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Same old Pirates? Or smart, frugal Pirates?


SOUTH HILLS – What we’ve learned about the Pirates’ 2013-14 approach to free agency  to date this offseason is that the club is again seeking value targets. It you had dreams about a high-profile, big-money signing that seems unlikely.


We were told last week the Pirates were seeking low-risk, high-upside starters and this week we learned they were finalists for such a target in Josh Johnson, who signed a one-year $8 million deal with the Padres on Tuesday.


Today I reported the Pirates had inquired about first baseman Lance Berkman, who is coming off two injury plagued seasons and will be 38 in February. The Pirates were/are likely considering Berkman as a potential platoon partner – .301 career hitter from left side – or a bench bat. The Pirates might again be looking to trim costs on the corners by employing platoons to open 2014.

It’s true that the Pirates’ attendance was up. It’s true every major league team is enjoying $25 million more in national TV dollars in 2014. The Pirates have more money to spend.


But to date they’ve been unwilling to spend it on free agents and they have not been connected to any players commanding a multi-year, significant-dollar contract. The Pirates appear to again be chasing low-risk, upside. There’s probably not going to be a free-agent splash signing.


I’ve heard this refrain from the some fans: “Same old Pirates.”


Meaning same old spendthrift Pirates.


We’ll have to see how the entire offseason plays out but it should be no surprise that the Pirates are not major players in free agency. The Pirates will likely never be given their market size. The core Pirates players will almost always be homegrown. GM Neal Huntington said this just weeks ago.


But remember the Pirates’ financial commitment in amateur spending ranks among the top in the game.


The Pirates spent an MLB best $51 million on the 2008-12 drafts. They opened a new $5 Latin American Academy in 2009, and made a club record international commitment of $2.6 million to Luis Heredia. The Pirates have spent some $70 million on amateur bonuses and infrastructure since 2008.


Still, are the Pirates being too frugal  in free agency — they are entering a window of competitiveness — or are they just being smart? Remember free agency is becoming increasingly inefficient and incredibly more expensive.


And what the Pirates really need – power and run production from the right-side corner positions – is really expensive and in short supply in free agency.


What’s clear this offseason — and where the game has been trending — is that it’s hard to find power. Power has become rarer, power is at a premium.


That’s one reason why the Rangers were willing to trade for Prince Fielder and take to take on $148 million he is owed through 2020. There’s relatively few impact first baseman in the game right now. The Rangers are probably pretty concerned about what Fielder will be at 36 and 27 years old. But they are more concerned with adding power in the short term.


When you look at the free agent market, Robinson Cano is seeking $300 million. Nice money, if you can get it. Kendrys Morales, who few think of as an impact bat, received a $14.1 million qualifying offer and his agent is Scott Boras. (I can’t see the Pirate going there). Even though Corey Hart is coming off issues with both knees he has a number of suitors, though he did not list the Pirates among them when speaking with XM Radio earlier this week. Michael Morse is also out there, though I don’t know if the Pirates have any interest.


For the Pirates, right field is less of a long-term concern as we’ve discussed here before. The Pirates are loaded with outfield prospects. The team could open with a Jose Tabata/Andrew Lambo platoon until Gregory Polanco is ready to help in the second half. Perhaps that’s the plan there. There’s certainly no need to give anyone a lucrative long-term deal there.


But first base is the more pressing void.


Garrett Jones’ performance is in decline and he might not be tendered. Gaby Sanchez fits as a platoon player but not an ideal every day option. Justin Morneau is a free agent and is not expected back and there’s little first base talent in the minor league pipeline.


The Pirates need more production from first base. But if they’re going to find it it might have to be via trade not a signing.





  1. Yokesoverez says:

    There are so many recent examples of high-price free agent busts (i.e Angels, Dodgers), that it makes no sense risking such high $$ for an aging super star looking for a golden parachute. I think it makes much more sense to chase the low-cost high potential players and keep the cash to lock up our home-grown players to long-term deals when we need to.

  2. Roy Clensden says:

    One thing they can look at is the coming logjam of outfield prospects in the pipeline. Perhap they could move slugger Josh Bell to first base. He is not too far from the majors, possibly being ready by next year. If so, now is the time to begin making the switch.

