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Outfield shifts the next big thing? And does Morales fit?

SOUTH HILLS – Last year the hidden secret  - the hidden competitive advantage – behind the Pirates’ 94-win campaign, was the Pirates’ extreme increased useage of infield shifts (combined with a spiked groundball rate) which we reported on extensively. The Pirates improve their defensive efficiency – the number of batted balls converted into outs – by three percent, which is a significant number. That’s hundreds of hits turned into outs. Now the Pirates were not going to hold this competitive advantage forever. We live in a copy-cat world. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said the Cardinals are going to begin comprehensive shifting at the minor league level this year and that will soon trickle up to the big-league club. The Pirates first began extreme rates of shifting at the minor league level in 2009.

 

As Neil Walker said during the NLDS: ”I think that’s something that’s going to be universally kind of implemented in the game of baseball, if you ask me. It’s going to take some time, because most people don’t want to give into it.”

 

 

This advantage will be short-lived. For the Pirates, survival is in part tied to finding the next big thing and the Pirates will expand their use of outfield defensive shifts in 2014, which Tim Williams wrote about over at Pirates Prospects this weekend. The Pirates are apparently going to try and shrink the outfield through unorthodox defensive alignments.

 

While seeking the next competitive advantage makes sense, there is also greater risks and greater challenges in shifting an outfield. For starters, if your infield shift is beat you typically give up a single. If your outfield shift is beat, you’re surrendering an extra-base hit. (The reward is greater, too, in taking away extra base hits).

 

Moreover, range is more restricted in the infield. Infielders have less time to react than a groundball than outfielders have to a flyball. That means  infield positioning, on the surface seems more important. Infielders have less margin for error.   Overall, I think it makes sense to forego tradition and position players where balls are hit. And you’re asking three outfielders to cover a much larger expanse than you are four infielders.

 

I’m a proponent of exploring defensive alignment changes. Another interesting aspect of this is overlapping spray charts with outfielders’ range. How much do you hedge if you have an athletic outfield like the Pirates? There’s more creativity here to be tapped into.   I’m not sure how much advantage there is to be gained here – there’s no doubt some – but the bigger thing the Pirates have going for themselves is they’ll have the most athletic outfield in baseball when Gregory Polanco arrives. That’s not my opinoin, it’s Mozeliak’s.

 

DOES MORALES MAKE SENSE?

 

Scott Boras is really working to create a market for free agent Kendrys Morales.  We’ve touched on Morales before. We know the issues: the qualifying offer, the questionable defense and the fact that Gaby Sanchez is better against LHP eliminating some of Morales’s switch-hitting appeal.

 

That said Baseball Prospectus projects Morales to be worth 2.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2014, which is far better than any other external 1b alternative that’s been discussed to date. Morales is an above-average hitter and would give the team the competitive at bats it enjoyed in September from Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau.

 

Unlike Lambo, he’s not a strikeout machine and he has pop. He’s hit 22+ home runs three times in his career and has played in poor offensive environments.   Teams might very well be over-valuing first-round picks but the question is more about is Morales’s value than the pick.  If it’s the right player, and you’re contending, you give up the pick.   Still is Morales the right fit?   ESPN analyst Dan Symborski recently estimated the value of free agent Morales, whom Boras suggested would be “perfect” for the Pirates, is worth less than $1 million per season when including the cost of surrendering a first-round draft pick. You’re not going to get Morales at $1 million. But you could get him at a discount in years and dollars. Four years and $40 million would do it, right? .. .but I don’t think the Pirates are willing to meet the costs in treasure or draft pick.

 

I’m not suggesting they should at that price but if the price dips low enough there is an opportunity.

- TS

Comments

  1. Jim S. says:

    Great topics, Travis. I suggested the OF shift discussion last week, after reading about some of the considerations with Polanco coming aboard. I think you are right that there is probably less to exploit with OF shifts, but the real advantage the Pirates will have, as you say, is 3 CF in the same OF. I thought the Pirates had a huge advantage in range vs. StL last year, and that is likely to continue this year – although Borjous certainly helps the Cards in that regard. But, there’s just no way to eliminate all the balls that will drop around and over Craig and Holliday, and the Bucs will only get better when Polanco arrives.

    It is now apparent that the Cards are playing catch-up to the Bucs in terms of how to build a team for the future, in some ways, while still enjoying a current talent advantage over us at the MLB level. Everyone thinks the Cards are the gold standard in every aspect of MLB, but the Pirates are clearly on the cutting edge of a lot of things from what I can tell.

