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Monday Mop-Up Duty: Trade Pedro?


SOUTH HILLS – One of the questions posed to the distinguished and charismatic panel on WXPI’s Final Word last night — yes I was involved — was the following: should the Pirates trade Pedro Alvarez?

It wasn’t a surprising question given the frustrating, up-and-down nature of Alvarez’s game and that we’re charged with attempting to create interesting television.

The question is made more timely now that many think Alvarez might have a legit replacement in Josh Harrison. (Though it’s still too early to evaluate whether Harrison is an everyday player, imo). So is it time to explore trading Alvarez?


Not just yet.


Don’t rush to discard Pedro

For starters, when is it ever wise to sell low on players? Alvarez is not exactly swinging a hot bat or making particularly accurate throws. And remember he did tie for the NL lead in home runs last season.

Secondly, Alvarez has shown real improvement this year cutting his strikeouts, upping his walks and better using the whole field. (I know I’ve beaten that observation to near death). A true breakout is possible if and when the power arrives. Or maybe Alvarez has traded in power — .398 slugging — to adopt this approach. Still, think back to late last season and early this season and Alvarez has shown glimpses of what is possible. The Pirates don’t want to give up that too early.

Lastly, when you have an NL MVP and Gregory Polanco and Gerrit Cole –  when you have a special core – you want to be careful you’re not trading away critical lineup cogs during that window. So don’t rush to discard Pedro.

Still, it’s complicated.

I think there could very well  come a point in time to trade Alvarez whether it’s this offseason or the 2016 trading deadline. I don’t think he’s a long-term fit here. I’d be shocked if the Pirates were willing to make a long-term commitment given the dollars it would take and his agent, Scott Boras, is going to be in search of the best deal.  The Pirates have two more years of control over Alvarez. Keep in mind the qualifying offer might not exist and draft compensation for free agents could look much different after the next CBA negotiation. The current CBA expires on Dec. 1  2016. So to get compensation the Pirates might have to make a deal or risking having the former No. 2 overall pick walk for nothing.

In summary, it’s not time to trade Alvarez, not right now. His value is down, he is still a guy that led the NL with 36 home runs  last year. That begin said, there could come a time to when a trade opportunity presents itself mostly because I think we can all agree Alvarez is unlikely to be a long-term fit for the Pirates.



9. Harrison started against left-hander Travis Wood on Saturday. I have to think that’s part of his new job duties going forward. Alvarez might soon be relegated to platoon-player status, which is what his career splits suggest he is. We can only make talk about one NLDS at bat against Siegrist for so long.

Let’s remember there’s nothing wrong with Harrison being a super utility player. Ben Zobrist has made an excellent career of that, the A’s are the best team in baseball in part because of lineup flexibility and depth.

(Speaking of Zobrist, he would be a great fit at SS for the Pirates. He’s on an affordable contract if the Rays look to dump him).

8. Who departs to make room for Neil Walker once Walker comes off the DL? If Jose Tabata didn’t have amount $9 guaranteed left on his contract it would be an easy choice.

Travis Snider?

Jeanmar Gomez?

Jason Grilli?

7. I don’t think the Pirates are ready DFA  Grilli. Yes, he’s not the same guy but he still has the arm speed. I think the Pirates want to see him work far away from leverage situations for a while and see what happens.

6. Vanimal: 52-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio between Triple-A and two major league starts this season. Yeah, it’s early yet but he could be a steal of the offseason. Three years of club control remaining for the 26-year-old.

5. If Hurdle must have a closer, Tony Watson should be the guy. Dominant stuff. No real splits.

4. Tyler Glasnow hasn’t allowed a run over his last four starts covering 21 2/3 innings at High-Bradenton. He’s struck out 30 in that time.

3. Just when you think Charlie Morton is back on track …..

The good news is Morton’s GB/FB ratio has improved every month from 2.06 in April , 2.41 in May to 3.3 in June.

2. I was asked if Nick Kingham has any chance of impacting the second half. I don’t think it’s likely but he’s taken to Triple-A. He’s definitely a future mid-rotation piece arriving in the not too distant future. (I’ll say mid-June, 2015).

1.  Cardinals dealt a blow with Michael Wacha and Garcia placed on the DL on Sunday, opportunity to close the gap?




What every happened to Ike Davis‘ power?

