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Monday Mop-Up Duty: the attrition game and Pirates looking at Didi?

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SOUTH HILLS – Pirates general manager Neal Huntington says the ligament intact. The Pirates are hoping some rest alleviates the pain. But you never want to hear about a top pitching prospect feeling elbow pain. And Jameson Taillon is experiencing elbow pain.

This is problematic for the Pirates on two fronts: for starters, he’s one of their most valuable organizational assets and this could potentially delay his development, secondly, the club was also likely counting on him for some impact, second-half-of-the-season innings.

“At this point in time, the ligament is intact,” Huntington told reporters on Sunday. “He’s just got some discomfort in there. How quickly will it work itself out? We’ll have a much clearer picture when he gets back from his second opinion. At this point, we feel positive he’s just going to miss a little bit of time.”

We’ll see.

What we do know is pitching injury is inevitable and depth is critical.

As we’ve pointed out before in this e-space, the Pirates went into late August/early September last season with 80 percent of their Opening Day rotation no longer in their rotation.

The Pirates had Charlie Morton, Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano in reserve in 2013. If Taillon isn’t healthy, I doubt they have such  impact arms in reserve in 2014.

We’ve seen how fleeting pitching depth can be again this spring with Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin hurt in A’s camp, with Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy in need of TJ in Braves camp, and with Patrick Corbin also out with a shredded ulnar ligament.

We saw Liriano leave a game on Thursday with a strained groin, while not thought to be serious, his Opening Day start could be in jeopardy. It makes me wonder how good this team will be if it does not get 380-400 innings from Liriano and Cole.

I like the Pirates’ 2014 Opening Day rotation better than its 2013 Opening Day rotation. But if Taillon isn’t healthy, I’m not sure there is much impact in reserve. And it was pitching depth that allowed the Pirates to win the attrition fight last summer and fall.

1:19 PM UPDATE:

Didi Gregorius is a left-handed hitting, glove-first shortstop who the Diamondbacks have  had on the market this offseason. We’ve mentioned him in this space as a possible fit for the Pirates – along with Stephen Drew. We don’t know if Jordy Mercer can hit right-handed pitching and the Pirates might need a longer-term answer at short. So it makes sense the Pirates would have some interest. A Mercer-Gregorius platoon makes some sense. Or Mercer could become a super utility player. Diamondbacks are said to be looking for pitching….I suspect Didi might have more pop than he’s given credit for. His home runs averaged 106 mph in exit velocity last year – which is surprising small-sample exit velocity – and he’s also shown some patience at the plate

STARTING NINE THOUGHTS

9. Not only is Taillon feeling discomfort but Tim Williams reported Tyler Glasnow will not start the season due to back pain. Fellow right-handed pitching prospect Clay Holmes is out for the year Tommy John surgery. The rash of injuries and pains throughout the spring training camps is a not-so-subtle reminder of how difficult it is to graduate a young prized pitcher to become a durable, top-of-the rotation workhorse.

The Pirates believe they can improve upon industry standard attrition rates. And it’s important they do because no club has spent more draft picks and treasure on amateur pitching than the Pirates under Huntington as we’ve documented.

 

8. Some feel the Pirate have adequate pitching depth, and the Pirates do have a number of starting options that will not make the rotation,  but I contend Jeff Locke, Brandon Cumpton, Stolmy Pimentel are back-of-the-rotation options and are not going to be mid- to top-of-the-rotation difference makers.

 

7.  I don’t know what the terms were of the Pirates’ extension offer to Starling Marte were but I can’t blame the Pirates for trying or for Marte betting on his own talent.

I do think the days if outrageously team-friendly bargains are over in pre-arb extensions … unless clubs target players before they reach the majors. Clubs are going to have to start carrying more of the risk burden in these deals, or pay closer to true market value in arbitration buyout/free agency years.


6.
This is would be my extension preference list if I was an adviser to Huntington:

Gregory Polanco, Cole, Marte and Neil Walker. (I don’t think there’s much of a chance Pedro Alvarez would be amenable)

Polanco was not a first-round bonus baby like George Springer so he might have more incentive to sign a 7-year, $23-million-type extension that the Astros offered to Springer last fall before he reached the majors…. I know Scott Boras represents Cole but maybe this rash of injuries has Cole thinking about securing some more guaranteed dollars. …. I think it’s wise to approach Marte and I’d also approach Walker – who has more upside remaining, I think– and who might like to stay in his hometown.

