Nate Schierholtz and Alex Rios Top the Pirates’ Wish List

It looks like right field is the priority for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago (via MLBTR) says that the Pirates have been watching outfielder Nate Schierholtz for more than a month. He also says that they have had Schierholtz and Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios at the top of their wish list.

We’ve heard about the Pirates being interested in both outfielders. Rob Biertempfel of the Trib reported about ten days ago that the Pirates were checking on both guys, and we did a trade values breakdown of both players in the same article.

The value for Rios was a Grade B hitting prospect with no salary relief. That value could go up if the White Sox picked up salary. Schierholtz had a slightly higher value, but still a Grade B hitting prospect due to his smaller salary.

The trade market is looking like an extreme seller’s market so far, which means that it’s unlikely Rios or Schierholtz could be had for their values. It would probably cost more for each player, and possibly much more (think a top 50 prospect to start). There haven’t been good reports about Rios in the last week. He was benched recently for a lack of hustle to first base, then there was this update from Danny Knobler last night.

Those aren’t the types of things you want to hear about a guy who is at the top of your trade wish list.

Right now Jose Tabata is hitting for a .274/.342/.400 line in 152 plate appearances. He also doesn’t have the best defense in right field. Both Schierholtz or Rios would be an upgrade, or at least would provide more comfort than sticking with Tabata and hoping he maintains the decent average, high on-base percentage, occasional power, and stays healthy. But the price to acquire either guy might be more than they’re worth, and upgrading that one spot isn’t going to provide a massive impact to the Pirates offense.

In short, the Pirates don’t have an easy decision in the next week.

Tim Williams

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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  • Nuke Laloosh

    Based on what is available I am not sure NH wants to give up what the asking price may be. I agree Tim, no easy decision here.

  • https://profiles.google.com/104960915559251427123 Dehn Unterzuber

    Tough market this year. I don’t see NH overpaying for one of these guys but I do think we will pickup an upgrade for RF. The best trades are the ones you don’t hear about. I’m sure they are knocking on every door trying to find an everyday RF.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bwalor Brad Walor

      God I hope your right. I do not want Schierholtz at all

  • RobForsyth

    I’m not sure I like the options either. If only about six teams are sellers there’s not much of value out there. It would be nice if either Tabata or Snider (somehow) started producing more, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • jon6er

    Rios would be an expensive mistake. I think it is a dangerous path to take for the way this club is made up. We have had a little problem with Tabata and Marte not hustling in the past and the players and coaches dealt with it right away. Rios has a history of it and it has been a problem recently. And from the money end, NH has been successful without putting the checkbook on the coffee table.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bwalor Brad Walor

    Why no Chase Headley rumors this year? Remember when the buccos could get him and throw him in right field or 1b. That would be nice this year too, even if his stats aren’t were hey were lat year.

    • NickP

      Yankees asked for him, but Padres quickly refused.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ej6687 Erik Johnson

    I think the best option would be to find a couple bunch guys and just go with the starters we have currently. Gaby/Jones platoon at 1B and Snider/Tabata in RF.

    One guy off the bench that would be interesting is Cody Ransom. Can play most of the infield and would probably be a better bat off the bench than Harrison.

    • http://www.deanmanifest.blogspot.com Dean Manifest

      Snider is currently slugging .329 (he slugged .328 for us last season). His OBP is .292, and his OPS+ is 76. That’s abysmal. The natural raw power that he clearly possesses is not translating into anything besides hard choppers that he occasionally pounds through the right side if the infield.
      .
      And without looking I’d expect that his numbers get even worse than most against top pitchers because he can’t hit certain pitches. If we get into the playoffs it’s hard to imagine him contributing against the caliber of pitchers we’ll be facing.
      .
      Tabata is better, but he’s injury prone and has no power, forcing him to run good on balls in play to be useful. Not good as the stronger half of a RF platoon.
      .
      Add it up and we are actually in a good position as a buyer- most other contenders can’t improve nearly as much through one relatively minor acquisition (and at RF/1B at that).
      .
      I think Huntington should be patient, but be prepared to pounce on whatever has slipped through the cracks as the deadline approaches.

      • calhammer

        You have got to be kidding me???? Rios and Schierholtz the Pirates need someone to hit Left-Handers and Schiertholtz is batting .192 against them!!!!! Why is no one talking about Chris Denorfia from San Diego he’s hitting .265 this yr. .276 vs left-handers and .256 vs right-handers and his strikeout ratio is 1 every 6.0 times to the plate the only Pirate with a better ratio is McCutchen at 6.1!!!!

