Reds with Hamilton) to neutralize them. Instead, they re-sign Stewart for 3 years.
    Hanson should be in Pittsburgh instead of Rodriguez for largely the same reasons – to add some speed and more range in the infield when he starts. Instead they re-sign Rodriguez.
    I don’t get this FO….if they are not going to use prospects like Diaz and Hanson, then package them in a trade and get a decent #3 starter. They clearly do not trust or value their prospects. Very frustrating.

    • I absolutely agree, there is no point in cluttering the 25 man roster with flotsam and jetsam like Morse, SRod and Stewart. Or Matt Joyce for that matter.

      • Until Cervelli goes down with a pulled hammy and you just released a serviceable backup to force yourself to start Diaz and use….Stallings?….as the primary backup.

        I love Diaz and he’s likely better defensively than Stewart, but catcher is thee position im not going to give away a useful option and lose depth. Its not as if Diaz couldnt really gain from a half or full season at Indy working on being more than a good enough ML hitter in the future.

        • Of the four players I mentioned, only Stewart is possibly defensible to have on the 25 man roster, and even that is questionable. I would never have Stewart be the starter if Cervelli got hurt. Dias would be the starter. Stewart will never be anything more than a decent backup. He’s good defensively but he is just a bad hitter. Why the Pirates felt compelled to give him a 2 year contract is beyond me. .

          • My point is in what you just said. Stewart isnt a great starting option, but a fine backup.

            Now take him away. Cervelli gets dinged and we go “what now”. Now would be the rookie starting at catcher and Stallings getting time unless we actually pretend this team wont give a catcher a day off every 5th day. Does anyone want to see Jacob Stallings once a week this season? He aint terrible, but you would have given away depth at a spot that is harder on the body than most.

            Its easy to say yeah we dont need Stewart. Right up until a catcher gets hurt, and you wonder if depth options are capable of keeping us afloat until the starter returns.

            I love the Diaz skill set, but giving away depth at that position seems a danger we might as well avoid. You gotta have 3 catchers at least or you are playing with fire, much like you should have 7 pitchers able to cover innings.

            • So why are SRod and Morse going to be on the team? Why would Joyce make the team? If the Pirates go into the season with a bench consisting of SRod, Morse, Stewart, Figueroa (or Floriman) and Joyce I am going to be really REALLY unhappy. Which of those guys can be counted on as major league average pinch hitters? Replace SRod and Morse with Rogers and Hansen and I would feel much better. But unfortunately SRod is going no place.

              • None of that has anything to do with the catcher depth situation i was addressing. Its possible to dislike parts of the bench construction and not hate every member of the bench.

                But i do find it a bit odd that so many are so darned positive that Rogers is a lock to be as good of a hitter as Morse. He went Travis Snider for a few months and we are positive he’s a fine PH option. He could be, but yet again he does give us better depth and allow Morse to actually prove he isnt able to hit. Morse didnt play poorly enough over a SSS to make it clear he’s better/worse than a Rogers type.

                Yes, S Rod is a poor option. but Freese+Morse have the ability to be okay PH options and your backup C and SS often are going to be light hitters. Bringing us full circle to “S rod is a poor option.”

                • But it has everything to do with my post that you responded to. Out of the four players I said don’t belong on the team you have concentrated on one–Stewart. You are probably right that he has some usefulness, but you never answered my question of why any team in it’s right mind would sign Stewart to a two year deal. As for Morse, he has pretty much sucked for 4 years now with the exception of a short period during the Giants pennant run in 2014. His OPS last year was 649, and Rogers was 808. Rogers an NL leader in pinch hitting last year as a rookie and is six years younger. Pay a little attention and it’s not hard to see why it is likely that Rogers is better than Morse. You never responded about Joyce and SRod’s continued presence is a mystery to all.

                  • 1.4 million for Stewart to stick around, and only 250K guaranteed to him the following year. Its a 1 year deal with an insanely team friendly situation in year 2 either way. If Stallings looks capable, drop 250K in the bucket and buyout Stewart. Stallings looks AAAA, McGuire isnt ready? 1.5 million for a depth option. Give him a 2 year deal because depth is great at C and the last year can be cut without thinking.

                    You can get upset and act like im not paying attention and talk down at me, or we can discuss it and realize im saying the bench isnt terrible outside of S Rod and that Jason Rogers is not in any way a guarantee to be better than Morse. There’s about a 5-8 wRC+ difference in the projections.

