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.

Padres Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 9-8 Loss vs. San Diego. JMac keeps floundering. Box score.
Saturday: 5-0 Loss vs. San Diego. Bats can’t touch Jason Marquis. Box score.
Sunday: 11-5 Win vs. San Diego. Walker, Barmes lead big comeback. Box score.

Season Record: 64-50, 2nd place in NL Central, 4.5 games back

Notes: The Pirates drop two of three to an inferior opponent in another bad series. James McDonald gave up a six run lead and couldn’t get out of the 5th. The offense was huge on Friday and Sunday but non existant on Saturday. Neil Walker was 5 for 5 with a homer on double Sunday. Clint Barmes had a couple good games including a grand slam.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Marte, S, LF 14 0 3 1 1 4 7 0.214 0.267
Walker, 2B 13 2 5 2 1 1 6 0.385 0.429
McCutchen, A, CF 13 2 2 2 1 1 9 0.154 0.214
Alvarez, 3B 11 1 4 2 2 3 4 0.364 0.462
Jones, G, 1B-RF 11 5 3 2 2 1 7 0.273 0.385
Barmes, SS 9 3 4 4 0 2 4 0.444 0.444
Snider, RF 8 1 3 3 1 0 3 0.375 0.444
Barajas, C 8 0 1 1 0 1 2 0.125 0.125
McKenry, C, PH 5 1 1 2 1 1 3 0.200 0.429
Sanchez, G, 1B 4 1 0 0 2 0 1 0.000 0.333
Mercer, SS 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 2 2 1 0 1 0 0 0.500 0.667
Harrison, SS 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Resop, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 —- 1.000
  Totals 106 19 27 19 14 17 47 0.255 0.347

Batting
Doubles (3): Bedard (1), McCutchen (23), Walker (26)
Triples (1): Jones (3)
Home Runs (4): Jones (17), Snider (4), Barmes (6), Walker (14)

Baserunning
SB: Marte (3)

Fielding
Errors: Jones (6), Walker (5), Barmes 2 (11)
DP: (Walker-Sanchez)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ (L, 14-4) 5.7 9 5 4 2 10 2 6.35 1.94
Bedard (W, 7-12) 5.0 5 5 3 4 6 1 5.40 1.80
McDonald, J 4.3 7 7 7 1 4 2 14.54 1.85
Resop 3.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 2.3 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.43
Qualls 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Watson (BS, 2)(L, 5-2) 1.7 1 2 2 2 2 1 10.80 1.80
Grilli 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.00
Cruz, J 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
  Totals 27.0 24 19 16 10 29 6 5.33 1.26

Transactions: Activated RHP Juan Cruz from the DL. Optioned RHP Jared Hughes to AAA.

Phillies Wrap Up

Scores:
Monday: 8-3 Loss at Philadelphia. Nothing worked. Box score.
Tuesday: 5-4 Loss at Philadelphia. There were chances to win this one. Box score.
Wednesday: 11-7 Win at Philadelphia. The bats save a win. Box score.
Thursday: 5-4 Win at Philadelphia. Score 5 early, hang on late. Box score.

Season Record: 40-35, 2nd place in NL Central, 1.0 game back

Notes: Rough, rough series. The Pirates didn’t play very well at all and still came away with a split on the road. Michael McKenry stepped up in a huge way. The Fort caught all 33 innings after Rod Barajas was injured in the first game while going 8 for 14 with a double and two homers. Drew Sutton made a good first impression by going 4 for 8. Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez continued to rake, with Neil Walker joining in too. In fact, the only player who had a bad offensive series was Clint Barmes, to noone’s surprise. Apart from Brad Lincoln and Joel Hanrahan the pitching was pretty bad. As my grandfather used to say, they gave up a lot of “crooked numbers.”

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 18 3 5 3 0 5 9 0.278 0.278
Alvarez, 3B 16 2 4 1 1 8 9 0.250 0.294
Walker, 2B 15 5 5 1 3 3 11 0.333 0.444
McKenry, C 14 2 8 6 2 3 2 0.571 0.625
Tabata, RF 13 3 3 2 0 4 4 0.231 0.231
Barmes, SS 13 1 1 1 1 4 10 0.077 0.143
McGehee, 1B 12 2 3 5 2 0 8 0.250 0.357
Sutton, LF, PH 8 3 4 2 2 1 1 0.500 0.600
Jones, G, RF,1B 5 1 2 1 2 1 4 0.400 0.571
Harrison, PH-RF, SS 5 0 1 0 0 0 3 0.200 0.200
Presley, PH-LF 5 1 0 0 3 1 0 0.000 0.375
McDonald, J, P 3 0 1 1 0 1 2 0.333 0.333
Burnett, AJ, P 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.000 0.000
Hague, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —- —-
  Totals 134 23 37 23 16 35 67 0.276 0.353

Batting
Doubles (8): Walker 2 (14), Alvarez (13), McKenry (4), McCutchen 2 (15), Sutton (6), Jones (10)
Home Runs (7): Tabata (3), McKenry 2 (5), McGehee 2 (5), McCutchen (14), Alvarez (14)