.240 isolated power in 2011, .235 isolated power in 2012, .129 isolated power in 2013 and .128 isolated power in 2014



“I don’t think Joey would want to sign it for me, but that would be pretty cool. Aside from that, it’s going to go up with the rest of the memorable moments in my career.” – Travis Snider



The home-plate collision rule turned out some absurd rulings. It needs some serious tweaking. Let’s remember the rule was designed to eliminated “egregious” collision plays …not overturn no-contact force-out plays. Let’s give the umpires the discretion to determine the intent of a runner or catcher and make better judgments in the spirit of the rule. (Either that or give the catcher a goalie-style crease in front of homeplate … I’m half serious).



Looking for some killer breakfast? Pamela’s Diner off Washington Rd on the Mt. Lebanon/Dormont border.




  1. The Gunner says:

    Pedro is looking more like DH material these days so, a trade to an AL team seems likely at some point. The Bucs need to get quality players who will address the Bucs weaknesses (starting pitching & bullpen) immediately in any Alvarez. Personally, I think the BMTIB is shopping him aggressively however, I think the chances are very low he will be traded this year.

  2. dcpinpgh says:

    Josh Harrison has hit at every level he has been at (308 Minor league average). He is currently hitting 306 in 180 AB. This is NOT a hot streak. It could be a career year, but we past hot streak weeks ago. Ignoring what’s he’s doing, just so he fits in to some preconceived notion, is not smart baseball.

  3. Steelkings says:

    “””””Alvarez has shown real improvement this year cutting his strikeouts, upping his walks and better using the whole field.””””””””

    Ughh, Seriously

    Among 3rd basemen he is last in BA in the national league and 2nd to last in all of baseball. And as for those K’s? He is 2nd to last in baseball among 3rd baseman and only 2 back of the lead.
    Lets talk about the errors………..actually lets not.
    “”””” Cardinals dealt a blow with Michael Wacha and Garcia placed on the DL on Sunday, opportunity to close the gap?”””””””
    Ugh No#2
    So as Pirate fans we are back to other teams getting worse as a means to get better?

  4. cmat0829 says:


    Nothing you said really is in contradiction to what Travis posted. Facts are that YES Pedro has improved the numbers Travis mentioned…and YES he continues to be a subpar offensive producer for the Pirates. That is the whole point of this post in terms of trading Pedro when and how.

    As to the Cardinals post, not sure why that news item, and the obvious blow that deals to the rival Cardinals, is an ‘ugh’ item. Who said that taking note of the Cards issues – and injuries ARE a big part of the Pirates struggles so far this year – requires no focus on the Pirates making adjustments to improve their play? One doesn’t lead to the other. Or maybe this is just another flavor of the “Pirates management isn’t committed to winning, they just count their money and watch other teams and hope they get injuries”.

  5. BostonsCommon says:

    Lots of guys hit in the minors, dcpinpgh. Almost as many don’t make it in the show… JHay’s had over 500 PAs before this season and was well under 700 OPS, suggesting he’s not much more than a 25th guy on the roster. He’s used his 200 PAs this year to try and show otherwise.

    I think the Pirates are handling this appropriately. They’re continuing to give him ABs. The sample size is getting bigger, but it’s still not enough either way to say JHay can hit, or he can’t… It’s not a hot streak, but JHay is still faaaar from a proven big league bat.

  6. cmat0829 says:

    Not sure I get the point here. Are you saying that the Bucs can comfortably pencil JayHey into a starting 3b role for the next few years and consider the position filled? I think Travis is just echoing what most think, not just this esteemed blog, but scouts, evaluators, etc have thought forever.

    But NH himself admitted that the staff has ‘probably underevaluated Josh’ to date and they are opening up playing time for him, likely everyday. I like JayHey, think his defense is very very very overrated, but no doubt he is swinging a very good bat this year. And has a history of being good with the bat. But what if he has a Jeff Locke-like regression in the 2H? I sure hope not, but so many parallels to that last year. We expected nothing from Locke, he came up huge in the 1H, we became enamored and started pencilling him into to the rotation for years to come, and around August we were all screaming for him to be dumped to AAA.

    Just makes sense to take this one step at a time, keep JayHey in the lineup mostly everyday while limiting his defensive issues, but keep this all in perspective.

  7. BostonsCommon says:

    Pamela’s ruined me for pancakes. Only place I’ll eat them anymore… And I don’t even like pancakes.

  8. Joe says:

    #1 – It’s called opportunity dude, not other teams getting worse to benefit Pirates, duh.