                    Reasons i dont fall in love with Rogers? Month to month splits:
                    Mar/Apr: 130 wRC+
                    May: 74 wRC+
                    June: 50 wRC+
                    August: 120 wRC+
                    September: 210 wRC+

                    Inconsistent and then 2 great months. Kudos deserved for those months, but a 28 year old having two great months is far from useful in projecting future performance.

                    Morse has been bad for 4 years? 2013 and 2015 saw non useful wRC+, but 2012 and 2014 were capable as bench bat stats. Thats not a kudos to Morse, its realizing Jason Rogers and Morse both have reasons to question the offense. One has been up and down the past 4 years, one has 2 months of good play under his belt leading to the idea that he’s solid. That, to me, is akin to the assured statements by many that Travis Snider was clearly turning a corner after a blistering 2 months.

    • Diaz bat will get better starting at AAA than backing up in Pittsburgh. No love here for Sean R, but Hanson hasn’t hit consistently for a long enough time in the upper levels, either AA or AAA to merit promotion. Hopefully this season he gets his OPS up at Indy.

    • and Glasnow was a clear #3 last year.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        March 14, 2016 9:49 am

        Show me the post where I said Glasnow would have been a #3 last year? You can’t because I never said that. He would have been better than Morton or Locke though. This year enjoy watching Niese, Vogelsong, and Locke go out there every 5th day….

        • “The Pirates conceded the division the day they decided to not promote Glasnow. Even at 21 and not a complete pitcher, he’s better than either Morton or Locke.”

          “Glasnow is better than most of our starting rotation now. Disappointed but not surprised.”

          “if he is as good of a prospect as everyone says he is, then he has to be better than Morton, Locke, and Happ”

          “Even with occasional control lapses, he’s better than 3/5 of our rotation.”

          The moment AJ went down and Glasnow got to AAA you wouldnt stop calling him better than Morton, Locke, and Happ until you couldnt even make the Happ argument anymore.

          He was better than 4 ERA guys. His ERA in AAA was shiny. It was a crime that they didnt ignore his flaws.

  • It seems that positional flexibility — especially as it pertains to future bench players — is a real focus going forward. Between Rogers, Moroff and Frazier you could argue that none of those three have a defined position and all profile as pre-arb/full-time bench players starting in 2017. Combine that with the new ideas on clustered rest and you can sort of see the plan taking shape.

    I would still like to see Hanson force the issue and become everyday 2B sooner rather than later and put Harrison into an everyday/utility/Tony Phillips role.

  • Hanson is the one I feel sorry for. Pre-Freese it looked like Harrison was 3B-b with Hanson as MLB in April. Now he’s looking at coming up in September. Freese was $3M to insure Harrison played 2B only meaning he’s there for good. Poor Hanson had to see the Walker trade as his ticket and now he’s still two injuries away. Long term I think they want Kang to work out at SS with JHay moving back to 3B and Hanson coming in next year at 2B. Jordy’s going to start getting expensive for a fungible SS.Another year at AAA won’t hurt and that’s how Organizations work but it’s got to burn.

    • I’m not too worried about Hanson. At 23, a few more months at AAA will do nothing but aid in his development. So long as he doesn’t implode, he’ll be up when the Super Two deadline passes…or at the non-waiver deadline…or September. Then again, if Harrison goes down….I’m thinking Hanson gets first crack.

      Whichever happens…so long as he holds up his end of the deal, he’ll be taking swings for the Pirates this season.

  • I think they like Rodgers as a guy that will give them strong ABs as a pitch hitter. I don’t think he’s a guy that we’re going to mind being on our team for the next few years.

  • We’ve said this before…its good to have these “too many good players” type of problems.

    I smell a trade or two?

    • Yes bring in an outfielder or catcher and see if they can first. Can’t see Morse or Rogers bringing back anything.

    • Curious who you think would go.

      I’d think any of the AAA OF’s listed could be candidates.

      Rogers stays because the Pirates would never get anything close to what they paid…with the recent acquisitions of Jaso and Freese, S-Rod and Morse have even less value to the team…but I can’t see anyone taking their, presumably, worthless production…unless, perhaps, if one of them was packaged with an upside guy like WIlly.

  • Again, I think the Rogers trade was bad for the Bucco’s. They have lots of infielders that can play defense. I really think we could have used Broxton as a possible fourth outfielder. He has size, speed, power and very good defense. Even with the loaded outfield the Pirates have, Broxton is younger and has more upside than the center fielders in AAA. Rogers does not have a position that he can play without scaring the fans. Broxton has options or he would probably make the Brewers roster.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Chuck…and I like Rogers.

