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Monday Morning Mop-Up Duty: the qualifying opportunity


SOUTH HILLS – You might notice a common characteristic among the big-ticket remaining free agents: nearly all of them have been tagged with the qualifying offer, the dreaded Scarlet Q.

As you probably know as a reader of this e-space, a club signing a player who has been tendered a qualifying offer – an amount equal to average salary of the top 100 contracts in the game ($14.1 million this offseason) – loses its first-round choice, unless it is among the worst teams in the game.


Teams have been increasingly reluctant to part with draft choices for free agents. And, really, that shouldn’t be surprising when players like Michael Wacha are the compensation for players like Albert Pujols.  (The Yankees apparently missed the memo having singed three players – Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, who require draft pick compensation along with substantial dollars).


Stephen Drew, Ubaldo Jiminez and Kendrys Morales are the three remaining unsigned free agents who were tendered the qualifying offer.


I don’t think the qualifying offer is going to exist much longer in its current form. The players and agents likely oppose it as it depresses their market, and thereby their value, in prime earning years. In the next CBA talks it’s going to be a subject of discussion, I would think. It’s perhaps factor in explaining why players’ share of revenue has dipped below 50-50.


But while the qualifying offer exists it represents an opportunity: it suppresses prices in some cases. While it does not affect the pricing of the game’s top free agents (See: Cano, Robinson) it does have an impact on Grade B free agents applied with the tag. And of the the remaining three free agents who have been given a QO, one remains a potential opportunity for the Pirates.




9. No, it’s not Morales.


Though ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote last week that that Moarles made “theoretical sense” for the Pirates, Morales’ lack of defensive prowess in addition to the partial redundancy that would exist if paired with Gaby Sanchez makes him a very iffy fit and that’s before factoring in the dollars or the loss of a first-round pick. The price would have to be bargain basement for the Pirates to get involved, I would guess.


8. No, it’s not Ubaldo.


Jiminez had an excellent second half in 2013 after several years of declining performance. Given the scarcity of  quality starting pitching, Jiminez is still likely secure a significant contract but his moving-parts delivery and declining velocity should give every team – particularly small-market clubs – pause.


7.  My pick …




… is Drew. And yes, I realize this probably isn’t going to happen and that the market for Drew appears to be limited to the Mets and Red Sox but stay with me for a moment.


6. Start with the glove. Drew is an above-average defender. He ranked 14th in defensive runs saved last year. He’s a defensive upgrade over Jorder Mercer, who is tabbed for the lion’s share of playing time at shortstop in 2014.


5. The lion’s share of at bats come against right-handed pitch, of course, and Drew kills right-handed pitching. Drew’s triple-slash line against right-handed pitching last year:




And before you attribute that to Fenway, consider his career triple-slash like against RHP is very solid and includes some injury-plagued seasons:




4. Platoon Drew with Clint Barmes at shortstop, and the Pirates would have a player similar to and perhaps superior to what the Cardinals added in Jhonny Peralta for 4y/$53 million this offseason — and for fewer years and dollars thanks to the QO.


3.   I like Mercer.  There is a role for him on the Pirates going forward. If he locks down the SS position that’s great but ideally I think he fits best as a super-sub type who can play multiple infield positions and make an impact against left-handed pitching. Drew is also an impact platoon player. If the Pirates signed Drew, moving Mercer to be a 2b/3b platoon player and  bench bat would improve the Pirates at two positions and improve depth. Moreover, let’s not forget that Mercer lacks a major league track record and produced this line over six minor league seasons: .268/.326/.404. He’s not a sure bet to even sustain his 2013 performance.