  3. T.S. says:

    The constant refrain of “small-market” is a bunch of hooey. At the end of the day it comes down to ownership and how much they are willing to spend. If Kevin McClatchy would have sold the team to someone like Mark Cuban and/or Michael Keaton, the payroll would easily have been over $100 million multiple years back; and a good bit more today. Yes, of course, shared revenue from TV/cable deals and such play into it, but the fact is, the real dollars lie in how much an ownership team wants to spend to field a competitive team. Heck, all one need do is look at Magic Johnson in Los Angeles. There’s a reason there’s the phrase “buying a championship.” Good day.

  4. Chuck Snow says:

    Need to remember with the Pirates success dumpster diving for talent..There will be a whole lot more teams in the dumster with Neil which will drive up the price for everyone. I think 8 mill for johnson is crazy money.

  5. Steelkings says:

    @ Travis
    Why does a likely inexpensive Justin Morneau not fit here? In 25 games he only hit .260 but his OBS was .370. His coveted BB-SO ratio was great. He walked more than he struck out. Maybe people are sour on him because he didn’t hit any HR’s in his 25 games as a Pirate. Then again he hit 9 in August as a Twin. Defensively he only had 4 errors in 137 games. With a .997 FP, He was 2nd in MLB in the defensive category for 1st basemen only behind Todd Helton. So help me understand why there is a lack of interest in Morneau. From everything I read about him from Twin players when he was traded was that he was an awesome clubhouse guy.

  6. Steelkings says:

    What is lost on me when I use the Phrase “same old Pirates” is why no one seems to fully get the pocket linings of ownership. I get it. Its a business. But you cant just say that the Pirates like every other MLB team have 25 million more to spend. You cant just count the 2013 attendance figures. You have to include the value of the playoffs. Both the value of the playoffs in 2013 as well as what that did for 2014. How many more season tickets were sold because of 2013 success? Were the Pirates able to get a few extra dollars in ticket pricing increases? How many more beers will be sold because the place will be packed? How much money will they save not needing to purchase a million Bobble heads to sucker fans into the ballpark?
    With the new found money maybe you can take a risk and try and win a World series with a very good team. If you spend double figures to get a solid player that nails down a position then perhaps you wont have to unload promising prospects later to make a run in the playoffs. Whats the financial ramifications of that? And I’m not using the phrase “over spend” because if you spend what everyone else is spending then its just spending.

  7. Steelkings says:

    I agree in the sense that if you sign multi high price free agents you should expect some failure. The Pirates are trying to model themselves after the Cardinals. As well they should. Saint Louis and Pittsburgh are approximately the same size in both Population and commerce. The Bucco’s are trying to match the Cardinals success pattern by building an incredibly strong farm system. The Cardinals are 90% homegrown just like the Pirates are becoming. The Cardinals can reach into the minors and pull up a starter like Wacha year after year. Just like the Pirates will soon be able to do. That strong Farm system is what allows the Cardinals to compete for the division year after year. The Pirates are building that too. Hats off to N.H.
    But here is what separates the Pirates model from the Cardinals. The Cardinals are not scared to spend some money to sign a free agent. Every year if they have a need, they fill it.
    2010 – Matt Holliday – 2 years – 34 million
    2011 – Lance Burkman – 2 years – 20 million
    2012 – Carlos Beltran – 2 years – 26 million

  8. Dan Finnegan says:

    I don’t see why the reluctance to bring back Garrett Jones. yeah, he had a bit of a down year, but I don’t think you call that a decline. He’d fit well in the platoon with Sanchez. I don’t mind that most of the Pirates players will be homegrown, but what I do mind is the team letting the productive players get away to other teams in free agency because they are unwilling or unable to pay market price for ML talent.

  9. The Pirates had a perfectly viable option at first base. They could have outbid the White Sox for Cuban defector Jose Abreu, a player they had scouted extensively and liked a great deal. But when push came to shove, they were silent. As long as this team acts as if $10-14 million for a quality player at a position of need is a burden, and not a value, their goal is insurmountable.

  10. The Gunner says:

    If the price is right for Morneau, he could be a definite 1B possibility for the Bucs. I wouldn’t be upset if he comes back.

  11. NMR says:

    You missed a hell of a 2013 season, Dr. Strangeglove!

