The Pirates Will Do Very Little This Offseason And That’s Okay.

What will happen this off-season:

In the OF: Nothing. Andrew McCutchen is rightfully entrenched in center. Starling Marte is ready for a fulltime job. Travis Snider gets first crack at right field. Alex Presley and Jose Tabata provide depth.

In the IF: Nothing. Pedro Alvarez, Clint Barmes and Neil Walker are set at third, short and second. Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez will platoon at first.

Behind the plate: A partner for Michael McKenry will be picked up. It won’t be Russell Martin if his price is really 4 yrs/$40M. I don’t know how much A.J. Pierzynski is looking for. Toronto (J.P. Arencibia/Travis d’Arnaud/John Buck) and Boston (Ryan Lavarnway/Jarrod Saltalamacchia/David Ross) both have catching depth to spare. Trading with one of those teams seems like the best option.

On the mound: A.J. Burnett/Wandy Rodriguez/James McDonald will head the rotation. After that things are in flux. Jeff Karstens will be in the mix if he’s tendered a contract. Look for the team to add one starter making $8-10M/year. Kyle McPherson and Jeff Locke will fill the back-end or provide depth.

In the Bullpen: This is where the most change will happen. Joel Hanrahan, Tony Watson and Jared Hughes will be there. Every other spot is up for grabs. This is OK because reliever performance can vary wildly from year to year. Bullpens are also one of the easiest pieces of the team to build on the cheap. For those same reasons, it’s also possible that Hanrahan could be traded if another team is willing to give up a solid catcher or starting pitcher.

So that’s it. The Pirates will sign or otherwise acquire a catcher, a starting pitcher and a slew of relievers.

What else was to be expected? The major moves were made in July – Wandy Rodriguez and Travis Snider.

There aren’t any obvious bargains to be had on the free agent market. Look closely at that list and you’ll find that each player falls into one of three categories: old, bad or prohibitively expensive. Any significant improvement will have to come via the trade route. If they could swing a trade for Giancarlo Stanton or Wil Myers or a shortstop with half a bat to go with this glove it would be beyond great, but I just can’t see a deal like that happening. This is your 2013 Pirates team. And it looks a whole lot like the 2012 team.

Bucs Make Roster Moves With An Eye Towards The Playoffs

Only players on the active roster on September 1* can be on a team’s postseason roster. With that in mind, the Pirates made two roster moves today.

Jeff Clement was outrighted to Class A Bradenton. Clement was 0-6 with 2 K’s in his brief time up. The fact that he was outrighted and not simply optioned opens a spot on the 40 man roster and likely shows that the team doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to contribute at the major league level.

Chase d”Arnaud was optioned to AAA. I expect Chase to be added back to the active roster once he is eligible to be called back up and resume his role as a… back up.

Kyle McPherson and Alex Presley were recalled from AAA. McPherson will pitch in the bullpen for now but should get a few starts in Erik Bedard‘s old spot. In 12 starts this year at AA and AAA he has a 3.22 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 8.5 K/9.

Presley will help cover for a banged up outfield. We’ve seen what he can do when he’s on top of his game, and we’ve seen how bad he can be too. Alex gets a start in CF tonight to give Andrew McCutchen an extra night off before the stretch run.

*There are a few exceptions that can be made for players who go on or are currently on the DL. For example: Charlie Morton on the 60-day DL allows the team to add any pitcher that is currently in the organization to the playoff roster.

Presley Optioned to Make Room for Jeff Locke

In a surprising move, the Pirates optioned OF Alex Presley to AAA and recalled LHP Jeff Locke. Kevin Correia is getting a spot start tonight so the team wanted an extra arm in the bullpen for the next few days; a totally understandable situation.

What make less sense to me is sending down Presley. Yes, Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider will be starting most days but its seems to me you’d want better backup options than Garrett Jones and Josh Harrison.

This move is probably just for a few days and then an outfielder (Jose Tabata?) Will be called up. But it seems to me that a better choice might have been to send down the almost-never used Jordy Mercer to get some regular at bats.