2. Look I realize Scott Boras is the agent representing Drew. I know that Neal Huntington indicated at winter meetings that it’s extremely unlikely the Pirates target any of the remaining QO free agents.  Still, a year ago, another Boras client, Michael Bourn , saw his market depress due to a QO and he signed with small-market club after his market dried up and he ran out of time. Bourn signed for 4y/$48m , which was less than half of his initial asking price. At this point, I wonder if Drew will end up settling for two-year deal, $20 millionish deal. The Pirates have some money set aside for AJ Burnett. So assuming Burnett is out of play (who knows) – there is cash in reserve this offseason. And beyond 1B, creating infield platoons is the one area where the Pirates can really improve.


1. Moreover the Pirates’ have short – t0 mid-term concerns at shortstop. Mercer is still unproven. Barmes is on a one-year deal and propect Alen Hanson is not a lock to stay at shortstop. Locking in a proven shortstop to a multi-year makes sense in the short- to mid-term even after the Barmes signing. At this point in the offseason it’s about finding value and opportunity and Drew might represent both for the right club.





So, again, the Pirates’ TV deal is really in the top half of baseball? Asking for a friend




Chris Dickerson has agreed to minor-league deal with the Pirates and is participating in the team’s mini-camp. Career slash-line: .262/.338/.406


(I still think Lance Berkman is worth a one-year, little-risk, little-dollar deal)



Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak commenting on his team’s offseason to :


When you look back sort of at our end-of-the-year meeting when we were first sitting down, obviously we made it pretty clear that we felt we needed to improve at short, try to get an upgrade in center from a defensive standpoint, and also, if we could, add depth to that bench that could have a practical use. We were able to do that. As we look back over the last six weeks, we feel like we were able to improve this club. A lot of times that’s not easy to do when you’ve had the type of year that we’ve had. But we feel pretty good about moving forward.




I haven’t offered many thoughts on the Hall of Fame debates because A) I don’t vote and B) There’s enough noise already.


But one pitcher who beyond Greg Maddux who should be a lock, imo, and who seems to lack support is Curt Schilling. Here’s what I wrote for Fangraphs back in Sept.


I love efficient pitchers — who doesn’t? — and Schilling is one of the most efficient pitchers in baseball history. His career 4.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks second all-time and ahead of Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera. He had an elite peak: three runner-up Cy Young finishes in a five-year period. His best seven seasons, per WAR (48.9), are the best of any eligible player not named Bonds or Clemens, who has appeared on a ballot and remains eligible. He was excellent on the game’s postseason stage, playing a key role in delivering three World Series titles over a six-year period. He didn’t reach some significant milestones like 300 wins, but that Hall of Fame litmus test should be revisited as few pitchers going forward will rarely reach that threshold. And, hey, 80.7 career WAR is pretty legit.



I’m late to the party but I just finished up season one of Homeland. If you haven’t already, check it out.

– TS



  1. rb brown says:

    thanks for keeping the “hot Stove” hot

  2. bill says:

    In my opinion signing Drew makes a lot of sense. One of the biggest holes in the infield defense is at 3rd so…make Alvarez your left hand hitting first baseman – move Walker & or Mercer to 3rd – & then have Drew & Barmes at 3rd.

  3. NorthPirateFans says:

    Travis, I have a question for you that is straight out of “left field,” but I have to ask it anyway.

    In the past two season I’ve noticed that within a relatively short time after names of some players previously not mentioned as acquisition targets having been mentioned here in this blog, the Pirates have made minor deals to acquire some of those players. Very minor deals mind you, but is it totally preposterous to think that someone in the organization is following along here and hearing the arguments on behalf of said players, or that perhaps in your conversations with Pirates staff they’re being passed along and picked up and followed up on?

    Or is that the Pirates and every other team exhaustively researches every player in the minors and the timing of the trades and their names appearing hear are just random chance?

  4. NMR says:

    -The whole qualifying offer situation amuses me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the entire compensation system set up for the purpose of increasing teams chances of retaining free agents and rewarding them if they do leave?

    So now that the system is WORKING, we want to change it? Only in baseball…

    -Anyone notice the players crying about their market over the last two years also happen to be the players many felt were severely OVERvaluing themselves at the beginning of the offseason?

