First Pitch: A Deeper Look at the Prospects Traded in the Francisco Liriano Deal

Everything about the Francisco Liriano trade has been weird. The actual trade itself was unconventional. A lot of the opinions following the deal have been strange, because there are so many pieces and layers to this deal, but it seems most want to make the discussion as simple as possible.

It also might be one of the most extremely polarizing moves I’ve seen in a long time. If you don’t say that this deal is a total disaster and has no chance of ever working out, then you’re apologizing for the Pirates, or trying to spin the deal. If you think that Drew Hutchison has any chance of being a good pitcher, then you’re trying to spin the deal. If you don’t scream about a salary dump on a daily basis, even if you’ve said it was a salary dump, you’re trying to spin the deal.

I’ve constantly written the same thing about the deal: The Pirates overpaid, they shouldn’t have given up Reese McGuire, their position on having catching depth totally ignores what happened this year with the catching situation. But I’ve also said that I do like Hutchison and see some signs that he could be a good pitcher, and I’ll wait to see how or if they spend that money before complaining, while also saying that there are no excuses if they don’t spend it.

Somehow, that is considered apologizing and spin. Saying a move is bad, could be horrible, but might have some redeeming value. Basically, if you even give this move a chance, you’re an apologist. The only position that is safe is all the way to the extreme, acting like this is the worst deal in Pirates history.

Meanwhile, I’ve been noticing a trend outside of Pittsburgh. All of the national outlets have lower grades on Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez than we do. We did lower the grade on Ramirez in our mid-season update, and I’ve written many times that we’ve got McGuire rated higher than anyone else, because I personally pushed him up in the rankings. I actually continued to do that in my trade value of the deal, giving him top 100 prospect value, even though he’s not a top 100 prospect, and thus increasing Toronto’s return to show how it was an overpay for the Pirates. You know, for the spin.

Anyway, I’ve been hesitant to talk about the rankings outside of this site, because this whole topic has been a minefield. I know that if I post these rankings, it’s going to guarantee that I’ll get a response saying I’m talking about this in an attempt to spin this trade, apologize, defend, downgrade the prospects, and other BS that ignores that I’ve got these prospects rated higher than these other outlets, which isn’t the right approach if you’re trying to provide spin.

I didn’t want to talk about the other rankings for that reason, but that’s just because I’m already sick of this topic. It’s my job to provide information, especially on prospects. And it’s my job to give my honest opinion, even if people don’t like it. In this case, I think it’s useful to see how these prospects were perceived outside of Pittsburgh (the information), along with why I had them ranked different (my opinion).

Reese McGuire

This might be the biggest difference in opinion. I mentioned many times that I pushed McGuire’s value up, both before and after the trade. The McGuire situation is incredibly strange, because a week ago, any discussion I had with Pirates fans about McGuire involved me explaining why he wasn’t a bust. A lot of the people I’ve seen complaining about McGuire were writing him off or complaining about him up until the trade. So his value definitely went up among Pirates fans this week.

But the value seems to be much lower outside of Pittsburgh. FanGraphs gave him a Future Value (FV) of 40, which is an impactful bench player. The big complaint was on his hitting, with this summary from Eric Longenhagen:

“I don’t think he’s going to hit enough to play everyday and he profiles as more of a back-up catcher or low-end starter than as an average everyday player.”

Keith Law wrote that the entire deal could pay off in Pittsburgh, making a lot of the same points I made after the deadline. Here was his summary on McGuire:

“Reese McGuire, the team’s second first-round pick in 2013, is a strong defensive catcher who has no power and doesn’t make enough hard contact to project as an everyday player, but I feel confident he’ll get a lot of big-league time as a backup catcher.”

And finally, Baseball America had this to say about McGuire:

“While his defense has remained sharp outstanding receiving and framing skills and a quick, accurate arm, his lefthanded swing has just never developed. … His projection is starting to change to that of a defense-first, backup or time-share catcher in the majors, not what was hoped for when he was taken right ahead of Braden Shipley, J.P. Crawford and Tim Anderson in the 2013 draft.”

That’s three evaluations saying the same thing, that he’s going to be a strong defensive catcher who will be limited to being a backup. We had him rated as a 5 (or 50) for his likely upside, which is a grade above FanGraphs. That’s saying he will be an average starter. The reason we were higher, and had him as a starter, was that we weren’t writing off his hitting. He has a line drive stroke, and makes solid contact at times. He has just lacked consistency, not because he’s been over-matched, but because he’s been too selective.

I could end up being wrong, and the above opinions could be right. The only difference is the prediction on whether his bat will develop, and no one knows that right now either way. I’ve never been afraid to stick to a different opinion on a player, even when every other outlet is higher or lower. I’ve been watching McGuire since he made his debut in the GCL, so I’m going to trust what I’ve seen, which has been flashes of good hitting ability.

Harold Ramirez

Ramirez is another guy where we had a higher opinion on him, although I wouldn’t say the opinion was drastically different than the national outlets. Here is a summary, with the same links as above.

FanGraphs (40 FV): “Even if you think Ramirez is a future plus hitter (I don’t but acknowledge it’s a possibility, Ramirez is really unique and a tough eval as a result), there won’t be more than 40 game power here unless he drastically alters his approach — and that offensive profile doesn’t play in left field without good defense, something I’m increasingly skeptical Ramirez will be able to provide.”

Law: “Harold Ramirez can hit for average, above .300 all three years he has been in full-season ball, rarely striking out, but he also has below-average power and doesn’t project to get past average. He’s a poor runner and is limited to left field, so using scouting’s 20-to-80 scale he’ll have to end up with a 70- or 80-grade hit tool (with batting averages near the top of the league) to end up as a regular.”

BA: “A line drive hitter with above-average speed he is still learning to use, Ramirez uses the whole field and consistently makes hard contact… He plays center field well, but could shift over the left if needed. His arm is not strong enough to profile in right, and the lack of power as he climbs the ladder was slightly unexpected.”

Baseball America focused more on the tools, and Ramirez being blocked in Pittsburgh, rather than giving an opinion on his overall upside. The general feeling was that Ramirez probably wouldn’t be a starter in the big leagues. Everyone was in agreement that his hit tool was his best, but he hasn’t developed power, and wouldn’t have the defensive value to make up for this.

We actually dropped Ramirez in our rankings, due to concerns that he won’t hit for power, and could lose some of his speed as he grows and fills out. We had his upside as an average starter, but added the disclaimer that he could see a decline after a few years, and might end up as a bench player. We had his floor below a bench player, in between that and a Quad-A player. As for his ceiling, we had that in the same range as Alen Hanson, Clay Holmes, Yeudy Garcia, Taylor Hearn, and Steven Brault, who all ranked lower than Ramirez.

If the deal would have been Ramirez and one or two guys ranked lower than him, I would have liked it. Ramirez is a guy who was definitely blocked, and his potential to make it as a long-term starter is very questionable, more than McGuire’s potential for the same thing.

My opinion on the deal remains that the Pirates gave up too much, with the problem being the inclusion of McGuire. That comes with the disclaimer that I’m much higher on him than everyone else, as we see in the evaluations above. And perhaps before the deadline, when Pirates fans would say McGuire was just another Chris Stewart, and I said he could be a starter, they were the ones who were correct. If that’s true, then it’s too bad they’re now on my side, looking at losing him as something which could really hurt the Pirates in the long run. According to the national outlets, they could have been right.

**Austin Meadows Finishes His Rehab, Heading to Indianapolis Tomorrow. Good news out of Morgantown, as Austin Meadows finished his rehab tonight.

**Prospect Watch: Brault Gets Roughed Up in Return to Indianapolis. My live report from Morgantown is in this, which is pretty much a small feature on Stephan Meyer. He’s not a true prospect, but he’s interesting enough for about 600-700 words in a recap of his best start of the year. That’s the thing I love about the Prospect Watch. We could just write a bunch of small articles and recaps and notebooks, but we put it all in there, giving an article each night packed with info.

**Impact of the Reese McGuire Trade on Altoona’s Staff; Jin-De Jhang’s Turn. Sean McCool gets the reaction from the Altoona clubhouse of McGuire leaving, and looks at Jin-De Jhang, who will now get more time behind the plate.

**Vogelsong Activated from Disabled List, Boscan Released, Moroff Optioned. Vogelsong had a good start tonight in his return. If you read Sean McCool’s article a few weeks ago, then you’d know that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

**Austin Meadows and Eric Wood Recognized Among the Eastern League Best. I’m a bit surprised that Eric Wood got the best defensive third base honors.

**David Todd Podcast: Recapping the Pirates’ Trade Deadline. David and I discuss the trade deadline this week.

**Morning Report: The GCL Pirates Have Quite a Rotation Set for this Week. A lot of really good pitching options down there.

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piraddict

Tim,

If you happened to share the average outside consensus evaluation of McGuire, how far down the list of Pirates Prospects would that push him, #25 maybe?

freddylang

McGuire since the fall league last year is on a pace for 49XBH per 600 AB. Only the one HR but his doubles power has increased. When you look at the deal Russell Martin got to play great defense, get on base fairly well, and hit .240 and 15 or so HR, that’s when the pain becomes evident with McGuire. If he becomes a plus defensive catcher then he really only has to hit similar to his .690 or so OPS to be an average MLB catcher. Martin has a .686 OPS and he’s on pace to be around a slightly over 1.0 WAR player even in what is a poor defensive year for him. It’s still a big if that McGuire is a .700 OPS MLB player but he’s that already as a 21 year old in AA so it’s not like it’s a crazy thought that he could do it. I don’t know. To me, if you are gonna deal McGuire wait until next year and see how Diaz looks.

candyfan

All of this talk about leadership is useless. And Huntington’s give away of two Altoona stars is merely his reaction to the teams poor play this year.