 

6. In regard to perhaps now targeting players earlier in their careers, it’s never been more important to evaluate your own talent.

 

5. I’m not sure if I mentioned this previously but one player that jumped out at me at Pirate City was Alen Hanson. He was more physical than I thought and barreled up major league pitching in a B game I witnessed. If he can stick at short, opinions are split, he could be the most undervalued prospect among the top Pirates’ 10 prospects.

 

4. Travis Ishikawa deserving of a roster spot? Who had this in their roster bracket? I’m hesitant to give any weight to spring numbers but he’s squared up plenty of MLB pitching this spring. The process has been good and so, too, are the results: .467 OBP this spring and 1.100 OPS. What do you do with Andrew Lambo and Ishikawa? For me, this is the only tricky roster decision remaining.

 

3. I’d be surprised if Bryan Morris  is not on the Opening Day roster.

 

2. Andrew McCutchen looks ready, eh?

 

1. The Pirates were probably going to have some run prevention regression no matter how healthy they were/are this season. What the Pirates really need is for their bats to improve in 2014; to have some breakouts and improvement from Alvarez, Walker and Marte. And I do think Walker and Alvarez are going to have excellent seasons.

 

 

STAT OF THE WEEK:

19.7

Percent chance Baseball Prospectus is giving the Pirates to make the playoffs, fourth in the NL Central, only ranking ahead of the Cubs. Baseball Prospectus projects the Pirates to win 79 games.

The Pirates are in line for some regression but I think the Vegas preseason line of 84.5 wins seems more reasonable.

 

HE SAID IT:

“You know how fast I am.”

- Marte when asked how fast he is by yours truly

 

NON-BASEBALL RECOMMENDATION: 

Next year when you’re filling out your bracket consult Ken Pomeroy and his adjusted rankings.

I had no idea Tennessee was any good until I found Tennessee ranked 6th in his overall power rankings. Tennessee is in the Sweet 16. Thanks, Ken. (Of course, as a reminder that stat wonks don’t have all the answers in any sport I could  have used a heads up that Baylor had a 207-foot wingspan advantage over Creighton. Creighton shot 42 percent from 3 in the regular season, an incredible number, but couldn’t find any shooting space against Baylor.).

- TS

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Comments

  1. The silver lining with Taillon is that if this injury is minor and it only sets him back a month, there might not be any concerns with inning limits in September.

  2. Travis Sawchik says:

    True, there could be a silver lining to this. But where there is elbow-related smoke there is often elbow-related fire

  3. NMR says:

    Really, though? Maybe we’re a bit skittish after the rash of surgeries this winter.

  4. Absolutely. It is never good when the elbow starts barking.

  5. Travis Sawchik says:

    Premature to speculate, true. It might be nothing.

    I will say if there is a partial tear I think it’s better to go ahead with the surgery than avoid the inevitable. Rehabbing a partially torn ulnar rarely seems to work. See: Dylan Bundy, Miguel Sano, Matt Harvey, etc.

  6. Nate83 says:

    207 foot wingspan advantage? Does Baylor have a 747 playing for them? That doesn’t really seem feasibly. I’m thinking it was supposed to be inches. which is still about 14 inches per player on a 15 player team which would be a remarkable advantage. I know Syracuse looks for long lengthy players that fit their aggressive get in the passing lane defensive style. Maybe Baylor does the same.

  7. NMR says:

    Very much agreed, Travis. The team wasted at least two months playing the rehab game with Kyle McPherson last year.

  8. Nate83 says:

    I’m not sure any teams have top of the rotation type players waiting in reserve for pitching. That seems like a lofty expectation to set on any team. I personally didn’t look at Liriano or Morton as waiting in the wings last year. Both would have been starters if healthy. Waiting in the wings would have been Cole, Jonathan Sanchez, Locke and Cumpton. I’m not sure this years crop is any worse especially if Taillon ends up being OK since Locke and Cumpton are still available and Gomez proved to be good in that situation last year and there are other options as well.

  9. Andrew says:

    The only good thing that can be said about elbow pain is it is not shoulder pain. I really do not care what the MRI says, frequently pitchers go in for flexor tendon repairs and the UCL is reconstructed once the arm is opened up. What is the saying, “There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.” The Pecota projection and all the prospect injuries is testing my optimism.