    #2 – Just another Pedro hater, you’ll be one of the many sorry once he’s gone, ala, Jose Batista, Brandon Moss and yes even Casey McGehee.

    You cry when he strikes out, you cry when he doesn’t.
    You probably called to trade Stargell too, in the day.

  9. FlBucco says:

    Ditto the reco on Pamela’s – they have several other locations – all serve the same menu and all are cash only – but a visit to the ATM before going is well worth it…

    I have a different take on Pedro’s “progress”

    I WANT him pulling the ball to right and bludgeoning the Clemente wall – I WANT him hitting 40+ home runs and if he bats .220 doing it – so be it.

    And yes he makes some horrid throws – but he gets to a lot of balls and has well above average range for a 3rd baseman – second only to Nolan Arreando in the NL – the Bucs have much bigger defensive weaknesses on the right side of the infield with Walker and Davis – but nobody seems interested in talking about them – wonder why?

  10. BostonsCommon says:

    What to do when your 37 year old All Star, narcissistic closer starts hanging sliders and serving up BP fastballs…

    I can make an argument either way on Grilli. There’s probably still a role for him on this team, only given the right attitude.

  11. FlBucco says:


  12. FlBucco says:

    I am really trying to eat less carbs….

    Cannot go to Pamela’s without figuring out a way to have BOTH the
    Pancakes AND the Potatoes ;-)

  13. Andrew says:

    Because using defensive metrics in 600 innings samples to make definitive statements about ability or projections going forward is folly. For his career Davis is slightly positive defender, but one could make an argument that his 2011 injury and subsequent micro-fracture sx to his ankle robbed him of mobility. Walker and Alvarez are similarly bad defenders at their positions over their careers, -6.4 and -4.3 UZR/150 respectively.

    The reason Alvarez’s defense gets discussed, rightly or wrongly, is because his errors are blatantly visible mistakes, some of eye searing quality. Walker’s issue is range, (Alvarez’s range is slightly above average) it is hard to make mistakes when you don’t get to the ball, this is the reason people think Derek Jeter was a good shortstop.

    Most fans react to and remember a missile of a throw into the fifth row, a grounder that gets through the right side is just a hit, that is quickly forgotten.

  14. Triptex says:

    Trade Pedro. Absolutely and while he still has some decent trade value. Admittedly, I’ve not been a fan of Pedro from the get go (based on his ratio of Ks to PAs at both the AAA and MLB levels. The warning signs were evident in 2011 after the Pirates sent him back down to Indy and he continued to strike out at an alarming rate. Now, as mentioned in some prior posts, he has cut down on his Ks, but the production isn’t there either. Furthermore, his propensity for committing throwing errors makes him a real liability on the field. Yea, he has raw power and his majestic home runs are real teasers, but after a so called “breakout year” in 2013 (.233 batting average), he has taken another step back. This is not the trajectory of a star player. Clint Hurdle has finally recognized that he can’t count on Pedro in the clean up spot and has moved him down the lineup to the number 6 spot. Furthermore, he has even (and rightfully) pulled Pedro for a pinch hitters late in games; a sure sign that the manager sees the reality. The question is whether the GM can emancipate himself from his draft mistake and move on.

    Trade Pedro, you betcha!!

  15. BostonsCommon says:

    I think Kingham is the kind of league minimum, cost controlled, innings eater that small market teams MUST have. I’m just not sure he’s the difference maker that we’re all hoping Glasnow, Taillon, and Cole will be… Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have value, or isn’t important. I would just be counting on him more for innings rather than impact, regardless of when he comes up.

    I think Locke, Cumpton, and Kingham are all going to play a big role next year. Could easily see 300-350 IP, depending on off-season moves?

  16. PetroSteel says:

    Simple answer regarding Petro…No way you trade him now when his market value is low. He needs to get on a hot streak and then maybe consider it…But then if/when he gets hot again then why trade him. We need to live with Petro a little bit longer. The timing is just not right.

    My question to the group is…Who is gone when Walker comes back?