    As for Morales, I like his bat. I still don’t know, though, about the glove or his ability to stay healthy if he has to play 120 games in the field. I would not pay anywhere near 4/$48 for him. That may be Boras’ asking price, but I say lots of luck on that one, Scotty. The Pirates are not dumb enough to go anywhere near there – not with all of the young players they need to pay over the next handful of years. Now, as I have said, if he continues to sit idle well into the season, and we can get him for a year or two with no lost draft pick, we know there is money available this year to pay him. Hey, maybe the Marijners will sign him back, and that will free up Smoak.

  2. BostonsCommon says:

    “Four years and $48 million would do it”

    You think?!

    I will be flabbergasted if he gets anything near that. Like jaw to the floor… Especially from the Pirates.

  3. Travis Sawchik says:

    Morales is seeking four years from what I understand. Dollars? That will be interesting. Two-winish player is worth at least $10 million per year on open market but QO diminishes value, obviously

    Michael Bourn had a three-year WAR total of 14.2 entering free agency.

    Morales had a three-year run of 4.4 WAR.

    Bourn got 4y/48

    So is Morales worth 4y/15?

  4. Travis Sawchik says:

    Great points, Jim.

    Pirates have had a huge athleticism advantage in OF over the Cardinals. Bourjos will help … but will he hit enough to stay in the lineup with Jay and Taveras around?

  5. Jim S. says:

    That was my question when they traded for him. He has had one good year of hitting and a few not so good ones. I think the talent is there, and the Cards may have gotten him just at the right time when he is about to break through. One thing for sure is, Bourjos can go get the baseball. Jay is a pretty good hitter, though, so I could still a platoon although everyone tells me that is not going to be the case.

  6. Jim S. says:

    I think Bostons is suggesting Morales won’t get that much (4/$48), which I agree with. I think his price is headed south of that now, and the years might end up less than 4 as well. I wonder if the Bucs view him, overall, as much better than Loney now. Morales is definitely a better hitter, but when you add in defense, Morales seems to be losing value from what I am reading.

  7. BostonsCommon says:

    I would expect someone might get Morales in the area of 3/$30-36M.

    For the Pirates to be in on him, he’d probably have to come down to a Loney-esque region of 3/$21M

  8. JoeBucco says:

    If I’m the Pirates, I may offer him something like 3/$18m and dare him to turn it down. He’s not exactly getting better offers knocking down his door. I think the Pirates could use his pop, but they also don’t absolutely need him. Or we ask Boras to tie Morales in with a Pedro extension and we do business. :)

  9. Nate83 says:

    I agree and I don’t see anyway the Pirates go 4 years on anybody especially somebody they don’t even know can play the field for a full year. His 2.7 WAR I’m assuming is as a DH. Does he have any negative WAR attached if he plays in the field? I can see the Pirates going 2 years/22 million or maybe 3 years/30 million but my opinion is they are not even interested because of the questions defensively. They value that more then most teams and they were not willing to go 3 years on Loney with no draft pick attached.

  10. I’m skeptical that outfield shifts can provide much, but if the data supports it I’m all for it. I think where greater gains could be made are with increased infield shifts against right-handed hitters. The problem, though, is to truly take advantage teams need a strong defensive 1B with more mobility and athleticism than is the norm for the position.

  11. Nate83 says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s getting some 3/30 deals offered or at least 3/27 deals and Boris is just trying to get the 4th year. I can’t imagine Boris misread the market badly enough that he turned down 14.1 to get his client a per year average of 7 million in the end.

    Morales is an AL player and my guess is he remains that. He just doesn’t fit in the NL and the Pirates are not the type of team to take a chance on that type of player on a long term contract.

  12. Here is how i would handle Morales. I’d offer 2yrs / 15 million. And maybe sweeten it with some playing time incentives. But I’d backload the money in the second year. Maybe $6M in year 1 and $9 M in year 2. If he can’t play the field, or if it is clear Lambo is ready to push him aside, you dump him off on an American League club asap.

  13. macchamp74 says:

    Good thought…how about deal for Cole down the road also!

  14. Jim S. says:

    If he has been offered something like 3 x $9 million per season, at this point Boras is still telling him the offers are too low or isn’t even presenting them to him. Boras instructed him to turn down $14.1 for just this season alone.

  15. Andrew says:

    The issue with Morales is that price that he would make sense for the Pirates is lower than the price he would make sense for an AL team, especially the Orioles, who now have to give up only a second round pick. Additionally the idea that Morales can play first base for 1000 innings over a season is based on faith and little else.

