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Late Night host asks you to play armchair GM

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SOUTH HILLS – If you are unaware, Seth Meyers – the future Late Night host and Weekend Update inner circle Hall of Famer – has a soft spot for the Pirates. Meyers has Pittsburgh ties and followed the Pirates with interest last season.

As a reader of this space, you’re aware the Pirates have had a quiet offseason and they’ve begun to catch some criticism. Some in the local media wanted to see more activity. Sports Illustrated gave the Pirates’ offseason efforts to date an ‘F’ and this morning MLB Network’s Hot Stove anchor Greg Amsinger expressed shock that they Pirates have not made any upgrades this offseason.

 

Meyers presented balance to the criticism this morning on Twitter. Meyers wondered what contracts signed to date  would #BUCN liked to have seen issued by the Pirates? And Meyers expressed doubt that there were many, if any, great fits via free agency for the Pirates.

 

(My apologizes but my ability to embed tweets is down at the moment).

 

Meyers – a savvy baseball fan – has a point: The Pirates’ needs haven’t exactly matched up well with the market supply or prices this offseason. And while we’ve been over all this piecemeal, now seems like a good time to recap:

 

FIRST BASE: There was little free agent supply in the first base market, the Pirates’ biggest area of need. The Pirates were willing to go to two years, but not three, with James Loney, who was perhaps atop their wishlist. Loney is coming off something of a career year and offers little power at a position where you want an impact bat. To me, that’s not a significant miss. …. Jon Heyman reported this morning the Pirates have some interest in Kendrys Morales but don’t want to surrender the draft pick. But Morales is thought to be a butcher defensively and Gaby Sanchez is actually better against left-handed starters negating the value of the switch-hitting Morales. …. Way back in the beginning of the offseason, Baseball America had the Pirates as one of five fits for Cuban defector Jose Abreu. Abreu is the kind of player who could bust or boom. The $68 million probably pushed the Pirates out of the market, but if he lives up to his Davenport Translations he’ll be a bargain. He’ll be Ryan Howard.  The good, age 27 version of Howard. Still, there are questions about his batspeed and ability to play first …. I think the trade market could heat up if Texas (Mitch Moreland) or Seattle (Justin Smoak/Logan Morrison) lands Nelson Cruz.

 

SHORTSTOP: The shortstop market was also incredibly weak with Rafeal Furcal rated as by some as the third best available shortstop (If you recall I actually liked Furcal as a fit for the Pirates platooning between 2B/SS with Neil Walker and Jordy Mercer). …. I think Jhonny Peralta is overvalued and I didn’t like the years or dollars of his contract….. I think Stephen Drew could be bargain, but he’s another FA who requires 1st-round draft pick compensation and has  a checkered injury history. Again, not a lot of perfect or  near perfect fits.

 

RIGHT FIELD: The Pirates do not want to block Gregory Polanco‘s ascension, which makes sense. Nelson Cruz is probably going to be a poor three-year investment for some team and his right-handed power would play way down moving from Texas to PNC Park. I don’t think many have an issue with the Pirates staying out of the RF market.

 

STARTING PITCHING: I think we’ve covered the AJ Burnett/Qualifying Offer angle. One area that hasn’t been touched on as much is if waiting on Burnett disrupted the Pirates’ ability to spend dollars elsewhere. Neal Huntington said at the winter meetings that had not been the case. … The Pirates were in on Josh Johnson. The Matt Garza deal seemed pretty reasonable for the Brewers, but the guy I liked as a fit for the Pirates was Scott Kazmir at 2y/$22 million. For starters, if Kazmir remains healthy he’ll easily return surplus value and I really like left-handed pitchers at PNC Park and in the NL Central. (See: Liriano vs the Reds in 2013). The Pirates have a lot of right-handed pitching in the system but they have no left-handed starters under contract in 2015 and beyond…. I think the best value of the offseason was in the trade market with the Nationals stealing Doug Fister.

 

In summary, while you’d like to see a Cinderella team coming off a 94-win season attempt to build upon that success, particularly when 2014 might present something of an opportunity with Francisco Liriano, Russell Martin, Wandy Rodriguez and Jason Grilli all free agents after the season, I’m not sure how many fits there were for the Pirates.

 

This might all be moot. There are about eight weeks until Opening Day, so there is still time for action. Remember, AJ Burnett and Francisco Liriano were acquired after this date in each of the last two offseasons. There are still a number of quality, in-limbo free agents out there due to qualifying offer and perhaps waiting for Tanaka to set the market. The trade market could heat up as asking prices come down and free agent dominoes fall. And remember, Huntington showed a willingness to not force the action or overpay at the July 31 deadline. There’s still time but the hot stove is running low on fuel.