    It’s always easier to blame someone else, I suppose.

  5. NMR says:

    Ah, Stephen Drew…I might have finally come around.

    I think an opportunity for the Pirates to offer length in lieu of high annual salary might exist. A player with Drew’s injury history could value a 3-4 year deal making around $10m/yr.

    We know that Drew is one of the better shortstops in the game and has at least an average bat (for the position). I don’t buy the career stat line against RHP Travis is selling since his other home park (Arizona) was also a launching pad. Drew is a career .263/.327/.417 hitter on the road against righties, and that seems closer to his true talent. This package is still WELL worth $10m to a team that wins so much with defense.

    On top of that, I don’t think the Pirates actually LOSE any value by taking Jordy out of the everyday SS role. Mercer simply is not going to provide any positive value defensively, and he was far below average against RHP last season. There’s a good chance he’s going to give the team positive value against lefties and also at lesser skilled defensive positions, and that is how I believe he should be used.

  6. I just can’t get on board with giving a player $10 million + and making him a platoon guy. Especially when that platoon partner is Barmes. Drew hit lefties better than Barmes did last year. Now if you want to say getting Drew could make Jordy Mercer expendable as a trade piece to get a 1B, I think I could get behind that plan.

  7. Travis Sawchik says:


    It’s probably almost always the latter. The Pirates have some really smart people in their FO … but no MLB team owns the marketplace for ideas and members of the Pirates’ FO, are scouring the Web for new ideas and info like anyone else in the industry, and if they find a really good idea they are probably willing to explore it further.

  8. Travis Sawchik says:


    I doubt the clubs/owners want to change the QO process … but the players and agents certainly do.

    I don’t think anyone foresaw the impact the QOs would be having and the players have to be concerned about their declining share of revenue and ways to remedy that.

  9. PetroSteel says:

    Could it be possible that the Pirates reluctance to spend money this off season is because they are looking at their own potential free agents that they will want to sign long term such as Pedro, Walker, Liriano and Martin? Signing these guys is going to take a lot and is it possible that they are saving their money now to be able to sign these guys long term?

  10. Travis Sawchik says:

    No problem. Thanks for reading, rb

  11. Travis Sawchik says:

    I’m sure they are always taking into account future payroll projections – Alvarez and Walker are about to become much more expensive via arbitration. But if Liriano repeats his 2013 performance it’s extremely unlikely he resigns.

  12. NMR says:

    Missing a huge point, Travis.

    The players and agents complaining have only themselves to blame. None of these guys are worth more than $14.1m per year on the open market, and that is exactly the contract they’ve already turned down.

    The MLBPA has such an incredible stranglehold on baseball – far more than any other players union – that it seems absolutely outlandish to expect the owner’s to concede over something that is THE PLAYER’S FAULT.

  13. NMR says:

    “I don’t think anyone foresaw the impact the QOs would be having…”

    Somebody has to first show that the QO is actually having a major impact. Nobody has done that yet.

    The fact that a couple Scott Boras clients haven’t received the outlandish deals they were asking for to begin with seems like laughable evidence that the qualifying offer has had a significant impact on baseball.

  14. I’m of the belief that if the Pirates have room in the budget this year, and they can’t find the right players worth spending it on, they should start buying out arb years for Walker and Alvarez with front loaded deals. Heck, maybe they should have done that with Morton. Pay him $8 million this year and $4 million in 2016 instead of the other way around. Takes a bite out of future payrolls. I’d rather they do this and sit on the cash.

  15. MJS says:


    Based on the offseasons from each team in the Central would you say the Pirates are moving closer to St Louis for the title or with the Reds and Brewers for runner up. I think it’s the latter based on the fact that trading Burnett for Volquez and Lambo/McGuiness for Jones are downgrades in my opinion and while Stewart for McKenry is an upgrade it does not cancel out the two. I would have been comfortable taking Jones to arbitration possibly putting the payroll at 79 million and then using Lambo/McGuiness as backup plans if he falters. There offseason has been very underwelming and is on par with the Reds and Brewers but I expect those teams to give the Pirates all they can handle.