  10. NMR says:

    Yeah, I’ve had this discussion with Travis before and still think he’s mistaken in combining depth with difference makers.

    We’re talking about two separate issues.

  11. Travis Sawchik says:

    FWIW Andrew, the PECOTA projection is the most pessimistic I’ve seen. I also doubt it takes into account defensive shifts, etc. …I’d be surprised if there was that much regression.

  12. Travis Sawchik says:

    Nate, the 207-foot reference was sarcastic hyperbole. But Baylor did have a monstrous size and wingspan advantage.

  13. Andrew says:

    Yes, I am not sure how the Pirates go from 2nd best or at least average defensively to only better than the Phillies in the NL. The opposite effect for the Cardinals.

  14. NMR says:

    Using the league as a reference, think about all the SP injuries this winter.

    How many of those guys were replaced by “top-of-the-rotation difference makers”?

  15. Leo Walter says:

    Travis,I can’t remember if it was on your’s or a P2 thread last week where someone commented that the Organization needed to draft more bats as they had ” too much ” pitching. I am wondering where that person is now ?

  16. NMR says:

    -Nice point highlighting Alen Hanson, Travis. He does seem to have fallen behind some of the louder prospects in the system, but I emphatically agree with you regarding his value. There isn’t a position within the organization with less long term value than shortstop. Hanson working out will be an enormous boost.

    -I mentioned the Ishikawa conundrum on yesterday’s Game Blog. My question was what does it take a Manager to trust a veteran like Ishikawa who clearly has not been good enough for a Big League job several years in a row? What has changed this spring that makes anyone think Ishikawa is better? Honest questions, not rhetorical. I’m trying to think of comparable situations, and can’t really come up with anything.

  17. Leo Walter says:

    Plus 1 Andrew. Sort of stupid when you really think about it.

  18. Leo Walter says:

    And another Plus 1 NMR !

  19. Nate83 says:

    My bad. I’m a little slow on Monday’s. I thought maybe it was an actual stat and you just switched inches to feet on accident. Regardless Baylor just looked so much more athletic then Creighton. It had to be one of the worse match ups for Creighton. It will be interesting to see how Wisconsin fairs against Baylor. Wisconsin is more athletic then most people realize but Baylor will have the advantage. Wisconsin can rebound much better then Creighton. It will be one of the more interesting games to watch in the Sweet 16.

  20. Nate83 says:

    With Lambo having options left I don’t think it hurts to bring Ishikawa North and give him 20 games to prove himself while at the same time giving Lambo some time to discover his swing in AAA. It’s not like Lambo has spent a ridiculous amount of time in AAA. He only has 400 at bats and they are split over 2 years.

  21. Patrick(RI) says:

    re: your second paragraph, compared to , say Lambo?

  22. Travis Sawchik says:

    NMR, I see what you’re saying.

    The Pirates had a No. 1 (Liriano), No. 2 (Cole), and a No. 3 (Morton) in reserve last year. Pretty rare as it turned out. No such reserve this year and few teams have it.

    But depth is more important to Pirates than other contenders since Pirates’ rotation – while talented – lacks much of a track record.

    Gerrit Cole looks like a 200 IP horse but until he does it only Wandy has reached 200 IP among the projected rotation members. That makes a Taillon pretty important to have in reserve because the Pirates might very well need another top-of-the rotation type to emerge to get to 85+ wins.

  23. Travis Sawchik says:

    Nate, agreed. Lambo has almost been treated or viewed as he’s an out-of-options player this camp.

  24. The Gunner says:

    Spring stats supposedly don’t mean anything but, in Lambo’s case, an exception is being made. For now, the BMTIB will give him an opportunity to work out all the kinks at Indy and hopefully, he’ll return in late April/early May and be productive. Ishikawa had a nice spring but is no more than a stop gap solution.

  25. Travis Sawchik says:

    NMR,

    Agreed. I think Gayo signed a defensive-minded SS he loves last June … but he’s also seven years away. This club really needs a mid- to long-term answer at SS. Stephen Drew is still available!

    That’s a great question on Ishikawa. I think the staff would have to believe his process has changed in some way and they are seeing the process tweak lead to results on on the field. Otherwise, if it’s the same guy with the same swing swing and approach, spring training stats and small sample size reign supreme in evaluation. I haven’t seen enough of Ishikawa to have an opinion of if there’s something different.