 

- TS

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Comments

  1. Nate83 says:

    Nice recap Travis.

    The biggest misstep for me was not getting Kazmir, Johnson or possibly AJ but spending half the amount it would have cost for one of those guys on Volquez. Johnson seemed pretty set on staying on the west coast which made it difficult. Everything else seems appropriate.

    I don’t see any of the shortstop options as being big enough upgrades to get the contracts they received especially with the risk some of them come with.

    First Base just doesn’t have many options and as you point out there may be some dominoes that fall that open up a trade.

    Right Field would have had to be a one year deal with Polanco coming and there just wasn’t much out there that interested me that much more then what we already have on the team.

  2. NMR says:

    Well, talk about the easiest topic of the Winter!

    Outfield: Nori Aoki, David Dejesus, David Murphy.

    1B/Outfield: Logan Morrison

    Pitcher: Josh Johnson, Dan Haren, Roberto Hernandez, Jason Hammel

    Shortstop: Brendan Ryan

    Catcher: Ryan Hannigan

  3. macchamp74 says:

    Taking the line up Bucs ended 2013 with…..this winter so far they are worse in right field, 1st base and starting pitching…….
    I am hoping for upgrade to pitching staff and first base by the end of spring training.

  4. macchamp74 says:

    But they did upgrade back up catcher position defensively!!

  5. Nate83 says:

    The key word is end of last year. We barely played above .500 ball after adding Byrd and Morneau. They will have additions to the team in Polanco and Taillon at mid season and they very well could add a first baseman sometime during the year. The team did some amazing things last year before Morton or Cole even contributed. If Wandy is healthy that’s another arm that wasn’t there at the end of last year which would greatly offset losing AJ.

    Don’t get me wrong I was hoping for some more dramatic improvements as well but I’m not thinking they won’t be competitive and hopefully make the needed moves by adding during the season like they did last year.

  6. macchamp74 says:

    I hope you are right Nate.
    I just think a lot of people are putting too much hope into Polanco and Taillon…..as of now, they are prospects.

  7. Nate83 says:

    I lean to the side of agreeing with you on the prospect thing. More on Taillon then Polanco. I think Polanco has an impact regardless of how he hits unless it’s just awful. I didn’t expect much out of Cole last year and was pleasantly surprised. Hopefully these two have the same result as Cole and offer some added value.

    Did you get a chance to follow how Polanco did in Winter league. He had a really impressive season all around.

  8. macchamp74 says:

    Oh I saw it and was encouraged…..of course no where near major league pitching.

  9. Jim S. says:

    Good roundup of names, NMR. Those OF guys could have all helped, but if Polanco actually is ready to play at a fairly high level in July, which seems like a decent possibility, I think we have enough in-house options that those guys would not have much more impact over the first 3 months.

    I agree on Morrison. He would have been a nice replacement for GIJ. I assume they hope Lambo can fulfill that role of a guy who can play both 1b & RF.

    I really wanted them to get Josh Johnson. That one stung a bit. Jason Hammel is a guy who lingered awhile that I liked for the Bucs also. I was thinking Maholm, but I actually like Hammel more in retrospect.

    I like Hannigan a lot. We got Stewart, but Hannigan is better IMO.

    I would like to see them acquire Smoak still.

    In my perfect world, they would find a way to fit Drew into their plans. But, we’ve beaten that one to death.

  10. Jim S. says:

    I’m with you on this, Nate. Byrd had a nice impact late in the year. He hit .318/.357/.486 down the stretch, then .364/.391/.591 in the playoffs. But, he turns 37 in August and has not exactly had a track record of many seasons like ’13.

    I am amazed at how many people look back so fondly on the Justin Morneau Experience. He hit .260/.372/.312 down the stretch, & had a grand total of 4 XBH (all doubles) and 3 RBI’s in just over 101 total ABs for the Bucs. He did not perform as they hoped.

  11. NMR says:

    Beaten to death? Never!!

    You won’t find a bigger Polanco fan than me, Jim, but what about depth? This team has a left fielder that is looking more and more like an inury risk, a right fielder who has never played three healthy months in a row as a big leaguer, a 4th outfielder with a history of injury (not to mention completely sucking), and Andrew Lambo.

    I don’t think there is any question that those outfielders I listed make this team better, and none of them impact Gregory Polanco what so ever.

