Poll: Your Ideal Off-Season

The Pittsburgh Pirates enter the 2011-2012 off-season with four big needs for the 2012 season.  With Derrek Lee, Paul Maholm, Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Doumit, and Chris Snyder all departing, the Pirates have needs at catcher, first base, shortstop, and the rotation.  I’ve discussed each position individually, along with some free agent options at catcher, shortstop, first base, and the rotation.

I was asked on Twitter yesterday what I would consider a successful off-season.  My response shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who read the above four articles.  I’d take Ramon Hernandez or Rod Barajas at catcher, Clint Barmes at shortstop, Derrek Lee or Carlos Pena at first base, and one of Chris Capuano, Paul Maholm, Erik Bedard, or Jeff Francis in the rotation.  If I had to pick my ideal off-season, it would be Hernandez, Barmes, Lee, and Capuano.

In a perfect world, this list would include someone like Edwin Jackson or Jose Reyes.  I’d rather keep the list realistic, as I don’t think the Pirates will be players for any of those options.  With all of the teams that will be in on those players, the Pirates would have to seriously over-pay to lure one of those top options to Pittsburgh.

We’ve looked at the available free agents.  There’s also a few non-tender and trade candidates that have been floated around.  I’ve listed my preference (which is pretty much limited to the free agents, since there are too many variables to consider with the trade and non-tender markets).  Now it’s your turn.  What would be your ideal off-season for all four positions?  You can pick one option for each position.  You’ll be able to pick “Non-Tender Candidate”, “Trade”, or “Internal Option” for each position, as well as some of the realistic free agent options.  Feel free to expand on your thoughts in the comments.


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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, 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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  • Anonymous

    I like your list but mine would be slightly different: Hernandez, Pena, Barmes and Bedard. I also would take Barajas at catcher, Lee or Cuddyer at 1B, Carroll or Santiago at SS and any of the FA pitchers listed except Cook and Harang.

    In addition I would like to see Leroux converted to SP and given a chance to win the 5th starter job. Also the bench needs some work especially if Jones is DFAd.

    • Tim Williams

      Leroux would definitely be interesting as a starter, although his current innings will prohibit that. In 2011 he pitched a career high in innings and he barely topped 90. It’s a big jump from 90 innings to a 5th starter workload.

      • Anonymous

        Add the 20 to 30 innings he will have accumulated in the Dominican this fall and I’d say he is inching closer and closer to that 5th starter status. So far – 4 starts, 20.2 innings, 1.31 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 18K. He must be factoring into their plans.

      • Anonymous

        Good point but I would still like to see him given a chance. I don’t want to make too much out of Correia’s struggles at PNC but what about letting Correia make the starts on the road and Leroux at home.

        A bit radical and it may leave the bullpen shorthanded from time to time but then again one of them should always be fairly rested. Just thinking a little outside of the box here.

  • Anonymous

    Trade for a blocked young catcher and pitcher.  Go with D’Arnaud, Mercer of if all else fails, Ciriaco.  The 2012 season is over before it starts (I know the front office can’t admit that), therefore, it should be used to evaluate what you have.  Its not a season to do more of the same by bringing in cast offs and stop gaps.

    Had Ohlendorf stayed healthy, the acquisition of Correia would have kept us from seeing what Karstens could do.  If Tabata hadn’t gotten hurt, Diaz ‘s roster spot would have kept Presley out of the majors. 

    The best thing to do is to avoid the mistakes of the past and go with the young players.

    • Tim Williams

      A few things:

      1. Which blocked catcher or pitcher? It’s a nice theory, but until there’s actual names brought up, it’s just a theory.

      2. I don’t think Karstens would have been kept out of the rotation if Ohlendorf stayed healthy. He was getting hammered before going on the DL. But we don’t really know what might have happened in a hypothetical scenario, only what actually happened. And I don’t think you can make plans around this kind of stuff happening. Maybe if you’ve got a prospect that looks like a guaranteed addition by June or July, like the Pirates had with Alvarez and Tabata heading in to the 2010 season. But I don’t see any of those options available for the current areas of need. Perhaps the rotation, but I don’t think there’s any harm in adding a shortstop, catcher, or first baseman.

      • white angus

        i think Arencibia can be attainable from the Jays.  With d’arnaud just about ready, and molina there to mentor, JP could be had with a package of prospects. 