  16. dcpinpgh says:

    I would tell Boras, that we want Morales, but we are not sure about future cost certainty. To get some, we would like to sign Cole through all his arbitration years and 1 or 2 years after that, and we would like Pedro to sign a 4/5 year deal. Once we have those figured out, we can sign Morales for 3 years….

  17. Nate83 says:

    I don’t think players are used by agents as a 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 type deal. The teams have absolutely zero negotiating power with an agent like Boris. He will go where the money is and that is usually not with the Pirates. Boris tells the Pirates what his client would like not the other way around. It’s the entire point of free agency. It’s the only time a player gets to maximize his value. Kershaw just signed for 30 million a year and the Pirates can’t even come close to that. I think Cole will be waiting and seeing how the market plays out.

  18. Pig Legs Robinson says:

    Give it a break, Boras! You and all the other cronies (Cafardo, etc) lobbying to get Morales signed by any team. The Pirates are NOT a fit for his guy.

    First, there is no Designated Hitter position in the national league. Morales is huge lump of concrete as far his range of movement out on the field. He was slow even BEFORE HE COMPOUND FRACTURED HIS LEG 2-3 years ago. Since the major leg injury however, he is completely useless on defense. I would not want him manning any position out on the field. He could not handle 30 games at first base, let alone 140 (the amount of starting right handers the Pirates are likely to go up against in a full season).

    Second, the major leg injury he suffered showed how injury prone he is, and always was. As a designated hitter, this can be hidden. Out on the field for 140 starts, there will be no hiding it. He is an injury waiting to happen. I would not throw money at such a major injury risk. Committing more than a year to this guy would be team suicide.

    This, along with the fact that they would have to give up a high draft pick, make signing him a ridiculous notion.

  19. Andrew says:

    I agree with this except Morales fractured his lower leg, celebrating a homerun. When I think injury prone I think chronic/repeated injures, Matt Kemp, Cueto and his lat, not traumatic.

  20. Leo Walter says:

    Travis, doesn’t it appear to you that Tavares doesn’t seem to be a solid centerfielder ? There would have been no reason to make the deal for Bourjos if Tavares was the final answer at that position it seems to me.

  21. Leo Walter says:

    Joe, how about thinking of asking about buying out Cole’s Arab years rather than extending Alvarez ?

  22. Leo Walter says:

    Cole’s ARB years would be better than his Arab years ! Sorry…

  23. Craig C says:

    Travis, did you happen to ask Boars if there’s been any talk between he and the Pirates regarding Stephen Drew?

  24. Strohdave says:

    Claiming Morales is a perfect fit for the Bucs is just a sales pitch from his sheister agent. I can’t imagine the Bucs forking over any significant $$ or years for a DH.

  25. Ghost says:

    Morales re-signing with Seattle makes the most sense for all parties.

    And after this year, I think we can start the count down until the QO mechanism is renegotiated by the union. Can believe that they will just stand pat and let this thing depress FA markets. Much as I like the concept (though, somehow, the Pirates managed to miss out taking advantage of it), it can’t be for long.

  26. Travis Sawchik says:

    I asked Boras if he had other clients that made sense for Pirates. The only other name he mentioned was Oliver Perez. I still think Stephen Drew makes some sense at the right price.

  27. Craig C says:

    It is my belief that Drew’s defense and left-handed bat would provide a worthwhile upgrade over Mercer based on how important defense is to the pitching staff and overall team concept and the majority of the starting pitchers that the Pirates project to face being right-handed (especially within the division with only 3 lefties projected to be in the rotations of the other 4 NL central teams).

  28. Craig C says:

    Also, thanks for the response Travis. It’s very much appreciated.

  29. tedwins says:

    I think most folks are bored to death by my love affair with Drew :) so I will just wholeheartedly agree with you and add that his addition would make our infield as solid as can be. Wonder if walker could platoon a bit (or more) at first with Drew’s addition… :)

  30. Travis,

    Because you were not here, I will remind you that the Pirates tried the drastic outfield shifts during the last 2 years of John Russell’s tenure here. Outfielders pinched the middle, covering the “favorite” gaps” of each hitter, based on Front Office hitting charts, leaving around 120 feet to the foul line. John Russell will never be mistaken for “the Great Innovator” and these suggestions came down from the Stats Guru Guy in the Front Office.