  16. PetroSteel says:

    My thoughts are that AJ wants to play or he would have retired by now. i think we still have a shot if they would just give him 10M. Looked at his tweeter and he said he made mention that maybe he hasnt seen a 10m offer from the Pirates yet. We need AJ and then I like our chances. I think it gives us the best staff in baseball. thoughts?

  17. NMR says:

    I think if $10m is all it would take to sign AJ Burnett, he’d be a Baltimore Oriole by now.

  18. The Gunner says:

    If AJ takes $10 million, it could be one of the best bargains for the BMTIB based on the type of money some of the jibroni pitchers are getting. I sure hope AJ comes back to the Bucs but, I am doubtful at this point.

    I see the Bucs added some more cheap OF labor today, Chris Dickerson.

  19. Travis Sawchik says:

    Look, few feel sympathy for the plight of millionaire athletes but the QO does have a negative influence on the market for players — particularly if they are not a superstar level player like Cano.

    We saw it with Bourn last year and we see it with Drew, Morales (who probably didn’t deserve a QO) and Jiminez this offseason. Quite simply these players would garnering more contract years and dollars if there weren’t punitive damages handed to teams for signing them. There’s less incentive to target these players.

    While it impacts fewer than 1 percent of players, it does affect the game’s top talent.

    I don’t think it is a huge problem for the sport as a whole but it is slightly contributing to the overall trend of owners taking in a greater share of the sport’s revenue.

    I think the QO level should be raised from top 100 to top 50. I think there are teams right now that are offering QOs in hopes the player does leave and they return choice draft compensation.

  20. Steelkings says:

    Adding Steven Drew is intriguing. It actually solves a lot of problems.

    1. Greatly improves the shortstop position. It allows an everyday shortstop with skills on both defense and offense.

    2. It solves your first base platoon problem about as well as you can get without spending money. Not Alverez to first, but Neil Walker. Less moving pieces as Walker already plays on the right side.

    3. It takes the right handed bat away from Walker as he will platoon with Gaby Sanchez.

    4. Jordy Mercer would be solid at 2nd and an offensive upgrade from the plan as a whole.

    I love it….Travis, get Boras on the phone. Lets make a deal!

  21. 21sthebest says:

    That’s assuming he’s not as loyal as a pup to the Pirates. Which I think is a distinct possibility.

  22. NMR says:

    “…but the QO does have a negative influence on the market for players…”


    Had these FEW players simply accepted the qualifying offer tendered, the teams (and their fans) would keep the players and they would be paid more per year than they would’ve on the open market.

    What is the problem with the qualifying offer system again?

  23. NMR says:

    To take that further, I wouldn’t even say him leaving would indicate a lack of loyalty if the Pirates offer wasn’t AT LEAST eight figures.

  24. LeeFoo says:

    I made it thru 3 episodes of Homeland….didn’t cut it for me.

    From Showtime, I like “Episodes”, tho. “Joey” (Matt LeBlanc) is a hoot.

    I made it through the whole season of “Ray Donavan”, but I tired of the ‘drama’ (and Jon Voigt) and won’t be watching it in season two.

    If you get a chance, watch “The Returned” on the Sundance Channel. And “Justified” is coming back on. What WILL Boyd do this year?


  25. PetroSteel says:

    I think he might take 10M from the Bucs but I dont think he would take 10M from anyone else.

  26. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think him leaving is a lack of loyalty at all. But I just wouldn’t be surprised if what I said above is true. Not that we’ll ever know.