Astros Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 11-2 Win vs Houston. McDonald battles, gets lots of support. Box score.
Tuesday: 8-7 Win vs Houston. Sutton walk off HR. Box score.
Wednesday: 6-4 Win vs Houston. Pirates win #45 in game 81. Box score.
Thursday: 2-0 Win vs Houston. Karstens: 8 very strong innings. Box score.

Season Record: 46-36, 1st place in NL Central, 2.0 games ahead

Notes: A four game sweep puts the Pirates all alone in first place. Five players had at least 5 hits in the series. Pedro Alvarez returned from a lingering leg cramp, but the team lost Alex Presley to a concussion. Joel Hanrahan pitched in the last three games so he will not be available on Friday. He’s been shaky enough lately that I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a few days off. Not counting The Hammer, the rest of the bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Sutton, RF, LF 18 3 7 1 0 6 4 0.389 0.389
Jones, G, RF, 1B 16 8 9 7 0 2 7 0.563 0.563
McCutchen, A, CF 15 6 8 3 2 1 5 0.533 0.588
Walker, 2B 15 4 5 3 3 4 4 0.333 0.444
McGehee, 3B, 1B 14 3 6 4 1 3 5 0.429 0.467
Barmes, SS 13 0 2 2 0 2 10 0.154 0.154
McKenry, C 9 0 2 2 0 5 4 0.222 0.273
Presley, LF 7 1 2 0 0 2 1 0.286 0.286
Alvarez, 3B, PH 6 1 2 4 2 2 4 0.333 0.500
Barajas, C 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 0.250 0.250
Harrison, PH-SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000
Hernandez, Go, LF 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Fryer, PH 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
Burnett, AJ, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P, PR 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 136 27 46 26 8 31 52 0.338 0.375

Batting
Doubles (12): McGehee 3 (11), McCutchen (17), Jones 3 (13), Walker 2 (17), McKenry (6), Sutton 2 (9)
Triple (2): Presley (3), Sutton (1)
Home Runs (5): Jones 2 (12), Walker (5), McCutchen (16), Sutton (1)

Baserunning
CS: Walker (2), Sutton (1)
PO: Sutton

Fielding
Errors: McDonald (1)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-Jones) (3), (Walker-Barmes-McGehee) (2), (Barmes-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Karstens(W, 2-2) 8.0 4 0 0 1 8 0 0.00 0.63
McDonald, J(W, 8-3) 7.0 4 2 2 5 4 1 2.57 1.29
Correia(W, 5-6) 6.0 6 3 3 2 1 0 4.50 1.33
Burnett, AJ 5.0 12 6 6 2 5 0 10.80 2.80
Hanrahan(BS, 3)(W, 4-0)(S, 21, 22) 3.0 2 2 2 3 0 1 6.00 1.67
Grilli(H, 19, 20) 2.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.50
Cruz, J 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Lincoln(H, 2) 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 2.00
Resop 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
  Totals 36.0 31 13 13 13 25 2 3.25 1.22


Transactions
: Optioned OF Jose Tabata to AAA. Recalled OF Gorkys Hernandez from AAA. Placed LF Alex
Presley on the 7-day concussion DL. Recalled SS Jordy Mercer from AAA
.

Presley to DL, Mercer Called Up

The Pirates placed LF Alex Presley on the 7-day DL with a concussion. Presley sustained the injury diving to make a catch in the fifth first inning of Tuesday’s win over the Astros. The move is retroactive to July 4, so let’s hope for a full recovery by the time he eligible to return on the 11th.

Taking Presley’s roster spot is SS Jordy Mercer. Pedro Alvarez was limited to pinch hitting duty before last night and Garrett Jones has been playing more outfield lately so the Pirates had need for another infielder at the moment. With any luck, Mercer won’t go weeks without a plate appearance this time up.

Tigers Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 4-1 Win vs Detroit. A.J. wins his 8th. Box score.
Saturday: 4-1 Win vs Detroit. Cutch with the big blast. Box score.
Sunday: 3-2 Loss vs Detroit. 2 against Verlander not enough. Box score.