  12. NMR says:

    Say your neighbor goes out and buys a hundred thousand dollar Mercedes.

    You like that car, so you also go out and buy one for the same amount.

    Unfortunately, your neighbor makes twice as much as you do and now you can’t afford to pay your mortgage.

    You have just over spent. Regardless of paying the same price for the same product.

    This is the Pittsburgh Pirates and free agency.

  13. NMR says:

    The main reason I don’t want Morneau back is Clint Hurdle.

    Morneau is not an everyday player. No reason at all to think he can hit left handers at this point in his career.

    Unfortunately, Clint seemed unable or unwilling to understand this.

  14. NMR says:

    I also think it is dangerous to call Jones’ performance a decline.

    One of the Pirates top 1B targets, James Loney, had a worse season in 2012 than Jones had last year only to follow it up with arguably his best.

    At this point in the game, Jones might be the be the best value out there.

  15. Steelkings says:

    Like I said at the top of the thread, Mimicking the Cardinals by fortifying your farm system is great. Again …Hats off to the front office. The Pirates will compete for a division Title for years to come. The years of losing 100 games is well behind us. But in order to have the success that the Cardinals have, which is being in the World Series once every three or so years, you have to be able to mimic the other thing they are willing to do. And that is not being afraid to buy the services of a mid level free agent for a few years. 15 mil is not going to break this franchise.

  16. Warren says:

    Definitely like the thought Roy, as there has been multiple mentions of Bell being converted to 1B. But he only repeated A ball this year (albeit due to injury his first year), but there is NO WAY he’ll be ready next year and likely not even in 2015. 2016 is a much more realistic expectation for his arrival. Although I would love to be proven wrong!

  17. Steelkings says:

    I have always liked GI Jones. And you are absolutely right NMR that Jones is the best value in terms of cost. You really don’t have to pay much for a career .250 hitter who strikes out a ton who also is an error machine at 1st base.

  18. NMR says:

    Nor did I say it would.

    But the idea that refusing to spend that much will make their goal, presumably winning baseball games, insurmountable is false. As 2013 clearly showed us.

    And while you may think the Cards and Pirates are on an even economic playing field, that has yet to be proven true. I have no idea how much revenue the Pirate or Cards bring in, nor do I know how much profit each team makes. But fact is that the Cards spend roughly 50% more on their Major League payroll than the Pirates.

    We can complain all we want, and that very well may be rightfully so, but if we’re playing Neal Huntington, that is the reality we have to deal with.

  19. Steelkings says:

    But…..If your neighbor makes twice as much as you do and yet you are a millionaire and you still have a old Chevy in the drive because you like hording your money, you have to come to the realization that your friends are sick of riding in that piece of crap………………..New Toyota’s are nice, I hear.

  20. NMR says:

    The thing I find funny about Jones is that if he were playing for another team, I guarantee Pirates fans would be open to signing him.

    There simply is nobody in baseball that fits the low risk, high upside, left handed platoon first baseman role that would work great for the Pirates than Garrett Jones.

    If I remember correctly, Andrew posted some good information a while back showing that Jones’ average fly ball distance has fallen, which could indicate his bat is slowing down and his 2013 season is just the beginning of a slide out of baseball. That very well may be the case.

    But we’re dealing with an imperfect cast of characters, all of which have flaws such as Jones. This is one of those times where you’re glad you don’t have to make these decisions!

  21. If you just got a $25 million bonus at work
    ——and you sold 2000 more season tickets
    ——and you raised ticket prices
    ——and you set a team record for sellouts
    ——and you got 3 home playoff sellouts at those crazy ticket prices
    ——and you drew a quarter million more fans than last season
    ——and you thus far have refused to sign your supposed #1 pitcher at a $4 million DECREASE for him
    ——and your Team Salary thus far projects to be less than last season
    ——and $12 beers aren’t being lowered
    ——and $12 nachos are now present

    If all that happens and a $100,000 Mercedes keeps you from paying your mortgage . . . .
    . . . . well, you don’t belong in that neighborhood

    The same neighborhood, by the way, as the Cincinnati Reds, the Kansas City Royals, the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Minnesota Twins, the Cleveland Indians, the Seattle Mariners, discounting even the Oakland A’s, the Miami Marlins, the Houston Astros, the Tampa Bay Rays.