  12. NMR says:

    I keep going back and forth on Smoak, by the way. Can’t figure out how much I should trust last year’s BABIP.

  13. Jim S. says:

    Me, too. I’ve talked myself into thinking he had some rough years trying to hit HR in Seattle, and then as soon as they moved the fences in a bit, he took off because his long flies were carrying out more often. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I’d take a shot if it can be done reasonably.

    Now, that Carp guy a lot of people are touting … his BABIP from last year scares the crap out of me.

  14. Nate83 says:

    Smoak would be my choice as well if he can be had for something reasonable. Morrison would have been my first choice. NMR actually convinced me of that. Really fit our needs and has more upside then some of the other options. I feel as if he had the best chance to develop into something more then an average major league player.

  15. Steelkings says:

    Its hard to jump leagues. You don’t know the pitchers and that takes time. It will be interesting to watch him in Colorado. Because if he turns out to be what the Pirates hoped, that Colorado team could be really good.

    Eventually you have to take a CHANCE. The Pirates didnt want to take a CHANCE on giving Loney a third year. They didnt want to take a CHANCE on tendering AJ burnett. Didnt want to take a CHANCE on Morneau. Eventually you have to stick your neck out a little.

  16. Nate83 says:

    I agree. They did it with Martin and they have kind of done it with Morton a little. It’s a fair deal that is probably a little team friendly but doesn’t come without risk. I hope they are willing to go a few million over what they think AJ’s value is but the problem is I don’t think that is enough to sign him. I think they probably thought the Johnson offer was a chance/risky and if they had been a west coast team he probably would have signed. Hopefully if they come up empty in the off season we see some chance/risk with in season trades.

    To the lesser degree the Wandy trade was risky. Grossman isn’t exactly nobody and Wandy’s contract this year could be really bad. His 8 million plus the 5 given to Volquez would have went along way towards signing AJ or some other starting pitcher. Wandy is so important to this year but I have no idea what to expect from him. I think the least likely scenario is getting 180-200 innings out of him. I only hope he can bridge the gap to Taillon or somebody like Locke or Stolmy emerging.

  17. macchamp74 says:

    Morneau was a very small sample size, and as you said, he changed leagues.
    One thing he did bring which Bucs may miss this year with LH platoon side is above average defense.

  18. Steelkings says:

    Nothing wrong with Wandy’s deal either way. He pitched well in 2012 and was hurt. He has earned every he ever been paid over a wonderful career. If you cant afford to get unlucky on an 8 million dollar deal then you need to own the Indianapolis Indians and not the Pittsburgh Pirates

  19. Steelkings says:

    Yesssh..Grammar and spelling gone at the same time…..

  20. Jim S. says:

    I just saw this in a tweet, and if others hadn’t seen it yet, I thought the group might find it interesting. MLB cumulative slash lines for the last 5 years:

    2013: .253/.318/.396
    2012: .255/.319/.405
    2011: .255/.321/.399
    2010: .257/.325/.403
    2009: .262/.333/.418

    Seems like offense is slow eroding. Now, I wonder what could cause that?

  21. Nate83 says:

    I like Wandy and I liked the trade. I was just saying it wasn’t without risk. They gave up a good prospect and he was brought in to get us into the playoffs in 2012 which we didn’t do (which was no fault of his). He gave us 62 innings last year and may not give us much if anything this year.

    No move is without risk and in this case if he doesn’t pitch much for the Pirates this year the Pirates would much rather have had the prospect and the money spent on him back. In my opinion it was worth the chance and in this case it looks like it may not have worked out. It’s hardly crippling and won’t set the team back much but it does effect what they can do this off season. It’s not unreasonable to think the Pirates could end up paying 8 million for zero innings pitched this year.

    The post wasn’t to say the Wandy deal was a bad move. It was more a general statement that they do need to take chances when appropriate and live with the results. It may not work out that is why it’s a chance.

  22. Jim S. says:

    Morneau has been slipping for a few years now, but I think that Colorado air might just boost his offense.

  23. Andrew says:

    @ NMR that is a darn good shopping list, I might add, Kazmir like Travis discussed, it is a risk on health but if it wasn’t a risk he would out of Pirates payroll range.

    I would add Corey Hart to the 1B options.

    If trades are included, I favor Moreland over Smoak, Smoak is a league average hitter against, RHP, Moreland is better and appears better defensively.

