Joel Hanrahan Trade Tree

Three weeks ago the Pirates re-signed reliever Jason Grilli to a two year contract. Many observers expected that move to signal the impending trade of closer Joel Hanrahan. Last Tuesday, the other shoe finally fell and Hanrahan was shipped to the Red Sox with IF Brock Holt, for RP Mark Melancon, OF/1B Jerry Sands, IF Ivan De Jesus and AA pitcher Stolmy Pimentel.

Hanrahan will be missed, but Melancon should be able to step into a late inning role fairly easily. The other three pieces have their pros and cons as well: Sands has big time power but doubts as to whther he can adjust to major league pitching. Pimentel has a big fastball but major control issues. De Jesus is similar to Holt – decent bat but stretched defensively at any position but 2B.

All in all, I like this trade for the Bucs. They were able to buy low on Melancon and sell high-ish on Hanrahan. It’s almost an even trade right there; the other pieces just add the potential for this be a huge deal in the Pirates’ favor.

Joel  Hanrahan Pirates

If you’re interested in the Red Sox side of the deal, I’ve updated the trade tree of their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers from this past season, adding a Mark Melancon branch.

Adrian Gonzalez Red Sox

 

Thank you, Chicago

Just when everything looked as hopeless as it has ever looked this season, the Pirates got a chance to go to the well versus the only team they’ve found any success against this year: The Cubs.

Ended: Six game losing streak. 17 game road losing streak. A Pirates starting pitcher recorded an out in the 8th inning for the first time this year.

Continued: Domination versus the Cubs (8-2). Losing a second baseman to a concussion from a collision with the right fielder in consecutive series.

Milledge has to call off Crosby for that ball. I like how he’s hitting but the mental errors are killing me and costing the team runs every game. I was very surprised to see Delwyn Young brought in to play second; it seemed like the perfect time to get Andy LaRoche into a game at 2B to get his feet wet.

Just a reminder: If you don’t already follow me on twitter @TheRealDavidK, I have an account that I use just to post updates to the blog: @643Putout.

Delusions of Grandeur

Did I pick a crazy weekend to go out of town or what?  The Pirates extend their losing streak to 12, fire a pierogi, then win twice in a row. Pedro Alvarez gets his first hit too. To quote Han Solo, “I’m out of it for a little while and everyone gets delusions of grandeur.”A wrap up of things I missed this weekend:

The Pirates broke their twelve game losing streak by beating Cleveland Saturday and Sunday. Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen had big games, but the moment that everyone was waiting for finally happened in the 5th inning when #Pedropalooza broke out a ground rule double for his first hit and RBI. After three games I was getting worried that he might reach Aramis Ramirez territory so this is great news.

The team also celebrated the 50th anniversary of their 1960 World Series win over the Yankees. Lots of giveaways and old players on hand. Really wish I could have made it to the ‘Burgh for this.

On Sunday John Russell was ejected for only the fourth time in his three two-plus years of managing the Pirates. Call him the anti-Bobby Cox.

Zach Duke has a mild elbow strain and will miss his scheduled start on Tuesday. Monday’s off day means no spot starter will be needed. Duke is expected to be fine for his next turn on Saturday, but that could change later in the week.

Up Next: Interleague play wraps up with a six game road trip to Texas and Oakland.

Pedropalooza!

Pedro hits vs Zach Duke at Pirate City

The day has finally arrived – Pedro Alvarez has been called up to the Pirates. He’ll start at third base as I detailed in my previous post. I expect him to hit 5th between Jones and Doumit, but it wouldn’t surprise me for Russell to put him lower in the lineup as JR like to “ease guys in.”  (Note to JR: Not everyone needs to be eased in. Some guys will do better it you just throw them in the deep end and see if they can swim.) No word yet on who’ll be sent out to make room on the roster but the candidates include every player on the bench.

OTHER BITS: Lastings Milledge is getting squeezed for playing time since Jose Tabata was recalled last week. Not that I mind this, but its Ryan Church that he’s getting squeezed for and neither of them have been hitting lately. I can’t wait for Steve Pearce to get healthy and start playing first again so Garrett Jones can slide back to RF.