  26. Travis Sawchik says:

    Yeah, I love BP but I don’t buy into the Pirates’ W-L projection too much.

    I do think the Brewers are going to be better than a lot of people realize and the NL Central will be a pretty competitive neighborhood in 2014.

  27. Andrew says:

    For those without Twitter (probably better for it) From Travis: Platoon partner for Mercer on the way? MT @jonmorosi Source: Pirates have had trade talks with Diamondbacks about shortstop Didi Gregorius.

  28. NMR says:

    You’re certainly not going to hear an argument from me on the importance of depth.

    I just don’t really see what options the team has, or possible could’ve had. Depth guys just simply aren’t impact guys. That’s how it works, and why health is so important.

  29. NMR says:

    Did I miss something? Where is the news that Lambo will be starting in AAA?

  30. brendanmcfadden says:

    Interesting.

    I’d be curious A) what it might require to acquire B) How it would impact the like 25 man roster as it currently stands.

  31. Travis Sawchik says:

    I updated the blog above with Gregorius rumor. We’ve mentioned him before. I actually think it makes sense. He can platoon with Mercer or move Mercer into a super utility role in the infield.

    I think Gregorius can pick it and hit more than folks think (see above)

  32. The Gunner says:

    NMR

    No, you didn’t miss anything. It’s just speculation on my part about Lambo going to AAA. I really hope his bat heats up starting today and they bring him North instead of Ishikawa.

  33. NMR says:

    @Patrick – More compared to the value of a given 25-man roster spot that just Andrew Lambo.

    The Pirates do not HAVE to go north with a left-handed 1B. They SHOULD have one to pair with Gaby, but only if that lefty can actually hit. Otherwise, you’re wasting a roster spot, and in this case getting rid of a good reliever for no reason.

    @Travis – Thanks for the Gayo tip. I think Huntington absolutely had the right idea coveting Jose Iglesias in the Joel Hanrahan negotiations. I may be a bit telling to notice that the guys Huntington has liked at the position – Barmes, Iglesias, now possibly Gregorius – are just about the complete opposite type of player from Jordy Mercer.

  34. NMR says:

    Ah, gotcha. Sorry. And agreed!

  35. Travis Sawchik says:

    Dbacks are reportedly seeking pitching in return for Didi. Pirates, as we know, have a stockpile of RHP prospects (though fewer are healthy today than a week ago)

  36. NMR says:

    Agreed on Ishikawa…I see that short, inside-out swing from the left side and get Chase Utley butterflies, but Ishikawa’s results as a big leaguer do no support the good contact, line drive hitter his swing suggests.

  37. brendanmcfadden says:

    Agreed re: Didi.

    Worth noting he had a .245 BABIP in the second half vs .313 in the first.

    He had a somewhat lower LD% and more GB than FB in the second half. So that accounts for some of it. But it’s also possible he was a bit unlucky too.

    He did maintain a 12% walk rate in the second half, so pretty good plate discipline as you point out above.

    A link to his 2013 splits for those interested: http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=6012&position=SS&season=2013

    If this trade were to come to pass who’s roster spot does Didi take? Barmes? Harrison?

  38. Nate83 says:

    After doing a little research on him he seems like a perfect fit for what the Pirates value. It seems like his bat could be on par with Mercer with a better glove. He just turned 24 and has 5 years of team control.

  39. Travis Sawchik says:

    Personally I’d make Didi and Barmes platoon partners. Best D combo at SS. Mercer then plays against LHP at 2B and 3B depending upon Walker/Alvarez numbers vs. particularly LHPs. By trading for Didi you can effectively create 2.5 platoons in infield.
    Harrison might be odd man out.

  40. The Czar says:

    Like Didi possibly coming over if the price is right. How do the so called “experts” say he is an average stick at best. He is only 24 and has time to improve. Like his glove though!

    Stephen Drew for one year I presume. What would his asking price currently? Gotta think he wants to get going soon…

  41. The Czar says:

    Exactly! He’s still young, excellent defense!

  42. Nate83 says:

    .359 OBP against right handed pitching and a good glove seems to be a good starting point for a young team controlled shortstop. If Mercer can handle 2nd and a 3rd on occasion I have to imagine Harrison becomes odd man out but that makes it difficult to have a platoon at first unless your platoon can play the outfield as well.

  43. Patrick(ri) says:

    Good point, NMR.