  17. Steelkings says:

    Option to trade Pedro is a dumb question. Now If Travis would have asked if Pedro should be starting (Not Platooning) over Harrison, it would be a better question. You see at this point I believe whether its prudent or not, that when you are playing to stay alive in a pennant race and one of your players is beating you both offensively as well as defensively, that player needs to work it out in Indianapolis. He does have options.
    No# 2
    Just pointing out a state of mind. And yes its a poke at management. If you did not see a problem in the front and back of the pitching staff before this season started then you were not paying attention. Lets see, at the end of 2013, Your 8th inning guy couldnt get anyone out and your closer was hurt. And someone is surprised they struggle to close out games? Edison Volquez was the answer to losing a top of the rotation starter? Not!
    NH has maybe 5 more trys to get this group to the world series. He whiffed so far on this one.
    So pardon me if I dont get over come with Joy about the Pirates chances now that the Cardinals lose a couple of guys.

    Now for Joe*
    What Opportunity would that be? If St Louis losses games they will be losing to other teams the Pirates are chasing as well. Milwaukee, LA, The Reds all get to play that weakened team. Who gives a crap what the Cardinals do anyway? Perhaps the bigger concern would be if the Pirates can find a way to beat the Rays Tonight.
    First off, lets not confuse Alvarez with Jose Batista, Brandon Moss and yes even Casey McGehee. Not because of anything they do at the plate. Its because Pitching and defense wins baseball games. (See: Baseball for dummies – Pirates 2013)

    Dont EVER EVER EVER compare Stargell to Alvarez. Stargell played 18 seasons at 1st base and had a .991 fielding percentage. Alvarez isnt even in the same conversation. Just dumb!

    And because your involvement of Stargell in this conversation is so stupid, I feel compelled to tell you that when Stargell hit his career high in K’s (154) he also batted .295 and hit 48 HR’s.

  18. cmat0829 says:

    1. Snider goes when Walker returns, if not immediately, then Saturday when Cole is activated.
    2. Forgot to ask you Travis, why not the option of moving Pedro to 1B platoon with Gaby for 2015 instead of a sell low trade? I’d prefer Pedro at 1B than Davis.
    3. Highly agree that the message to Pedro ought to now be: LET IT FLY BIG GUY. No more overthinking. Go back to 2013 Pedro. Swing hard, hit HRs in binges, strike out a ton. No need to try to make him something that we want to have on this team post-2016. Just milk this cow (not making a fat joke) as much as we can before he goes off to other pastures.

  19. NMR says:

    “If Jose Tabata didn’t have amount $9 guaranteed left on his contract it would be an easy choice.”

    Is this insinuating that Travis Snider would be kept over Jose Tabata is contracts were equal?


  20. chethejet1 says:

    I think what most wanted to see from Pedro this year is continuation of his ability to change the game or break a game open with one swing. So far that has been few and far between. He may be in a slump, but my concern with him has been his inability to inspire or carry a team after last year. He is batting sixth for a reason. He simply hasn’t demonstrated that he is a real clean-up bat.

  21. Steelkings says:

    I’ll tell you why:
    Left side
    Alvarez 17 errors
    Mercer 5 errors

    Right side
    Davis 5 errors
    Walker 1 error

    Thats why!

  22. NMR says:

    It was absolutely embarrassing watching him fist pump strikeouts in the 8th inning down by three runs.

    It probably doesn’t make baseball sense to drop him, but I don’t want that guy anywhere near the clubhouse.

  23. NMR says:

    I’m certainly not a scout, and the sample sizes are still too small to go by the numbers, but to my eye Locke and Worley are better pitchers than Brandon Cumpton.

  24. Steelkings says:

    So if you had to part with one (pedro or Walker) which would it be? The guy hitting 233 who is a one dimensional hitter (11 HRS) who strikes out a lot and leads the majors in errors, or the guy with no range who hits 280 with the same 11 HR’s who doesnt K a lot?

  25. Steelkings says:

    Your getting to be a crotchety old man. Just like me.

  26. Travis Sawchik says:

    NMR, I think in a vacuum the Pirates prefer Snider to Tabata. Well, at least they did entering the season when Snider won the job out of spring. I think they’re still intrigued by the prospect profile and might like his defense better in RF.

    Plus snider can pitch!

    Two swinging strikes on Joey Votto? Are you kidding me. Haha.

  27. BostonsCommon says:

    I’m fine lumping Worley into that group, especially given his track record. You can push that innings total north of 400 then… I’m just not going to consider anyone from that group a difference maker.

    Gotta get to 900-950 innings from your starters somehow though.

  28. Steelkings says:

    I think Tabata has trade value and Snider does not.

