TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
Bucco Blog

« Font size »
Decrease | Reset |Increase

Monday Mop-Up Duty: the sum of all fears

PNC PARK – So much rests upon the right shoulder of Gerrit Cole.

The way I see it there are three players the Pirates cannot afford to lose for large portions of the season: Andrew McCutchen – you might have heard he won the NL MVP – Russell Martin - the pitch-framing, pitch-sequencing, throwing arm, presence and league-average bat for a catcher are invaluable - and Cole.

In looking beyond 2014, you can make an argument Cole is the team’s most valuable asset. So whenever your bluest of blue chips – a young, pre-arb ace – has shoulder discomfort that summons worst-case scenarios for the pitcher and the club. An elbow injury requiring Tommy John is not desirable but at least the success rates of the surgery are high. Structural damage to a shoulder is a much more difficult to return from.

So there was some bad news Sunday as Cole was dispatched the DL and will miss at least two starts. He can return June 19th (though I think that is optimistic … more on that later). But the overwhelming good news for the Pirates was that Neal Huntington reported tests revealed just “fatigue” and no structural damage (No, Huntington did not immediately let out a sigh of relief bef0re reporters).

“We talked about ‘Do we just skip and try to bring him back the next time?’ At the end of the day we felt like it was probably better to just be aggressive with it now, give him some down time, and get that fatigue out of there,” Huntington said. “If everything goes as planned he’ll come right out after the DL stint. But if we need a little more time, we need a little more time. The tests we have done so far confirmed shoulder fatigue. Gerrit feels good with it.”

We’ve written about this before, but this close call is again a grim reminder about the risk associated in invested heavily in pitching.

Consider, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2011 draft and the No. 2 overall pick from the 2010 draft - Jameson Taillon are now on the shelf for the Pirates. That’s $14.5 million in signing bonuses and more important than the dollars is the premium selections spent on Cole and Taillon. The Pirates are hoping to not be drafting that highly again for quite some time but those picks  represented their best chances to get franchise-fortunes-changing talent.

If the Pirates are going to have a Golden Era it starts with a twin set of golden arms staying healthy and productive. TJ surgery isn’t the end of the road for Taillon, but shoulder surgery can be a game-changer for a pitcher.

It appears the Pirates dodged a significant bullet, though it should be noted no MRI or diagnostic test is perfect.

coledugout

Cole on Saturday at PNC Park – Chris Horner photo

Said Cole: “I don’t see it as a huge issue. We are on the right path and I feel much better than I did a few days ago.”

So the Pirates hope.

 

STARTING NINE THOUGHTS

9. Looking for a recent comparable for shoulder fatigue?

Ryan Lawrence of the Philly Daily News noted Cole Hamels dealt with it this spring. Hamels returned and is pitching well. That’s the good news. But he missed the first three weeks of the season after first noting the shoulder fatigue on March 6. That’s seven weeks of missed time.

“I know nothing has gone wrong,” Hamels said about his shoulder on March 6. “….Ultimately my body is telling me, ‘Hey, slow it down a little bit and start over in a certain way so that you can prevent injury but build up for the long haul.’”

Said Cole yesterday:  ”I think this is just my body letting me know we need to get this right.”

Pirates would be wise to be cautious with timetable, imo.

8. I do think the experience of the past year would have me shying away from pitchers with premium draft picks. New draft theory from South Hills Command: focus on BPA bats in first and second rounds … then collect a quantity of projectable high school arms. And it’s the later which the Pirates have consistently done.

IN OTHER NEWS …

7.  Interesting that Huntington that mentioned Josh Harrison could play shortstop as a super-sub on Sunday. A mini Ben Zobrist? The next Zorilla? Hurdle dropped a Chone Figgins comp when asked about the last utility player who has forced his way into becoming a regular.

6. That looked more like the first-half Jeff Locke … and the Pirates will need at least another start like that as they attempt to weather the Cole injury.

5. Interesting draft trend: more seniors continue to be take, writes Clint Longenecker of Baseball America.

4. If you’re sitting in the first row please be aware of game situations.

3. How good is the Brewers’ middle-of-the-field core? Jonathan Lucroy might be the most underrated player in the game. Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez each made game-securing catches in the late-innings Sunday. Lucroy’s contract is a major heist producing major surplus value.