BaseRunning
CS: McGehee (1), Harrison (3)
PO: Harrison

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez 2 (13), Tabata 2 (3), Barmes (9), Jones (2)
Double Plays: (Barmes-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 9-2) 5.7 6 3 3 2 7 1 4.76 1.41
Bedard(L, 4-8) 6.0 8 4 4 2 3 1 6.00 1.67
McDonald, J(W, 7-3) 5.7 6 4 4 2 3 2 6.35 1.41
Karstens(L, 0-2) 5.0 11 7 6 0 4 1 10.80 2.20
Hanrahan(S, 20) 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli(H, 18) 2.0 2 1 1 0 3 1 4.50 1.00
Slaten 2.0 1 1 1 3 3 0 4.50 2.00
Hughes, J 1.3 1 2 1 1 1 0 6.75 1.50
Cruz, J(H, 13) 1.3 2 1 1 2 1 1 6.75 3.00
Lincoln(H, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 1.0 3 1 1 0 1 0 9.00 3.00
  Totals 33.0 41 24 22 13 29 7 6.00 1.64

Transactions: Activated RHP Jeff Karstens from the 15-day DL. Optioned RHP Bryan Morris to AAA. Activated IF Drew Sutton. Called up C Eric Fryer from AAA. Optioned 1B Matt Hague to AAA. Designated LHP Daniel Moskos for assignment. Traded RHP Shairon Martis to Minnesota. Claimed 2B Oscar Tejeda of waivers from Boston and optioned him to AA. Designated LHP Doug Slaten for assignment.

Twins Wrap Up

Scores:
Tuesday: 7-2 Win vs Minnesota. Solid effort all around. Box score.
Wednesday: 2-1 Loss vs Minnesota. No support for Bedard. Box score.
Thursday: 9-1 Win vs Minnesota. 3 HR back up a CG from JMac. Box score.

Season Record: 36-32, 2nd place in NL Central, 2.0 games back

Notes: Pedro Alvarez continued his hot streak and was joined by Andrew McCutchen, Josh Harrison and Clint Barmes. The Pirates are scoring 5.11 runs per game in June. The pitching was good enough to win all three games, but special mention goes to James McDonald for notching the first complete game of his career. He’s come a long way from the guy who couldn’t get out of the 7th last year.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO  LOB     AVG     OBP
Harrison, RF, SS 12 3 5 1 0 1 4 0.417 0.417
McGehee, 1B 12 0 3 1 0 3 6 0.250 0.250
Walker, 2B 12 2 0 0 1 1 8 0.000 0.077
McCutchen, A, CF 11 3 7 5 2 2 1 0.636 0.692
Alvarez, 3B 9 4 4 1 2 2 2 0.444 0.545
Barmes, SS 8 1 4 1 0 2 2 0.500 0.500
Tabata, LF-RF 8 0 0 0 0 1 4 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 6 1 1 4 0 1 4 0.167 0.167
Presley, PH-LF 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Jones, G, RF, PH 5 1 2 3 0 1 2 0.400 0.400
McDonald, J, P 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
McKenry, C 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 0.000 0.250
Hague, PH 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0.500 0.500
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Correia, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
Resop, P 0 0 0 0 1 0 0      —- 1.000
Mercer, PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0      —-      —-
  Totals 100 17 29 17 7 16 36 0.290 0.336

Batting
Doubles (5): Barmes (11), Alvarez (12), McCutchen 2 (13), Harrison (7)
Triples (1): McCutchen (4)
Home Runs (5): Harrison (2), McCutchen (12), Barajas (7), Jones (8), Alvarez (13)

BaseRunning
SB: Harrison 2 (5), McCutchen (14), Presley (7)

Fielding
Errors: Harrison (2)
Double Plays: (Harrison-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh     IP    H    R   ER  BB  SO  HR    ERA   WHIP
McDonald, J (W, 6-3) 9.0 6 1 1 0 5 0 1.00 0.67
Bedard 6.0 4 1 1 2 7 0 1.50 1.00
Correia (W, 3-6) 5.3 4 0 0 1 2 0 0.00 0.94
Resop 2.0 2 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.50
Slaten 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Hughes, J 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
Grilli (L, 1-2) 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 1 9.00 2.00
Cruz, J 1.0 2 2 2 0 1 1 18.00 2.00
Watson (H, 7) 0.7 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.50
  Totals 27.0 21 5 5 5 17 2 1.67 0.96

Transactions: In a paper move, RHP Daniel McCutchen was activated from the 15-day DL and optioned to AAA where he had been rehabbing.

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

Mercer Called Up

AAA infielder Jordy Mercer has been called up to the big leagues for the first time. Mercer is mainly a shortstop but has played second and third as well. In 48 games this season he is hitting .303/.379/.417. It is expected the Mercer will see regular playing time, with Clint Barmes going to the bench.

To make room for Mercer on the roster, IF/OF Yamaico Navarro was sent to AAA.

Grilli Activated, Locke Optioned

Relief pitcher Jason Grilli has been activated from the Bereavement List. Jeff Locke was optioned back to AAA. Locke made no appearances in his three days with the big league club.

Today’s series finale against the Mets is at 12:30. The Pirates are off tomorrow.

Gorkys Hernandez gets his first start today. Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez have the day off versus lefty pitcher Jon Niese . Lineup:

Josh Harrison RF
Gorkys Hernandez LF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Neil Walker 2B
Casey McGehee 1B
Rod Barajas C
Yamaico Navarro 3B
Clint Barmes SS
Charlie Morton P

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