  29. Steelkings says:

    I’ll throw this in. If Volquez gets hammered again tonight, dont be surprised if its not him that DFA’d

  30. Andrew says:

    If I had to part with one it would be Alvarez, Walker is the better hitter, can actually get on base passably against LHP, and second base is a more difficult position to play.

  31. BostonsCommon says:

    Lets make it simple: ship Snider to Billy Bean, and Taby can go to Houston to complete the Taby, Presely, Grossman OF…

    Are the 5th and 6th OF really deserving of this much debate?

  32. Andrew says:

    I agree with this, Worely stays because of the options. Cumpton doesn’t miss bats and I think Locke has something with that change up, but I do wonder about that 10% walk rate in AAA.

  33. Steelkings says:

    The other dimension not discussed about Pedro’s throwing errors is that they are dangerous. He leaves many a ball up the line that is going to eventually cost the Pirates a first baseman.

    Then we can start the whole Lambo discussion again!

  34. NMR says:

    @TS – Sean Doolittle ain’t got nothing on Travis Snider. ;)

    But seriously, Travis Snider is “that guy” everyone has in their office who keeps getting promoted despite contributing nothing beyond showing up in the morning.

  35. Steelkings says:


    Lambo in 98 AB’S is hitting .344

    2 HRs ;)

  36. BostonsCommon says:

    Speaking of Vanimal… Does Jim Benidict get the credit he deserves? Every bit as important as Searage.

  37. BostonsCommon says:

    And should the Pirates have let Volquez spend a few extra weeks down in Bradenton trying to sort things out?

  38. NorthPirateFan says:

    Really, are we looking at the same players?

    JT 142 12 41 4 1 0 47 7 22 1 .289/.327/.331 .658 -0.3 -0.1
    TS 132 11 31 2 1 4 47 16 29 0 .235/.322/.356 .678 0.3 0.1

    One of these players hits for more power, walks, has a better walk to K ratio … the other hits for a higher average.

    Outside of a 6 six week stretch late last year Tabata has proven to be some of the worst money spent by the Pirates yet and that’s before we consider that he’s a right hander who can’t hit RHP on a team with to many of those to begin with and nobody, absolutely NOBODY believes his stated age and that there’s really more improvement to be expected.

    The Pirates need a left hand hitter with patience, discipline and some power and should be giving him more starts in LF while Marte sorts out his issues against RHP much more they need a singles hitting who’s likely approaching the decline phase of his career.

  39. Andrew says:

    But those pinch hit at bats….

    Until Snider’s 2 for 3 with a HR yesterday, Tabata was the slightly better hitter on the year.

  40. NMR says:

    Haha, Andrew, take it away…

  41. NMR says:

    You really did stop watching like a month of Pirate baseball this year, didn’t you?

  42. NMR says:

    I don’t think it works like that.

  43. NorthPirateFan says:

    “Or maybe Alvarez has traded in power — .398 slugging — to adopt this (all fields) approach”

    TS, perhaps you’re posing it this way to stir debate but it certainly seems that the all fields approach is hurting Pedro. If we look at the hit charts there sure seems to be a lot of outs, especially the fly ball variety, this year …

    That weren’t there last year …

  44. NMR says:

    @Andrew – This is mostly annecdotal, but I don’t think Jeff Locke has ever had the physical inability to throw strikes. I think he has a serious mental aversion to contact.

    But yeah, Locke’s changeup and Worley’s cutter(at least I assume that has been the cutter and not slider) have both been better than any one pitch Cumpton has shown.

  45. NorthPirateFan says:

    If they both were really 5th and 6th Outfielders I’d tend to agree but the real debate is Snider really only that or simply a victim of his circumstances?

    Here are their career numbers so far to compare:

    1692 1522 204 419 80 14 17 119 47 29 127 243 .275 .338 .380 .717 .104
    1497 1356 164 326 75 5 41 159 20 10 123 388 .240 .305 .394 .699 .153

    The only real debate is how a guy like Snider still finds himself getting nothing more than spot starts and pinch hits on a team that needs left handed power. On most any other team Snider is the left hand part of a platoon getting 400 to 500 plate appearances a year.

    I only hope they do ship him to Oakland and like Moss and others before him will get the playing time and reps to show what he’s capable of or not.

  46. NorthPirateFan says:

    Take away the names and ask any GM in baseball which player he’d rather have on his roster, a left handed hitter with 41 home runs, 75 doubles and 123 walks in 1356 plate appearances or a right handed hitter with 80 doubles, 17 home runs and 127 walks in over 1500 plate appearances and to a man they’ll tell you it’s a no brainer, the lefty with more power and patience.