    • All good points,but with the benefit of hindsight that Kang’s recovery has gone well. At the time the trade was made the biggest MLB position player holes were early season 3B, 1B and bench. In a fashion Rogers addressed all three of those areas.

  • looks like Indy might have a better record then the Bucs when the season ends.

  • Does Joyce have an opt out if he does not make the 25 man?

    • Yes. He’s an Article XX B, which means the Pirates have to offer him a spot on the 25-man five days before opening day, pay him a 100k retention bonus (which lets them stash him at AAA) or let him walk. Even if they pay the bonus, he has to be rostered by June 1 or he can opt out.

      • Undo the Rogers trade and you could have solved the 4th OF problem with Broxton – and kept a solid pitching prospect – Broxton has a shot a being the Brewers starting CF

        • So might Mel Rojas Jr.

          MIL sucking has as much to do with fringe ML options starting as those guys being actual quality options on a ML team.

  • Didn’t like the Rogers deal at the time, dislike it even more now. They gave up a guy who could be a decent 4th OF and a guy who could be used as that this season and a prospect of some note for a redundancy in Rogers. It would have been an o.k. trade if Morse wasn’t already on the roster but he was. No idea why they gave up a piece that fit and a prospect for a piece that didn’t fit the roster construction at all.

    • He has options left and they may have bene looking to next year when Morse will be gone.

      • Bell is a switch hitter making Rogers redundant again?

        Plus, we now have Jaso for next year.

        The Rogers deal, although I like his bat was and still remains a head scratcher.

        • And, with no hair, I can scratch my head pretty good.

        • People seem to be getting to that conclusion as if PGH assumed it’d sign a guy like Freese.

          The Rogers deal seems clearly to have been the team trying to address a need. An opportunity presented itself to address that same need in a better way later in the offseason, and they werent shortsighted enough to go “well since we gave up assets for Rogers, we shouldnt sign Freese”.

          I didnt like losing Supak, but the move made enough sense at the time considering the giant question at 3B for the first 2-4 weeks. Good for the team for not then just ignoring even better options after the Rogers acquisition.

          • good point on the “at the time”.

            Maybe he or Morse will get dealt?

            • I think most fans hope/want Morse to go, but i doubt we see any move like that until Kang is back. Even then, i have my doubts Morse would be simply released outright.

              Stewart, S Rod, Freese are locks for bench spots. Leaving room for a bat and likely an option who can play SS and OF. Really makes it tough for me to see them booting Morse unless he’s not hitting at all.

              Even if Freese does start taking reps from him at 1B, you’d still want another decent bat in that bench slot. With the options Rogers has, i think Morse has to hit his way off the team as opposed to just being booted to make room for a non proven option like Rogers.

              • Honestly, I’m as down on Morse as anyone…on the other hand, if it weren’t him, the team would still be sitting on Tabata’s contract. it’s one of those….”oh, well” kinda things.

                • But if you keep Tabata – and leave him at Indy – you have your emergency outfield filler and don’t need to sign Joyce…

                  • If I’ve gotta take one or the other…I’d have to go with Morse over Tabata. Heck, at least Morse has homered in the last two seasons.

                    Well, technically Tabata did, too…he hit two in the PCL. That’s two dingers in AAA and none in the majors over the span of 654 PAs.

                    It’s hard to figure out which way the dominoes fall with this convoluted bench. But I kinda think Joyce doesn’t look like excess because of Morse, but due to S-Rod’s presence. Without him, Joyce as 4th OF and Morse as 1B/OF. Then again, the team wouldn’t need Joyce if it hadn’t traded Broxton…for Rogers…who has no position and is adding further to the clogging issues.

                    Thinking about the positional clutter give me a headache πŸ™‚

            • Possibly, but what do they need that one of those two could obtain?

            • The only way you can deal Morse is if you add in a B prospect and pay his salary for the year – and that would get you back a B- prospect – the guy SUCKS!

          • Well said!

        • Not sure he is really a switch hitter – looks a lot like Walker did at times from the RH side – will be interesting to see what the splits are at Indy before the chariot is sent out for him in July…

      • Next year the hope would be Bell makes a platoon partner obsolete.

    • man, do i totally agree with your post. just sayin

    • I agree. But I think Rogers was a plan B backup at 3B pending Kang’s recovery since they had no guarantee that they would sign Freeze at the time. They simply created plan B before they could create plan A (Freese). If they had been able to do Freese earlier it is doubtful they would have done Rogers.