FACT IS: This team has not played well this year. Starting pitching (Huntington’s fault) has been terrible! But the rest of the team has been average at best. We have less than solid contributions at three key spots: first base, third base and centerfield! They are named Jaso, Kang and McCutchen!

THAT’S WHY this team is playing .500 baseball.

gozurman1

TIm. respect you willingness to be civil to the posters here. I still remember a few years ago and this site was still young and growing. I think it was when (I think it was) Gregory Polanco came up and you were at the forefront reporting on reporting the news of him getting brought up. I still remember the local talk show host, who will remain nameless, called you out and said you should keep you nose out of such business and leave it to the real journalists in Pittsburgh. Only problem, being prospect news, it was and still is your business. Laughed very heartily at that jealous claim the local guy made on the air. I sure you did too when you caught wind of the nonsense.

Brian DeLeo

I hate the trade. If Reese wasn’t involved though, I just would have disagreed with it.
The fact that others have different rankings for Reese is meaningless because you guys are closest to it. They gave up too much prospect for salary dump. Bottom line

gozurman1

In order to dump, you have to have a dumpee to agree to take the contract. Guessing the Jays did not think too highly of Frankie either hence the 2 players added to the deal from the Buics

michael t

Frankie went 6 innings last night, gave up 2 earned runs and Toronto won.

gozurman1

Let’s see how he does next time out. Nova Looked good his first time out but jury is still out on him as well. Actually The Jays lost the game. KC scored in the 9th.

RickParrish

One additional thought on this article. I know that you folks do your best to rank the prospects and I am sure the rankings are for the most part correct. However, maybe more talk could be around what the true upside is for theses prospects. I am sure that you do that but not enough is being mentioned. I think as a fan, if they are a top prospect then we think they are going to start and be great for ten years. That really isn’t the case. At the same time if they are good enough to start ten years then maybe we should be touting them as the second coming of so-in-so. I guess what I am preaching here is balance and accuracy. We as fans are probably not as realistic as we should be.

loehr22

Do you read the prospect guide? I think that gives you what you are looking for.

RickParrish

I heard Brian Cashman yesterday speaking about the Nova trade. He said that he has a choice of picking two of four agreed upon top 30 prospects from the Pirates organization. That is the first I heard about the “players to be named later” being in the top 30. This could be very similar to losing two good prospects that went along with Lariano. I hope these prospects are #27 -30!!

ajax2448

Well if they were top 20 or 25 i think he would have said top 20 or top 25.

John W

If we potentially gave up our 29th and 30th best prospect for 2 months of Ivan Nova on a 500 team… NH needs his head checked.

IC Bob

We only got one back when we traded Melancan and I think we all can agree Melancan is better then Nova. This deal was and is a head scratcher for me.

gozurman1

2 players back for Melancon. Rivero on the major league roster and Hearn who is a minor league prospect. Both 100 mph lefties.

AttyMike

Tim your willingness to consider a wide variety of opinions, even if they aren’t necessarily in agreement with yours, is why this is the very best website for Pirates fans.

st1300b

Also I’d prefer to take the opinion of a person who follows a prospect rather than occasionally sees and hears about one. McGuire is the only reason this deal blows and IMO beyond acceptable so count me in that group.

st1300b

However I don’t account for “spin” and value each writers opinions of this and any deal as just that, they’re opinions.
I’ve noted in the past my observations of players and they may not be accepted by some but you have to trust what you see along with digesting the stats and reports available.
Tim the one thing I appreciate most is the honest and straightforward approach you and your team provide us readers. No spin here thanks!!

loehr22

Tim,
Just copy this column and the comments so in a year or two, you can show the whiners how little they know. Ramirez is a back up at best, as is McGuire. I guess the backseat GMs all think they are going to win the next PowerBall or Mega Millions because they bought a ticket. I will give the Pirates the benefit of the doubt on this one. Neal has built a solid club after so many years of failure. I am sure that he didn’t just decide to dump prospects that the Pirates think will become All-Stars. I am sure that the minor league and major league coaches were asked to assess these players and what they thought of their future. It might have been easy for them to let them go. I’m sure that the Pirates catchers were also asked about Liriano.
It’s quite possible that the Pirates were able to shed a ton of salary that they were paying for a pitcher that seems to have lost it. He has been a bust this year. With the salary relief, the Pirates can extend Watson and Feliz, they can try to extend Taillion like they did Cutch, Marte, and Polanco, or they can try to extend Cole a couple more years by overpaying him in his arbitration years. I don’t think Tim is apologizing or putting a spin on this deal for the Pirates. He has been doing this long enough to know that you may not know the full effect of the trade until further down the road. It’s time for everyone to get realistic about the Pirates salary limits. They can’t pay an underachiever $13+ million. They were smart to make the trade and dealt iffy players to make it happen.

IC Bob

Did you comment on earlier articles about Mcguire and Ramirez that they were back ups at best? Or did you just realize that in the last couple of days? Just wondering.

loehr22

Why would I? I guess I’m not like you and feel the need to post my opinion about everything. You know what they say about opinions. Maybe I need to translate my thoughts:

I am ok with the trade because I am not sold on Reese or Ramirez and I don’t think they would help the Pirates get over the top. I am willing to wait and see how this pans out. To me, the success of this trade will be determined on if they extend Watson, Feliz, Taillion, or Cole. I also recognize that the Pirates are not in the same financial position as most MLB teams. By saving this money(salary dump), they can extend Cole an additional 2 years. They will have to overpay, but it can be done and it won’t ruin them financially. They would then hold an even bigger asset if they needed to eventually trade him away. This team has an opportunity to have a starting rotation top 3 of Cole, Taillion, and Glasnow for the next 5 years. I doubt that anyone would give two shits about Frankie, Reese, Ramirez or salary dump if they were to accomplish this.

John W

LOL! 13M is going to extend Gerrit Cole an additional 2 years. Awesome! Can’t wait for Boras to sign off on that.

loehr22

You asked me if my iq was 70? He will make about $30 million the next 3 years in arbitration with the Pirates, they already control those years. They can offer him $80-$85 million for the next 5 years, buying out his first 2 years of free agency at about $20-$22 million a year and using the $13 million to over pay his arb years, keeping him in Pittsburgh the next 5 years. They would both sign off on that guaranteed money. See, Neal’s job takes brains, something you are short of.

John W

Let me ask you another thing bright guy. What kind of average annual growth in percentage terms do you expect in the Pirates payroll the next couple years before they sign another TV contract?

3%, 5%, 10% 12% More? Less?

John W

Cole and Boras aren’t signing a 5 year 80M extension. They will take the 30M in arb payments, accept the injury risk and then sign somewhere between 6-150M, 7- 175M or maybe more once inflation is factored in.

In fact, I’d say there are no guarantees Cole is even here in 2019. He might be dealt for prospects if that final arb year looks to expensive and don’t look to be strong contender prior to season.

st1300b

Disagree friend. We do NOT have to be realistic about salary limits when those salary numbers are already near bottom.
The industry pays for talent see Moncada what 60mil or something? So tossing a AA talent at 21 years old away for salary dumping less than 15mil is NOT acceptable IMO.

loehr22

The Red Sox are not a good comp for the industry. The Pirates just can’t afford a gamble like that. The only way that gets fixed is by a salary cap, and that’s not going to happen. Small market teams need to be smarter and more efficient. I’m sure the Dodgers are a little nervous with Kershaw, a herniated disk is no joke. They are paying him $32 million this year, the Pirates could never recover from that.

John W

I’m going to be real interested to see what becomes of that 13M. I imagine it will be spent sort of similar to the 9M that was freed up in the Charlie Morton dump. Who knows, maybe a Travis Wood signing at 1/6M and some arb raises and a reliever!! Exciting

loehr22

I’m sure that you will show the same interest when Ramirez and McGuire don’t pan out. Charlie Morton dump, now that’s funny

John W

KATOH values Mcguire 3rd highest among prospects dealt at deadline. Right behind Torres. Just one more alternative to look at.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/katoh-trade-deadline-roundup-prospects-and-teams/

loehr22

How fascinating. What WAR did fangraphs project for Cutch this year?

ajax2448

So they project him to have a 5.5 WAR in his first 6 MLB seasons. For perspective that would put him 2 wins below Ryan Doumit over his 1st 6 years.

John W

Ummm you really don’t get it. That sort of projection is what one would realistically expect from a prospect in top 50-60 in all of baseball. It’s a damn good projection.

Not saying it will come to fruition, but to act like it would represent lousy production is just silly.

ajax2448

What are you even talking about that I don’t get? I just put that there because I doubt many people are familiar with KATOH.

Additionally you seem to be contradicting yourself. You are saying that is a damn good projection but then you are upset that I put that projection in context with people that have actually played at the MLB level. Granted he isn’t that good of an MLB player and he actually put up 2 wins more than what McGuire is projected for.

Eric Marshall

Charlie could be considered a salary dump when you go and replace him with Vogelsong. Charlie wasn’t expensive for a 4 or 5 starter. Will you show the same interest in defending this when Frankie helps the Blue Jays win a round in the playoffs this year? We can all play this game.

loehr22

I didn’t like Charlie and didn’t think he was reliable enough. I doubt that Frankie helps the Blue Jays do anything, but it’s possible. He wasn’t helping the Pirates do anything but lose, so I am glad that they decided to move on. You can’t hope and wish in this game, sometimes tough decisions are necessary. This trade needs to play out and see what the Pirates do with the salary relief. The outrage is premature and the attacks on Tim and the site are not well thought out. Save the complaining until you see what they do. Too many fair weather fans.