    But don’t buy a darn KIA!

  22. Steelkings says:

    Their 50% more is the new contracts given to their stars in order to keep them. Here’s a question for you. Who did the cardinals trade for to make a title run at the post season? Really nobody. Jon Axford? They gave up a player to be named later guy. You see that is what keeps the Cardinals healthy. They fill their needs over the winter. That way they don’t have to pay with prospects in order to make a run. The Cardinals never do much at the trade deadline. That’s why they have one of the best, if not the best farm system over the years. I’m not saying that you have to get top free agents. You just have to plug holes. Back to Marlon Byrd. 16 million? Forget Polanco for a minute. The discussion was that if they would have competed to keep Byrd then the Pirates would not have the resources to resign AJ Burnett. COME ON! If that is the reality then we need to also face the reality that this team may have peaked last year and that its more likely that the wins will regress as opposed to moving forward.

  23. NMR says:

    I appreciate that rebuttal, but I do not believe the Pittsburgh Pirates, as they stand today, are anywhere near analogous to broken down Chevys or money hoarding millionaires.

    The’ve shown they WILL spend on mid-level priced players like Russell Martin, Liriano (original deal), and through the trade of Rodriguez and Burnett.

  24. NMR says:

    Stay on topic, Groat.

    I replied to this statement:

    “And I’m not using the phrase “over spend” because if you spend what everyone else is spending then its just spending.”

    That has nothing to do with what you said. Great rant, though.

  25. Steelkings says:

    Again I have always liked Garrett. He was one of the good guys during bad times. I remember his 3 HR’s single handedly beating the Cubs 2 or 3 years ago. Just bombs.
    But now….we have to upgrade from Morneau. Not upgrade from Jones/Sanchez. This team is built on defense. Its why we tolerate Barmes. Its why Mercer isnt the everyday SS. And Morneau hit every bit as well as the J/S platoon, yet those two could not come anywhere near his defensive play. So if Jones is the answer and we maintain the J/S platoon, then we have taken a step back. If the Pirates sign Morneau, then that’s even steven.

  26. NMR says:

    It doesn’t matter where the 50% goes. It is still real money. If they didn’t have that 50%, then they either wouldn’t be able to extend their homegrown players or they wouldn’t be able to sign the free agents you speak of. Can’t have both.

    You’re preaching to the choir if your point is that you’d rather have the Pirates spend than give up prospects. But spending for the sake of spending does nobody any good.

    Forget about the discussion on internet message boards. The Pirates absolutely have the means to spend $14m on AJ Burnett and $8m on Marlon Byrd.

    But if you want to talk peaks and regression, simply resigning the same old guys who had career years in order to make you a 94 win team and expecting them to do it again is both foolish and lazy, IMHO.

    Huntington very well may end up making this team worse, but he’s clearly not going to do it by getting complacent.

  27. NMR says:

    Vehemently disagree that Morneau hit as well as the J/S platoon, unless we’re expecting Jones to continue being the worst he’s ever been in his career. If Jones hits anywhere near like he did in April and July of last year, that platoon is far superior to Morneau.

  28. Steelkings says:

    “But if you want to talk peaks and regression, simply resigning the same old guys who had career years in order to make you a 94 win team and expecting them to do it again is both foolish and lazy, IMHO.”

    Again its about not going backwards. Someone better than the same old guys for their same base salary doesn’t exist. Its about not going back to the guys you replaced with those same old guys in order to save a few bucks. If you have the means to sign Byrd and AJ, then do it. In this case…Morneau. Or go sign Looney…Just dont go backwards.

  29. NMR says:

    “Someone better than the same old guys for their same base salary doesn’t exist.”

    You simply don’t know that, Steelkings.

    Burnett and Byrd themselves are prime examples of that fact. Nobody, you and I included, would’ve expected them to be as good as they were. And they both were able to be had for LESS than what it will take to get them back.

  30. Steelkings says:

    (((Vehemently disagree that Morneau hit as well as the J/S platoon, unless we’re expecting Jones to continue being the worst he’s ever been in his career. If Jones hits anywhere near like he did in April and July of last year, that platoon is far superior to Morneau.)))