      • Rogers is not a good 3B and the better option would be Harrison at 3B and Hanson at 2B. Trading for a hiy to play out of position is a terrible plan wether is A, B, or Z.

        • Hanson needs another year in AAA to solidify his hitting, he isn’t MLB ready yet, in spite of his nice Spring.

          The Pirates have complimented Rogers play at 3B. He obviously isn’t Kang or Freese, but he would have survived there for a month.

        • Rogers rated closer to average than terrible over an actual sample size in AAA at 3B.

          He likely wont be great, but fans have taken a seriously tiny sample size and asserted as a fact that it means he sucks Pedro bad at 3B. Its likely Rogers would be below average but far from unable to field decent enough as a non long term solution.

          The issue is his bat. With so so defense, the bat has to play up as it did in a SSS last year or he does become non playable.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        March 13, 2016 8:18 pm

        Rogers may be as bad at 3B as Pedro was – similar body types. If he starts one game at 3B this year, I will be shocked….

  • How nice it is to see a starting AAA line-up with so little filler.

    • C – Elias Diaz

      1B – Josh Bell

      2B – Alen Hanson

      SS – Gift Ngoepe

      3B – Max Moroff

      That might not be an all-star lineup but it could be a lineup of starters-somewhere by 2020. I see Ngoepe as a real sleeper in an Ozzie Smith sense.

  • I agree that the opening season back up ‘locks’ are C-Stewart, 1B-Morse, and UT-SRod. To me that would leave the needs as back OF and SS. I agree that OF options would be Rogers and Joyce. And I believe the lefty Joyce wins out there. But I would think the SS options would be Figueroa and Florimon.
    My question is can Figueroa really play SS? My guess is not well, which would leave Florimon as the choice here.

    • I don’t know if they really need someone who can play shortstop well. If Mercer goes down, they’ve got Gift as a strong defensive replacement. Otherwise, I think you’re better off with Figueroa playing off the bench and having to make an occasional start at the position, rather than just having Florimon for that one start and nothing else.

      • I agree with your point, but I thought the Pirates always preferred a legit back up SS on the 25-man roster.

        • Dn’t forget Hurdle thought JHay was a “ligit back up SS” before he became a starting 3B.

          • Not really.

            2012 was the only season he saw any meaningful amounts of SS time, and that was cut by about 90% once Mercer was promoted.

            They used Harrison as a backup SS for half a season during the Barmes era when D’Arnaud sucked and they had crap for alternatives.

            To say they ever saw Harrison as a “legit backup” SS seems really odd since they did it for half a season while he also played the same amount at 2B and the OF. Used him as a rover and lack of any real depth at SS forced him there.

      • I was just about to ask why you think Figueroa has the inside track over Florimon. Does he play more positions? I would think Pedro is the better late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner, but I admittedly don’t know much about Figueroa’s history.

    • BTW, that would leave the starting AAA bench as Stallings, Figueroa, Rojas, and Gamache with Joyce joining later.

    • I’m not sure that Morse is a lock. I still think he might get dealt.

      • If you put all the pieces together, from the comments NH made last August upon acquiring him to the acquisitions of Rogers and Freese, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that this is under consideration.

        • I agree. But I don’t understand their lack of trust in Morse. I thought he looked pretty decent in the little time he had as a Pirate last year. I understand Jaso can hit RHP. But I think I would have gone with Morse as the two way 1B with Rogers as a backup this year and then depend on Bell and Rogers next year. Once Bell arrives what is the role for Jaso since batting LH is Bell’s strength?

          • There is the matter of Morse having performed poorly for most of the last 4 years, and even his good display of hitting with Pittsburgh over the last two months was mostly devoid of power. Counting on a healthy, productive half-season from Morse is very much a risky bet.

            Once Bell takes over 1B full-time, Jaso might be able to move into a 4th OF/pinch-hitter extraordinaire role, or he could be flipped to an AL team, assuming he doesn’t forget how to hit in the meantime.

            It’s just been a weird, largely unsatisfying offseason, where the puzzle pieces don’t seem to fit. I think there are two moves out there (deal Morse, trade for #3/#4 SP) that could get this to make a lot more sense. I’m only reasonably confident that the first of these will happen.

            • I don’t think it’s fair to characterize Morse’s recent 4 years as poor performance. How did he merit his present contract if that were true? Now certainly he stunk in the beginning of last year in Miami. But that may be an aberation. I don’t see Jaso’s better OBP as that much better than Morse’s reasonably to be expected better power aND defense at 1B.

              Hopefully Jaso can be flipped to an AL team next winter.