John W

You don’t understand that Charlie Morton for David Whitehead was a salary dump? Do you have an IQ over 70?

loehr22

That’s pretty funny John. I’m not sure exactly how to respond to such a well crafted post. I’m sure most people on this blog could care less about Charlie Morton and were glad to see him go. Calling it a salary dump is laughable because he was so inconsistent and horrible, most jokes were about trading him for a case of beer or a bag of balls. You might be one of those funny guys who thinks of that one every time a player doesn’t perform to your expectations. Charlie Mortons performance and his salary made him worthless, but I guess the Phillies thought different. I am sure that they would rather have David Whitehead than Charlie Morton now. That trade seemed to pan out for the Pirates, but I guess it doesn’t count because he got injured. Nothing in his past would ever give anyone the idea that he could be brittle. Your posts are laughable, I can’t believe I actually responded to you.

John W

I know.. you wasted about 200 words saying absolutely nothing. That is wasting your time.

Xfip between 3.69-3.87 between 2013-15. Sounds like that would make him our #3 pitcher with ease.

loehr22

If he was healthy. I doubt he would The local high school teams #3 pitcher right now. Better finish up, your mom is calling you for supper.

HartHighPirate

Tim you spin but you cannot win.

“You have to AC-Cent-Tchu-ATE the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-between…..”
Johnny Mercer & Pied Pipers (1945) & Bing Crosby

juniorkrz

Tim, I enjoy your insightful analysis on a daily basis. I do not find you to be bias, in that you favor the Pirates over all else. You are a good read.
My real problem with the trade is what could have been in the recent past. NH would not trade certain prospects for big upgrades at the deadline the last 3 years, but tossed them aside for “financial flex.” All prospects are a crap shoot, but we could have tossed those dice the last couple of seasons or even during this past offseason for that missing piece.

John W

You can certainly argue with the results in 2014. Adding at deadline could have been difference in not playing a wildcard game.

Eric Marshall

What number was Dilson… didn’t remember him being a top 10. Everyone generally hated the Happ acquisition and we didn’t give up much saying the premium talent was too expensive and they didn’t want to sell their prospects. No big deal either way. Just don’t agree with management here. Appreciate your attempts to be objective.

Eric Marshall

Got it. Never thought he was that high. Knew there was certainly gnashing of teeth on him when it went down. Byrd played a great role down the stretch that year.

John W

Not doing anything in 2014 not looking real smart. Competition in division was as weak as it had been or will be for many, many years. Bullpen was poor in August IIRC before Holdzkom arrived in September.

Joe P

Tim, there was a rumor the Orioles wanted Frankie? That must have fizzled.

Joe P

Glass half full view- lets say Liriano goes the route of Wandy and never recovers. If you were a major league team, would you be willing to buy two top ten players for 20 mill? Liriano may get back on track, but Pirates had a lot to loose if he continued to flounder.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

BTW, Hutchison is a AAAA pitcher at best….

Gallatin

More spin Buccosfan…

Donald R

Do you have an original opinion? Or are you just a NH lap dog?

Donald R

Hutchison is a AAAA pitcher at best, get used to it

BuccosFanStuckinMD

More spin Tim…call it what you will, but that is what you are doing – and I’d be concerned about credibility and objectivity. No one, outside of the Pirates organization and 1-2 Pirates web sites like this one, considered the Liriano trade even remotely sensible.
This article reminds me of many college recruiting sites, run by school’s fans and alums – Player A is highly desirable – 4 stars and the fans are just pumped that its down to two schools, including their school….then, the kid chooses the other school. Now, he was overrated, had academic issues, no big loss, etc. That is what this article reads like.
If you always believed what you wrote above about McGuire and Ramirez, then your Top 20 Pirates Prospects lists are called into question….because you had these guys rated very highly.
Why can’t we just be honest and objective and call a spade a spade?

GreenWeenie

I have no problem with what you’re saying. Your record on this is pretty clear and rational. I just think that on multiple levels, the Pirates made a bad deal. Even if it works out, trading prospects to dump salary sets a bad precedent.

GreenWeenie

Maybe, maybe not. If I’m a GM and the Pirates are looking to dump salary, I’m asking for prospects to make it happen. To me it’s sort of like looking at the Rays. If you want one of their talented players, be prepared to give up several prospects. That’s the reputation they’ve created.

michael t

I am pushing the reset button.
I agree with Tim…..who agrees with the GreenWeenie.
The Pirates made a bad deal.

Moose71950

That’s really the best argument against this article. Mr. Williams, if you felt so strongly about these two while they’re in the system that you’d rank them as high as you did, any back tracking on that front after they’re gone is going to look bad. And the OP is right, it calls your prospect lists into question a bit, because why weren’t all these flaws properly valued the first time around?

Moose71950

Lol, back tracking might have been a tad strong way to phrase what i meant. But you said yourself in the article that Ramirez fell in your rankings because of doubts about his power and a projected loss in speed as he fills out. Isn’t that back tracking in a way? And for both guys, youve cited several outside opinions showing us that Pirates Prospects might have overrated them. Couldn’t that exercise be considered back tracking in a way? Why even bring it up?

Moose71950

Hey, I’m not trying to criticize the articles, I enjoy them far too much to be that critical.

It’s just that when I read the article, you start by criticizing those with extremely negative feelings about the trade and then you jump in by showing us outside rankings that are more pessimistic about McGuire and Ramirez. It reads like you’re trying to spin the trade into a positive without technically back tracking your own stance on the players involved, which is basically the same as you back tracking your own stance.

Maybe I’m off base though, maybe this is just objective information, containing no spin. But thats just the way the article read to me. Sorry if I offended

Eric Marshall

Nice article Tim. I have been an attacker of this deal and the spin of the deal by this site. There is still cherry picking going on which again i feel is done to justify the deal. There is whining going on as well that centers around “we didn’t want to X” which makes no sense. If you are a prospect site you should be 100% up front with personnel moving up and down.

I posted in an earlier article that BA came out with their mid season team prospect rankings. Surprise, surprise they had Ramirez at 6 and McGuire at 10… yes he dropped in their rankings. BUT that still equates to 2 top 10 prospects in a deep and well respected Pittsburgh system… certainly way too much for 15M dollars and a hope and a prayer broken pitcher. Frankie is a better pitcher than Hutch is today.

For the record… I didn’t want Frankie traded. He needed a DL assignment to get straightened out. He still held out our best hope of having a solid #2 on the roster this year and next. Expecting rookie’s or reclamation projects to fill that role isn’t a smart strategy.

Donald R

Pretty sensitive

Hank

A good franchise should never sell prospects for money. MLB shouldn’t even allow this type of deal.

ajax2448

Every sport besides the NFL has some for of trading players for money. The NFL doesn’t need it because contracts aren’t guaranteed.

John W

Tim,

I simply disagree with you reasoning in this example. Quite frankly, your first few paragraphs sound very defensive and somewhat whiney to me. I don’t think you’re an apologist and if others do… who cares. I thought you said 95% of members don’t even post here anyway. I just disagree with you and that is the foundation of healthy dialogue imo.

Just my 2 cents which you didn’t ask for but I think these pieces in which you try to defend your viewpoint may be counterproductive. I think there is a lot of wisdom in the adage “thou doth protest too much”.

John W

Also Tim why didn’t you mention(after taking part of BA’s piece on Harold Ramirez) that they graded both Ramirez and Mcguire at 55. (55 high to be specific). And had them the 5th and 6th prospects in system. Farnsworth at fangraphs had them 3rd and 5th in system coming into year. And KATOH was also high on Mcguire.

So it seems you are sort of cherry picking examples. I would suggest reading the detail Farnsworth gave on Kang pre 2015 and prediciing huge resurrection for JD Martinez when everyone had given up on him. He is brilliant in terms of swing analysis and someone I would trust more than Longenhagen.

John W

Unfortunately Farnsworth not at Fangraphs so not apples to apples comparison. I think he is much sharper than Longenhangen. Also this just came out from KATOH about a week ago. Mcguire either 49th or 63rd depending on what list you use:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/an-improved-katoh-top-100-list/

Eric Marshall

BA just did their mid season and have Ramirez 6th and McGuire 10th in our system? Why not mention that in your inclusion from BA… because it doesn’t fit the narrative you are trying to present. If wrong please explain why you only put in what suited your narrative?

Eric Marshall

Tim – Just stating that BA’s mid season prospect ranking for the Pirates had Ramirez at 6 and McGuire at 10. Just cut and pasting what they had to say without showing they were still Very highly rated in our stacked system implies they were down on them. That is all.

Donald R

Don’t apologize. You should be able to state your opinions without fear of being “blocked”.

Eric Marshall

OK… i was just referencing the material posted from BA sounded pretty damning and aligned to the narrative that this wasn’t as bad as it looked. When i went to go look at their most recent rankings i was surprised to see 6 and 10. Adding 6 and 10 to your article above would have had a big impact on how it came across and the conclusions people could draw from it… just my opinion though.

Will stop beating the dead horse.

Eric Marshall

Thank you John. Happy i wasn’t the only one to call this out.

