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:
Monday: 14-4 Loss at Chicago Cubs. Bedard, Resop stink it up. Box score.
Tuesday: 5-0 Win at Chicago Cubs. Burnett CG, SHO, 1 hitter. Box score.
Wednesday: 8-4 Win at Chicago Cubs. Seven straight hits score 5. Box score.

Season Record: 60-44, 2nd place in NL Central, 3.0 games back

Notes: A busy series that saw of lots highs and lows. Erik Bedard and Chris Resop had horrible innings on Monday. A.J. Burnett took a no-hitter into the 8th on Tuesday. Casey McGehee grounded into a double play in what turned out to be his final at bat as a Pirate. Neil Walker knocked in five runs – including a grand slam – on Tuesday. Joel Hanrahan pitched for the first time in a week and gave up a cycle to the first four betters he faced, then struck out the side. In their Pirate debuts, Gaby Sanchez had no hits but saw a lot of pitches and took a walk, and Travis Snider had three hits and scored three runs.

Combined Box

Pittsburgh AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG OBP
Marte, S, LF 14 1 4 2 0 5 3 0.286 0.286
McCutchen, A, CF 11 5 6 0 3 2 1 0.545 0.643
Alvarez, 3B 10 0 4 0 3 4 3 0.400 0.538
Barmes, SS 10 1 2 1 2 1 7 0.200 0.333
Jones, G, 1B 9 3 4 3 2 1 4 0.444 0.545
McKenry, C 9 1 3 5 0 2 4 0.333 0.333
Snider, RF 9 3 3 0 1 2 3 0.333 0.400
Walker, 2B 6 2 2 5 0 0 5 0.333 0.333
Harrison, 2B-3B 6 1 1 0 0 1 2 0.167 0.167
Presley, RF, PH 5 0 0 0 0 0 5 0.000 0.000
Burnett, AJ, P 4 0 0 0 0 4 0 0.000 0.000
Barajas, C 3 0 0 0 1 1 3 0.000 0.250
Karstens, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0.000 0.000
Sanchez, G, 1B 2 0 0 0 1 1 2 0.000 0.333
Bedard, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000
McGehee, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.000
Sutton, 2B 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.000 0.000
Watson, P 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.000 0.000
  Totals 104 17 29 16 13 28 48 0.279 0.359

Batting
Doubles (4): Alvarez (16), McCutchen 2 (21), Jones (16)
Home Runs (3): Walker (11), Marte (2), McKenry (10)

Baserunning
SB: Marte (2), Alvarez (1)
CS: Presley (5)

Fielding
Errors: Alvarez (15)

Pitching

Pittsburgh IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA WHIP
Burnett, AJ(W, 13-3) 9.0 1 0 0 2 8 0 0.00 0.33
Karstens(W, 4-2) 5.0 3 1 1 1 4 1 1.80 0.80
Bedard(L, 5-12) 4.3 7 9 8 2 7 2 16.62 2.08
Watson(H, 11) 3.0 3 1 1 0 4 0 3.00 1.00
Hughes, J(H, 10) 1.3 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00 1.50
Resop(H, 6) 1.3 5 4 4 0 0 1 27.00 3.75
Grilli 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 1.00
Hanrahan 1.0 5 3 3 0 3 1 27.00 5.00
  Totals 26.0 26 18 17 6 29 5 5.88 1.23

Transactions: Traded RHP Brad Lincoln to Toronto for RF Travis Snider. Recalled RHP Daniel McCutchen from AAA. Designated OF/IF Drew Sutton for assignment. Traded OF Gorkys Hernandez to Miami for 1B Gaby Sanchez and minor league RHP Kyle Kaminska. Traded 1B Casey McGehee to New York Yankees for RHP Chad Qualls. Optioned RHP Daniel McCutchen to AAA.

Trade Deadline Recap

All told, the Pirates made four deals leading up to yesterday’s 4pm trade deadline.