  24. Nate83 says:

    I know it was a rhetorical question but I’m going to say soccer becoming more popular and bad fundamentals being taught. But I think steroids getting out of the games is 99.99% responsible.

  25. Jim S. says:

    The pitchers also didn’t know Justin in the NL. That is as much a factor as him not knowing them. He just didn’t perform. I agree that it was a small sample size, but maybe the biggest issue is Clint treated him like a full-time starter when, in fact, he doesn’t LHP any more. I went back 3 years to see this trend. I honestly don’t know what he did in 2010, because I had seen enough.

    2013: .207/.247/.278
    2012: .232/.271/.298
    2011: .144/.189/.211

  26. Andrew says:

    I think this is the biggest issue in the game, the short answer is strikeouts are up, walks are done because the strike zone has expanded in the pitch/FX era. Fangraphs had a piece on it, and Hardball times looked at it more in-depth in their Annual.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-myth-of-the-passive-hitter/

  27. Warren says:

    “No where near major league pitching” isn’t really an accurate statement – the pitchers in the dominican winter league ranged from AA to those who pitched in the majors the last couple seasons. If you’re interested, you should check out John Decker’s winter league recaps from P2.

  28. Jim S. says:

    Good points. Jaff Decker doesn’t do it for you? I liked Aoki and DeJesus. Murphy was a F/A, wasn’t he? I think he wanted more ABs than we could provide.

    I do share your concerns about Starling. He needs to protect his hands. Do they go over home plate when he swings? You get hit in the hands often enough, your career is a short one.

  29. macchamp74 says:

    Ray Searage? :)

  30. Jim S. says:

    But, they already had Gaby to hit LHP. I think that made Hart not as valuable.

  31. NMR says:

    I have the same thoughts on Smoak, Jim.

    2013 rates vs RHP: 13%BB / 23%K / .218 ISO / .298 BABIP / 17.7% HR/FB

    Career rates vs RHP: 12%BB / 24%K / .169 ISO / .268 BABIP / 14.5% HR/FB

    One aspect of sabr theory I don’t understand is the correlation (if at all) between park and BABIP. Moving the fences in can logically explain how his HR/FB rate and power numbers jumped last year vs RHP, but can that also explain his jump in BABIP? I just don’t know.

  32. Jim S. says:

    & maybe the gradual elimination of steroids, Andrew? Good points, though.

    I also think the market gradually responded to the monster offensive numbers by filling the need for better pitching. Pitchers seem bigger, stronger, harder-throwing, with better control, and generally more prepared at a young age than I can remember. I think organizations figured they had to find a way to counter the offensive explosion, so they put more time and effort into doing a better job of developing pitching. I also think it filtered down below the minor leagues. Just a theory. Maybe I’m all wet. But, when there is a need, usually the market tries to fill it.

  33. NMR says:

    I’m with you on Moreland, Andrew. Much more consistant. Smoak really only has last season to his name as anything better than what Gaby could give you. And though I’ll admit to never spending a second focusing on either of their defensive abilities while watching them, it certainly seems like Moreland is the better defender. Gotta rely on the metrics here.

    I like Hart at the type of incentive-laden contract he signed, but his home/road power splits scared me as a righty going from a bandbox to the Northside Notch.

  34. Steelkings says:

    Thats right Nate. It was worth the chance, but if I could find the article…Im looking.

    I cant find it however the premise was that sending Casey McGehee , who was absolutely adored in the clubhouse to the Yankees for Qualls was nearly devastating to the moral and had a lot to do with the collapse. Taking chances for prospects can go that way as well.

    As far as Grossman is concerned, yeah hes good, but he wasnt gonna play corner outfield here ever.

  35. NMR says:

    @Andrew – any thoughts to add on my BABIP / Park Factor post to Jim above?

  36. NMR says:

    Morneau’s bat just flat out looked slow.

    I give him a ton of credit for adjusting his game to more of a slap/contact hitter, but that’s only gonna get him so far.

  37. Nate83 says:

    I’m familiar with the article/blog entries about McGehee and club house moral. Walker eluded to it in an interview on the radio I believe as well. There is no evidence that it led to the collapse and I think you will find more people on the side of saying moral did not play a role. They just simply didn’t play up to their ability. Maybe lack of experience or depth as well.

    I agree the Pirates have some depth in the outfield. At the time Polanco was not in the picture and Marte wasn’t a sure bet either so it was a little more risky. The future looks very bright now with those two as well as Meadows, Barns, Bell and some others coming through the system. Really have to feel good about the Pirates chance to field an above average to elite outfield over the next 5-7 years if not longer.