John W

I was talking about yesterday. I disagreed with you on a number of different issues as far as potential signals sent by the Liriano trade and what are the likely things we can do with the 13M coming off the books. Wasn’t referencing where these prospects are ranked. I will add though
Dan Farsnworth(who I think is much much better than Longenhagen)

Had Mcguire #3 coming into this year and Ramirez #5 . He was surprisingly impressed with what he saw from Mcguire’s bat in the AFL.

ajax2448

Yes but the Longenhagen ratings were done based on this year as well. What he did in the AFL was good…..but he has never shown the ability to it over any sustained stretch. He had 58 plate appearances in the AFL. Small sample size. Also Dan Farnsworth no longer is doing baseball writing from what I can find.

gozurman1

That seems to be the Pittsburgh thing to do. Even the people who in one breath were saying Niese and Liriano had to go then the next wail that the team conducted a sell off. So NH does not make the trades, how is the Parent club any better with the guys who left still on the roster trotting out there every day? The typical response is, they should have made different trades. Real easy to say when you have to find some one willing to make such a trade and not gut you system of the best of the best prospects. Too bad Toronto was not stupid and took Liriano’s contract and 2 B or C type prospects and given us an A prospect in return. That kind of market was not there this year or even the last couple.

st1300b

Real stretch to call Hutchison a prospect at all let alone an A prospect.

Arik Florimonte

I think you’ll be surprised next year. He’s a good arm, but he got mishandled in Toronto. He was excellent in A/AA then got called up after only 32 AA innings straight to the majors at age 21, and had TJS shortly after. Don’t let Toronto’s weird handling of him color your opinion. He can be a solid #3 , which is pretty valuable.

Brian Bernard

I’m not a believer and we’ll find out next year.

gozurman1

I said that too bad Toronto was not stupid and had given us an A prospect. in return of Liriano nd 2 lower prospects than the Bucs gave up. THey were not stupid and did not give up and A prospect and the Bucs had to give up more than 2 B or C prospects. Never called Hutchison an A prospect.

Eric Marshall

Liriano is better than Hutch is today. Plain and simple. Both are struggling this year. Liriano has a much longer history of actually being a good pitcher with dominating performance at times. In this market we gave him away and strapped on two top ten prospects to call it all good.

gozurman1

I think he was worse than Niese or Locke. He was plain horrible this year. Have not Hutchison pitch so I can not compare the two..In my opinion, Liriano was a detriment to the rotation and the team. When you are a player that is pitching so bad you do what you have to to get the player off the roster. TIme will tell if the move was better than eating the 17million still owed to Liriano and releasing him. Will depend on how Ramirez, McGuire, Hutchison and Liriano all perform over the next several years. I agree it sucks to have had to make this move, but even to being the year, who would have thought Liriano would have gone from a solid #2 guy on the rotation to one who was worse than #5 ?

IC Bob

Verlander stunk it out for about two years but he back now. Sometimes you just have to wait for the player to get it. The key here is the player must have something to get. Hutchison has not shown he has it. Lariano has lost it the previous three months but was great the previous three years. I would have faked an injury if you must (similar to Tallion) and put him on the DL then let him get in as much rehab that is necessary.

gozurman1

Looking at Verlander, He had 6 bad starts then got it together and had 1 bad start and 2-3 fair starts and all of the rest great starts in the next 16. Frankie has been bad pretty much all year and the last 2 were putrid. Does not look like he is turning it around like Verlander did. Not sure but if Frankie claimed 100% healthy and no medicals showing an injury can the league step in??

Tim, What are the rules? Thinking if the team and player agree to a DL stint no problem but guessing rules exist if the player says he is healthy.

Eric Marshall

we just disagree on Liriano to some extent. Why not DL him a bit to work with him? Has he not proven to be a strong enough asset to try and work that through? Also, everyone keeps talking about 17M. What does Hutch cost this year and next? He isn’t cheap but isn’t too costly but should be factored in.

ajax2448

Hutch will be league minimum this year and probably like 2 million next year at most.

gozurman1

You would have to have the guy agree to that as if not, and he really is not hurt, and he complains to the union? Not sure of the rules and if the team can get in trouble with the league? Not sure about the rules. I thought the same thing. Even thought that maybe he was truly hurt. It does stink that he fell apart. Loved watching him pitch. Just was painful to watch him this year. I do agree with you that it stinks to have given up 2 top prospects to move Liriano. Just thankful that they did not give up Meadows, Bell, or Glasnow.

Y2JGQ2

McGuire is already better defensively than Stewart, which is why those people aren’t correct. Other than “handling pitchers” and “calling games” which will come with another 2-3 years of experience. He can outblock, out throw, and out receive stewart anyday, and also has a better defensive skill set than Cervelli in every area except pitch framing, which I hold little value to anyways

HartHighPirate

Opponents steal bases at will on Cervelli. Opponent scouting reports have noted this.

Y2JGQ2

Few catchers profile as good hitters and good defensive catchers at that age and at AA- so the scouting from those other places to me- holds little value. I’d like to see the last high scouting grades for a AA catcher if anyone knows of any.

IC Bob

I look at Molinas numbers coming up, a lot of similarities with Mcguire. I don’t want to root against the guy but I also do not want to see him kick butt for 10 years knowing he could be ours.

HartHighPirate

Thanks Y2JGQ2.
There must be scouting grades on Jin-De Jhang at Altoona. PP doesn’t have him in top 20 ignoring him although Sean McCool did a very good write up on Jhang August 4:

http://18.206.184.11/2016/08/impact-of-the-reese-mcguire-trade-on-altoonas-staff-jin-de-jhangs-turn.html

ajax2448

Jorge Alfaro, Gary Sanchez

michael t

Tim
We all feel the need to vent at times. You have been critical of the Liriano trade. What I challenge are these two articles previously published:
“Why the Pirates Bullpen Might Be Better After the Mark Melancon Trade”
July 31st
and
“Despite Complaints, The Pirates Might Have Upgraded For 2016 and 2017”
Aug 4th
If you are going to write and publish those two stories you have to expect incredulous disagreement. Some might take it beyond disagreement and accuse you of defending the FO. Criticism comes with the territory. The Pirates have collapsed since the trades and it was predictable.
As my millennial daughters say all the time, if you’re looking for unqualified affection, get a puppy.

Moose71950

Idk about that. Yes the offense has been bad, but you’re not going to win too often giving up 6 runs a night to teams like the Braves

michael t

……..and their defense. Send your leaders packing for strangers and cash and your team falls apart. Do think they look like a contender?

HartHighPirate

Melancon’s value diminishes as he is a loaner. His future value will be determined as a FA.

Eric Marshall

Sorry Tim. Lots of differences… one of which Cole being on the DL. You can’t say after getting swept by the Brewers and losing two of three to the Braves that this is the same. This team right now is in a downward spiral that they will not come out of this year. They will struggle to stay within 10 game of break even.

michael t

Sorry Tim but we disagree. Picking arbitrary dates and trying to say the team was just as bad then as they are post deadline deal sell-off just isn’t credible. It comes off as defensive as well.
Good day sir.

Koloacat

Except now they are playing the Brewers and the Braves and losing. Only the second home series that the Braves have won all season. Embarrassing.

michael t

The fact is beginning with a sweep of the LA Dodgers and ending the day Melancon was traded the Pirates went 18-9, the best record in baseball during that period. They also got Cole back in the rotation. The GM then decided to play for next year. The team has looked terrible since he made that decision. The Pirates were trending up as evidenced by that 18-9 record.

st1300b

Tim this would be great to down vote for this comment section. Lol

RonHeb72

The irony of it, they are still in the same place they were in the WC race too.

RonHeb72

I caution that. If Melancon is a leader from the Bullpen that’s really impressive. Liriano was never a leader. To Tim’s point of the offense being what it is. We have no leader in the Dugout on this team now.

Eric Marshall

and we have management that is outright lying to the team and fans, trading away valuable pieces for cash considerations and that tends to inspire confidence and strong team building. This core felt like they could compete for a championship. They probably believed the same that we fans did. Now the rug has been pulled and we lose a series to two of the worst teams in the league.

HartHighPirate

Good summation….Thanks Eric

ajax2448

Liriano has negative value. Melancon’s value evaporates at the end of the year. Niese, well I don’t even need to address how low his value is.

RonHeb72

OK that may be true. But this team never showed it wanted to compete all season. They never had that heart or drive or anything they had the last couple years. Last two years even when they were trailing I was still thinking we are going to win. I don’t see that energy this year. That did not just start at the trade deadline.

st1300b

The heart part is the one thing I always felt Neil Walker provided. I wouldn’t argue for stats or salary but he was always the heart of this team. Wasn’t enough to win it all but this year has seemed to lack that leadership.
I’ve thought that someone like Marte could step up but he seems to not want that role. I say that because he very rarely seeks the vocal stage. Harrison speaks up but he doesn’t have the game. This team missed Walkers presence.

IC Bob

Its impossible for non english speaking players to take on a leadership role when most of the team cannot understand them. He has mentored Polonco and I think we are seeing some great strides there

Eric Marshall

The team hasn’t had the same vibe all year… i would agree with that. The offensive numbers have been ok to good all year. RISP wasn’t great the past three years as well. Biggest issue this year has been pitching and Cutch. Maybe the team didn’t feel great about the SP composition from the get go… didn’t buy into the fat lie leadership was presenting. Maybe they felt a little demoralized to finally feel good about taking out the cards to see the cubs go out and buy the system while we had 3 5 or 6’s in our rotation? Who knows but to say the offense collapsed isn’t an appropriate response to why we have collapsed since the trades started going down.

RonHeb72

True, Honestly though, I think the poor pitching has masked I don’t want to say how bad but how inefficient the offense has been. The rest of your points could be true but as you said who knows. Just have never felt all season we were truly a contender which has sucked because my best friend is a Cubs fan.

Eric Marshall

Seriously? Have you ever played a team sport?

RonHeb72

Eric, I played and still play team sports. I also coach them. I am not sure I follow your response to Tim’s comment. I am confused.

Eric Marshall

Head in the sand lalalalala attitude. Let’s not acknowledge the negative impact these series of trades can have on the mentality of the team and their desire to go out and bust their butts. To simply say “the offense failed” is so over the top it is incredulous. Shows no ability to understand team dynamics, reality of situations and cursory care for the current predicament.