    Instead of Pirate outfielders taking away the hitters’ favorite hitting gaps, Bucs saw a flurry of doubles hit down the line. I can still see Jose Tabata running furiously and futilely toward the line in left field chasing lazy looping liners that fell in for doubles. It was like batting practice for opposing batters.

    After trying it in July/August/September of Russell’s next-to-last season, then “refining it” over the winter, Pirate Front Office broke it out again in April/May of Russell’s last season. After another flurry of lazy doubles falling in, it was abandoned——rightfully so. You scare me if there is discussion of resurrecting some crazy outfield shift.

    As to infield shifting: “Now the Pirates were not going to hold this competitive advantage forever. We live in a copy-cat world.”———you meant to say that the Milwaukee Brewers (in Bucs’ same Division) have been doing this drastic infield shifting for 3 seasons now, and Cardinals would be copying from both, right? Pirates are not the Super Innovators here: Brewers and Ron Roenicke were.

    By the way, I’m AT Spring Training in Bradenton right now, and it’s glorious!!!

  31. Steelkings says:

    “”"”"It is now apparent that the Cards are playing catch-up to the Bucs in terms of how to build a team for the future, in some ways, while still enjoying a current talent advantage over us at the MLB level. Everyone thinks the Cards are the gold standard in every aspect of MLB, but the Pirates are clearly on the cutting edge of a lot of things from what I can tell.”"”"”"”"”

    The Pirates are benefiting from 20 losing seasons resulting in drafting in the top 5. The prospect risk gets a little lower drafting in bottom of the group. The Cardinals have a parachute that the Pirates don’t possess. If the cardinals miss on prospects, they will go buy a few players. The Pirates have had a few cant miss guys in the system. McCutchen, Marte and now Polanco. But who is left after that position wise.

    Don’t forget that Tony Sanchez was that guy when he was drafted no#1 (4th overall). Its a slippery slope for the Pirates, and always will be.

  32. Dan Davis says:

    RE: the situation at first base: do we have any prospects at the minor league level before we go chasing questionable players with long term contracts and big money?

  33. Steelkings says:

    Was his Oliver Perez comment before or after Happy hour?

  34. Steelkings says:

    Play the golf course next door(River Run). Nice course and easy to score in places and yet challenging in others. I’m envious Grote, I usually go down every year. Not this one however….Sad

  35. Steelkings says:

    Good point Nate. If his War is figured with him playing defense then this guy is a must have. The left handed hitter will get the bulk of the starts in the NL, and with that said it would be a problem to say the least to have a guy who K’s a lot in that slot.

  36. Pig Legs Robinson says:

    Oliver Perez?! Are you kidding me?
    Apparently Boras is further removed from reality than I originally thought.

    I’m willing to bet that this first full year of Jordy Mercer could easily equal Drew’s numbers in his first full year. And Drew’s numbers were slightly inflated playing in the lighter air of Arizona. I like Drew, but I never forget that he is a Drew (brother of J.D. Drew), and his body will inevitably break down like J.D.’s did.

    I would not give Drew multiple years, and he is seeking a long term deal. I just think there are better places for the Pirates to spend their money long term. With Hansen a year away from the majors and Mercer improving through experience, shortstop is not really a big area of concern.

    Besides, they will need some payroll money when Philadelphia is out of the race in mid-July and they trade us A. J. Burnett & Marlon Byrd.

  37. Jim S. says:

    Steel:

    I actually have no idea why you copied a section of my post as though you didn’t agree with it, then you didn’t address any of what I wrote.

    My point is the Pirates seem to me to be ahead of the curve in terms of how they build their team and the tactics they employ. The Pirates are a forward-thinking team in terms of analytics. All of their defensive shifts is just one example of that. By the way, the Cards announced that they will be working on installing this sort of thinking at the minor league level now. Why do you think that is the case? John Mozielak has praised the Pirates for how rapidly they have changed everything they do and how great the results have been from the minor league level to the major league level. Why do you think that is the case?

    As for the Pirates benefiting from their position in the first round of the draft, do you really think that is all there is to their success? They have had several strong drafts in a row now, and are recognized as having one of the top organizations in MLB. That isn’t just from #1 picks. Who is left, position-wise? How about Polanco, Hanson, Bell, Meadows, McGuire, Barnes?

    I’m not sure what you mean by the Cards having a parachute the Pirates don’t have. Do you mean they have more money? I don’t disagree. The Pirates have no choice but to be smarter than other teams. My point is that I think they are doing just that. Every guy in the minors won’t pan out for the Pirates or any other team. I do believe the Pirates are more intelligent at the developmental level now than a very large % of MLB. Their system is not a 20 straight losing seasons system any more. No one thinks that any more.