2. Ike Davis has looked lost in June after a very good May. He’s going to get a mental break over the next two games.

1. Gregory Polanco Watch Day 62: I’m calling June 17th as Polanco’s arrival date. Keep in mind the Super 2 date is moving and any estimate is not written in concrete. Huntington apparently said on his radio show yesterday that they believe Cole might be Super 2 eligible after all (that might be a big problem four years from now when he could command $20 million in arbitration). And with more and more teams holding back top prospects, it’s probably wise for the Pirates to keep Polanco in Triple-A for a few more weeks to be safe and not risk paying him eight more figures and eliminating future payroll flexibility. Hey, I’m not the one who conceived this rule.

 

STAT OF THE WEEK: 0 for 23

That’s the slump Starling Marte is in the midst of. Are you worried?

I’m not too concerned, yet, but if you’re hit tool is flawed that  is a big problem.

 

HE SAID IT

What is fatigue?

Huntington: “Fatigue is fatigue.”

 

NON-BASEBALL RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK

I’m caught up on Homeland. I have no series to stream. Sad. Any suggestions?

- TS

Comments

  1. Nate83 says:

    Some new FX series are starting up (“Strain” and “Tyrant”). Also if your a fan of comedy “Louis” is an excellent show that’s been on for a number of years so if you haven’t yet watched that you can spend a few weekends or nights catching up on that.

    I’m not going to panic on Cole just yet. Hopefully it simply is just fatigue. It’s nice to hear that he already feels better.

    It’s been a strange year for the Bucs. It seems like they just can’t get all parts working at once or if they do start to get some momentum they lose some odd games or an injury happens. I will say one thing this year more then any other the FO has shown good or bad they will stick to their plan and not panick or make knee jerk decisions.

  2. Travis,

    Last year about this time you wrote that it was a good possibility to see Marte, McCutch, and Polanco in the same outfield by June 2014. I disputed your “premature assessment,” saying that Polanco was still in A ball and needed to prove himself in AA and AAA first. I called for Polanco to be allowed to “cook”, to “marinate” in the Minors until he forced his way up because of his play.

    Well, he has cooked, marinated, and has done everything but stand on his head to force his way up here. It appears what I called your “way premature assessment” was correct. Maybe I was right also, as he certainly has cooked and marinated! However, congratulations.

    Now, about Francisco Lindor . . . .

  3. Nate83 says:

    +++

  4. Travis,

    You’re a stat man. Digest the following:

    2013 — .312 BA — 57 G — 218 AB — 29 R — 68 H — 17 2B — 0 3B — 6 HR — 30 RBI — 37 K — 16 BB — .836 OPS

    2014 — .311 BA — 58 G — 229 AB — 27 R — 71 H — 13 2B — 3 3B — 6 HR — 37 RBI — 35 K — 17 BB — .830 OPS

    2013 numbers are for Gregory Polanco at high A ball. 2014 numbers are for Josh Bell at high A ball.

    I will be looking forward to your forthcoming article on expecting/demanding Josh Bell to be at 1st Base in Pittsburgh for the Pirates by June of next season!

  5. BostonsCommon says:

    Any chance Marte improves his performance when Polanco comes up, takes some pressure off, another fellow Dominican? Or am I just grasping at nothing here…

  6. Jon says:

    Have you watched The Americans (2 seasons) or Fargo (which is getting close to the end of S1)?

  7. Nate83 says:

    I think Fargo was only intented to be one season. Although the good reviews and really good ratings have started some rumors of seasons being added. Really good show that I personally feel has lost some steam over the last couple of weeks but I definately want to see what happens these next two weeks.

  8. BostonsCommon says:

    Polanco finished 2013 with almost 1,700 PAs as a pro. Assuming health, Bell should finish 2014 with around 1,100… And I think the Pirates bought some time between Ike and Gaby.

    But yes, yes, yes… more likely in 2016, his age 23 season.

    For the Rays of course…

  9. Travis Sawchik says:

    Jon,

    I have watched The Americans. Great stuff. But that season is also over, too!

  10. Travis Sawchik says:

    Groat,

    Major accountability points!

    Now, what about Francisco Lindor do you ask?

  11. Jim S. says:

    I am not overly concerned at this point about Marte. He’s a free swinger, who has a very hard time laying off low outside/in the dirt off-speed pitches. That profile lends itself to slumps. He is who I thought he was as a hitter. He needs to get better at recognizing the pitches that cause him the most trouble or he won’t be a successful hitter.