  27. LeeFoo says:

    I’m not a Stephen Drew fan. Somebody somewhere (FanGraphs, Bucs Dugout?) did a writeup on it saying the WAR difference is not worth the cost of the signing AND the loss of a draft pick. They made a believer of me.

  28. LeeFoo says:

    Rob Biertempfel ‏@BiertempfelTrib55s
    Per @dgoold, #Pirates will have No. 1 farm system when new @BaseballAmerica rankings come out this month.

    I can’t wait to get my BA Prospect book!!!!

    Hoka Hey, everyone. BMTIB strikes again!!!!!!!!!

  29. LeeFoo says:

    From Charlie W the other day:

    “I like the Drew idea, but I’m not sure he’s a great choice, either. He’d be an upgrade, but Jordy Mercer is a perfectly useful big-league shortstop, and it would be hard to justify making a hefty multiyear commitment and losing a draft pick for a player who isn’t that much better than what they already have, even if Drew is a lefty.

    Steamer projects Drew will be worth 2.0 WAR next year, with Mercer at 1.3 in two-thirds the playing time. ”

    Is 0.7 WAR worth $21 million? (14 mil for Drew, $7 mil for the pick…that is what the 25th pick is worth.)

    I’m happy with Mercer, and bet your bottom Bucco dollar, NH is, too.

  30. NorthPirateFans says:

    More likely than loyalty is the fact that AJ already did a few rounds in the AL East and if he’s going to pitch again he’d rather it be in a situation where he’s appreciated for what he is rather raked over the coals by a hostile media for what he isn’t.

    AJ wasn’t the first nor will he be the last to learn the hard way that while getting the big money is satisfy in one regard, failing to live up to the expectations of the those giving it to you in the media circus that surrounds New York, Boston and Baltimore can make cashing those checks a bitter sweet grind.

  31. LeeFoo says:

    More on that:

    “teamer isn’t actually projecting Drew to be an upgrade over Mercer
    It projects Mercer to produce WAR at a slightly higher rate per 600 PA (2.1 for Mercer, 2.0 for Drew). Its playing time estimate is lower, but that’s surely just a function of Mercer’s part-time role the one year he was in the majors. And certainly we should project Mercer as more likely to finish out the season than Drew; he’s three years younger and he has never had any health problems, whereas Drew is under 1200 PA for the last three seasons (I know his injuries aren’t supposed to be chronic, but they still make him a bigger risk).

    The difference in these projections is essentially nil, and Mercer as UT IF would be better than Barmes. On the other hand we already have Barmes signed and would have find something to do with him. And given Oliver’s projection for Mercer, it’s really not clear Drew would be better for us. ”

    Foo Bug

  32. LeeFoo says:

    “Steamer” not “teamer”…lol.

  33. LeeFoo says:

    Posted below in the wrong place

    More on that:

    “Steamer isn’t actually projecting Drew to be an upgrade over Mercer
    It projects Mercer to produce WAR at a slightly higher rate per 600 PA (2.1 for Mercer, 2.0 for Drew). Its playing time estimate is lower, but that’s surely just a function of Mercer’s part-time role the one year he was in the majors. And certainly we should project Mercer as more likely to finish out the season than Drew; he’s three years younger and he has never had any health problems, whereas Drew is under 1200 PA for the last three seasons (I know his injuries aren’t supposed to be chronic, but they still make him a bigger risk).
    The difference in these projections is essentially nil, and Mercer as UT IF would be better than Barmes. On the other hand we already have Barmes signed and would have find something to do with him. And given Oliver’s projection for Mercer, it’s really not clear Drew would be better for us. ”

    Foo Bug

  34. LeeFoo says:

    wrong ##@@!!##@@!!!!!! post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. LeeFoo says:

    Since I totally screwed the original post up, I decided to re-post:

    Rob Biertempfel ‏@BiertempfelTrib55s
    Per @dgoold, #Pirates will have No. 1 farm system when new @BaseballAmerica rankings come out this month.