        Lind and Mills could probably be had as well, with the right deal of course.

        • Jeremiah Ewing

          I really think we need one more season with Sanchez before we decide to go young at C.  I’d rather go young at 1B/SP/SS.

          • white angus

            if sanchez is ready, you could ship Arencibia elsewhere, or turn sanchez into a trading chip.  im not saying do it, im saying it could be done if wanted.

  • Vicente Barletta

    My “dream” offseason would be Reyes SS (imagine the impact he can have on the team?, I would overpay for him if not for his injury history). Cuddyer (1B), keep Doumit until Sanchez arrives and trade for a SP like Gio Gonzalez or Wade Davis.
    With that said I agree with your list for a realistic offseason except for the SP.
    Tim: what players the Pirates would have to give to get someone like Gio Gonzalez/Wade Davis?

    • Tim Williams

      The last I read on Davis was that the Rays were looking for an outfielder or catcher. Not sure if that means a major league option, or a prospect. I haven’t seen anything on Gonzalez.

      • Vince Riedy

        Outfield is the one place the Bucs have depth. I hope they look into this.

  • Anonymous

    Sell the franchise to Mark Cuban.

    • white angus

      and how does that help?   if you actually think a smart businessman like him would spend millions out of his own pocket………..

      • Anonymous

        Here is why an owner like Cuban would be ideal:
        – There is a ton of potential for the Pirates franchise. Look at the Steelers and Penguins. The Pittsburgh market is larger than Milwaukee. A good businessman would do very well with the Pirates.
        – He doesn’t need to make money right away – just not lose it. Once the franchise is built he can decide what to do with his investment. He will make money over the long term.
        – He loves a challenge and to win. There is no greater challenge in pro sports than making the Pirates winners.
        – He insists on being the best, which means he insists on everyone around him being the best. The entire city would benefit from his influence (see Steelers and Penguins).

        You and I spend a couple $100 to go to a game for entertainment. Cuban spends $100’s of millions for the challenge.

        • white angus

          hmmm, so youre going to ignore the FACT that the pirates are the least valuable Major league baseball team on the planet and have a smart businessman come home and instantly turn it around by ignoring the things that got him rich in the first place?

          i like cuban, by the way.

          • Anonymous

            Sorry white angus but the facts are telling me a different story. The reason the Pirates are one of the least valuable franchises is because of the lack of investment in the team over a long period of time.

            You hear it in every conversation out of the BMTIB – the words “resources” “allocation” “value” are all code for “we have only so much money for all the areas which require investment”.

            Think of it as a stock portfolio – the best portfolios have a cross section of different investments which are weighted against against risk. The more money a person has the lower the risk and the greater the value.

            The Pirates are an underfunded investment portfolio. If a person comes along and maxamizes the full potential of the franchise the value will grow – and the investment will be profitable.

            • Tim Williams

              Diversification has nothing to do with funding. You don’t need X amount of money to diversify your portfolio.

              If we’re comparing the Pirates’ approach to the stock market, they’ve got their long term investments (draft, international market), their penny stocks (minor league free agents, waiver claims). For the short term stocks (free agency), they tend to stay away from investing in high priced stocks like Google and Chipotle. Instead they go for lower priced stocks. Unfortunately for last year, they invested in the Netflix of the MLB free agent market.

  • steve-O K

    After all of these years rebuilding, it’s time to put some pressure on the minors.  Give them all a chance.  We lose 85-95 games with signed veterans, we lose 92-97 games with called up rookies. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the positions listed as needing attention, but I can’t leave out that 8th inning setup guy, I don’t care how you fill these positions, if you can’t hold a lead in the 8th and 9th innings, filling these positions is not going to put them over the top. They should be trying to win in 2012.