    Snider has much more value than Tabata objectively it just doesn’t seem that way to Pirate fans because Clint Hurdle is proving again this season, as he has in past seasons, he doesn’t know how to use the tools available to him effectively.

  47. Bizrow says:

    Snider is also a lefty with some pop. I think he’s the only lefty available off the bench most nights?

  48. dennis g says:

    Because Davis is Jewish and Walker is from Pittsburgh.

  49. dennis g says:

    I hate reading this blog upside down.

  50. dennis g says:

    Why is the clock wrong?

  51. NMR says:

    My goodness…

  52. dennis g says:

    Send Pedro to Indy until he gets his batting eye and throwing arm back. There is no reason to keep him here if he is not going to play.

    I have been a fan of Pedro since he was drafted (except for the hat.) I think he is an extraordinarily talented third baseman and I think that somehow the Bucs have screwed him up. Sending him to Indy can allow him to get his head together and figure out his own batting style and what he is capable or not capable of doing as a hitter. He is not Joey Votto or Roberto Clemente, but maybe something in between. If he is Dave Kingman, so be it, but at least allow him to be that good. If he fails to perform at Indy try and trade him or leave him there. Maybe, just maybe he does not want to play in Pittsburgh. Hard to believe I know.

  53. dennis g says:

    Sorry, my fault, fell asleep in my chair.

  54. cmat0829 says:

    He was showing emotion!!! which is this blog’s #1 indicator of on-field performance…can’t have it both ways (and it’s not you NMR) but if Pedro is too unemotional and therefore sucks, then Grilli must have pleased some with his outward show of emotion.

    that said, players have their own ‘idiosyncracies’…while I prefer no emotion, if this is what it takes for Grilli to perform than so be it. I also don’t like hitters stepping out of the box every pitch and going thru their routine… Longoria, eg. But not gonna start posting about it because it is what it is.

  55. cmat0829 says:

    Like the banter as always, thanks Trav for giving us the kindling to take it from there.

    1) I agree with whomever posted that Neil Walker’s defense is very overrated. IF Pedro and Neil were both playing to potential (and right now Neil is playing above his norms and Pedro below) the easier one to replace on this roster would be NEIL. No doubt about it. Power that can lead the league in HRs is not easily replaced. A 2B with limited range and some pop and intangibles are out there.

    2) Question isn’t to trade or not trade Pedro.. it should be how to maximize his value over the next 2 years to this team. Should CH play him every day and wait for the hot streaks? Especially now with Polanco and the offense in general being better able to sustain Pedro being cold for long stretches? Should he platoon at 3B with Harrison? Should he move to 1B for 2015 and 2016 and allow the Bucs to move Ike somewhere else?

    3) Snider or Tabata. Pretty clear that the OF positions are full in Pittsburgh for a few seasons, so whichever one of these we choose has to excel in the role of being able to back up RF and LF and pinch hit and contribute with very little regular playing time. Because there is NO WAY I want either one of these guys taking time from Marte, Cutch or Polanco. And if one of those guys goes down, JayHey would figure to get first crack at taking the starts available. It’s not a huge difference either way but to me Tabata is a bit more suited to that role and again, he is under contract beyond this season and Snider is not. Snider may indeed go the Brandon Moss route, but those long strings of major league at bats hopefully are NEVER available to him in Pittsburgh.

  56. cmat0829 says:

    EVERY GM in baseball has the chance (and has had it) to acquire this solid contributor and all I’ve heard are crickets. Same can be said for Tabby but let’s not order the statue for Travis Snider just because we want to bitch and moan about a Pirates management decision (or expected one).

  57. dennis g says:

    As we have seen from the past, here and almost everywhere else, there are few lineups that remain intact for any one season. The question with regard to Snider or Tabata is which of those two players is best able to fill in in case someone gets hurt. As we saw B.P. when we had G.Sanchez and Mercer filling in at one point things happen. I prefer Snider for several reasons, most of which have already been mentioned but one that has not is Tabata’s susceptibility to injury. I suggest we trade Tabata for whatever we can get (even if that means paying some of his salary), keep Snider, send Alvarez to Indy and play Harrison at third. If Alvarez can get some playing time at first while in Indy and is able to play that position while straightening out his hitting, use him to replace Davis in the platoon. Until then sit Davis and give the job to Gaby.