    I can’t wait to get my BA Prospect book!!!!

    Hoka Hey, everyone. BMTIB strikes again!!!!!!!!!

  36. NMR says:

    Couple major holes in that argument, Foo.

    First of all, we’re dealing with projections. Lets not forget that. Steamer projects Jordy to be worth 1.3 WAR, but it also projects him to be a +3.2 defender. Sorry, there is just no way that Jordy Mercer is a positive defender. Doesn’t pass the eye OR metric test.

    Second, the WAR comparison assumes Jordy Mercer isn’t even on the team if Drew were acquired. This is wrong. In reality, you would be getting Drew’s 2 WAR + Jordy’s contribution in a part time role. Given that Jordy’s value came almost exclusively against LHP last season, one could expect him to produce just as much value in a part time role as he would provide over a full season.

  37. PhillyPirate says:

    Fresh off a post-season trip with a solid, young core and the top minor league system in baseball; the future is looking great!

  38. Travis Sawchik says:

    I just got of the phone with Baseball America’s John Manuel and I can confirm the Pirates will rank No. 1 Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook.

    That says a lot about the 2014 draft and the breakouts of Glasnow and Kingham because the Pirates were ranked 7th last season and graduated their top prospect in Gerrit Cole

  39. PhillyPirate says:

    Awesome work confirming that! I agree, a very impressive jump!

  40. LeeFoo says:

    Travis…are you doubting your colleague, the great Beer Temple? :) :) :) :)

  41. LeeFoo says:

    PP………..ain’t it great????

  42. LeeFoo says:

    PP…..DK has taken more than his share of grief over that (and other 2012 articles).

    I think he is glad he was wrong… least EYE am…..:) :) :)

  43. NMR says:

    More faulty logic, Foo.

    Extrapolating Mercer’s WAR out to 600 PA from his part time role last season assumes equal production across the extra at bats. This is wrong.

    Last season, Jordy Mercer was just as bad against RHP a Gaby Sanchez. This doesn’t get talked about enough. Mercer’s only redeeming quality is his bat, and it is FAR below average against RHP.

    That’s not an everyday shortstop, buddy.

  44. Travis Sawchik says:

    From the perspective of the majority of owners/fans/execs there’s nothing wrong with QO. If you’re a player it can be problematic. It’s a tool designed to lessen the incentive for teams to sign QO free agents.

    I think what’s changed is teams are now valuing draft picks more and they realize players 30 and older are less productive than a decade ago.

  45. PhillyPirate says:

    I have never heard him admit that he was totally wrong about the front office.

  46. LeeFoo says:

    NMR………..why can’t Jordy get better at SS?

    Bottom line: Is Drew and his 2.0 WAR (if he doesn’t get hurt again) worth adding to this team for $21 mil? I doubt NH thinks so.

  47. NMR says:

    Jordy Mercer hasn’t shown he can hit righties any better than Gaby Sanchez.

    Moving him to second and Walker to first makes your defense worse and your offense no better.

  48. Travis Sawchik says:

    No. Rob was retweeting another writer, I believe. I was simply confirming what the St. Louis-Dispatch reported by talking to BA.

  49. LeeFoo says:

    Stephen Drew’s OPS has been going down and down vs LHPs. Plus he has been hurt two of the last 3 seasons. Sounds like a platoon player to me.

    Additionally HIS dWAR was in the negatives his first few years. Why can’t Jordy Mercer improve his?

    If I am spending $21 mil, I’m getting a pitcher, not an overrated SS.

  50. 21sthebest says:

    Gaby’s been around a lot longer than Jordy. Jordy’s numbers against right handed pitching in the minors last season were .329/.393/.447. Seems to me that it’s a little early to say that he’s not an everyday shortstop from an offensive standpoint because he didn’t hit RHP well in 255 ABs.