Ryan C

Please. Stop. You have no idea what’s actually going on in the clubhouse or in the heads of the players, you’re projecting all this crap on them because it’s how YOU feel. The truth is that this kind of stuff doesn’t actually have any significant kind of impact on competitors at this level.

You live in a fairy tale world where teams just “coming together” can overcome anything and all your dreams can come true. Sorry, not reality. Talent wins. We’re watching a mediocre pitching staff and an underpeforming lineup go out there and play to right about their abilities as a .500 team. They’ve been doing it all season, they’ll continue to do it the rest of the season. It has nothing to do with the recent trades because these are grown men, competing for themselves as professionals to further their careers and, not going out there and living and dying for the city of Pittsburgh or the fans of the team. Time to grow up. That’s not how it has ever worked despite what the movies might try to tell you.

Koloacat

So in your world, the team with the most talent always wins. Maybe you should grow up.

st1300b

Word

RonHeb72

I see your point, but the offense has not been there all year. We have failed to hit with RISP since April. It didn’t just start at the Trade Deadline. I have felt all season even know the pitching has been bad that its not just the pitching.

IC Bob

As you know WAR doesn’t take hitting with runners in scoring position into consideration. We have been told our hitting is one of the tops in the league. I have no doubt the players are playing their hardest but their is definitely a loss of focus which is understandable. Just a 1% drop in focus can lead to some really idiotic things such as not running out a hit or sliding outside the reach of the base or reacting late to a steal (even though there is a flaw in the defense when someone from the SS position has to cover third base on a steal attempt

michael t

ron…his question was directed to Tim.
isn’t it time to go get ready for practice?

RonHeb72

And mine was directed at Eirc. 🙂

BigB2323

Bucs should tank it to get TOP 5 pick and draft J.J. Schwarz, C, out of Florida. 😉 😉 😉 just kidding.

gozurman1

I know you are kidding but I bet there are several who think that they truly should do that. They are over 3 times closer to the wild card than they are of dropping to the bottom 5….. Would be an epic flame out to even come close!

NorCal Buc

I’ll agree with the earlier post from ‘cskomsky’ that this trade is more about the $18,000,000 that has been freed-up for the next seasons.

Why does everyone on this site dismiss this financial windfall?

It is obvious to me that this F/O had to give up something of value (Reese and Harold) in order for any team to take on this salary (and the player as well).

To me, the advantages of this trade and the trade of Niese are the following:

* $18,000,000

* No longer are Liriano and Niese in the equation (or clubhouse). Now, that is a miracle!

* Potential of the 25 yr.old Drew Hutchinson, who was the opening say starter last year.

* The unknown, but still predictable, quality of the talent that the $18M will ‘buy’.

These reason outweigh the potential, by far, of Reese and Harold.

st1300b

That’s bullshit buddy

IC Bob

Don’t get upset Anthony has become numb to it and has chosen to accept that we are choosing not to compete and he is OK with it.

Anthony M

I think a lot of posters fail to realize that the Pirates started the 2016 season with a maxed-out budget. The FO made this very transparent following the Freese signing. Moving Liriano’s contract off the books was imperative to competing in 2017 given his current and projected levels of production. The counter-argument to ‘eat’ the remaining $18M of his contract is absolutely idiotic, especially when that money represents approximately 18% of your total payroll. Because other FOs utilize this strategy doesn’t make it acceptable or effective. At the end of the day, all of this misplaced anger is centered around an unproven, 21-year old prospect in AA ball that may never develop a hit-tool.

Hank

You assume they might spend the money. Well, good free agents are few and far between, and they are expensive. $18m is a drop in the bucket towards one of those deals. The money is not going to be meanifully spent…

Anthony M

$18M got the Pirates Freese, Joyce, Rodriguez, Feliz, and more in 2016. All were FAs and very productive players. Please elaborate on how a team meaningfully spends money.

gozurman1

Actually, many of those posting dismiss all of the other things you mentioned and are fixated on the salary savings. They are obsessed with the Nutting is cheap narrative that is fostered all over the Pittsburgh media. Daily. Even this morning, the talk was about a Fox Sports article that said the Bucs did the right thing for the franchise by the moves that were made at the deadline. Those commentating agreed with everything then basically threw it all out and said that the Pirates were cheap last off season and will prob just pocket the money saved. They were still complaining that the Pirates did not offer another year to keep Martin (who is still just batting .238 and will be owed $60 mil after this year. His career year was his last in Pittsburgh). Cervelli costs half as much and is just as good defensively. Even if they did offer another year, that does not mean Toronto was done bidding. This contract would have killed the Pirates as he was already breaking down physically his last year in Pittsburgh.

Eric Marshall

No goszurman. Small market teams can’t spend like big market teams. Over the past three playoff runs we have failed to make a big splash being told our prospects were too valuable to give up. This year that is looking like a non playoff year we give away two top ten prospects to dump salary while weakening our rotation next year.

Martin should have never been considered for extension. We couldn’t afford him and he wouldn’t be good over that period of time. Talk honestly about what people have been saying on this site.

gozurman1

I was talking honestly about what the Pittsburgh Media has been saying. Do not think the Pittsburgh Media posts on here much if at all. I agree with you about martin. Toronto is going to eat more on that deal than they will on the Liriano contract. If they did not dump Liriano, then he would have been in the rotation next season as well. He would have blocked one of the kids who has been pitching this year. The rotation would still have been just as weak with him in it. If they just eat the contract that would be money guaranteed not to be spent on any other player. I am not saying I am not upset that the deal was made but rather upset and knowing that not a whole lot else could have been done differently that would have accomplished removing Liriano and his contract from the roster. If you believe differently offer a scenario that could have removed the contract and the player from the team.

Eric Marshall

I don’t live in the burgh any longer and am thankful i don’t have to listen to the Pittsburgh negative ninny Media any longer. If you couldn’t tell from my many posts… i believe Liriano can turn it around and even if he doesn’t fully… 13 million isn’t bad for that. Also, wouldn’t Hutch be blocking the same your personnel? Hutch won’t be cheap next year either. Opportunity cost is important here as well… we had the opportunity to play for a world series the past three years. We didn’t aggressively trade prospects because they were far too valuable. Now we give away two top ten’s for salary considerations… that cost the team the past three years and will certainly this year and next with the current core.

gozurman1

The sports talk is hideous at times. They change their story daily if not quicker just so the can keep complaining. I turn it of more than listen anymore. They do the same with a 3 teams plus the local college teams. Hutch, if he pans out would be blocking one but assuming he does, and shows something before the end of the season, I believe they will let Locke walk non tendered and that will unblock a 2nd guy. Believe me, I do not delude myself that Hutch is the 2nd coming on Cy Young, I am hopeful that he is a solid #3 behind Cole and Taillon next year. That would be an upgrade over Liariano at this point. It does stink that he was so bad that it took to top prospects to move him and the dead salary.

leefoo

You need to read Paul Zeise’s column yesterday about us spending that money.

I’m sure the FO wants that money, but don’t hold your breath on it being spent on some good ballplayers (or ballplayer).

Sorry, but they promised that they would spend once they got close. I am still waiting for them to spend.

I have defended this FO for years….this sell-off has totally wiped out 9 years of good will for me.

michael t

It was a sell-off while in contention accompanied by misleading justification.
Result………………loss of credibility.

gozurman1

What was sold? 2 under performing pitcher, one hugel, 2 prospects, and one relief pitcher who had been on the market since last season ended and finally got a return decent enough to move him. If Watson was not already on the roster, (and was expected to start the season as closer) Then your point would be valid on the Melancon deal. Now, if they would have traded guys like Cole, Marte, Cutch, or Polanco, that would have been a sell off while in contention.

Eric Marshall

Really? So moving your closer at the deadline while still in contention isn’t going to have a negative impact on the team and fan base? You must be really good selling ice in Alaska. I was a fan of the Melancon trade but to think it had/has no impact is downright misunderstanding how team dynamics are put together. Plus Watson isn’t dominating like he has the past few years…

ajax2448

Watson has actually been as good as ever in medium to high leverage systems per Fangraphs.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=3132&position=P&season=2016

IC Bob

How has Rivero performed in them? I saw him last night and there is nothing special about him. With runners on his velocity drops about 4 miles per hour. The braves had no trouble squaring him up. Also I will throw this out there if a guy is throwing hard 94-98 doesn’t it stand to reason he will not get pulled yet the Pirates were shifting on the LHs who had no trouble hitting it the other way. Shifting is good but I think we might want to explore some of the circumstances as well as some of the players we are shifting on.

ajax2448

This is his 2nd year in the MLB. He had a sub 3 ERA and FIP in his first year. How about we give him a little time.

Koloacat

To my eye, Rivero is a LH Caminero–high velocity, no command. Maybe he will develop the command. but we’re still waiting for Caminero to develop his command and he doesn’t seem to be making much progress.

gozurman1

I agree Watson was not what he was a couple of years ago but neither is Melancon. The Clubhouse knew since the end of last season that Melancon was going to be moved. It would have been no different to the reaction if the deal was made in spring training or any time up to the deadline. Everyone knew that when the deal was done that Watson was going to be the guy. It is not like it was a complete surprise to anyone in that clubhouse. Who the closer is would not make much difference. We could have performed a miracle and acquired Chapman but there would be no differeince as there has not been many closing opportunities because of Niese and Liriano and Locke. 2 of the 3 are out of the equation now. We shall see if besides Taillon, who else steps up and gives the pen an opportunity to close out a game Then again, our offense, which should not be that huge of a problem, is one now.