    I’ve read that he is seeing more pitches per at bat this year. I wonder if that is part of a plan the team designed for him, figuring that as a leadoff hitter he was going to need to draw more than 25 walks for a season. I really don’t know about this. I’m just guessing. But, if he is seeing more pitches it does seem logical that he is trying to work counts a bit more. That is a difficult adjustment for a free swinger. Sometimes in trying to reign a guy like that in you end up doing more harm than good if he can never make the necessary adjustments. I would not want him to become too passive.

  12. Jim S. says:

    I think the Pirates will say they are looking for improvements in specific skills for each player, rather than just looking at stats, Groat. But, those stats are remarkably similar to Polanco’s from last year. Good catch on that!

    Bell is a switch hitter, and from what I have read his swings are drastically different from each side of the plate. Maybe they are looking for more consistency from him. He pretty much missed 2012, right? He does seem to be making rapid progress, though, now, for an inexperienced player.

    I think it is always a good sign when a young player moves up a level and cuts his K rate. Bell was at 17.3% K’s last year, but has dropped that to 15.2% so far this year, which is probably one of the biggest reasons for his higher batting average. He certainly seems like a guy who is on the rise as a hitter, which is great to see. It seems likely to me that he gets to AA this year for, maybe, 150 or so ABs, and gets to AAA very early next season. That would put him on target for PNC in 2016 if he continues to progress. I like his future.

  13. NMR says:

    Bingo.

    But I’ll sacrifice chicken and rum to Jobu if it works…

  14. NMR says:

    Pitchers are throwing him 5% less pitches in the zone, and he’s making contact 5% less overall.

    Guessing that’s not the evidence we were hoping for!

  15. NMR says:

    “…then collect a quantity of projectable high school arms.”

    Except that those guys get hurt too, right?

    Presuming you aren’t a fictitious General Manager of a team with the financial resources to sign top starters, you’re now tasking scouting and development staff with finding and producing top-of-the-rotation starters from a riskier talent pool with equivalent injury risk. Some boss you are, Travis! ;)

    I like the Pirates 2014 draft because it shows maturation. It shows they’re self-evaluating, learning, and adjusting.

    Guys who are delusional enough to judge and grade drafts immediately after the fact are the kind that love the Brewers 2014 draft and think the Pirates was awful. They’re guys who get wowed by massive tools rathers than players who can, you know, play baseball. The Pirates have been plenty guilty in the past of being that guy – Stetson Allie anyone – but I think 2014 clearly shows they’ve grown out of that phase. They used a balanced approach, and selected guys that match up well with their changing organizational philosophy at the top.

    Now we wait five years to see if it worked.

  16. Chris says:

    Travis – have you watched Luther? First 3 seasons are on netflix. Great, great show.

  17. Jim S. says:

    Is this the same Milwaukee who is going to keep a guy on it’s roster all season w/o ever letting him pitch a meaningful inning because he is probably 3 years from being ready for MLB? I bet their minor league system is loaded with prospects.

  18. NMR says:

    re:

    7) “Best way I can think of to compensate for a failing starting rotation full of ground ball pitchers is to put Josh Harrison at shortstop”, said no one. Ever.

    3) Jean Segura is vastly overrated due to a hot start he had no chance of sustaining, but he’s still a legit big league shortstop. Probably a good idea to make sure you have one of those. And any amount Segura is overrated, Lucroy doubles as underrated.

    2) What it looks like when a Manager misunderstands “streaky”:

    Pedro Alvarez, since being dropped to 6th on June 23: .304/.361/.518
    Ike Davis, since moving up to 4th on June 23:: .182/.315/.250

  19. NMR says:

    Haha, exactly.

    It’s like they said to themselves, “Hey, we’re so good at player development that our farm system is ranked last in baseball, so lets pick three massive projects with huge bust potential.”

  20. BostonsCommon says:

    Well said…

    But Gatewood and Harrison still would have looked at 39.. I would have liked to see Gatewood and Tucker compete and battle it out over the next 5 years.

  21. BostonsCommon says:

    looked nice*

  22. NorthPirateFan says:

    Polanco’s arrival won’t have any bearing on Marte what so ever because his recent “slump” as some have apologetically taken to calling it has nothing to with pressure or anything else of that sort. This “slump” is no different that the last big “slump” that was so glaring to everyone, that being his performance in the playoffs which some tried to blame on his hand injury, and the result of one thing and one thing only … the steady diet of quality RHP he’s seen over those stretches and his fundamental lack of ability against them.

