Pirates Notebook: LaRoche Trade Coming Soon?

The promotion of Steve Pearce brings up a lot of speculation about a possible Adam LaRoche trade. It’s to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised to see LaRoche traded tomorrow. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, so please don’t start any trade rumors quoting me here. That being said, let’s review the current situation:

-We know that LaRoche has been mentioned in trade talks (San Francisco is interested)

-We know that Pearce has been working at first base at AAA as a possible future replacement

-There is currently an open spot on the 40-Man roster

Those are the facts. Now for some opinions:

-Pearce is expected to be on the bench for awhile. If he’s a possible replacement for a LaRoche trade, it makes little sense to take him from an everyday role at first to a bench role where he’ll likely only play in right field.

-The Pirates could have promoted someone like Garrett Jones to play such a minor role, with little to no sacrifice to the future. Considering how they handled McCutchen, they don’t seem to want to call up the replacements until it is necessary.

-On the other hand, they did call up Tom Gorzelanny with guys like Jeff Karstens and Ian Snell struggling, and Gorzelanny only played a minor role.

-Steve Pearce is the only guy on the 40-man roster at AAA, aside from Neil Walker (injured) and Luis Cruz/Brian Bixler. Maybe they’re just looking for a short term fill for Craig Monroe. I’d imagine Cruz/Bixler would start Jack Wilson rumors, which would be a bigger PR hit than any Adam LaRoche trade speculation.

Overall this situation feels like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. It makes no sense to bring Pearce up to the majors with little playing time available, especially when it seems almost certain that Adam LaRoche will be traded this year, with Pearce serving as his replacement.

Pearce doesn’t have a spot at first, because the Pirates have to play LaRoche as much as possible for his trade value to increase. He doesn’t have much time in the outfield, as Nyjer Morgan is heating back up, and Brandon Moss/Delwyn Young are splitting time in right field.

When I first heard Pearce was coming up, my thought was that they could be checking to see if he’s ready for the majors. Now it seems that Pearce will be checking out the majors from the bench. Add in the fact that there have been trade talks on LaRoche, and there is also an open spot on the 40-man roster, and it feels like an Adam LaRoche trade could be coming.

The MVP Tracker

The MVP Tracker is updated through the 6/19 loss. Tonight was a tough loss, with a lot of good performances, and a few bad performances. Here are the best and worst:

The Best

1. Andrew McCutchen: .217 WPA
2. Nyjer Morgan: .205
3. Brandon Moss: .126
4. Delwyn Young: .123
5. Steven Jackson: .085

The Worst

1. John Grabow: -.410
2. Jesse Chavez: -.357
3. Sean Burnett: -.235
4. Andy LaRoche: -.167
5. Adam LaRoche: -.051

Prospect Watch

The Prospect Tracker is updated with tonight’s results:

-Jose Tabata went 1 for 3 with a run and a walk.

-Pedro Alvarez went 0 for 4.

-Tony Sanchez made his debut tonight, entering the State College game in the sixth inning as a defensive replacement. Sanchez went 1 for 2 at the plate, including an RBI single for the go-ahead run in the 9th.

-Quinton Miller (prospect page coming soon), who was our 20th round draft pick last year, went 4 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, with no walks and 2 strikeouts.

-2009 23rd round pick Jose Hernandez went 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Hernandez had 17 homers in his final NCAA season, and it will be interesting to see if his power can carry over to the pros.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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