Koloacat

This whole “the clubhouse knew since the end of last season that Melancon was going to be moved” narrative that you are peddling is just wrong. There is a huge difference between trading someone over the winter and trading them with two months left in the season. No one is suggesting that the Pirates should have gone out to get Chapman, what I am saying is that a team which has any intention of trying to compete for a championship does not trade away their All Star closer with two months left in the season. The message to the players is loud and clear, we are not serious about trying to win the championship this season. And based on their play since the Melancon trade, the message was received loud and clear.

gozurman1

Lee, calm down, They paid Marte, Polonco, Cervelli , and Harrison. They do spend money. Just not crazy money like was spent on Martin by Toronto. The $200 million contracts that have been spent the last several years have shown to be poor investments. The Dbacks regressed with Grienke, Kershaw is hurt and may never be the same, Many of those deals never come close to panning out. They will spend the money but will not be splash deals that the fans look for.

Hank

Those guys are already on the team. How about improving the team with new players!

gozurman1

With the market being what it was this year, to get an above average major league player from a major league roster, it appears it would have taken a couple of players from the Glasnow, Meadows, and Bell range to get them or one of them and a guy who was not garbage on the ML roster. plus guys like the McGuire and Ramirez. Not sure it would have been worth it. to lose, say, Glasnow and Meadows.

Eric Marshall

Why i have consistently said the following…

1 – 13M for a mid rotation arm isn’t expensive and why it was stupid salary dumping by the team.

2 – They will not spend the money on much more than arbitration and flyer type options which should have already been factored in.

We are not getting even a mid tier pitcher next year and certainly not extending Cole with the money theoretically saved by giving Frankie away.

bucsws2014

Regarding point #1 – this is why many of us are still furious over not re-signing Happ. Anything over 1.5 WAR is surplus value. And there’s no way in hell anyone can convince me Happ wasn’t worth that. And now, he’s a veritable steal for the Jays (fWAR 2.5, bWAR 2.9).

Anthony M

Other than Happ’s last eleven starts with the Bucs in 2015, there was nothing in the past five years to suggest he would have success in 2016 (and beyond). He has consistently been a below average starter since 2011. He is 33 years old, and there is a ton of risk (age and lack of consistent results) associated with him. The probability of underperforming in years two and three of his contract are extremely likely. You very well could be looking at Liriano 2.0.

ajax2448

Problem is Liriano was not pitching like a mid rotation starter. Out of 100 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings. He has the 4th worst ERA, 5th worst FIP, and 20th worst xFIP. So basically he is around the 90th best pitcher this year out of that 100.

Eric Marshall

yes he was having a bad year. part of that was him and part was management. Several times he looked great through six only to have Hurdle throw him out for the 7th and have things implode. I am in no way suggesting he has pitched well this year. I am suggesting that he has pitched great in the past and statistics show he is more likely to have a bounce back year next year vs. someone like Hutch… plus throwing in two top prospects.

ajax2448

He didn’t make it 6 innings in 11 of 21 starts this year. He only made it past 6 innings 4 times.

Bill W

Yes that is crazy about Kershaw–and even Harvey. If I was in charge I would be very concerned with what we are seeing as the type of injuries these throwers are getting.

ajax2448

Well Kershaw’s is a back problem. I am much less concerned about him than the others mentioned in the above posts.

gozurman1

Doesn’t seem like it is centered around just a couple of teams. Whole lot of TJ and other issues with many staffs the last couple of years. I think it has to do with so many more pitchers throw mid to upper 90’s now and their bodies break down easier. Back when I was a kid in the late 60’s and into the 70’s, you were doing good if you had a couple of guys that could hit or exceed 90 mph. Most pitchers sat in the 80’s and they of course pitched differently. Now breaking stuff sits in the low 90’s and FB sit close to 100. That much torque and stress on every pitch can’t be good for you. I think the umps calling the balls and strikes have the same issue. It is harder to see the close stuff as a ball or a strike because of the higher average speed of the pitches these days.

RonHeb72

You know another point too and you will see it very soon with the Little League World Series. These young kids throwing the off speed stuff. When I played little leage in the 90’s, I don’t remember going up against all these different off speed pitches. Puts a lot of strain on the arms at a young age.

gozurman1

Back in the 70’s when I played LL, very few threw a curve, on purpose. Pretty much everyone just threw what the could to get it over the plate. I pitched one game in my career. Could throw a strike from the outfield to the catcher but from the mound, the catcher got a workout and every batter had fear in their eyes. Was like Bull Durham, except the catcher would have told the truth if he said he had no idea where the ball was going…. Never recored and out and walked in a couple. Back to outfield I went….

Eric Marshall

youtube video’s of how to throw all of these pitches and kids have access to this material night and day. When i played in the 70’s/80’s i knew plenty that threw FB, Change and Curve… not much outside of that though.

gozurman1

Yeah, the Internet is actually scary to me in that regard. You have kids learning on their own how to throw the breaking stuff and not really knowing what they are doing. More damage could easily happen to these kids as they do not understand the mechanics and what the torque and arm motions do to the joints. Just the change in 10 years from the 60’s to 70’s to the 70 to the 80’s made a difference. 10 years back, the guys playing senior ball and legion ball were throwing the different pitches but the kids in the 12 year old range did not much more than whatever speed they could bring and a weak curve. The change up just meant they did not throw as hard that pitch. Things always do change quickly.

RonHeb72

“and I’ll wait to see how or if they spend that money before complaining, while also saying that there are no excuses if they don’t spend it.”
I don’t think they have dismissed it. They haven’t That was a direct quote from Tim’s article.

RobForsyth

It hurts to have the Jolly Roger not waving in the breeze. I don’t fly it when they lose.

rich

Tim … First, I always appreciate your style of objectively analyzing some of the “surprising” events we have seen throughout the years in PP. Most Pittsburgh coverage seems to cater to incite fans by encouraging outrage (and website hits).

With McGuire, are you thinking that his hitting would eventually be a .280/.340/.380 type of thing to go along with top five defense?

With Ramirez, it is hard to envision more than a .310/.360/.400 slash line (which would have been great in the pre analytical era). But coupled with poor route running, a weak arm, and bad baserunning skills, he is going to have to find the right fit to be a starter

andrew.oneill88

I agree with your analysis on both Harold and Reese…I was under the impression that McGuire was the catcher of the future, seeing that he is already at a major league level on the defensive side of the ball. The amount of emphasis the Pirates put on pitch framing, this kid already had a handle on. I figured since he was only 21 (and nearing 22?), he would be able to develop his hitting ability. I’m just glad I got a glimpse of him in Bradenton during Spring Training but what’s done, is done. Now that we have decided to throw all of our eggs in the Diaz basket, I assume we’ll go after a backstop with some college experience in the next draft to lesson the learning curve in case Diaz is not as advertised at the ML level? Great article!

leefoo

Tim….fair or unfair, you have the reputation of being optimistic about our prospects and the Buccos.

To be honest, I don’t care one way or another. As TnBucs states below, I subscribe here for your prospect analysis and not your rants about people perceiving you incorrectly.

Get over it and get back to your “real” job. You’re not going to change too many minds with your rants, but if they make you feel better, then hopefully it was worth it (not unlike OUR comment rants). 🙂

Catch22

Lee, you are aware this is Tim’s site? He’s the owner of this subscription site, he has the right to put any opinion that he wants on here. Same as any poster that subscribes to this site….He may overvalue prospects at times, but he always is logical and reasonable on his takes. Personally, I appreciate his opinions on here.

HartHighPirate

Agree foo. Tim can spin but he can’t win.
Suggestion:
“You have to AC-Cent-Tchu-ATE the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-between…..”
Johnny Mercer & Pied Pipers (1945) & Bing Crosby

leefoo

I still think McGuire could be a Lavalliere type catcher which is very valuable and not worth a Drew Hutchison.

Ramirez….well, I was fairly consistent in my Tabby comps.

ajax2448

McGuire has never shown an ability to get on base on a consistent basis. Lavalliere had a career OBP of .351. and .376 in the minors. McGuire is a career .324 in the minors. It is only even that high because of the year he spent in the GCL. Outside of that his .338 this year is his highest and that is all propped up by a good May. he has been below .310 for the last 2 months.

cskomsky

As Tim always point out, McGuire is 21 years old in AA, if he went to college he would be in short season or low A at best this year. McGuire could repeat AA next year and have a season and half at AAA and still be in Pittsburgh at normal time and even before someone like Craig who was drafted in the first round this year and is 5 months older then McGuire

ajax2448

I was only comparing him to Lavallier. No one else. I agree he is young for his level. I also think from what I have read on other sites that evaluate prospects that he won’t hit enough to be a starter. Here is one of the write ups on him:

Summary: Terrific defender without much chance to hit due to poor bat speed and swing plane.

leefoo

with his ability to handle the bat, i think eventually he could be a guy to get on base.

we differ on opinions of his upside, I guess. time will tell… 🙂

jsdspud

A lot of the “shine” wears out on prospects as they are promoted through the ranks. When they are drafted, they are the best players since (insert name of multiple time all-star) and after a few years the cream rises to the top.

The bigger issue is with player evaluation. They picked McGuire 13th overall and he looks like a backup catcher, not good. Maybe they need to stop drafting catchers in the 1st round and trade for the leftovers from the Yankees or hire the Yankees catching instructor. I remember at the time at least one writer preferring Shipley at 13. Also, Ramirez was signed for a $1M bonus and a few writers questioned why he received so much.

cskomsky

Let me point out something that I feel you don’t mention. They overpaid for Hutchison to get out of Liriano’s contract. Liriano’s contract drove that deal and it seems on the
surface that the Pirates were more motivated by that part of the deal way more than
Hutchison.