    Marte’s “slump” will end as soon as he sees a couple lefty pitchers in a row and everyone will declare him to be okay, but he won’t be because Marte is what Marte is … a hitter with zero plate discipline, patience or strike zone judgement who struggles not to swing at every pitch no matter where it is who’s problems hitting RHP are only magnified by playing at PNC Park.

    Sooner or later the Pirates will have to come to terms with the reality of the situation which is that Starling Marte is what I said he was back in 2012 … a right handed platoon hitter, defensive caddy and pinch runner and will never be anything more. Anyone who looks at his peripherals and sees anything else is simply enamored with his speed and can’t see past it.

    By start of 2016 the Pirates are going to be choking on that contract they prematurely gave him.

  23. NorthPirateFan says:

    Doesn’t explain his horrible splits. The only reason things look so glaringly bad right now is because he’s not been able to punish the small number of lefty pitchers he’s seen so far as he has in the past. He’ll get his licks in against them soon enough though, the overall numbers will rise and it still won’t make any difference because in the end he’ll still be the same liability and out machine his always has been when there’s a RHP on the mound against him.

    The hope that someone as fundamentally flawed a hitter as his peripherals suggest he is will suddenly learn to be patience and control the strike zone is just wishful thinking.

  24. Travis Sawchik says:

    NMR,

    I want my premium, early picks to be guys with star potential — and I want them to stay on the field. If I’m a GM and I’m weighing an equally rated bat vs. arm. I’m going with the bat every time at this point.

    I’ll collect my projectable pitchers later.

  25. Nate83 says:

    I don’t disagree with your analysis of his issues for the most part. I think it’s a little harsher then mine would be. I do think he will always have issues with plate discipline but I don’t think he is a sub .250 hitter. I think he will settle in around .260-.280 and is very valuable in other ways. I personally don’t think he is a platoon player.

  26. NOT BLINDED BY LAST YEAR says:

    what if bell is the the player to be named in the davis deal?????

  27. Nate83 says:

    The Pirates faced fewer left handers then most teams last year. They just don’t exist in the Pirates division. I think last year is more indicitive of the type of player he is then this year. The league has punched back and he will have to answer but from everything I’ve heard he is capable of that.

    I get this feeling that a lot of fans expect 3 Andrew McCutchen’s being in the outfield over the next 5 years and that just isn’t realistic or fair to the other two guys. They will be very good players and Polanco has a ceiling that is pretty impressive but more then likely will end up below that ceiling.

  28. NMR says:

    Harrison, I wouldn’t argue as much.

    But this time last year Gatewood was blowing up the showcase circuit with guys calling him a sure top 10 pick, possibly 1.1. Then over the last year they saw that he had no chance of sticking at SS and was 90% insane batting practice power / 10% hit tool.

  29. NMR says:

    So if the rate of TJS goes back down to “normal” next year, does your opinion change once again?

  30. Nate83 says:

    Tucker is interesting. Yes they more or likely could have gotten him later but I think the plan was to make sure they got him and they know they can sign him for underslot and push some of the at money to later picks.

    Kids only 17 and it sounds like his work ethic is crazy. At 6-4 hopefully he will fill out a little. I heard a lot of analyst back off their initial shock and admit Tucker had a considerable amount of upside it was just too much unknown upside to feel comfortable taking him that early. It sounded like it is possible for Tucker to justify the position the Pirates picked him in pretty quickly but he also could quickly become a faint memory.

  31. NMR says:

    FWIW, my draft preference is heavily influenced by my belief that pitching, now more than ever, is the most important building block for winning Major League Baseball games. Until a team actually does it, believing anyone can put together a quality staff of projectable high schoolers is just too utopian for me.

    But thats why we have the debates!

  32. BostonsCommon says:

    In fact, according to MLBTraderumors, ‘Pittsburgh hitters as a whole have made only 366 PA against lefties in 2014, by far the lowest in the majors.’

  33. Nate83 says:

    Boston I was actually referring to 2013. I think but am not sure that they faced the fewest amount that year as well. That is why I don’t think his splits play a large role in the difference between last year and this year.