  38. Jim S. says:

    I believe they are talking RF with Tavares now, Walter. He has had some lingering ankle issues over the past year.

  39. Jim S. says:

    Good point about the Orioles, Andrew. But, aren’t they giving up a draft pick for Jiminez? Morales would make 2, right?

  40. Jim S. says:

    I hear you about Boras having multiple clients, dc. But, I just don’t see any way their contracts get tied together somehow. Gerrit Cole isn’t signing a deal so that the Pirates can sign Morales as well. And, Boras isn’t going to be working any 2 for 1 deals with teams. He would lose all his clients immediately if he started playing games like that. Or, maybe I didn’t understand what you were suggesting.

  41. Interesting, isn’t it, that Boras still has all these clients unsigned. It only takes one foolish GM, as Cleveland proved last year with Bourne, but I think Boras is going to be having a number of houseguests early this season. Oliver Perez for the Pirates?! Give me a break!

    I’m with you, Peg Legged Piggy. Drew has not played a full season in forever, and a multiple year contract to him would NOT be money well spent. We all know how easily the BMTIB throws $$$ around——see Burnett, A.J.

    I’ve been watching Hanson down here and I think he is at least 2, probably 3 years away . . . I’m willing to give Jordy Mercer a chance to claim that job as his. He is still on the upswing.

    Now if you ask me about 1st base . . . . . . .

  42. 21sthebest says:

    I believe Gary Varsho also had a big hand in that no triples defense.

  43. Arriba Wilver says:

    A man after my own heart.

  44. Arriba Wilver says:

    No.

  45. Arriba Wilver says:

    Are we on Sochi time here?

  46. Steelkings says:

    Many people here Jim, think giving up the 25th pick in the draft isnt a big deal. Thats based on the 2% success rate of a prospect. Where do you suppose the Cardinals are drafting every year? They have had some fairly decent prospects of their own. In fact if you look at their team as a whole, you would find them to be every bit as home grown as the Pirates. They sprinkle in a few free agents just like we do. The biggest difference is that they sprinkle in a few World Series appearances every now and again. The Cardinals have been building a team that plays in the now while maintaining a balance that doesn’t mortgage the future. They have been doing business that way for years.

    So In my opinion to say the Cardinals are playing catch up to the Pirates way of building a team for the future is absurd.

    Defensive shifts are on the rise. No doubt. But did you know ???

    According to Baseball Info Solutions:
    The Rays used defensive shifts 216 times
    The Brewers implemented the second-most shifts with 170
    Followed by the Indians (148)
    And then the Blue Jays (117)

    Shockingly those stats are from the 2011season in an article you can find here : http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120426&content_id=29715994&vkey=news_tb&c_id=tb

    Again, for people to claim the Pirates have invented or implemented some new defensive theory is absurd. Its not NEW. There is nothing new about it.

  47. Steelkings says:

    And farther more Jim, why would the Cardinals change anything they do? I’m asking you? Explain to me why the most successful team in the NL (By Far) would do anything differently. Since the year 2001 they have been to the playoffs 9 times. That’s 9 times in the last 13 years. In those 9 trips to the playoffs they won 2 world championships and were in one other World Series.

    With that kind of success, Jim. Why would you change ANYTHING you do?

  48. JohninOshkosh says:

    I just got the dt’s thinking about Ollie Perez in a Bucco uniform again.

    Thanks for the laugh, Scottie.

  49. NorthPirateFan says:

    If you’re doing a straight up comparison I suppose but is that how the Pirates should be looking at it? The bigger question is does Morales address their needs and the more I look at him I don’t like the idea of signing him at any price. There’s the defense issue, the issue of him not hitting RHP particularly well and really he’s not a terribly patient and/or disciplined hitter.

    I’d expect him to get a bump of some sort playing the NL and at PNC but at 30, how much?

    I’d still much rather have Justin Smoak who in several ways in already a better hitter than Morales playing years 27, 28 and 29 at a lower dollar cost per year, getting the same bump at the start of him entering his peak years even if cost the Pirate a prospect … so long as it’s not too shiny of one.

  50. Steelkings says:

    “”"”"Polanco, Hanson, Bell, Meadows, McGuire, Barnes?”"”"

