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Pedro on the move … across the diamond. And about that bullpen surplus

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PNC PARK – Today during batting practice, many of you got what you’ve been waiting for: Pedro Alvarez took groundballs at first base.  It should be noted he started at his usual third base position but then moved on to first. Clint Hurdle declined to address whether the club had plans to move Alvarez earlier this week. Well, the club is at the very least very curious about entertaining the idea of a position change.

Here’s the Bigfoot-like photographic evidence:

https://twitter.com/Sawchik_Trib/status/497846448978161664

Many of you think it’s a great short-term and long-term answer. I’m a maybe on the long-term and have growing doubts about the short-term.

Want to know a little secret? Alvarez is not a better hitter against right-handed pitching than Ike Davis. Not now. Not in the past. In the future? Maybe.

The truth is there is not an easy answer for what to do about Alvarez as I wrote about several days ago in this space.

Davis career vs. RHP:

OPS: .816

wRC+: 127

Alvarez career vs. RHP

OPS: .785

wRC+: 119

And we know Davis can play first base….

 

ABOUT THE BULLPEN DEPTH

Pirates GM Neal Huntington went into the offseason with what he described, rightfully so, as a surplus of bullpen arms. And Huntington has aggressively moved many of those arms, which is often prudent since there’s so much volatility year to year in bullpens.

Unfortunately for the Pirates, many of those moves have, well, not panned out to say the least.

To make room for Alvarez to rejoin the club today, the Priates DFA’s Big Ern, Ernesto Frieri. At the time of the trade, I supported it. I thought Frieri was an interest buy low candidate. Instead, Frieri imploded with the Pirates and Jason Grilli has been a strong performer for the Angels.

I didn’t second guess getting the 39th overall pick for an out-of-options, barely-made-the roster reliever in Bryan Morris.

But we did document Morris’ rise in stuff this spring, and told you some scouts thought he was a future back-end bullpen arm. With the Marlins that stuff has played, Morris allowed just one run in his first 30 innings.

The Pirates’ embattled pen could use both of those arms back, though this is also 20-20 hindsight.

Still, it’s a reminder that depth is fleeting as Huntington often likes to say.

- TS

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