  34. NMR says:

    I think most analysts backed off the Tucker shock when they had teams tell them they were wrong and that Tucker would’ve been picked before 39.

  35. BostonsCommon says:

    ‘By start of 2016 the Pirates are going to be choking on that contract they prematurely gave him.

    Flat out wrong. His contract will never an issue. Especially in ’16 when he’s scheduled to make $3M…He’s not a perfect player, but enough with the doom and gloom.

  36. NorthPirateFan says:

    I don’t think he’s a sub .250 hitter either and he’s definitely hitting below his over all abilities. It’s just that most of his abilities are against LHP so even when his overall number do increase, and they will, it’s mostly coming at the expense of them and he’s still just not going to be a good full time player.

  37. NorthPirateFan says:

    Actually I don’t thinks it’s the fans who expect 3 Andrew McCutchen’s being in the outfield so much as it is the Pirate’s front office and their manager … based on the roster, playing time that’s being doled out and the contracts awarded. Any fans than do expect that would be doing so based on those actions anyway.

    One Andrew McCutchen, one equally talented Gregory Polanco and a suitable platoon in LF with Marte included would not only be fine with this fans, but preferable.

    It’s the Pirate front office that seems intent on pounding square peg Marte into the round hole of a full time starter despite continued play that says he’s not up to it.

  38. Nate83 says:

    We will have to agree to disagree. He is flawed and looks like he won’t reach the ceiling we all hoped he would but he will be a 2-5 WAR player through his prime that any team would take on their roster as a starter. Until his contract hits 8 digits per year he is worth the cost.

    Dan Uggla’s contract is a burden. Prince Fielder’s contract can devastate a team. Marte’s contract is manageable no matter how bad he is and he is more likely to hold value then a 1 tool power hitter.

  39. Nate83 says:

    He would have already been gone. It is more then likely a 2013 draft pick.

  40. BostonsCommon says:

    Time for the Pirates to make a move.. And I’m not just talking Polanco.

    The next 26 games are against teams supporting a combined .439 winning%. That includes 17 home games with series against the Cubs, Reds, Mets, D’Backs, and Phillies.

  41. NorthPirateFan says:

    You misunderstood … it’s not the 3 million in 2016 that’ll be the problem. It’s that by the start of 2016 with another year and half of playing time as evidence under his belt they’ll have realized that he’s never going to hit RHP well enough to justify a full time starting gig … as will everyone else the league and they’ll still be on the hook for 37 million going forward.

    Years 2017 – 2020 the Pirates will be saddled with the choice of keeping the most costly right handed platoon mate in the majors or swallowing hard and gulping down a big chunk of that cash to move him.

    By the start of 2016 the remaining 28.5 million due Marte will make him radioactive and they’ll be stuck with no pain free way of moving him.

  42. Nate83 says:

    He just got benched for 4 games and was moved way down in the order 30 games ago so nothing is being forced. He was a 4.6 WAR player last year with games missed. A 5 WAR player doesn’t become a platoon player in the course of 60 games. If he isn’t a sub .250 player then he is valuable enough to be starting everyday because of everything else he does. Look around the league at some players starting in the outfield for some other teams. There are some really bad players being run out their everyday and almost all of them didn’t put up numbers close to Marte last year.

  43. Pedro Alvarez will always be 10 days on, 4 weeks off his entire career.

    He is presently in his “10 days on” phase.

    Clean-up, 6th, 8th——all the same.

  44. National Mart of Records,

    Has anyone reported that “Tucker would’ve been picked before 39″ other than Huntington himself?
    Or are others just parroting Neil’s words?

  45. Jim S. says:

    What I read is that he is moving up the charts quickly. That, coupled with the fact that he’s, like … 14, gives him a ton of upside. The Pirates may have made a great pick if they are right about his bat and the industry is wrong.

  46. Jim S. says:

    But, there’s that pesky 8 game lead they have on the Bucs. Ugh!

  47. NorthPirateFan says:

    Again, look at his numbers and tell me how you see a 2-5 WAR player developing out of that mess that are his hitting stats? Not just his hitting, his DWAR is down dramatically from last year we’re already seeing the nicks and dings starting to mount and him missing playing time, his poor base running instinct are on display even on those occasions he does reach base …

    If Starling Marte is spending more time on the field than the DL in his “prime” it’ll be nothing short of a miracle … or you’ll see a greatly diminish player trying to avoid that fate.