  58. Andrew says:

    North, here are the career stats for Tabata and Snider vs RHP. Tabata has been the better hitter against RHP, Snider hasn’t even this RHP at league average level, you cannot be the big side of the platoon with that type of performance.,2830

    Consider that Snider who was a lot closer to that former #6 ranking in 2012 was traded for Brad Lincoln, another former 1st rounder who status had a similar decline. Since that trade Snider has hit worse, a worse than league average hitter who is an average defender in RF at best, is not that valuable.

  59. Andrew says:

    Wasn’t Snider on the DL for two different issues last year?

    I’ve come to terms with the limited hitter Alvarez is, but I find the apparent most recent uptick comments along the lines of “demote Alvarez,” “move him to first,” “he would fit on an AL team,” odd. First if he is struggling to hit why would he look better at a position where teams typically want more offensive production. Second, June has been Alvarez’s best offensive month this season.

  60. dennis g says:

    You could be right if you are implying that Snider is even less durable than Tabata. From watching them play I prefer Tabata. Pinch hitting I prefer Snider. Tabata has been a GIDP machine.

    June may be Alvarez’ best month of the season but I challenge you to find another player who has been less productive with 5 extra base hits, zero HR’s and seven RBI’s. I grant you he does seem to be trying to go opposite field more with a consequent loss in power. He does not seem to be able to learn how to do this at the big league level.

    (Don’t sat Ike Davis, I agree he ought not to be out there either, but he does have a HR.)

  61. Andrew says:

    Dennis, I looked it up, I was wrong Snider only had the toe problem. I prefer Tabata, he is a little more versatile as a fielder, and is the better but limited hitter. You are correct on the GIDPs, only Jeter has a higher ground ball percentage to his pull side since Tabata has entered the league.

    As for Alvarez, I just said he was better which isn’t saying much. His AVG/OBP/SLG have been the higher in June than both May and April, he does have 4 doubles which is as many as he had in April and May combined, the RBI are likely less because he is lower in the order.

  62. tomf says:

    wow does Ramos work slow
    (and with no one on base)

    ump should get the show going

    speaking of ump – the called ball on a Volquez strike during the 5th inning was especially disappointing

  63. Steelkings says:

    Yes I did…..Obviously! who wouldnt. Small sample sizes is all I can take.

  64. Steelkings says:


  65. Steelkings says:

    Alvarez could go blind in one eye, lose two toes and acquire a really nasty contagious fungus and Scott Boras would make him too expensive for the Rates. Forget everything else.

    Sign him to a contract extension now.

    Dickerson and Lambo + the future of bell make them both trade worthy. I would shop Lambo now/

  66. NMR says:


  67. NMR says:

    Can’t say I blame you.

  68. NorthPirateFan says:

    You and others keep asserting that Tabata is the better hitter than Snider but the numbers say otherwise.

    The only thing Tabata does better with a bat is post a better batting average while Snider does everything much better especially hit for more power.

    Tabata is a singles hitting corner outfielder which not only isn’t particularly valuable to any major league team, they’re a dime a dozen should any team wish to find one.

    As for the reductio ad absurdum and other homer semantics employed when one’s favorite players are beings gored; nobody is suggesting “a statue” be constructed for Snider or that he’s an elite player or ever will be, but simply that by any objective measure’s he’s a better, more complete hitter than Tabata (even before we consider that Tabata most everyone agrees his stated age of 25 is pure fiction and he is likely approaching 30 years old) who in seven seasons in the majors has been given less playing time than Tabata has in five seasons.

    It’s a moot point now with the OF situation being what it is in Pittsburgh but when Travis Snider is given regular playing, and 27 starts in 76 games does not constitute regular playing time for a guy who “won the job out of spring training,” Travis Snider will eventually become a perfectly serviceable major league outfielder long after Jose Tabata’s career has wound down … which will be sooner rather than later.

    If the Pirates and their speed obsessed manager had any sense they would have been preparing for the eventual arrival of Polanco by getting Snider every single at bat possible and maximizing his value for an eventual trade, but they didn’t.

  69. NMR says:

    How bout checking your high horse at the door, North.

    Andrew deserves much, much more respect than that. Quit embarrassing yourself.

  70. NMR says:

    Travis, I believe I speak for all Pirate fans in requesting that you write a Blog asking if Ike Davis should be traded.

