Marlon Byrd Trade Tree

Finally, the Pirates make a move to upgrade their offense, acquiring Marlon Byrd and John Buck from the Mets.

Marlon  Byrd Trade Tree

Byrd is having the best season of his 12 year career and should go to the playoffs for the first time. He slots in at RF and will push Jose Tabata to the bench when Starling Marte is healthy.

I don’t see Tony Sanchez being sent down, so Buck looks like he’ll be a 3rd catcher. His presence will give Clint Hurdle the peace of mind to use Russell Martin or Tony off of the bench when they aren’t starting.

The team hasn’t announced a corresponding roster move and I wouldn’t expect them to before tomorrow. I’d probably send down Pie and a pitcher. You don’t need as many pitchers in the playoffs and they have plenty of DL spots to play with to get whoever they want active.

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.

Cubs Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 12-2 Loss vs. Chicago. 7 errors. Box score.
Saturday: 4-3 Loss vs. Chicago. Nothing going vs Samardzija. Box score.
Sunday: 4-2 Loss vs. Chicago. Grilli falters 2nd day in a row. Box score.

Season Record: 72-67, 3rd place in NL Central, 11.0 games back
2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot

Notes: Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. The promise of the playoffs is slipping away even though it’s still right in front of them. Seriously, one good week and the Bucs could be tied with the Cards again. The offense had serious problems this weekend. Brock Holt and Pedro Alvarez were the only players to record more than one hit. Yet the Bucs walked 14 times, including 4 from Gaby Sanchez. Jeff Locke was effective in his second start. Jason Grilli took back to back losses; unusual since he’s been a shutdown reliever all year.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Holt, Br, 2B 13 2 5 0 0 3 3 0.385 0.385
Alvarez, 3B 12 0 4 2 1 1 9 0.333 0.385
Jones, G, RF, 1B 11 0 1 0 2 0 5 0.091 0.231
McCutchen, A, CF 9 2 1 1 2 3 6 0.111 0.333
Marte, S, LF-CF 9 0 0 1 2 4 3 0.000 0.167
Sanchez, G, 1B 6 0 0 0 4 3 3 0.000 0.400
Presley, RF 6 0 0 0 0 4 4 0.000 0.000
Harrison, SS 5 2 1 0 0 1 3 0.200 0.200
McKenry, C 5 1 1 1 1 2 2 0.200 0.333
Barajas, C 5 0 0 0 0 1 2 0.000 0.000
Barmes, SS 4 0 0 0 1 1 4 0.000 0.200
Clement, PH 2 0 1 1 1 0 1 0.500 0.667
Locke, P 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0.500 0.500
Mercer, SS 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 94 7 15 6 14 26 47 0.160 0.273

Batting

Doubles (3): Alvarez 2 (23), McKenry (13)
Triples (1): Holt (1)
Home Runs (1): McCutchen (25)

Fielding
E: Holt 3 (3), Marte 2 (2), Barajas (4), Sanchez (3), Harrison (5)
DP: (Alvarez-Holt-Sanchez), (Barmes-Jones), (Barmes-Sanchez)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Locke 6.0 7 2 2 0 6 2 3.00 1.17
McDonald, J 5.7 7 3 3 2 2 1 4.76 1.59
Burnett, AJ (L, 15-6) 5.0 8 7 3 1 4 0 5.40 1.80
McPherson, K 3.0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.67
Leroux 1.7 0 2 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Grilli (2 L, 1-6) 1.3 5 3 3 2 2 1 20.25 5.25
Resop 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Hanrahan 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 2.00
Hughes, J 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Watson 0.7 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 3.00
Takahashi 0.3 2 3 3 2 0 0 81.00 12.00
Qualls 0.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 0.00
Wilson 0.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 -.– -.–
  Totals 27.0 34 20 14 10 22 4 4.67 1.63

Transactions: Activated LF Starling Marte from the DL. Activated RHP Chad Qualls from the DL.

Cardinals Wrap Up

Scores:
Friday: 2-1 Win at St Louis. JMac comes back. Box score.
Saturday: 5-4 Loss at St Louis. Lots of missed chances. Box score.
Sunday: 6-3 Win at St Louis. Pirates on the good side of 19 inning game. Box score.