    1. Catcher- Barajas, if they can’t get him get Ivan Rodriguez. Actually bringing back Doumit would work also.
    2. 1st base- Lee, if not Pena, with Hague brought up to learn the major league way and to see what he can do.
    3. SS- Cedano, with D’Arnaud as a depth. I would take Barmes if they can’t resign Cedano
    4. Starting Pitcher- Trade- Jair Jurrjens
    5. Bullpen- Trade- Tyler Clippard

  • terry

      My wish for this hot stove season would be to fill the holes in the lineup with younger upside players with the potential to take this team a step forward and begin the road to sustained winning in 2012. We all hope Cutch signs a long term deal, he is our super star, our face of the franchise and should be locked up for the long term. Tabata is already locked up and Presley has years of control left. Jones is a fan favorite and is a good RF and 1B bench player Hernandez will be a fine 5th OF with the defensive ability to back up left and center. Marte and Grossman are our trade bate! There is no reason to hold on to them with so many holes at so many positions that could be filled with better options than the usual pick ups.
      With that said I would like to begin with the rotation and a trade for Gio Gonzalez. Left handed starter with top of the rotation potential signed to a good contract. Secondly Free agent Edwin Jackson. Best young starter on the market that the Bucs have a prayer of signing. With McDonald, Morton, and a shot for Lincoln would be the best young rotation they’ve had for some time and one hell of a bridge to the big future. Karstens and Correa pushed to the bull pen and we are 7 deep before you even touch the farm.
      At C I would first start with offering Doumit arbitration, his bat is good, he is a fan favorite, and in a platoon with McKenrey is a better option then someone on the wrong side of 30. Secondly I would probably try to include Suzuki in the Gonzalez trade. Suzuki’s contract actually gives Sanchez more time to get back on track.
      At SS i would go after a potential non tender in Aviles. A better option then the old men in the FA market and under team control until 2015. I don’t know what it would take to get him, I leave it up for discussion. I like him a lot. I don’t care to explore any other options.
      First is tough man. As you can tell I don”t care for over the hill FA’s and I don’t care for platoons either. Jones is a nice back up but I don’t want him starting. If the Bucs wanted to make a big splash you could go after A.Ram and sell it to the fans as undoing a great injustice. This would move Alvarez to first. I’ve always liked Kendrys Morales and James Loney too. If the Angels want Jones I suppose Hague could be the back up.
      So I’ve gone on a bit long and went a little pie in the sky, but I think it looks a lot better then a lot of the things I’ve been reading. It may also be pushing the payroll some but only into the 60m range. The important thing is, I believe the winning would start now. Fans like younger players too, and with the chance of Pujols and Fielder leaving the division, and the Cubs not being rebuilt overnight maybe it could be two steps forward.

  • Anonymous

    If the Pirates fail to land one of Lee, Pena or Cuddyer for 1st base I think a nice move to make would be bringing in Casey Blake. He could platoon with Jones at 1st and back up Alvarez at 3B. If Jones ends up DFAd or starting at 1st I would like to see the Pirates go after McLouth in free agency. I can’t imagine there being much of a market for him and maybe he would be enticed to come back to where he had his most success.

    I don’t theorize about trades too much but the Rockies with Iannetta and Wigginton appear to be a good fit for the Pirates. Iannetta could start ay catcher and Wigginton would platoon at 1st and be a backup plan for Alvarez at 3B.

    • white angus

      Loney to 1B, start Alvarez at 3B.  no reason to go crazy and get guys like Pena who are absolutely NOT the type of hitters this team needs.

  • Stephen Hart

    Can trading Hanrahan a little above market value be on my wish list?

    • white angus

      of course.  other than cole and taillon, no one else is untouchable, IMO.

    • Ian Rothermund

      I really hope so.  I really like the hammer, but a relief pitcher is a relief pitcher, and having a star closer on a non-playoff team is a failure in the allocation of resources.  At this point in time, with his stock high, I’d wager you could get a half decent guy that’s already in MLB, or ready for it, and a good looking prospect or two.  Idk, I realize I just did what I hate, to give a hypothetical trade.   However, the point still lies in the fact that Hanrahan’s value is being wasted by continuing to stay here in Pittsburgh.

  • Todd Smith

    Just getting rid of Cedeno and Doumit has already made this an ideal off-season for me.  Anything else will just be gravy.

  • Matt Beam

    Cuddyer because of his versatility, RH bat, and winning background would be at the top of the list for me

    If they can sign Cutch to a 5-6 year deal, I’d trade S Marte and Hanrahan for a SP with top end potential like Gio Gonzalez or a duo of young impact hitters like Yonder Alonso and Zach Cozart of the Reds 

    • Ian Rothermund

      I can’t really comment on the hitters, I’m not very familiar with them, but both of our players for just Gio Gonzalez would be a bad trade I think.  Marte just looks like he could be way too good. 

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