  38. Nate83 says:

    It got Tony Gwynn to the Hall of Fame. I loved watching him hit. Absolutely worked magic with the bat.

    I get your point completely. I was just joking.

  39. Nate83 says:

    Who’s Drew? I’ve never heard of the guy.

  40. Here’s something I wrote about Edinson Volquez
    http://chippedhamsports.com/2014/02/04/pirates-notes-the-inventive-career-of-edinson-volquez/
    If Jose Abreu hits like a 27-year-old Ryan Howard, I better find a way to get him on some of my fantasy squads. Wish the Pirates would’ve/could’ve/should’ve gone through with a Howard for Kris Benson deal. But now, though, Howard’s contract is bloated, just like he is again.

  41. NMR says:

    I’d rather have Decker’s player type as outfield depth than Snyder and Lambo. Seems to have more versatility and better on base skills, but I’d be lying if I said I had a clue as to whether or not he’s actually any good.

    Murphy was signed by Cleveland to do exactly what I’d want him to do in Pittsburgh, platoon vs RHP. I think he would’ve been a great fit, given Tabby’s inconsistancies and Marte’s struggles.

    HBP’s are going to be the proverbial double edged sword for Starling. If indeed he is one of a handful of players in the history of Major League Baseball that can control getting on base by means of the pitcher hitting him(I have high doubts), then that will inherently lead to a higher risk of injury.

  42. NMR says:

    Relief pitcher for the Tigers, I believe. :)

  43. Nate83 says:

    Did you see Decker made the top 13 of somebodies top Pirate prospect list? He was in the next 3 after the top 10. I’m not sure if he was 11,12 or 13 but found it interesting he was included with such a deep system. I’m still holding out hope Tabby gains some consistency and adds either value to be traded or a reliable future 4th outfielder which I think his contract should allow for at least a year or two and still make sense.

  44. Andrew says:

    We were discussing this before, I left this link, but I think I was the last post in that thread.
    h
    ttp://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/babip-splits/

    So I think it is safe to assume hitter have higher BABIPs at home. As far different parks, certain parks do have higher BABIPs like the Coors, but I do not know of any were to find that over say a five year period, B-R has league splits by park but only for single seasons. I do not really have any insight into Smoak, but I haven’t look that hard.

  45. Andrew says:

    Hart career unregressed numbers are 110 wRC+ against RHP, 136 wRC+ against LHP, that 110 is better than most of the platoon options. But yes if you have Sanchez, and can get a less expensive platoon options Hart does not really fit.

  46. Steelkings says:

    Kole Calhoun is the guy I would investigate. Angels could use a prospect or two and Calhoun wont play much where he is at.

  47. NMR says:

    So in a situation such as Smoak’s, where his career BABIP is significantly lower than major league average but last year’s single season BABIP was dead on, would one expect future performance to regress to his career average or was last season the regression to major league average?

  48. Steelkings says:

    Not to argue with you Nate all the time, but dont you think your comment about Byrd and Morneau is a little unfair? 35 games when they were both together. 21 of those were against Cincy, Saint Louis and Texas. They went 20 and 15 during that stretch and that is not too shabby.

  49. Jim S. says:

    Or centerfield.

  50. Jim S. says:

    I like that, mac. Searage is clearly responsible!

  51. Jim S. says:

    Also, DK weighed in from Sochi and said they need to increase the size of NHL nets.

  52. NMR says:

    Speaking of regressed platoon splits, I secretly want Gaby to get all AB’s, even against RHP, just to prove that his ’10/’11 performance should’ve been viewed just as much as his ’12/’13.

    I just know there is a better hitter against RHP in there somewhere.

  53. Andrew says:

    I would expect regression toward career average. As I understand it BABIP is more of a skill for hitters then pitchers , so I think your career number is much more telling. Speaking generalities, Smoak is a 1B, so slow, hits more FB% than GB%, GB have a higher BABIP, so I think he is going to have a lower BABIP than average. It appears he had a higher LD% against RHP last year that could explain the jump in BABIP, and LD% percentage is noticeably fickle.

    However players can change their BABIP, look at McCutchen he stopped looking at hitable first pitches, started swinging more and his BABIP really climbed. I saw Brain Cartwright point this out on another blog.

    Another thing Smoak did not have a lefty right split until last year which is actually expected for switch hitters. (damn you Neil Walker)

  54. Donald says:

    Kole Calhoun will be the starting left fielder for the Angels all year long. And he will be especially needed when Josh Hamilton’s decline continues.