Season Record: 67-54, 2nd place in NL Central, 6.5 games back

Notes: The Bucs had their best pitching of any series this month. Not coincidentally, they won their first series this month. James McDonald and Jeff Karstens were effective and efficient. The bullpen put up 12 scoreless innings in yesterday’s 19 inning affair. Stepping up big were Chris Resop (3.0 IP), Jared Hughes, Kevin Correia and Wandy Rodriguez (2.0 IP each.) Jose Tabata had a nice day at the plate after bring called up for the injured Starling Marte, but made outs on the basepaths all three times he reached. The Fort was finally cooled off, going 0 for 13. Pedro Alvarez had the big hit on Sunday, hitting a solo homer to give the Pirates the lead in the 19th inning. Andrew McCutchen would knock in two more insurance runs before the inning was over. Pittsburgh looked better than they had in weeks while taking two of three from their division rival.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
McCutchen, A, CF 15 1 3 4 3 7 9 0.200 0.368
Jones, G, 1B-RF 13 0 4 2 0 5 8 0.308 0.286
Barmes, SS 13 3 3 0 1 6 7 0.231 0.286
Alvarez, 3B 13 1 3 1 3 5 5 0.231 0.412
McKenry, C 13 0 0 0 0 3 8 0.000 0.000
Mercer, 2B-SS 11 1 4 2 0 1 4 0.364 0.417
Snider, RF 11 1 3 0 2 1 1 0.273 0.385
Harrison, 2B-RF 9 0 3 1 1 2 3 0.333 0.364
Tabata, LF 7 1 2 0 1 1 4 0.286 0.375
Marte, S, LF 6 1 2 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.429
Sanchez, G, 1B 6 1 2 0 0 2 2 0.333 0.333
Barajas, C 4 0 0 0 1 2 3 0.000 0.200
Navarro, LF, PH 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P, PH 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0.333 0.333
Bedard, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 4 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Walker, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0.000 0.000
  Totals 132 12 30 10 12 38 63 0.227 0.307

Batting
Doubles (6): Alvarez (18), Mercer 2 (5), Sanchez (13), Jones (21), Tabata (14)
Triples (1): Harrison (4)
Home Runs (1): Alvarez (23)

Baserunning
CS: Tabata 2 (11)
PO: Marte, Tabata

Fielding
Errors: Karstens (1)
DP: (Mercer-Barmes-Jones), (Alvarez-Mercer-Jones), (Bedard-Barmes)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Karstens 7.0 2 2 2 1 4 0 2.57 0.43
McDonald, J (W, 11-5) 6.0 2 0 0 3 7 0 0.00 0.83
Bedard (L, 7-13) 4.7 9 5 5 3 4 0 9.64 2.57
Hughes, J 4.3 1 0 0 0 3 0 0.00 0.23
Resop (H, 8) 3.7 4 1 1 0 3 0 2.45 1.09
Cruz, J (H, 14) (BS, 1) 2.3 5 1 1 0 1 0 3.86 2.14
Grilli (H, 27) 2.0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.00 0.00
Rodriguez, W (W, 8-12) 2.0 1 0 0 1 3 0 0.00 1.00
Hanrahan (S, 34) 2.0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0.00 1.50
Correia 2.0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 1.00
  Totals 36.0 26 9 9 11 31 0 2.25 1.03

Transactions: Placed LF Starling Marte on the 15 day DL. Recalled OF Jose Tabata from AAA.

Marte Injured

Left fielder Starling Marte injured his oblique last night and has been placed on the 15 day disabled list. Jose Tabata has been recalled from AAA and is starting in today’s starting lineup.

Series Wrap Up: The Astros

Scores:
Thursday: 5-3 Win at Houston. Marte impresses, Burnett cruises. Box score.
Friday: 6-5 Win at Houston. The Fort with a big day; late rally. Box score.
Saturday: 4-3 Win at Houston. Wandy not sharp in debut. Box score.
Sunday: 9-5 Loss at Houston. JMac struggles again, walks 7. Box score.

Season Record: 58-43, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Notes: The Bucs take 3 of 4 from the hapless Astros and still lose a game in the standings to the Reds. Starling Marte had an impressive debut, hitting a home run on the first pitch he saw in the majors. Garrett Jones lead the team with five hits in the series. Three of those went for extra bases. A.J. Burnett was the only starter who had a good outing but they all went at least 5 innings. Wandy Rodriguez walked 5 in his Pirates debut. Kevin Correia was moved to the bullpen, gave up 4 runs in 2 innings and demanded a trade.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Marte, S, LF, CF 18 2 4 2 0 3 4 0.222 0.211
Jones, G, RF, 1B 17 3 5 4 0 1 6 0.294 0.294
Alvarez, 3B 15 1 4 0 1 5 7 0.267 0.313
Walker, 2B 13 2 3 3 2 2 7 0.231 0.353
McCutchen, A, CF 12 2 4 0 1 1 8 0.333 0.385
Presley, RF, LF 12 2 4 2 1 5 5 0.333 0.385
Barmes, SS 10 1 3 2 0 3 1 0.300 0.300
McGehee, 1B 10 0 1 0 1 3 2 0.100 0.182
Barajas, C 8 1 1 1 1 2 3 0.125 0.222
McKenry, C 7 2 4 2 1 1 2 0.571 0.625
Burnett, AJ, P 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 0.333 0.333
Harrison, SS 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 1.000 0.667
Sutton, PH-RF 2 1 0 0 1 1 2 0.000 0.333
Mercer, PR-SS 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000
Karstens, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
McDonald, J, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Rodriguez, W, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
  Totals 135 20 36 17 9 30 48 0.267 0.311