  71. NorthPirateFan says:

    @Andrew, “Since that trade Snider has hit worse, a worse than league average hitter who is an average defender in RF at best, is not that valuable.”

    Here is the comparison of the period you suggest using your numbers:,2830

    On one hand you’ll argue that making definitive statements about ability or projections going forward based on 600 inning samples is “folly” but making definitive statements about hitters with 520ish plate appearance over three years, a player who was twice declared the starting right fielder yet got less playing time than the one your comparing him too, makes perfect sense.

  72. Leo Walter says:

    That all seems to be lost on the majority Pirate fans NPF. I for one will never understand the never ending comments that just assume Tabata just has to stay.

  73. Leo Walter says:

    I was always a fan of Harrison’s…except for HIS hat.

  74. NorthPirateFan says:

    Only if you prefer singles to home runs and walks from your corner outfielders.

  75. NMR says:

    Assume he has to stay?

    What Blog are you reading?

  76. NMR says:

    One homerun every 52 AB’s since joining the Pirates.

    Absolutely dripping with power, I tell you.

  77. Travis Sawchik says:

    Amazing pancakes, no doubt!

  78. Travis Sawchik says:


    Nice points. I assume it was mostly shift-related, but Alvarez got to 100 more balls in 2013 than he did in 2012. Still, I suspect his range has at least slightly improved.

  79. Travis Sawchik says:

    Worley>Locke>Cumpton, imo

  80. Travis Sawchik says:

    Next year, NMR, next year.

    I have to save some blog fodder

  81. Andrew says:

    Overall for his career UZR rates Alvarez range as slightly positive he losses all his runs due to errors. My understanding is UZR and DRS remove true shift plays, 3 men on one side of the base, but the more subtle adjustments are probably left in.

  82. Andrew says:

    North, yes you need much larger sample of innings to have an accurate evaluation of players defensive ability, the creators of them suggest 3 years and heavily regressing smaller samples to league average. Many batting numbers are reliable in much smaller samples.

  83. Andrew says:

    North, you can certainly preferred Snider, in the end we are debating a fairly inconsequential topic, both have provided below replacement level performance so far this year and with Harrison playing superbly the amount of playing time available will likely be small.

    I’m not a scout, I just like baseball and like numbers and like talking about baseball. You could be right that the Pirates prefer Snider, he has gotten a few more chances this season and Travis, someone with more information, has said he believes the Pirates prefer Snider.

    However based on the available information, what numbers and in what sample has Snider been the demonstrably better hitter let alone the better hitter?

    This season, yes but, that is it, and as of two games ago Snider was performing worse. If a 3 for 7 stretch with a homerun shifts your wRC+ 8 points, maybe that sample is not very reliable. That is why I am looking at larger samples, larger is always better.

    Looking at Snider career numbers, .311 wOBA, 92 wRC+ against RHP, I don’t see the big half of an outfield platoon. He has a slightly above league average HR/FB rate of 12.1% but doesn’t do a particularly good job of putting the ball in the air. He has struggled against higher velocities. Could he end up somewhere else and turn it around possibly, but the reasons guys like Brandon Moss, Bautista, and Chris Davis are stories is because they are rare events.

    I do not buy the idea that Snider lack of success is due to a lack of playing time, I think it is more plausible that that his lack of playing time is due to his lack of success in the playing time he has received. In that 2012-14 sample, you cited, the only thing Snider did better was have .016 higher ISO and 2.3% higher BB rate which is negated by the fact that his K rate was 8.2% higher.

    These are the rest of season projections.

    Steamer: Snider 104 wRC+, Tabata 105 wRC+
    ZiPS: Snider 90 wRC+, Tabata 99 wRC+


    well, looks like management and no other team wanted tabata as he passed through waivers unclaimed.

  85. greg says:

    Where will Tabata land now?

  86. Larry Neal says:

    Just what defensive problems does JH have?

  87. Tony Ventimiglio says:

    Don’t forget Tabata’s start to his Major League career either. There is some reason that the Cubs gave him up and that we have kept him as a bench player. Hopefully he proves everybody wrong and he can be a starter. He kind of reminds me of Chone Figgins early in his carrer. Wouldnt want to deal Alvarez if that ends up what he turned out to be.


    tony, tabata came from the yankees, not the cubs.

  89. Milchap says:

    He’s writing about JH, not JT.

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