    Not even close. No matter how you compare them. Sanchez and Jones are both .255 career hitters. Morneau .277. Morneau hit 17 home runs last year. The Platoon hit 22. Morneau struck out 110 times last year. The Platoon 151. The Platoon had 87 RBI’s last year hitting behind the MVP. Morneau had 77 hitting behind the Twins. The Platoon had 10 errors at 1st last year. Morneau had 4. The Platoons fielding percentage was .992 and Morneau was .997, 2nd in all of the Major leagues.
    Not even close.

  31. Steelkings says:


  32. Leefoo says:

    Note the key part of those signings…TWO years.

    Technically, we’ve done the same….Liriano and Martin were two year signings.

    They’re just one player ahead of us. So, I hardly think that separates us?

  33. NMR says:


    The much maligned Gaby Sanchez ALONE posted an OPS 28 points higher than Morneau, struck out less, walked more, and had an Isolated slugging percentage (measure of extra base power) just four points less than Morneau. And he did it with comparable defense.

    Pair him with even an average platoon partner, which Jones may still be, and the comparison is really no contest.

    For what it’s worth, Justin Morneau himself could be the platoon partner Sanchez needs. But Morneau is NOT an everyday first baseman at this point in his career. Period.

  34. Leefoo says:

    I’m with you on that NMR…

  35. Steelkings says:

    I know you will be sick of me saying Morneau, Heck, I’m even getting sick of it. But good old Justin has amassed 83 million dollars over his career. Just like everyone (not named Steelkings) seems to think that money doesn’t matter to Burnett and he would only resign with the Pirates, even though the Pirates want him to take a pay cut. Maybe so would Morneau. Doesn’t Morneau fit the profile of a player that is cost under value that the Pirates so badly covet?

  36. Pete says:

    I would not mind them buying a “darn” Kia. Dependable cars. NOT flashy $$$ hungry. Just good solid dependable.

  37. Andrew says:

    In a sport where a large percentage of revenue is based on local market size, Pirates 22nd of 26, small market label is vitally important. Outside oil Sheiks and Russian oligarchs who own European soccer teams (who would not ever be approved for ownership of North American sports teams), no owner is going to run a sports teams that hemorrhages money year after year.

    Additionally, there is only a small link between payroll and winning. If Nutting or any owner wished to purely profit the easy way would be to sell the team and invest the hundreds of millions elsewhere, where there is not huge fixed annual costs.

  38. Steelkings says:

    There is so much more to it than just offense. And as far as K’ comparison goes, Sanchez didnt have to see both arms.
    Peter Gammons suggested that Morneau was a huge upgrade based on his footwork at first alone. He suggested that S/J both struggle in throwing the ball to second base to turn a DP. Something Morneau is very good at. Gammons said he was the most athletic defensive first baseman in the Major Leagues. Even after 11 years.

    Remember the run saving play in the playoffs. No way does Sanchez or Jones make that play.

  39. NMR says:

    Not at all, man. Keep it up, this is great discussion.

    I really, really want to agree with your last sentence. I think if we were just looking at years 2011-2013 and his name were Joe Smith, he’d definitely fit the bill.

    But he’s Justin Morneau. Former MVP, Justin Morneau. If there is a premium put on his name, as you often see with aging veterans, then that isn’t a fee I feel would be smart for the Pirates to pay.

  40. Justin Vargas, 30 year old lefty just signed with Kansas City for 4 years and $32 million.

    I would have taken that signing for the Pirates right away, right now!

    Let’s not wait until the Black Friday sales are all picked over, BMTIB!

  41. Leefoo says:

    For first base, news out of the winter league is that Lambo is playing there. I suspect he might be given a a shot. That’s the only way to find out if his power is legit. Remember, he was once LA’s #1 prospect before he decided he like to light up doobies. Now that he is grown up, he might be a very viable option there.

  42. NMR says:

    That’s actually an incredibly astute comment, Pete. Kia’s are EXACTLY what the Pirates need.

  43. Leefoo says:

    Justin Vargas was not high on my list. He is the epitome of ‘soft tossing lefty’. Several people like Law and Rosenthal panned the deal.

  44. NMR says:

    Not exactly, Steel. Sanchez had 54% more plate appearances against righties than lefties last year.