Season Record: 38-33, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 games back

Notes: The Bucs take two out of three from the Tigers to split their season series 3-3. The Pirates finish Interleague play with a 10-8 record, scoring 77 runs and allowing 66. Andrew McCutchen and Alex Presley were each on base five times. Pedro Alvarez continued his latest run of good at bats with three hits and a walk. Josh Harrison was the only position player to not get a hit. Michael McKenry threw out Austin Jackson in the third inning Sunday. It was the first time the Pirates have thrown out a baserunner since May 10. All three starting pitchers turned in quality starts. Despite his best outing of the month, Brad Lincoln is being moved back to the bullpen to make room for Jeff Karstens.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 11 1 4 3 1 3 2 0.364 0.417
Presley, LF 11 2 4 0 1 0 2 0.364 0.417
McGehee, 1B 10 1 1 0 0 5 7 0.100 0.100
Alvarez, 3B 9 2 3 0 1 4 1 0.333 0.400
Jones, G, RF, 1B 8 1 1 2 0 1 3 0.125 0.125
Walker, 2B 7 1 2 2 1 3 4 0.286 0.375
Barmes, SS 7 0 2 0 0 1 3 0.286 0.286
Harrison, SS, 2B 7 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 6 1 2 0 0 0 4 0.333 0.333
Tabata, RF 4 1 1 0 0 2 0 0.250 0.250
McKenry, C 3 0 1 0 0 1 1 0.333 0.333
Hague, PH 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
Burnett, AJ, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Lincoln, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0      —-      —-
   Totals 89 10 22 7 4 25 31 0.247 0.280

Batting
Doubles (3): Presley 2 (9), McGehee (8)
Home Runs (2): McCutchen (13), Jones (9)

BaseRunning
CS: Tabata (8), Walker (1)

Fielding
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 8-2) 6.0 2 0 0 3 4 0 0.00 0.83
Lincoln(W, 4-2) 6.0 2 1 1 1 7 1 1.50 0.50
Correia 6.0 6 2 2 1 4 1 3.00 1.17
Grilli(H, 16, 17) 2.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan(S, 18,19) 2.0 1 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.00
Resop(L, 0-3) 2.0 1 1 1 2 1 0 4.50 1.50
Cruz, J(H, 12) 1.3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Watson(H, 8, 9) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 0.7 2 1 1 1 0 0 13.50 4.50
  Totals 27.0 14 5 5 9 25 2 1.67 0.85

Transactions: Optioned IF Jordy Mercer to AAA. Recalled RHP Bryan Morris from AAA. Transferred RHP Charlie Morton from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Claimed IF Drew Sutton off waivers from Tampa Bay.

Series Preview: The Royals

Current record: 29-27, 2nd place in NL Central, 2.0 games back

Up Next: Kansas City Royals, 24-31, 4th place in AL Central, 7.0 games back

Season Series: 0-0, First time playing.

Notes: Interleague play is back for the next 15 games. For the Royals tonight, that means they lose the DH and their defense gets shifted around to keep their best hitters in the lineup. DH Billy Butler goes to first, 1B Eric Hosmer goes to RF, and RF Jeff Francoeur moves to CF. The Pirates have been playing well and should have no trouble with the weak Royals pitching.

Familiar Faces: Surpisingly, none.

Probable Pitchers
Friday: RH Luke Hochevar (3-6, 57.0 IP, 46 K, 6.63 ERA, 1.54 WHIP)
vs. LH Erik Bedard (3-6, 55.2 IP, 56 K, 3.72 ERA, 1.40 WHIP)

Saturday: LH Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 12.0 IP, 5 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
vs. RH James McDonald (5-2, 71.1 IP, 71 K, 2.14 ERA, 0.95 WHIP)

Sunday: LH Bruce Chen (5-5, 70.0 IP, 48 K, 4.37 ERA, 1.24 WHIP)
vs. RH A.J. Burnett (5-2, 55.0 IP, 50 K, 3.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)

Royals
Alex Gordon LF
Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
Billy Butler 1B
Mike Moustakas 3B
Jeff Francoeur CF
Eric Hosmer RF
Alcides Escobar SS
Humberto Quintero C
Luke Hochevar P

Alex Presley LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones RF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Jose Tabata RF
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
Erik Bedard P

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 280 other followers