    I said after Polanco. And there is nothing proven about any of those other guys. As I was saying, Sanchez was going to be the next great national League catcher yet he remains with me in Indy.

    Its always going to be a slippery slope for the Pirates. As it is for most every team. They were a few players away in 03 too. Remember? Kendall, Giles, Wilson, Sanders, Ramirez, Bay, A staff of Wells, Suppan, Benson and Fogg. How fast did that puppy unravel?

  51. Jim S. says:

    Ask the Cardinals why they are changing things, Steel. Don’t ask me. They are admitting it. Every organization needs to adapt to stay on top.

    I didn’t say the Pirates invented defensive shifts or anything. What I am saying is that the Pirates are adopting a lot of new ways of analyzing the organization, the strategies on the field, etc., and shifts are just one of them. With many new philosophies, the Pirates have drastically improved their organization over the past 5 years from a backwards, bone-headed one to one that is very forward thinking and efficient. It is showing up at the big league level, and it is showing up in the organizational rankings passed out by many industry sources. If you don’t want to believe any of that, fine. If you want to say it is all because they hit on a few #1 draft picks, go ahead and believe that. Look at the Pirates from 5 years ago vs. the Pirates organization today, and tell me again how it is absurd to think they are not a forward-thinking organization? It isn’t just because they hit on Walker, Cutch, Pedro and Cole. Their organizational philosophy is now strong.

    The Cards have admitted they were behind the curve in some key advanced measurements, and they are making strides to change that. That is their GM talking, not me. That is what smart organizations do, and the Cards are a smart organization. The Cards are copying some of what the Pirates do. That might be hard for some people to accept, but it is true now.

    We are talking about going forward, not looking behind. The Cards have obviously had a ton of success for the last 20 years. The Pirates have had none, except for this past season. But, are you convinced that the Pirates are not equipped to compete with a team like St. Louis going forward? I think they are.

  52. Jim S. says:

    Sorry, but you don’t get to arbitrarily eliminate Polanco from the guys that are going to help the Pirates. He has just a handful of AAA at bats. He is a 22 year old prospect – one they astutely drafted and developed from the Dominican because they have a very good Latin system.

    Every prospect is still going to be hit or miss. I never said anything different. The difference between where the Pirates organization is now vs. where they were 10 years ago is that whereas they just had a handful of decent prospects all at once back then, they actually have depth in the organization now. They have a plan for everything they do now. That has not been the case before this in a long, long time. The only way they will be successful going forward is to have a multitude of prospects all through the system at any given time because, as you say, a high % of them don’t pan out. That’s why they need so many. My take is they are poised to develop prospects as well as any other organization now.

    Other than Kendall, Benson and Ramirez, they acquired all of the guys you mentioned. I’m saying I think they are starting to deliver a lot more home-grown prospects now and going forward because the system is strong.

  53. bpn8pitt says:

    Enjoyed the story in the Trib this morning, Travis. Most of those picks at 25 were horrendous. I think Cain took 4-5 years to make it to Giants and another 2-3 before he was solid . On the flipside, Trout was a double digit WAR player at 21.

    To me the Pirates are always gonna have to have an eye on the future, so even if the chances are slim a player turns into something at 25, id rather take the lottery ticket than three years of so-so bat, no glove Kendry Morales. It would be different if they had money to chase an elite free agent, but they dont and never will.

    Some of the 1B out there are probably are a little better than what the Pirates have, but none of them are difference makers. Probably not worth sacrificing what you would have to give up. Just hope Sanchez and Lambo are at least productive.

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  55. Steelkings says:

    I never said the Pirates were not equipped to compete, Jim. The only thing I had a problem with was the thought that the Cardinals are somehow playing catch up to the Pirates because they want to copy the analytical system the Pirates follow. That’s horse hockey. First off the Pirates didn’t invent that type of thinking and, The Cardinals were far from admitting that they were going all in. Mozeliak said that they were going to try and get players to buy in at the minor league level. That doesn’t sound like “Copy the Pirates” to me.

    Defensive shifts were very good for the Pirates and like I was saying, I have no trouble with the Pro Pirate part of the discussion. It was simply the part where the Cardinals were playing catch up to the Pirates. See Jim, I’m an old timer and to me there is that dog gone scoreboard out there. Frankly its the bottom line. So far its been on the positive side for the Cardinals for the last 21 years. If the Pirates can beat them out of the Division this year, then and only then with the Cardinals be playing catch up in anything.

  56. Steelkings says:

    I agree with all of that. What does that have to do with the Cardinals?

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