    I respect Peter Gammons, but saying Morneau is the most athletic 1B in baseball is absolutely ridiculous. And at first base, yes, it is so much about offense.

    I do remember the run saving play in the playoffs. Do you remember the botched grounder in the next game?

    Trust me, as an old 1B myself, I’ll be the last one to say that defense doesn’t matter at the position. It absolutely does. But the nature of the game makes it such that it is really, really difficult for a 1B to make up a lot of ground in the field when they are inferior at the plate.

  45. NMR says:

    My lord, JASON Vargas is the absolute LAST thing the Pirates should emulate.

    In the last two winters, Kansas City has given a total of seven years and $57m to two pitchers(Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie) who AT BEST can say they are average major league starters. No better than Jeff Locke.

    And they still don’t have a second basemen or a right fielder. That is the epitome of spending money just to spend it.

  46. John says:

    They do not get the entire $25 million this season. They only get about $12-$13 mil this season in additional TV revenue, then it will go up to $25 mil next year.

  47. The Gunner says:

    I have been seeing all the positive and negative talk about Morneau on this blog. I think he could be a fit but, my gut is he will go back to the AL where he can also DH & that’s fine. I am all for giving Lambo a chance @ 1B if the other options don’t pan out.

    I know RF & 1B are pretty big holes for the Bucs but, doesn’t it makes sense for NH to invest some serious dollars into a starting pitcher who is an innings eater to plug into AJ’s spot? (I seriously doubt if he will return).

    And what about the question marks with Wandy (health??) and Locke (many inconsistencies)? All of that sounds like 3 more holes to fill.

  48. Andrew says:

    While I think Jones is declining, and it does not take much of a decline for a marginal player to become below replacement, if the Pirates non-tendered Jones then resigned him at something much less than the $5-6 million he going to get in arbitration I do not think it would be a terrible move. (They did this with Karstens last year.) I think there is as much risk in signing Corey Hart for 8-10 million coming off “microfracture” surgery.

    As for Morneau, honestly I think a good player comparison at this point is James Loney. Morneau might have a little more power, (I did not see it with the Pirates he had four double, three of those done the line shots.) Loney is better defensively. The issue with both of these players is I think they are likely too expensive to platoon. I could be wrong, I am assuming $2.3-2.8 million for Sanchez.

  49. Andrew says:

    I agree Lambo needs to be given ABs, at first or in right, there is potential there and it is cost controlled. But remember Lee, Travis Snider was once the #9 overall prospects according to Baseball America.

  50. Nate83 says:

    If even half of what you say was accurate or pertained to this topic it would make sense.

    It is way to early in the off season to accuse them of having a lower payroll then last year so the rest of it doesn’t matter. Re post this in April if nothing has changed and maybe then it would be worth debating.

    Who is your source saying the Pirates have refused to sign Burnett. I have seen that reported zero places.

    They have to be given the chance to spend. 2008-2011 it didn’t make any sense to spend money on free agents. Adding 3 or 4 wins to a 70 win team doesn’t make sense when that money could be spent other ways. Nutting spent a good amount last year for Martin, Liriano and mid-season pick ups. This is the first year it is obvious they just need a few pieces to stay competitive. Let’s give them a chance to do that.

    Offering Josh Johnson the amount he ended up getting is a good sign that they will spend in my opinion. The comment NH made about signing another pitcher would not prevent them from signing Burnett is another good sign. When it is all said and done I’m confident they will add 20-25 million in free agents or players traded for before spring training opens.

  51. Nate83 says:

    We have many pitchers on the team that can give us performances close to Jason Vargas. Why would we pay 8 million a year when we already can get that for a minimum contract from our current pitcher?

  52. NMR says:

    Absolutely, buddy. And I have no doubt that pitching is first on Huntington’s list.

    But i very much disagree that he should be targetting an “innings eater” to fill in for AJ. As we’ve seen in Kansas City, “innings eaters” are worth $8m and more on the open market. These are guys who project to be starting pitchers with an ERA around 4.00. I believe the Pirates can and will be able to find guys in house that can put up that kind of production, and do it for a hell of a lot less.

  53. Foo says:

    Andrew…to say we shouldn’t give Lambo a shot because of Snider’s high ranking (and don’t forget Brandon Wood or Andy Laroche) is irrelevant.