  48. BostonsCommon says:

    The guaranteed years in question:

    2016 $3M
    2017 $5M
    2018 $7.5M
    2019 $10M

    That’s an AAV of $6.375M. Marte will cover that cost with his defensive value alone… Even with all his warts, there might not be 5 teams in baseball that wouldn’t take him and his contract right now…. This is not even remotely close to a ‘radioactive’ contract.

  49. NMR says:

    To be fair to North, he’s assuming that Marte performs closer to this year than last moving forward.

    In that case, I do somewhat agree with him, although not as flamboyantly. Those last two years won’t be something the Pirates, or any other team, want to deal with for a plus defender.

  50. BostonsCommon says:

    Agree.. But he could be interesting trade bait.

  51. NMR says:

    Groat: Keith Law and Kiley McDaniel are the two guys I read about draft stuff, and they both independently reported that. Gonna have to ask everyone else what the other analysts had to say.

  52. Nate83 says:

    Which numbers? This year? 60 games?

    That would be very convenient. It also would be convenient to forget the guy put up tremendous stats for years in the minors without injuries being an issue. It would also be convenient to just forget that he actually was a 5 WAR player last year. It will also be convenient to dismiss the fact that he is currently a .8 WAR player this year which puts him on pace to be a 2 WAR player and I can’t imagine him playing worse then he has up until this point.

    Unless he gets demoted to get right at some point this year Marte ends up a 3+ WAR player by the end of this year. That is amazing value for almost any year of his contract.

  53. NMR says:

    Exactly, my friend.

  54. BostonsCommon says:

    Very much agree Nate. In almost 2,000 minor league PAs, .303/.361/.462/.823 hitter, despite K rates north of 20%.

    He’s going to hit enough, even with the strikeouts, and he does enough elsewhere. This contract will not be an issue.

  55. NMR says:

    Minor league numbers are nice, Boston, but get me a list of Major Leaguers who post >20% K-rates AND <5% BB-rates.

    I don't think it's fair to just assume Marte is out of the woods yet.

    @Nate – remember when you said over the winter that Jordy Mercer projected to be a 2+ WAR SS because of what he did in limitted at-bats last year? Our friend Andrew will be quick to point out that WAR isn't used for projections.

  56. Nate83 says:

    As my face come back from a much more red color then it’s natural tone. I did regrettable say that about Mercer. My point stands that I don’t think Marte’s last 60 games should be considered what to expect going forward. He is a very valuable player even with a .260 batting average.

  57. Scott says:

    Travis — Did you ever watch Friday Night Lights?

    BEST. TV. SERIES. EVER.

  58. BostonsCommon says:

    I can show you a list of guys that have posted 5 WAR seasons despite posting >20% K-rates AND <5% BB-rates..

    It starts with Marte.

  59. NMR says:

    @Boston: When attempting to be snarky, it helps not to be wrong.

  60. NMR says:

    I agree with you completely, Nate.

  61. BostonsCommon says:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/martest01.shtml#batting_value::none

    Did someone decide to use Fangraphs vs Baseball Reference? Serious question, no snarkiness intended.

  62. NMR says:

    No, but that does highlight the absurdity of the stat, IMO.

    I meant that the list wouldn’t start with Marte. It has been done before.

  63. BostonsCommon says:

    Did not say he was the first, just that my list would start with him… Only trying to echo Nate. He’s a valuable player even if the hit tool prevents him from reaching his ceiling…

  64. NMR says:

    And as I said, I agree.

    I just think it’s completely fair to question how valuable he’ll actually end up being.

    Have you ever taken a minute to look up how rare that combo is, btw? Very interesting.

  65. cmat0829 says:

    1. Marte: i admit i’ve lost in the past week, screaming now for his demotion to Indy… but I’m somewhat weirdly assured by the NH and CH quotes in Dejan’s very good article today.. easy to lose that perspective that Marte is a young guy and glad the Bucs management ‘stands behind our players’ and are ‘patient above all else’. I was wrong about Jordy (wanted him scuttled in favor of Barmes on May 1) and JayHey (wanted him not even to make the team out of ST). So I think I will defer to the Pirates as my armchair GM instincts are often wrong.

    I will say I loved to hear that Rene gave Marte a “grow up, buckle up, get over the pity Partay, and start producing lecture” .. I’m thinking we will start to see the 2013 Marte sometime soon…. (or so I hope).