  44. Pig Legs Robinson says:

    I don’t see the Pirates getting Gregorius or really even having a need for him. D’backs must want a good bit for him, otherwise Detroit would have went after him to replace the injured Julio Iglesius. Instead they took on a 37 old dinosaur who spent most of last year playing first base rather than shortstop.
    Pirates still say Alen Hansen is a shortstop and not a second baseman, so he would be their next shortstop, and he’s less than a year away.

  45. NMR says:

    He also had a 25% pop-up rate in the second half. Nothing unlucky about that BABIP.

    Gregorius had a huge April and did absolutely nothing with the bat after that. Jury very much still out on whether or not he has a big league bat.

  46. That is true. But elbow pain is a shoulder problem. Virtually all pitching arm injuries manifest from a weakness, instability, or flexion issue with the shoulder. Rehab for an elbow injury is almost identical to rehab for a shoulder injury.

  47. Travis Sawchik says:

    It will be interesting to see where Hansen ends up. I still think it’s likely he winds up at 2B because the vast majority of SS prospects slide off the position…but it does seem he has improved his defensive profile

  48. Jeff King says:

    OK, say we do acquire this Didi guy. What happens to Barmes? They wouldn’t eat that contract. So our bench is even worse!

  49. Nate83 says:

    The Pirate scouts better be sure about his bat if they are going to give up any of their top 5 pitching prospects. If he doesn’t hit as well as Mercer why give something up? Why is Arizona trading him? Is Chris Owings that good that they are confident Didi isn’t needed? If so they can’t expect that high of a return. A nice return yes, but nothing too high on the prospect list.

  50. Dan Novak says:

    Is it just me or do you cringe every time a ball is hit to Jordy Mercer ?

  51. NMR says:

    It’s not just you.

  52. NMR says:

    “If he doesn’t hit as well as Mercer why give something up?”

    Because they value defense over offense at shortstop.

  53. Pig Legs Robinson says:

    If it’s for Locke maybe I can handle it (but they’ll regret in the long term), but if they give up Kingham I’ll scream. I’m not convinced Didi can hit though. I’m okay with Mercer and Barmes. I like Mercer’s bat, and his fielding doesn’t scare me any.

    I’m still hoping for Mike Carp or Adam Lind at first base before anything else. Otherwise I’d keep Ishikawa around and let Lambo go to triple a. I’d also release Tabata and keep Dickerson. I don’t think any team is going to trade for Tabata, but if someone does, great. I don’t care what they get in return.

  54. Dan Novak says:

    John Mayberry Jr for Tabata straight up….two major disappointments but we need a right handed Rf option !

  55. Nate83 says:

    I don’t. I think his defense could be average. The more important question is does Huntington and Hurdle cringe every time a ball is hit his way. We had a defense first shortstop in 2012 and a majority of 2013. In my opinion it wasn’t the worse thing to watch. I think Didi would be at worse a slight improvement over Barmes offensively and at best on par with Mercer. I’m not opposed to the deal if the Pirates don’t give up to much.

  56. Nate83 says:

    I value defense as well. In fact I’ve defended Barmes more then I care to admit over the last 2 years. You can only value defense within reason. If Didi is closer to Barmes offensively then he is to Mercer then I just don’t know how good of a prospect I would trade for him. His and Mercer’s offensive sample sizes are both really small. I don’t know if we can definitively say either will be this or that going forward.

  57. Patrick(RI) says:

    Yeah, who would give anything for aguy who hit 300 down the stretch?

  58. NMR says:

    Very much agree with all of that, Nate.

  59. Thundercrack says:

    Travis,
    Don’t you think Pimentel has the chance to be middle of the rotation starter…if he was strictly a starter and not in the pen?

  60. Thundercrack says:

    On Thursday might I saw Mercer go in the hole, field the ball and make a strong accurate throw to get the runner.

    The next inning Jordy let one go under his glove

  61. JoeBucco says:

    Won’t be long until every pitcher gets to go under the knife for pre-emptive TJ surgery. Seems pitchers are better after it happens, so might as well get it over with sooner than later. ;)

  62. JoeBucco says:

    Before anyone takes that seriously, I was totally joking.