Traded CF Robbie Grossman, LHP Rudy Owens and LHP Colton Cain to the Houston Astros for LHP Wandy Rodriguez

Traded RHP Brad Lincoln to the Toronto Blue Jays for RF Travis Snider

Traded CF Gorkys Hernandez and a draft pick to the Miami Marlins for 1B Gaby Sanchez and RHP Kyle Kaminska

Traded 1B/3B Casey McGehee to the New York Yankees for RHP Chad Qualls

They also made two moves to balance the roster:
Recalled Daniel McCutchen from Indianapolis Indians.
Designated LF Drew Sutton for assignment.

The new lineup looks like this:

Starling Marte LF
Travis Snider RF
Andrew McCutchen CF
Garrett Jones 1B
Neil Walker 2B
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Rod Barajas C
Clint Barmes SS

Bench:
Gaby Sanchez will platoon at first base.
Michael McKenry play 2-3 times a week at catcher
Alex Presley becomes the 4th OFer.
Josh Harrison
Jordy Mercer

New rotation:
A.J. Burnett
Jeff Karstens
Wandy Rodriguez
James McDonald
Erik Bedard

and the Bullpen:
Joel Hanrahan – closer
Jason Grilli – setup man
Jared Hughes
Tony Watson
Chris Resop
Kevin Correia – long relief/spot starter
Daniel McCutchen
*Chad Qualls – hasn’t joined the team yet, one of the above will need to go make room.

Overall the Pirates improved at RF, 1B, bench and the rotation and lost one good arm in the bullpen. Here’s what the other contenders did:

NL Central
Reds: Traded two minor league pitchers to Kansas City for RHP Jonathan Broxton.
Cardinals: Traded minor league 3B Zack Cox to Miami for RHP Edward Mujica

No huge improvements to either of the Bucs’ main opponents. Mujica is a nice piece that the Cards can use. Broxton doesn’t have a clear role in what was already a strond Reds bullpen. Both are still really good teams.

Wild Card:
Braves: Traded two minor league pitchers to the Chicago Cubs for Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson

Dodgers: Traded two minor league pitchers to Philadelphia for Shane Victorino, araded a minor league pitcher and outfielder to Seattle for RHP Brandon League, traded two minor league pitchers to Miami for 3B Hanley Ramirez and LHP Randy Choate

Giants: Traded OF Nate Schierholtz and 2 minor leaguers to Philadelphia for RF Hunter Pence, traded minor league IF Charlie Culberson to Colorado for IF Marco Scutaro

All three of these teams made big upgrades and addressed clear needs. The Bucs clearest path to the playoffs is to win the division and avoid what could be a four team race for a single elimination game.

Sutton DFA’d; DCutch recalled

Here’s the roster fall out from last night’s Travis Snider trade.

@Pirates: The #Pirates have designated Drew Sutton for assignment, recalled Daniel McCutchen from Indy & Travis Snider has joined the team in Chicago.

Thanks for a few memorable games, Drew.

Trade Deadline Tree: Lincoln to Jays for Travis Snider

All over twitter just now:

Pirates12:31am

The @Pirates have acquired OF Travis Snider from the @BlueJays in exchange for RHP Brad Lincoln.

matthewpouliot12:33am

Glad to see Travis Snider will finally get a long look in Pittsburgh. It’s not the high-profile pickup most wanted, but he could surprise.

enosarris12:33am

Holy crap yeah. Brad Lincoln for Travis Snider?!!! RT @whygavs: Um, I am a fan of that trade.

mtmeyers12:32am via Web

Brad Lincoln for Travis Snider? It’s a dissapointing-2006-first-rounder challenge trade!

Travis Snider should see lots of time in RF. He’s a power bat that hasn’t lived up to his potential yet, so this is an upside play for the Pirates. Alex Presley and Casey McGehee are about to see a lot more of the bench.

The bullpen is going to miss having Brad Lincoln around but the Pirates dealt from their strength. Jason Grilli and Joel Hanrahan will continue to handle the 8th and 9th.

Update: Made the trade tree to go along with this deal.

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