  51. LeeFoo says:

    PP….it’s called “columnist’s privilege”….:) :) :)

    They’re paid to get hits, not issue apologies. :) :)

  52. Andrew says:

    The entire point of the free agent compensation for teams is to drive down player salaries on the open market. Which means greater profitability for owners, players receive lesser share of the revenue. Whatever a team values the draft pick slot lost comes out of the free agent’s they just signed salary.

    It is billionaire (or hundred millionaire) owner’s versus millionaire players, not something that the average fan is going to get worked up over. I do not have anything normative to say about the QO system but I generally favor fewer restrictions on the movement of labor in any industry.

  53. LeeFoo says:

    Travis….just messin’ with you, that’s all….thanks for that confirming confirmation.

    :) :) :)

  54. LeeFoo says:

    21s…..I agree….For $21 million, I’m giving Jordy another shot and I have a feeling NH is, too.

  55. 21sthebest says:

    Personally, I’ve never felt that columnists should admit that they’re wrong as to opinions. I think that sets a dangerous precedence for themselves. Write it and move on.

  56. 21sthebest says:


  57. 21sthebest says:

    I absolutely love Drew’s glove and don’t like Jordy’s at all. But I agree that for that kind of money and a draft pick, it seems way too risky to me.

  58. NMR says:

    Where in the world are you coming up with $21m for one season of Stephen Drew?

    That is ridiculous.

  59. NMR says:

    @21 – Mercer posted that line with the help of a .393 BABIP. That isn’t even in the realm of possibility at the Major League level.

    Jordy posted rates of 16.7%K / 9.5%BB w/ an ISO of .118 against righties in Indy.

    Jordy posted rates of 19.6%K / 5.1%BB w/ and ISO of .110 against righties in Pittsburgh.

    I could see Jordy improving, but I can’t see anything in his past that says he’ll improve a great deal.

  60. LeeFoo says:

    NMR……..$14.1 for the QO and the LOSS OF THE DRAFT PICK (projected at $7 mil) is where I come up with that (actually, as I note in my original post, Charlie W came up with that).

    Now….it could be a little less depending on the contract we’d have to sign.

    Like 21s, I truly wish Drew was on our team. But the cost is way too high for my tastes, and undoubtedly NH’s and Bob’s.

  61. NMR says:

    Foo, Jordy will finish this season as a 27 year old.

    Expecting him to get any better at this point seems FOOlish.

  62. LeeFoo says:

    NMR……we could argue this all day, but there ain’t no way Drew is ever gonna become a Bucco.

    IF he does, I will buy you a Lexus Seat ticket at PNC Park this year.

    Foo Bug

  63. 21sthebest says:

    “I could see Jordy improving”

    That’s all I’m trying to say. I think we can get to the playoffs with Jordy as the main guy at short.

  64. NMR says:


    The Pirates most certainly would NOT being paying $14.1m per year for Drew, and the value of draft pick would be spread over the duration of his contract, which should be assumed to be more than one year.

    So yeah, it would be much less in any sort of realistic scenario.

  65. Travis Sawchik says:

    I have doubts that Mercer can improve much as a defender or that he can extrapolate his 2013 performance over a full season. Barmes is one of the rare shortstops who has made it work without being an elite athlete and I don’t think Mercer shares the same hands or instincts.

    On the other hand … Mercer had a near elite swinging-strike rate (6.9 percent) and very good zone contact rate (91 percent) with some pop.

    There’s definitely a useful player in there – at least against LHP – but Mercer still carries a risk and is at or near his physical peak at 27.

  66. LeeFoo says:

    NMR….that value that Charlie placed on that draft pick is NOT the actual contract, but the worth of that pick. Since only 20% (historical average) of those lower round picks actually make the majors, it skews the value down a bit.

    IF you eliminate those that DIDN’T make it, the value goes up.

    Tim Williams has done lots of work in that area.