Batting
Doubles (5): McCutchen 2 (19), McKenry (9), Harrison (8), Walker (24)
Triples (1): Jones (2)
Home Runs (8): Marte (1), Jones 2 (16), Barmes (5), Presley 2 (8), McKenry (9), Walker (10)

Baserunning
SB: Marte (1)
CS: Marte (1)

Fielding
Double Plays: (Walker-Barmes-McGehee), (Alvarez-Walker-McGehee)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 12-3) 7.3 4 2 2 1 5 2 2.45 0.68
Rodriguez, W 6.0 6 3 3 5 5 0 4.50 1.83
Karstens 5.0 6 4 4 3 7 2 7.20 1.80
McDonald, J(L, 10-5) 5.0 6 5 5 7 5 1 9.00 2.60
Hanrahan(S, 30,31) 2.0 2 1 1 1 4 0 4.50 1.50
Hughes, J 2.0 4 1 1 1 1 0 4.50 2.50
Correia 2.0 5 4 4 1 2 0 18.00 3.00
Lincoln(H, 4,5) 1.7 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.20
Grilli(S, 2) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Watson(W, 5-1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.00
Resop(W, 1-3) 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 1.00
  Totals 34.0 35 20 20 20 35 5 5.29 1.62

Transactions (since the AllStar break): Activated OF Alex Presley from the DL. Optioned 1B Matt Hague to AAA. Placed RHP Juan Cruz on the 15-day DL. Recalled RHP Evan Meek from AAA. Traded minor league pitchers Rudy Owens and Colton Cain and minor league OF Robbie Grossman to Houston for LHP Wandy Rodriguez. Optioned RHP Evan Meek to AAA. Optioned OF Gorkys Hernandez to AAA. Recalled OF Starling Marte from AAA. Traded minor leage 2B Brian Friday to Atlanta for minor league OF Christian Marrero. Assigned Marrero to AAA.

Series Preview: The Astros

Current record: 55-44, 2nd place in NL Central, 2.5 games back

Up Next: Houston Astros, 34-65, 6th place in NL Central, 24.5 games back

Season Series: 6-1 (2-1, 4-0)

Notes: This isn’t the same Astros team the Bucs faced three weeks ago. Gone are Carlos Lee, J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and Brett Myers. SS Jed Lowrie is on the DL. Their best pitcher left is Bud Norris, who won’t face the Pirates this series because he started last night. This is baseball so anything can happen, but the Astros are really bad right now and Bucs should take three or four games here.

Familiar Faces: Chris Snyder, Brian Bixler

Probable Pitchers
Thursday: RH A.J. Burnett (11-3, 107.2 IP, 89 K, 3.59 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
vs. LH Dallas Keuchel (1-2, 29.0 IP, 11 K, 4.03 ERA, 1.55 WHIP)

Friday: RH Jeff Karstens (3-2, 46.0 IP, 31 K, 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
vs. RH Jordan Lyles (2-7, 73.2 IP, 44 K, 5.50 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)

Karstens hasn’t been officially announced, but this is his turn and he’s pitching well so I wouldn’t mess things up.

Saturday: LH Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 130.2 IP, 89 K, 3.79 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
vs. TBA

This was supposed to be Wandy’s start for Houston. Instead he’ll make his Pirates’ debut. So far, the Astros haven’t announced a replacement.

Sunday: RH James McDonald (10-4, 125.2 IP, 110 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.12 WHIP)
vs. RH Lucas Harrell (7-7, 121.2 IP, 81 K, 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Just announced - Erik Bedard‘s start will be pushed back to Monday’s game. I have no problem giving the typically injury prone Bedard some extra rest, even when he’s pitching well. Kevin Correia has been moved to the bullpen.

Tonight’s Lineup:
Starling Marte LF (Major League debut)
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones RF
Casey McGehee 1B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS
A.J. Burnett P

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 280 other followers