If the Pirated would have traded Glasnow straight up for Hutchison, I would have said that they overpaid for him but their baseball people valued Hutchison for 3 years more than Glasnow’s 6 and I could leave with that because that would have been a baseball move.

If you would have said they overpaid for Hutchison because they were so desperate to get out from under Liriano’s contract I think would be a much more accurate description of the Liriano trade. I think this site doesn’t want to acknowledge that the money motivated this trade.

scrappy2499

respectfully I have to disagree. I believe Tim and other writers have mentioned the money saving aspect of the trade multiple times and how it was a big factor. The only difference is they are waiting to see what the team does with the saving next year. If it goes back into the team to make them better then great. If it goes into owner and executive pockets then boo…I have to think if that happens then Tim and Co. will call them on it 🙂

cskomsky

Tim said in posts between him and myself yesterday is that he felt Hutchison’s value is what drove the deal and it was a baseball move. I disagree, I feel that money drove this trade.

RonHeb72

I don’t want to put words in Tim’s mouth but I think he meant drove the value of the deal up. I think he is saying the money saved by the Pirates is what drove them to deal Liriano.

scrappy2499

Oh, I know that the money saved definitely played a main part…The team has even said that. They also did say they have liked Hutchison for awhile now and getting him was what they wanted. Now our dilemma is to figure out if that is absolutely true or if he was the best return they were going to give. I dislike the loss of Reese but will take a wait and see approach and hope that Hutchison does learn some sequencing with pitching and to keep the ball in the yard and then the team picks up a nice piece for the future or maybe an important player extension is done…

TNBucs

Keep doing what you’re doing, providing thoughtful analysis and not emotional rants. It’s why I subscribe.

Moose71950

The reason this trade is so polarizing is because the FO chose to sell at the deadline, and then lie to us about it, despite this team being in a competitive spot at the time. It brings up flashbacks to the previous regime in Pittsburgh and the ways they did business. And that is terrifying to think of from a fans perspective.

In the end, the problem was never trading prospects, it was the return. Fans around here have been crying for them to trade their prospects for years. They want to see that all in type push. And then Huntington finally does it, but the return is a AAA pitcher. So obviously, defending the deal in any way, shape, or form is going create a reaction. There isn’t much middle ground to be found here, because the team made it that way and this fanbase still has some PTSD from some deals and decisions that were made by past GMs/owners

IC Bob

The real issue for me is that this trade shows the Pirates are never going to eat a bad contract. Every team has a its bad contracts similar or worse then Liranos. Not one of them traded their prospects to get rid of their bad contracts. A lot of teams send money with a bad contract but the Bucs sent some of their potential future. I stomach the fact that we can’t compete to keep guys like Happ or Volquez or Martin and in some cases truly supported the FO when not offering some of the absurd money. However if a contract like Liranos is going to force the FO to trade prospects then really what hope is there. As for the financial flexibilty what does that truly mean? After we do not spend the money in the off season we will be told we are holding money back for mid season acquisitions.

piraddict

Up until the last sentence that is an insightful analysis ICBob. But NH’s behavior encourages me as much as it discourages you. Unfortunately due to market size the Pirates need to make every penny count. They will never be in a position to eat a contract like Liriano”s. Kudos to NH for taking action rather than standing put. I am not happy about losing McGuire to make the trade work. But better that than doing nothing.

Eric Marshall

I 100% agree with your post here IC Bob. When we could have used that boost the past three years we were told our prospects were way to valuable. Now we have… not a bad contract… that we paste prospects to get out from underneath. We could have afforded Volquez without issue… believe it was 2 year 20Mil. Happ was a little high but who better knew if he could continue to excel… Martin could have never been done. 🙂

RonHeb72

You may not care but if you will bear with me for a second.
My reasoning for having a different perspective is I didn’t quite experience
the Littlefield era the way ya’ll did;

I grew up in PA a Pirates fan. I still have nightmares of
the Sid Bream slide. I was old enough to remember it well. The strike happened
and I walked away from baseball for a few years especially after the whole team
was traded away. I moved to NC in 2001 and had only just started following
baseball again. I was not able to watch any of the Pirates games down there,
and the internet coverage was not what it is today.

I moved back in 2008 and started watching the Pirates again
in 2009 (remember whose rookie year that was). The team still sucked but I
could see the team being built. It was almost like I had an outside looking in
perspective because I had been away. I slowly saw some core pieces being added to the team. Its probably why I am not haunted as much by DL. I am not a big fan of this trade. But that is the reason I have not lost all faith in NH yet.
I will agree with Tim. I am waiting to see how they spend the money they saved.
Then I will make my judgement on the whole thing.

RonHeb72

MOOSE That is probably one of the most true statements about this trade I have read. Even if its a potentially smart deal as Keith Law actually wrote the past history haunts fans. I am able to look past it but a lot can not. So regardless of what anyone says they will be stuck on the past. Right, Wrong or Indifferent, their feelings are not completely off base.

Bill W

I think we naturally over value our prospects. I also think that PP does a great job of giving information on these prospects. I was at the Clipper/Indian game last night and to this eye Alen Hanson is ready. He is quick and strong defensively. He has nice bat speed. Bell is hard to watch defensively. His footwork is poor. I think he would struggle if he was playing first everyday. Brault looked like Locke. Osuna can flat out hit. I am hoping that he is not the PTBNL. Cannot see Jason Rogers as any option in Pittsburgh. It was strange I think this club mirrors the struggles of the Buccos. The Indians score 5 runs and then lose 9-7. They have ugly unis also. A player named OUTMAN came on in the 3rd TO PITCH and he definitely wasn’t an OUTMAN- HE LOOKED SOFT.

Eric Marshall

Nice write up. I too am worried that Osuna is the PTBNL. He looked good at 1b last year as well but was moved off for Bell.

leefoo

Sad to hear about Bell’s footwork, because I thought he was clumsy the two times I watched him last year.

Looks like a DH type?

Bill W

This is the first time I have seen him and I was expecting a little more polished approach to moving to his right and back to the bag. Hopefully after their season ends he can move up and at least bat. I am still holding out hope we are playing meaningful baseball if not he’s playing first until our season is over. Not to beat a drum but I liked Hanson’s play.

TNBucs

Thanks for the report. Encouraging to hear about Hanson and Osuna, and helpful to hear about Bell. I think the FO is concerned that if they put Bell at 1B before he’s capable, a few mistakes could undermine his overall confidence, not unlike what I think happened with Alvarez.

RonHeb72

To your point. Maybe Hanson can come up and play 2nd and Harrison can move to third. Let Kang sit the bench. Of course Frazier can play second too. Maybe we can put Jaso on the 15 day DL “he obviously was hurt when the bat broke” I mean that must be why he didn’t run. That opens a roster spot.

Bill W

Yes I am a little disappointed in some of these guys lack of running out of the box.

RonHeb72

RUNNING!!!! I would have been happy if Jaso even watched the play instead of reminiscing with AJ about his catching days….. 🙂

ajax2448

I think it is safe to say Hanson will be in Pittsburgh next year. He is out of options.

Steve Zielinski

McGuire’s defensive skills and his ability to make contact meant waiting on his hit tool, waiting for it to develop. A true GG defender who can call games, suppress base stealing and get on base has great value.

McGuire’s inclusion in the Liriano deal indicates the core feature of the deal. It was a salary dump.

piraddict

The deal was a Liriano dump. The Pirates can’t afford to pay a #2 like salary and receive #7 like performance. This is what “holding someone accountable” looks like. They had to include the other elements to avoid looking lIke a salary dump, and they say they really like the return. Very few players find their bat at the upper minor league levels. Most players who can hit demonstrate that early on. Your expecting Mcguire’s hitting to improve is a low percentage play.

TNBucs

GMs need to know how long to wait. For example, Wil Myers was evidently traded at peak value in a deal many called a disaster for the Royals. It didn’t turn out that bad, though.

It will be very interesting to see if Huntington’s timing was right.

ajax2448

The problem is McGuire doesn’t really get on base all that much. HIs MiLB career OBP is .324. This year he had a good May (.414 OBP) that was it. In June his OBP was .308 and it was .295 in July. I do agree that including him was a bad move. I just think that he probably projects as a future backup MLB catcher at best.

Todd B

Tim, thanks as always for your analysis. This is a tough trade and one that will not be “won-lost” for a few years when the prospects actually develop. I hate losing McGuire in this deal, but if Diaz is as good as they must think he is this may work out for us.
I think what is lost from the deadline because of this deal though is what we got back from the Nats in the MM deal. How do the Yankees get Frazier and the SS prospect back and we get a bullpen arm (yes, I know for many years of control) and a A pitcher not ranked in their top 25 prospects. That deal to me was just as questionable and I was a big fan of trading MM in order to get something in return. I assume the “we got 2 somethings that could pan out” is the answer to that?

mouse

I attribute part of that to the sizzle verses substance effect. Melancon just goes out and does his job. Dependable but no pizzazz. He always looks like he’s on the edge of losing it all. Chapman may have the same results, but all anyone sees is that he’s throwing 100 MPH so he must be really good.

Todd B

I hear you and understand the 2 month rental part. BUT the Yankees restocked their farm system (top 2 prospects now are from those trades) and we got one that is barely in our top 30. Seems like we were scared that if we don’t unload him for the Nats offer he wasn’t going anywhere else. It’s hard to look at the situation as we got better by taking pieces away and not adding anybody who will really contribute right away.

RonHeb72

Well whether we like or not or agree with it or not. Chapman is perceived as a better closer then MM based on his stuff. Not saying I agree or that it is true but that is the perception.

ajax2448

That’s how it seems on Chapman v MM. Miller having multiple years left got them Frazier. If the Pirates really wanted to restock the farm they could sign Chapman as a FA then trade him after a year. I am of course kidding here.