    2. Cole. I like all the comments about this situation also. No caricature moments of hiding stuff from the press, etc. Cole brought the soreness and fatigue to the Pirates attention, and they take the right path and shut it down. If it does end up taking the Cole Hamels 7 weeks, so be it. No good things come from rushing this and causing real injury with real long-term implications.

    3. Polanco. I’m still sticking by July 13, in Miami, for the El Coffee first brew. But Travis Jun 17 vs the Reds could be just as logical as a premiere date.

    4. As to the draft, risk abounds, whether it be hitters really being able to be consistent vs. major league pitching or pitchers staying healthy. Not sure I’d draw any conclusions to ‘avoid high-end pitchers’ at this point though. Cole and Taillon to me were the right picks then… just as Meadows and McGuire were the right picks last year. But we need more time to really evaluate drafts, though that doesn’t get many clicks on SI, or BA or espn.com.

    On that last note, I really appreciate the THOUGHTFUL PERSPECTIVE Travis and Dejan bring to us each and every day on this and the other blog (and in columns). It’s becoming more and more rare for this type of journalism… it has become a ‘click-through’ mess of hot topics on most sites today… on espn, it is either LeBron, Johnny Football, Tiger Woods pretty much nonstop…without much more than TMZ type of content. It’s lazy but it’s what Americans want I guess.

  66. Nate83 says:

    It’s a very fair question and I have no idea exactly how valuable he will be. I just didn’t think we should start considering him a platoon player or his contract horrible which I know isn’t what you where saying but is what the original comment was.

  67. Keith says:

    That’s awesome. Thanks!

  68. Steelkings says:

    Just to weigh in on Marte. Getting away from the stats for a minute, I would introduce the prospect that he is simply immature as a player. With out a doubt he is someone who could have used more time in the minor league system. Perhaps a product of playing in the chaos of the 3rd world youth systems.
    Case and point was the 1-0 loss to Milwaukee. In the 8th with runners at 1st and 2nd, down a run with nobody out, Marte was asked to bunt to move the runners. Understanding that I am possibly unfairly reading demeanor through my TV, it seemed Marte wanted nothing to do with the sac bunt the team asked him to execute. He didnt get it down because he didnt want to do it in the first place.
    Those are the types of things that will eventually erode from his game. He will grow up as a player a little and therefore become a much more valuable player in ,17 , 18 and 2019.

  69. NMR says:

    And Peter Gammons, of all people, reported last night via Twitter that the A’s planned to take Tucker with the next pick.

  70. Steelkings says:

    Cmat – no#3

    What really pisses me off is that here comes Polanco and here I am in the Indy Market and guess who the Pirates are playing. Thats right! the two teams that are blacked out here in Indy. Cubs and Reds.

    Sigh…….

  71. NorthPirateFan says:

    @boston you’re failing to include the fact that the contract has club options for years for 2020 ($11.5m) and 2021 ($12.5m) that don’t have to be picked up but then would have to be bought out …

    So the actual MINIMUM cost of a team acquiring him after the 2016 season is $25.5m for an average of $8.5m per season.

    If he significantly improves his hitting from where it is now there might be a market for him but as to my point and as NRM says, the number of hitters with >20 K rates and <5 BB rates who developed the other skills needed to be successful major league hitters is very small. Of those who have done it it's been mostly done by hitting lots of home runs, which, playing in PNC Park and Marte being a right handed hitter is and even less likely outcome for him.

    If he's still posting .700ish or below OPSs in 2016 nobody is paying $25.5m for three seasons defensive minded outfielder who can't hit RHP.

  72. Steelkings says:

    NPF – The way things are going, 25 mil might be the MLB minimum by then. Way too many factors to project where players will be or what players will be worth a few years down the road.

    Ask the Dodgers what the player value formula is. More specifically, ask them what they would pay for a left handed third baseman who hits .239 with 100+ K’s and 25 dingers?

    65 – 70 million?

  73. NMR says:

    Hey, times are tough for Major League Baseball, Steel. You have to understand that they need to squeeze every penny out of the consumer in order to stay solvent.

Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | Sitting Ringside | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports | H.S. Sports Insiders | Trailing Off
News: This Just In | Trib List
» Top TribLIVE.com Sports
» Top TribLIVE.com News
» Top TribLIVE.com Breaking News