    Bottom line (even IF you convinced me), as I wrote above, I’m buying you a PNC Lexus Tix if Drew ever plays SS for us. So, to me, it is really a pointless argument. :) :)

    Foo Bug

  67. NMR says:

    Thanks, but I well aware of the $7m value of the draft pick Charlie mentioned. My comment still stands.

  68. LeeFoo says:


  69. LeeFoo says:

    Travis….and guess what? We’re ‘stuck’ with Jordy, so we better HOPE there’s a useful player there (and I think there is).

    Coz we ain’t getting Drew. We can dream, but………….

    And why are we ‘pegging’ Jordy as a “vs lefty only” player after one season? Small sample size, imho.

  70. LeeFoo says:

    NMR…you win but I am right….how’s that????

    :) :) :)

  71. LeeFoo says:

    “”Travis Sawchik ‏@Sawchik_Trib14s
    Pirates’ No. 1 ranking by Baseball America says a lot about the 2014 draft and breakouts of Glasnow and others as Pirates graduate Cole”

    Travis….you being prescient or something? Who did we end up drafting in that 2014 draft?

    :) :) :) :)

  72. bill says:

    Drew & barmes at shortstop – plug hole defensively at third with Walker and at second use Mercer. 1st base would be Alvarez – we would still have Harrison as a possible utility player also.

  73. Travis Sawchik says:

    Whoops. The New Year is already messing with me: that’s the 2013 draft

  74. NMR says:

    Ha, who cares as long as we’re talkin’ baseball!

  75. Derek says:

    I really like your thoughts on Stephen Drew, and I do agree. You made a very good argument. I would love to see them pick up someone like Chris Capuano if A.J. doesn’t come back, though. Apparently, per MLB Trade Rumors, her is waiting for a two year deal. Travis, do you think the Pirates would go two years on him? If they do, what kind of money would he require? I think he would be a great pickup and be a very solid piece to that rotation. I would still rather have Burnett, but I like Capuano a lot.

  76. Derek says:

    *he, not her. Haha

  77. Thundercrack says:

    I think one area that Mercer can improve on is making the ‘routine’ play. If he does that we will be a better team.

  78. NMR says:

    Great call, TC.

  79. LeeFoo says:

    From RB’s column this morn:
    If Lambo has truly grown up and dispensed of the weed, he could be our man.

  80. LeeFoo says:

    Derek….agree on CC, but health is a big concern.

  81. LeeFoo says:

    Get 21s out there to show him how it is done?

  82. LeeFoo says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I hate it when I go outside and it literally hurts (garbage pickup was today)!

    Bleep cold weather! I’d hop on the first plane south if I didn’t have to go outside to do it.

  83. LeeFoo says:

    From those BA rankings:

    “The rankings come from Baseball America, so to get an idea of how evenly distributed the system is, let’s look at where the Baseball America top 10 prospects came from.

    First Rounders – Jameson Taillon, Austin Meadows, Reese McGuire

    The Pirates haven’t just had success with their first rounders. They’ve been successful with middle round picks like Nick Kingham.

    Mid-Round Picks – Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, Josh Bell

    International Free Agents – Gregory Polanco, Alen Hanson, Harold Ramirez, Luis Heredia

    It shows the strength of the system when a guy who hits 33 homers between the top three levels of baseball at the age of 24 can’t crack the top ten. Or a guy like Tony Sanchez, Stolmy Pimental, et al….

    Pretty darn good if you ask me.

  84. LeeFoo says:

    RB just warmed my heart with this headline:

    “Pirates’ Rodriguez encouraged by first throwing session in months”

    Read more:

  85. Warren says:

    There are actually 4 remaining FA’s who were tendered qualifying offers – you forgot Ervin Santana.

  86. The Gunner says:

    Let’s hope Wandy can come back & help solidify the starting rotation in 2014

  87. 21sthebest says:

    Make that 21 Jr. He was a better shortstop than I ever was.

  88. LeeFoo says:

    How old is he?

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