  55. Nate83 says:

    Not a problem Steelking. I enjoy the debates. I really liked the Bryd pick up and I was pretty against picking up Morneau before it happened but didn’t mind the trade because they didn’t give up much. I’m just saying I like the team starting 2014 better then the team that started 2013. I’m dissappointed more hasn’t been done to improve the team but also realize the team could look completely different by game 162.

  56. Foo says:

    Last year, Sports Illustrated gave us a C- for our offseason.

    The Pirates are never going to have splashy offseasons.

    In NH I trust, though.

  57. NMR says:

    Great reply, Andrew. Much appreciated.

  58. Steelkings says:

    @ Travis and Foo

    There you go! Drew’s talks with the Mets have stopped because Boris is seeking a three year deal. Something the Pirates are unwilling to do. If the demand in years drops the Mets would be willing to negotiate a higher salary. Which also eliminates the Pirates.

    Mike Puma and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post have been told by Mets executives it’s a “long shot” that they’ll sign Stephen Drew.
    Agent Scott Boras told the Post that it’s “very clear the Mets have interest in Stephen Drew,” which is no surprise given how much they’ve been connected to him this winter. However, Boras is looking for at least a three-year deal and it doesn’t appear the Mets are willing to give it to him. Drew has struggled to attract a healthy market this winter because his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation.
    Related: Mets
    Source: New York Post

  59. NMR says:

    Where did you read that the Pirates were unwilling to offer three years?

  60. Nate83 says:

    I didn’t see that either but the only free agent I’ve ever heard of them offering 3 years to was Edwin Jackson I think. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they won’t go three years on anybody unless it was some kind of team option or difficult vesting option.

    To be honest I’ve haven’t really ever seen Drew’s name connected to the Pirates except by the fans and/or hypothetical blog post by people like Travis. I’m not sure NH or anybody else from the Pirates have ever contacted Boris about Drew. It could just be an urban legend.

  61. Nate83 says:

    Foo

    I just started looking at saberbucs recently. Some interesting stuff on there. I take most things on there with a grain of salt but he does a nice job of offering a way of looking at things in a different way and also does a good job of acknowledging where the margin of errors could be. It’s nice that some of these Pirate blogs are just different enough to offer different information. There is a lot of ways to cut a pie and between all the blogs most of those ways are covered.

    I wish in this case he would have compared Mercer to Drew and maybe even went as far to look into what sort of increased WAR could occur if Mercer was used to start in place of Walker and Pedro on occasions but I appreciate any information somebody like this gives so I’m hardly complaining.

  62. LeeFoo says:

    Nate….I enjoy his articles. It is food for thought.

    That is why I just presented the link, with no ‘opinion’ one way or the other.

    I also liked his article on our Pitching Rotation.

  63. Nate83 says:

    I read that one as well and found it interesting how effective the Pirate staff could be even without AJ. However I don’t put much stock into Volquez’s xFIP because he doesn’t seem like somebody who’s results ever actually align with it. Obviously the amount Wandy pitches which is the million dollar question has a huge affect on how the Pirates pitching staff does this year.

  64. Travis Sawchik says:

    Here’s what intrigues me about Smoak: .672 career home OPS, .726 career road OPS.

    Mitch Moreland: .777 career home OPS, .740 career road OPS.

    You rarely see a higher road OPS (because of umpire strike-ball bias), and this is not a small sample.

    Smoak plays in such an awful home environment I think it gives home some hidden value and makes him an interesting buy-low option. I think he’d come cheaper than Moreland, but I could be wrong.

  65. NMR says:

    Beware of the “mystery team”!

    FWIW, Huntington offered Russell Martin three years before he decided to take two and hit free agency earlier. Smart guys, right there.

  66. Steelkings says:

    I am just assuming that if the Pirates were unwilling to give Loney 3 years when they had a need for a left handed 1st baseman, that they would be even less willing to give 3 years to a SS when they already have 2 and a 1/2 other Short stops.

  67. NMR says:

    Not to nit-pick, Nate, but Edinson has only once pitched to an ERA more than a half run worse than his FIP.

  68. Nate83 says:

    That’s better then I thought. That’s good news and bad news at the same time thanks for nit-picking and I don’t mind it at all.

  69. Nate83 says:

    I think it’s a good assumption. I also think it’s safe to assume the Pirates wouldn’t go much over 8 or 9 per year and that the Mets would be able to beat that on a 2 year deal if they value Drew which they must.

 
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