Tim at BUCCO FANS has a great redux on last year’s trade with Seattle. Well worth the read. I mentioned last week on Twitter that it is amazing how Ronny Cedeno is the best player to come out of this deal. If any of the three pitchers the Pirates received reaches the majors then it will be an even better trade.

But we can worry about all of that another day. Happy #Pedropalooza everyone!

UPDATE: To make room on the roster for Pedro, Akinori Iwamura was Designated for Assignment. The club has said they hope to trade him in the next 10 days. Good luck with that.

Pedro is batting 6th and playing 3rd base.

Pedro Alvarez news and lineup chaos.

Big news from last night’s post-game show with Rocco DeMaro: GM Neal Huntington confirmed that when Pedro Alvarez is called up he will play third base and Andy LaRoche will go to a bench/utility role. This is not entirely surprising as NH has always said that he didn’t want to devalue Pedro by moving him to another position unless he had to but this is the first confirmation I’ve heard or read.

I fully expect Alvarez to be recalled for the next home stand starting Tuesday.  The everyday lineup should then look like this:

Behold my awesome MS paint skills

Not too bad. One more power hitter at 1B/RF and it would look a lot better. Now given that lineup potential, why would John Russell do this tonight:

McCutchen CF
Walker 3B
Doumit 1B
Jones RF
Church DH
Milledge LF
Iwamura 2B
Cedeno SS
Jaramillo C

No Tabata? Church DHing? Doumit NOT DHing? Iwamura playing? Let’s tackle these individually.

Jose Tabata is a 21 and has been in the bigs for three days. Word from the Pirates (via Rocco) is that Tabata is just getting a day off. He’s played two games! More truthful would be saying “Justin Verlander is starting and we don’t think Jose’s ready to face someone that nasty.”

Ryan Church doesn’t need to be in the game at DH. He had one week last month where he was the only one who was hitting and now JR is in love with him. My guess is that he’s still regaining his strength after a nasty stomach flu and this is JR’s way to get his bat in there while taking it easy on him. But there’s no excuse for that when…

…You have your good bat/no glove catcher playing out of position at first base. If Doumit’s not going to catch he should be DHing. Barring that, Delwyn Young – who is as mobile as a road cone – who be a better choice at DH.

Finally there is Iwamura. I posted about his struggles last month and nothing improved after that. Luckily Walker was promoted and has hit well and been very athletic at second. I expect Aki is in because he’s more familiar with Verlander. Also, Andy LaRoche’s back has been a problem and he hasn’t hit at all lately either.

That’s the end of my lineup rant. If you’re still with me then thanks for reading. For all I know these guys could go hit six homeruns tonight and run away with the game. It isn’t likely but anything is possible in a single game.

The rookies are coming

There was much hype around Stephen Strasburg’s debut last night and he pretty well lived up to it. Of much more interest to me as a Pirates fan are tonight’s debuts of Brad Lincoln and Jose “I’ll break your finger” Tabata. With Tabata in the lineup and the promotion and success of Neil Walker at second I feel that the Pirates are that much closer to fielding a big league caliber lineup every day.

Here’s my stab at what I expect tonight’s lineup to be:

LF Jose Tabata
2B Neil Walker
CF Andrew McCutchen
1B Garrett Jones
RF Lastings Milledge
3B Andy LaRoche
C Jason Jaramillo
SS Ronny Cedeno
P Brad Lincoln

No too shabby. When Ryan Doumit is recovered from his concussion he should slot in at #5 moving down Milledge and LaRoche. Some more shuffling will have to happen when Steve Pearce is activated from the DL, but the real fun will start when Pedro Alvarez is called up. Expect major position changes or a trade then.

LINKS: In the meantime, there are tons of articles around the web today that sum up all of the possibilities better than I could.

Bucs Dugout

Bucco Fans

Raise the Jolly Roger

WHYGAVS

North Side Notch

Rocco DeMarro’s Unnamed Blog

Pirates.MLB.com

Baseball Prospectus (may require subscription)

Post-Gazette

Trib Bucco Blog

Hardball Talk

Rotographs

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