  63. Johnstown Russ says:

    Travis,
    I agree that there probably will not be an extension for Pedro. Boras will get a huge contract for him, something only the Yankees or Mets will pay. That being said, we have him for 2 more years. When does Neil pull the trigger? He has to be traded, possibly next winter or the next. The pirates can’t afford to let him walk as he should bring a hefty return. If history shows us anything ( bonds, Bonilla, drabek), small market teams need to trade a star or 2 do keep the talent pool coming.

  64. The Gunner says:

    I thought this link might be worth sharing regarding the Buccos 1B situation – does this make sense to any of you fellow bloggers (and Travis, too)?

    http://saberbucs.net/2014/03/24/the-pirates-magic-number-is-1/

  65. Didi would be the everyday shortstop and Mercer would platoon with Walker with occasional starts at 3B and SS. Barmes would be traded or sold to another team that needs a defensive SS. Harrison stays put.

    Remember who the GM is in Arizona. Towers makes impulsive trades all the time. If he likes a particular player (Locke, Cumpton, a reliever) he’ll pull the trigger and ask questions later.

  66. Nate83 says:

    It does make sense to me and saberbucs always does a nice job. As with any projection he had to pick a method to come to his conclusion. The method he picked seems pretty sound but I’m sure somebody could use numbers a different way and it would come out as Morales being 1.5 wins better then Lambo instead of .7 wins. You also could just look at their projected WAR and see that Morales averages about 1.5 WAR using the main 3 projection services and Lambo .7 WAR. That is a difference of .8 so his numbers are pretty good.

    They are all projections and Lambo really could be anything at this point so who knows what the actual outcome would be. Morales will cost at least 10 million and probably more. Knowing what I think I know about the Pirates I don’t think they pay that much for less then 1 win added. Somebody should be available at the trade deadline if things don’t go right at 1B up until that point. The only way what if’s become part of the equation is if the Pirates miss the playoffs by less then 2 games. Anybody who thinks any of the options being talked about improve this team by more then 2 games in the win column just doesn’t understand how difficult it is for 1 player to make that big of a difference unless it’s somebody much more elite then Morales or Lind who really are the only players that are even good that have been talked about.

  67. Andrew says:

    Hidden I am going to have to disagree yes the shoulder is crucial but an injury that manifest in the shoulder is worse because the success rate of UCL reconstruction dwarfs the success rates of repairing shoulder structures and anterior stabilization procedures.

    Yes rehab for an injury below the shoulder involves fixing deficits in the shoulder, but identical? If a player has a loss of elbow extension after rotator cuff repair something is wrong. Attributing all pitching injuries to the shoulder deficits is a little simplistic there can be problems in other areas of the kinetic chain.

  68. Leo Walter says:

    Why would the Mets need Pedro unless they moved him to 1st base ?

  69. Jim S. says:

    I was skeptical of Gregrorius’ bat at well at first. I’m not saying I’m now sold on it, but he showed some promise last year, particularly vs. RHP.

    284 P/A vs RHP: .275/.359/.429 30 BB/35 K OPS+ = 121

    Only had a .296 BABIP on that .275 avg. So, it wasn’t an inflated Carp-like BABIP.

    Small sample size, of course. But, if the glove is sound, that might be enough to go on for a guy who just turned 24 and is a lefty bat. I’d prefer him to Drew, who has seemed like a decent fit this winter.

    I’d give up Locke.

  70. Jim S. says:

    Unfortunately, I also cringe every time Barmes has a bat in his hands.

  71. Jim S. says:

    Drafted on Tuesday, surgery on Thursday? :-)

  72. Travis Sawchik says:

    Thanks for the link, Gunner. And a key point in projecting Lambo vs. Morales: Morales has a track record, Lambo does not. Maybe Lambo could out-produce Morales but he could also be a below-replacement-level player. Moreover, I highly doubt Morales is a Pirate in 2014.

  73. Travis Sawchik says:

    There are cases of teenagers having preemptive TJ surgery. Seems crazy and ill-advised.

  74. Nate83 says:

    That is the fear. Lambo could be below replacement. As we are talking Lambo has been sent down to Indy so he will not be part of the opening day platoon. This is a good sign that management will not wait to long if certain options are not working out at first base. It looks like Gabby will get the chance to prove he can be an everyday first baseman and Ishikawa will get a chance to start 1 or 2 games a week. Based on this Lambo decision I’m confident they won’t get to much time to prove they can handle it before another solution is found.

    I think it’s possible the Pirates are proactive to the situation instead of reactive and still make a trade before opening day for a first baseman.

 
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