    Different situations, imho. Here’s a guy who almost threw his career away on partying. Everything I’ve read said he has grown up. Besides, what do we have to lose? We won 94 games with Snider and Tabata (together) doing their best imitation of Doug Frobel,etc.

    If Lambo sucks at 1b or RF (wherever they play him), we can play Gaby fulltime at 1b or bring Polanco up for RF (or make a trade.

    But if Lambo’s power translates to the majors, we have ourselves someone to go along with Pedro.

    In summary, high upside is always worth the risk.

  54. NMR says:

    Sing it, baby.

  55. Nate83 says:

    I mentioned that a couple weeks ago. I was happy to see him playing first. I have to imagine he should get a shot. Really nothing to lose. It can’t be any less production then we got after the all-star break last year from first base.

  56. Steelkings says:

    I agree with that. The exception is that we are just now in a position to make that run. Yes Liriano and Martin and AJ were parts that got us in a position to compete. Our Minor leagues are strong. We have a solid line up with just a few holes to fill. So do what they do and fill them.

  57. Steelkings says:

    Lambo is already here! Look, this organization has no depth at 3rd base, 1st base and Shortstop. Point is, what happens if Lambo gets that month long injury? Now your looking at Gaby and Jeff Clement.

  58. Steelkings says:

    2 reasons: No#1 Vargas is a Lefty breaking ball guy. Which is kryptonite to the Cardinals and Reds. No#2 He’s coming from the American League where NL hitters havent seen him

  59. Steelkings says:

    There is no loyalty in Baseball what so ever. It is a business, plain and simple. The Cardinals just traded hometown home grown local high school boy made good, David Freese for a oft injured Peter Bourjos. Oh and a couple of prospects. I still can remember the interview on MLBTV during the Pirate playoff series where he said he was living the dream playing for his hometown favorite childhood team. SEE YA!

  60. Steelkings says:

    It would be like the Pirates trading Neil Walker…Hummmmm!

  61. Nate83 says:

    Also the 25 million doesn’t all go back into payroll. It will go towards overall baseball operations which player payroll is only a portion of. A very large portion of but not the entire thing. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pirates and other team put something like 75% back into payroll. So a jump of 18-19 million is what I would expect. Or maybe an increase in 7 digit international signing. I personally would rather have 8 international signings of 1 million then 1 year of Vargas at 8 million.

  62. NMR says:

    You just made an excellent argument for sticking with Lambo and filling other positions of need.

  63. NMR says:

    Excellent points, John and Nate.

  64. Nate83 says:

    That is because they are a well run team. Freese had some magical moments in the playoffs 2 years ago but this last year is probably closer to what he will be going forward. The Cards probably know better then anyone what he is capable of being and decided to cut bait and get something in return while they can. They must not have seen him as the long term solution at third base. Bourjos is a better version of Jay in my opinion.

  65. Steelkings says:

    along with pointing out how fragile the major league team is.

  66. Steelkings says:

    Maybe we can sign a couple of pitchers from India who throw really hard rocks. We have scouts lurking at every international stoning event. In fact I think they first saw Lambo at a international stoning event.

  67. Steelkings says:

    What ever happened to Singh and Patel?

  68. Andrew says:

    I agree that Lambo should receive play timing, I do not remember what my point about Sinder was, maybe how I think people forget that prospects rating aren’t really predictive. However as you wrote not really relevant, not one of better comments.

  69. Travis Sawchik says:

    Great stuff, guys

  70. It was great, was it not? But using one season as evidence that the Pirates can compete year in and year out (which is the goal, as I see it) under their stated fiscal restraints is the kind of faulty reasoning MLB uses to explain away the ridiculous revenue disparities between clubs. Because the Pirates did it one year means next to nothing if they are unable, or unwilling, to ever pay market rates for players like Abreu and Burnett, meaning $10-14M per year. We are not talking about Cano, or even Choo, territory here.

  71. Dennis says:

    Peter Gammons may have said that about Morneau, but when it came to voting for the Fielding Bible Award for top defensive first baseman in baseball Morneau was not in his top ten

  72. Foo says:

    That s cause we’re great guys!


  73. Foo says:

    Bad news…according to MLBTR, the Cards are close to signing Perslta.

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