Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable #22

Question #1:
Most estimates have the Pirates’ payroll at about $10-12 million under their self-imposed $50 million cap. It has been suggested that difference could be used on an in-season trade. If the Pirates could rent one player (with an eye on possibly re-signing him for 2008 and beyond), who would you choose? Why?

Matthew from Minor Details:
It’s difficult to say who would be the best choice until we see how some guys fare in the first half of 2007, not only to see what glaring holes there may be but also to see what trade value you can get. But if the Pirates think that Andrew McCutchen will be ready to be their starting center fielder in 2008 (and judging by his play last season and in spring training, I think he will be) and Chris Duffy can have a solid first half, Duffy might be a nice bit of trade bait to dangle out there. The Pirates also have a slew of young arms that have already garnered some attention and despite the Pirates’ resistance to deal any of them, it could be a situation where they could help in bringing in another big bat or a veteran pitcher.
Looking at the possible players that could be available, there doesn’t seem to be a name that jumps out as being a perfect fit for the Pirates. Sure there are some big names like Ichiro or Carlos Zambrano, but price-wise they will be out of reach for the Pirates. If the Bucs can catch the Yankees on a good day, they could try to move some youngsters for the professional hitting Bobby Abreu. He would be a little higher than the $10-12 million but he would be well worth it.
Matt from Wait ‘Til Next Year:
Depending slightly on how Nady hits early on this season, I wouldn’t mind seeing Adam Dunn lumbering around in right field. He is a big investment at $10.5 million this year with a club option of $13 million in 2008, but he is a very productive hitter. Despite falling off a bit last season, his career OPS+ is 128. That would fit nicely into the middle of the Pirates’ lineup with Sanchez, Bay and LaRoche. He wouldn’t have much room to cover in PNC’s tight right field, so his lousy defense would be tolerable. Of course, the Pirates may have to part with something substantial to pry him away from Cincinnati. Or maybe Krivsky would give him up for Jesse Chavez and some cash. He seems to celebrate the mediocre reliever nearly as much as Dave Littlefield.
Steve from The Parrot:
I don’t think that the Bucs will be in a position to add any players this season. I don’t foresee a playoff run, and they don’t have many overpriced has-beens on the roster to deal at the deadline. (Possibly Wilson or Hernandez.)
Of the players on the provided list, Aaron Rowand from the Phillies might be a worthwhile pickup if Chris Duffy is terrible.
Dave from Bucs Trade Winds:
This is a difficult question, not knowing who will be doing what and what injuries might happen. For many years I have clamored for Jermaine Dye, but not this year. I don’t see pitching being a need for this team this year nor in 2008. Where I am leaning is a Rowand or Ichiro type, since I am still not sold on Duffy. Having Ichiro at the top of a lineup would make any team better. I don’t think the Pirates have enough to trade for him, but luckily Seattle’s GM may be the only GM rated lower than Dave Littlefield. To add Ichiro, more than young pitching will be required.
The other direction I would look into is a Mackowiak type player, someone to add to the bench strength more than someone for the everyday lineup.
Mark from Pirates Journal:
Adam Dunn. I know he strikes out a ton but you’re talking about a guy who consistently hits 40 homeruns and draws 100 walks each and every year. One season he’s going to cut his strikeouts to under 150 and put together an MVP-caliber season. It would mean shifting Dunn over to right field but I think that’s a position change he could handle. Imagine having Jason Bay as the third hitter and then Adam Dunn and Adam LaRoche behind him.
Question #2:
What non-Pirate related baseball story do you feel is the most interesting heading into the season?

Matthew from Minor Details:
Since the last thing I want to hear about is more performance-enhancement drug stories, I will pick anything but that. But I personally think one of the biggest stories isn’t one that has been a headline grabber. For me I’m most interested in how competitive all the divisions in baseball will be in 2007. In past years you could always easily pick a few divisions in which you knew who would end up on top. But this season doesn’t really have that. Every single division in baseball has multiple contenders in it. This should make a great division and wild card race for both leagues down the stretch this season.
Mark from Pirates Journal:
I think the biggest story has to be the shift of Extra Innings to DirecTV. It sounds like this is story a lot of people have an opinion about and it’s almost all against MLB for signing what pretty much amounts to an exclusive deal with DirecTV, blocking out a lot of cable subscribers from watching their out of market teams. I’ve heard a ton of conspiracy theories on this one that range from the ultimate objective behind the deal being to push as many people to MLB.TV as possible.
Steve from The Parrot:
I’m most interested to see what the Boston Red Sox have in Dice-K. Will he be the Second Coming of Roger Clemens? With the Sox’s potent offense, will he be able to push them beyond the Yankees this year?

Matt from Wait ‘Til Next Year:

On a personal level, it is Barry Bonds and his assault on Hank Aaron’s home run record. I have grown up with an instinctive dislike for Bonds, and it will be a sad day for me if he passes Aaron. I am not positive as to what has caused my strong feelings against him. Maybe it is his total disregard for anyone around him and his extreme arrogance. Maybe it is the steroid issue. Maybe, deep in my subconscious, I still blame him for ruining my life on October 14, 1992. Maybe it is his long-standing feud with my all-time favorite player, Andy Van Slyke. Whatever it is, I think it would be a disgrace to the game if he was the all-time greatest home run hitter, especially considering the steroid allegations.
Dave from Bucs Trade Winds:
For a Pirate fan, I would have to say the potential sale of the Chicago Cubs and who the new owner might be. Being a Pirate fan, I can only hope the rumors of Mark Cuban being a buyer are false. I am interested for personal reasons, I want Cuban to own the Pirates.

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Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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  • Pirates Journal » Another Pirates Roundtable

    […] I recently took part in the weekly Pirates roundtable over at the Pittsburgh Lumber Company.  Good questions this time around with the topics being who the Pirates could go after in a trade and sign and then the top “baseball” story heading into the 2007 season.  A lot of good input for a variety of Pirates bloggers.   [link] […]

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