SOUTH HILLS COMMAND CENTER – We’re less than four hours from the trade deadline and all is quiet – thus far – from Pirates central command.
Clint Hurdle has a theory that with the second wild card added it’s become harder to make trades as a buyer at the deadline, because there are more buyers in the market. And of course the second wild card was added not just to make winning the division more meaningful, but to keep more teams in the hunt and more fans interested.
“I think it’s really changed the challenges for the general manager. People are going to hang on longer,” Hurdle said. “There are some doors that aren’t opening. The asks just really don’t make sense for us (as of 4 p.m. Tuesday). As the clock continues to click you never know what might happen. No one wants to seem like they are dealing from urgency or desperation. It gives teams an opportunity to stay in play longer.”
It’s a great seller’s market. (It would be an ideal year for the Phillies to trade Cliff Lee, for instance). And, moreover, ESPN’s Jason Stark can’t remember there being a deadline where there were so few impact pieces for sale. The Pirates might have to overpay for a marginal upgrade, which as Hurdle hints toward, which might mean their best option is to do nothing at all.
There’s still some time left. Perhaps asking prices will come down. But there’s nothing imminent.
TRADE DEADLINE PREDICTIONS
As of right now, the most likely outcome seems to be this: nothing happens.
But I could see the Pirates picking up a Nate Schierholtz for, say, Nick Kingham. That’s my called shot. We’ll see.
Jon Heyman said the Pirates are in on Justin Morneau and a left-handed bat would make sense given the dimensions of PNC Park and the righty-heavy rotations of the Reds and Cardinals.
Kendrys Morales would make some sense but I haven’t heard any buzz surrounding him recently.
What’s your prediction?
(Jake Peavy is no longer an option for the Pirates, which I think is a good thing, but Bud Norris might still be in play per Houston Chronicle.)
ANDREW McCUTCHEN SHOWS OFF ALL FIVE TOOLS
In a period of 14 minutes during Game 1, yesterday, Andrew McCutchen used four of his tools: glove, arm, legs and bat.
In the first, McCutchen dived to rob Carlos Beltran of an RBI hit, popping up to throw out Matt Holliday retreating to first base for a double play.
In the bottom of the inning, McCutchen lashed a Lance Lynn pitch into the corner, cruising into second base with a double. Pedro Alvarez followed with a double to score McCutchen.
In the second game he displayed his fifth: power, a pivotal two-run shot.
Some have questioned Cutch’s clutch abilities – he actually has a slightly higher career OPS in high leverage situations – he played like a star in one of the biggest moments of his career yesterday. He’s one of the best players in the game and he was the best player on the field last night.