              Given all that has happened I expect Morse will be traded if possible.

              It would be great to land a #3, but I don’t see it happening.

              • Morse’s last four seasons by WAR: -0.1, -1.7, +0.9, -0.5. Put another way, you and I have combined for 1 1/2 more wins over the last 4 years than Michael Morse.

                Miami bought into his resurgence in SF (the 0.9 season). I guess that’s how he “merited” his present contract, but remember this is the same franchise that gave Garret Jones a 2-year deal after Pittsburgh non-tendered him. I’m well past the point of even trying to understand why Miami does what it does.

                • How much was Morse’s War value effected by defense in the outfield and by injury taking away AB?
                  If healthy and playing 1B full time I expect he would put up significantly positive WAR.

                  • Keep in mind Morse is still a below average defender at 1B and the positional adjustment from LF/RF to 1B is -5 runs, so it’s not as if a position switch would have a dramatic effect on his WAR totals. Maybe he picks up a couple tenths of a win each year from 2012-2014 as a 1B.

                    The bigger problem is he hasn’t hit consistently. In those 4 seasons his wRC+ were 113, 81, 134 and 83. For a corner OF/1B, that’s slightly below average, awful, very good, and awful.

                    Injury takes away AB from everybody, it’s just part of the game. You could play “what if”, but (1) it really only matters for the two seasons he was actually hitting, one of which he was more or less a full time player anyway, and (2) you can’t count on a guy who has missed as much time with injury as Morse has to be healthy.

      • fingers crossed. that would give Rogers, a better hitter, imho, a chance to make the team. But, you know the Pirates, a player with options will go down to give one without an option the chance.

      • Morse has absolutely no trade value. Remember how we got him last year? Miami wanted to dump him so much they insisted that the Dodgers take him to get Latos. And then the Dodgers wanted to dump him so bad they traded him to the Bucs for Jose Tabata. On the other hand, we traded two top 50 prospects to get Rogers. So the Pirates certainly thought more highly of Rogers than they did Morse. Last season Rogers was one of the top pinch hitters in the NL, which is a valuable skill. And he’s under control for 5 years. Just doesn’t make sense to keep Morse over Rogers if you’re trying to have your best 25 man roster.

  • Can’t exactly know why we can’t see a prospect or two in Pittsburgh. Seems like the old lady who has plastic on her sofa and love seat. Nice furniture but never used. We are saving these items for the future so when the old lady passes her children ship the stuff off to Goodwill. I would like to see Hanson up here and let him go at it.

    • That will happen next year. Gone will be Morse, Serpico, Freeze, Figueroa, Cervelli. In will be Bell, Frazier, Hanson, Moroff, Diaz. Rogers will also be up if Jaso is dealt. Next off season will be excruciating as a vocal portion of the fan base will demand activity but NH will stand pat and rely on the kids advancing from AAA.

      • You mean the fans can get more obnoxious than they were this year? Honestly, I can’t believe how hacked some posters have been in an offseason that saw us bring in a solid #4 starter, two TYPICAL #5 starters (kinda joking, kinda not) a serious upgrade at 1B, a starting caliber 3B versus the loss of Neil Walker and JA Happ? Those same fans who were screaming that Walker couldn’t play 2B anymore up to the day of the trade and were ready to BARFFF when the Happ trade was announced (“I CAN;’T BELIEVE THEY HAD TO GIVE UP SAMPSON FER THIS CRAP!!!”)

        The honeymoons over for NH and the brass. From now on it’s never going to be enough.

    • Bill
      It is all about years of control and has nothing to do with contributing to the MLB team – that is the ONLY way the Rogers deal makes any sense. Listen to what NH says about Freese. He is at best a 3.0 WAR player – probably a lot less than that at this point in his “age curves” and we block Hanson – Frazier – and more to accommodate him…

      • Bruce, a 3 WAR player is among the top 1/3 of all starting position players in the league and a borderline all-star. There isn’t a team in baseball that couldn’t upgrade at multiple spots with a 3-WAR player.

        Not that Freese is likely that guy anymore, but he is a 2-WAR guy, and those are valuable too. An average major league starting position player is nothing to sneeze at.

        And the only person blocking Alen Hanson is Alen Hanson. Putting up a .700 OPS in AAA doesn’t entitle anyone to a promotion. If he demonstrates focus and consistency for more than a few weeks at a time, he’ll be on a flight to Pittsburgh.

  • I would rather see Osuna than Goebbert but I am sure Osuna will make it to AAA sometime this year.

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