BigB2323

I think the biggest fault to recently is NH inability to know when to move players at their highest value. He’s done it a couple times with McLouth and Snider. But the rest have been moved too late to receive adequate value. Imagine if he traded Liriano this past off-season, something I did call for bc of his struggles towards the end of the year last season. I can almost guarantee they would have gotten a nice haul back for him and not had to include any of their own prospects for someone to take two years of Liriano and all his contract. They are now in the same situation with McCutchen. The A’s do this all the time, they sale their players off earlier then most like them too, but they receive pretty strong value. Not saying it always works out, but rather than lose guys for nothing or wait to long to receive value…Pedro, Walker, Hanrahan (Melancon struggled the previous year) just to name a few guys recently who were traded for not great hauls or let go for nothing. It still baffles me how we couldn’t turn Liriano into nothing more than Hutchison, as a small market team you have to cash in on those commodities before they go bad, which is exactly the opposite of what happened here, which is a bit unlucky and unfortunate. I think NH has done a great job, but I think he needs to start taking more risks when it comes to these types of situations.

RonHeb72

Keep in mind the Pirates tried heavily to trade Melancon in the offseason. They couldn’t get the return they wanted.

BigB2323

I know, I love getting Rivero for him and I think Hearn is going to be good as well. But seems other teams always “get more” for their guys. Or every year at the deadline NH comes up just short in second place for top name acquisitions (especially with the Rays) for The Matt Moore’s, David Price’s, Jon Lester’s, etc.

joel

Riverero is 0-4 with a .430 ERA, you call that a nice trade off???

RonHeb72

Yeah I hear ya. I was not quite as big on Matt Moore though. I may be wrong.

ajax2448

I agree I was a big proponent of trading Melancon in the off season.

RonHeb72

I got the trades mixed up. But yes the multiple years will get you more too.

ajax2448

I wasn’t correcting you at all. Just trying to address Todd as to why, in my opinion, we got a lot less for Melancon.

RonHeb72

You weren’t but someone needed to. 🙂

loehr22

Now post an opinion on how you are going to vote for Trump and they will beat you up even more.

Keep up the good work.

kellea01

Is there anyone still that’s voting for Trump? Not a Clinton fan (may vote for Jill Stein) but Trump has no credibility left, if he ever had any.

HartHighPirate

“no credibility left”? Like Hillary? Like Obama laundering $400 million ransom cash? Liars never prosper they only get elected.
No more political on this sports link kellea01

tap n

I’m sure you include drumpf on that list of liars. Seems kinda hypocritical to say a political opinion then tell someone to hush it. Drumpf and Hilarry are both incredibly unqualified.

RonHeb72

PLEASE PLEASE I SEE THE POLITICAL CRAP EVERYWHERE. BASEBALL ONLY!!!! PLEASE!!!

RonHeb72

I remember saying from the get go. I felt McGuire’s inclusion was a problem. I think without him the deal is OK even if you have to pay 2 Million next year. With him it would have been nice to at least see us get something else in return like perhaps a low cellar high ceiling type. Someone who has a chance to be a MLB player but is very likely just org depth and out of baseball in a few years. That would have at least taken the sting out of the deal. On another note Vogey looked good. Too bad he was the only one.

emjayinTN

Tim: I agree with David. It is no-win. Hopefully, we will hear no more of the trade until we see what we have in Drew Hutchison. I think the Pirates see him as #2 or #2 a as an equal with Jameson Taillon, but we will not know anything until we “coach him up” in AAA which will take about 26 or 27 more days.

emjayinTN

One thing you could look at closely is the success or lack thereof in developing Catchers. The last I can remember that was a true front-line Catcher developed by the Pirates was Jason Kendall.

RonHeb72

Yeah it will be interesting to see where Diaz ends up skill level wise. You are correct. Maybe that is why they didn’t bother holding on to Reese figured they are having better luck bringing them in via trade because they cant develop them…. Not saying that’s the case just a random thought.

Dale O

Contractually, can Kang be optioned to AAA?

Dude needs to go away for quite awhile until he can help the big league club again.

scrappy2499

I think he may have sprained his big toe last night…Should go on the 60 day DL 🙂

RonHeb72

I saw him limp….. And Jaso was hurt by the bat its why he didn’t run. He needs to go on the DL too, LOOKED SERIOUS!!!!

HartHighPirate

It was dumb,
he didn’t run,
should go into therapy on the DL

RonHeb72

One problem. They only have a 60 Day DL is that long enough???? 🙂

ajax2448

They may need a 60 season DL for Jaso.

David N

Tim, you’re in a no-win situation ; )

jedeweese

Just tell all the haters to go get a Snickers…keep up the great work.
Speaking of the big team, has Hurdle lost the clubhouse?
Efforts against the AAAA Braves looked suspect.

Moose71950

I wouldnt say that Hurdle hasnt lost it. Its likely been taken from him. Baseball players are people too. They likely looked at this deadline like a lot of the fans did, and were disappointed by NH selling to clear some money off the books. It’s a natural reaction because the optics with respect to the remaining players is screaming: I don’t have have faith that you’ll go anywhere this, so not only am I (Huntington) not going help you guys compete, I’m going to actively trade our most expensive assets to save money. Would you be motivated to play at that point? I certainly wouldn’t be

kellea01

I would not call Liriano a worthwhile asset.

BigB2323

Be different if the players that were traded were actually good. Melancon, yes. But that trade doesn’t set this team back IMO. Rivero can get 3 outs just like him. Hey maybe they will use that Liriano money and sign Melancon back 😉

Moose71950

That’s pretty direspectful to Melancon, who is an elite closer. Rivero hasn’t done anything close to proving he can be as good as Melancon.

ajax2448

Melancon wasn’t even this good until he was 28. So let’s give Rivera some time since he is 3 years younger than Melancon.

John W

Can he? Certainly didn’t get them last night even with Kang’s snafu.

Yes only one game I realize that. But I felt the 7,8,9 would take a hit and didn’t think it would be as good as when it was Feliz, Watson, MM.

RonHeb72

Actually John without Kang’s snafu no one scores that’s why they were both unearned runs. He had runners on yes but he would have gotten out of the inning without giving up a run. Not arguing just saying.

RonHeb72

I think the problem is there is no leader among the players at all. 2 years ago it was Martin, Last year it was AJ. There is no real leader. As a football coach you see it. Regardless of how well you coach the years I have had a good leader we have done better. The years we don’t regardless of the talent level we still did well, just lacked that extra drive.

pantherfan83

Harrison and Cutch are being paid like leaders. So was Liriano. Can’t blame top brass for them not stepping up to the plate when given the opportunity.

RonHeb72

Well pay does not always make a leader but. I don’t think that part is the FO’s fault.

emjayinTN

Agree. Hurdle is in a tough spot in 2016. Some leaders gone, add 5 or 6 “set-in-their-ways” MLB veterans from other teams, existing leaders such as ‘Cutch, Liriano, Cole, Cervelli struggle with inconsistency and injuries, and you have a perfect blend of circumstances for failure.

We are now 3 games under .500 since the AS Break – is it time to cut some folks loose, bring up the kids from AAA, and begin preparation for playing Pirate baseball in 2017? If, along the way, we actually stumble over a few extra wins and compete for the WC, that’s just an extra windfall.

I start by promoting Jeff Branson to Bench Coach.

bucsws2014

What “5 or 6 ‘set-in-their-ways veterans” are hurting the club and not providing leadership? I’ll grant you Jaso. But are you suggesting Freese and/or Joyce are undermining the club? They are two or perhaps only 5 or 6 position players who still continue to play hard and have their head in the game.

emjayinTN

bucs: Did not say hurting the club, just that when we lose leaders (AJ was a strong leader), get a new mix of veteran players from other clubs (all with different personalities and goals), then our remaining leaders must set the standard with their play and in the clubhouse.

What I have seen is that “Cutch, Liriano, Cole, and Cervelli have struggled with their own performances and injuries in 2016, therefore, less in the tank to provide leadership. Hell, they are just plain frustrated and have enough on them to just try to find how they can improve themselves.

All of these are contributors to a team going in many different directions. Some teams are so talented they can go in different directions and still be successful – the Pirates are not one of those special teams.

RonHeb72

Well here is the dilemma. Not saying I really believe we are true contenders for the WC and personally I don’t think it matter both WC teams will be out in the ALDS. But currently The Dodgers lead the WC they are not looking good they are not healthy Kershaw potentially done for the season but is at least on the 60 day. They are 6-4 in their last 10 but struggling. Miami looked strong at one point but just lost 3 straight are 4-6 in their last 10 and they are heavily banged up too. The Cards just lost Diaz for the season Carpenter is still out. Have lost some bullpen pieces too they are 5-5 in their last 10, not to mention just were drubbed 7-0 by the Reds. The Mets are heavily banged up have NO center fielder on their roster at this point are 4-6 in their last 10 and yes have won 3 straight but were getting killed before that. The Pirates are 4-6 in their last 10 we know our struggles don’t need to tell you. Then you have the Rockies a team everyone counted out and forgot about. I would actually have said a week ago they were a lock to pass everyone and still think they will. The Trevor Story injury hurts but they are healthy otherwise. They are 7-3 in their last 10 and the only one of the WC contenders that really appears to be serious and actually wants to win. At this point yes the Pirates still have a chance. If any one of the other 5 teams decides they actually want it…. they can make it.

piraddict

If the Pirates are to contend at all Cutch needs to find his “on” switch. They aren’t going anywhere without him.

leefoo

RobHeb….one word: Paragraphs.

I see “Internet Wall of Words” and my old brain shuts down immediately.

🙂

RonHeb72

Is that better I edited it for you.

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