        • csnumber23

          Chris Denorfia?? Please, this is the 3rd time I’ve seen this scrub mentioned. Please tell me what Chris Denorfia has ever done in the majors, to make you think he would be the upgrade we need. Answer, nothing!!

          • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

            He hits left-handers.

            • csnumber23

              I think we can find much better players than Chris Denorfia to hit left-handers. I also would assume if we are going to trade for an upgrade it would not be for a platoon player.

              • calhammer

                He’s not a platoon player nit wit he has 296 at bats 7 hr’s which is more than Tabata and Snider combined only Headley and Cabera have more at bats plus he plays all (3) spots in the outfield!!!!! If you don’t like him how about Kyle Blanks he is 26rs old with (8) Hr’s and is making 400,000 compared to Denorfia’s 2 mil.

  • http://www.deanmanifest.blogspot.com Dean Manifest

    Is anyone else worried that Schierholtz is a regression candidate in the second half?
    .
    Last season, at age 28, in his fourth in the majors, he posted a .728 OPS and a 103 OPS+. This season he’s currently running about 100 points better than his previous career high in OPS (largely driven by a bump in SLG*). And he’s always been a part-time player, so his averages can’t be expected to improve by limiting him to favorable matchups.
    .
    Granted, even with some regression he’s a more productive hitter than Travis Snider. So I’m willing to trade for him. But I’m not giving up anyone even remotely exciting for him.
    .
    *Incidentally what would you trust to be more sustainable, a half-season improvement in OBP or SLG?

    • http://www.facebook.com/bwalor Brad Walor

      I am with u

    • NickP

      I agree. Same with Marlon Byrd.

    • jg941

      Well, it could actually be the opposite. As well as Nate has hit this year, he’s done it while maintaining a below-league-average BABIP, so……who knows. Could be sustainable.

  • CalipariFan506

    I absolutely do not want Alex Rios is all I will say here.

  • quikclipze

    Anyone who would give up a Top 50 prospect for Schierholtz would have to have rocks in their head….

    I’d throw an offer in the Clay Holmes range at them, nothing more.

    Rios… do not want. At all.

  • https://profiles.google.com/117072260031604417798 PikeBishop65

    On thing a new rightfielder would do is allow them to play Tabata in left to spell Marte occasionally. This is Marte’s first full big league season and I think it’s showing on him, wearing him down, contributing to his recent plate struggles. He’s going to need to sit a few times down the stretch IMHO.

    • moose7195

      I disagree entirely, Marte needs as much experience as he feels comfortable getting. His recent struggles stem from a problem he’s had all season. He actually swings at nearly every pitch he sees. His poor plate discipline puts him behind in counts and has him swinging at balls so of course he’s gonna struggle. He needs to work on working the count and the only way that happens is if he sees major league pitching.

  • moose7195

    Tim, I know there has been no rumors circulating around it. But what kind of trade value would Alejandro De Aza have? By your valuation tool, it might be more than Rios because of his cheaper contract or it could be lower because of his poor defense this season deflating his WAR. Either way, I would think the lack of name value would make him a cheaper acquisition than Rios for about the same offensive stat line.

    • jollyroger13

      i think i brought this up the other day. de Aza hits lefties. hits with RISP (.356 last i looked), has 12 SB, 12 HR and is batting .280 overall… Can he be had?

  • Monkshot

    I think Rios just needs a change of scenery, but I hope it’s not Pittsburgh. I think we will get someone that’s not even being talked about.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bwalor Brad Walor

      Just like Snider last year

      • NickP

        Rios is way more talented than Snider, but I guess I see what you’re saying.

  • Cecil.

    All together now: NOOOO RIOS! This is not the first time the stench of dog has been associated with him, he’s got a history of it. Is there any reason to think he’d change coming to the Pirates? If he was a 2 month rental I might be in favor since you’d hope being in a pennant race would motivate him but I’m not willing to gamble on his character for the length of the contract he has left.

    Schierholtz on the other hand? Not a star but enough of an improvement over Snider/Tabata that you’d have to consider him, depending on the cost. At least there is some consistency with him that you could count on.

    They must not think Presley could do any better and Lambo isn’t ready yet, although I always thought Lambo was more of a first baseman, even though they have him in the outfield.

    How about Aoki from the Brewers?

    • NickP

      I like Aoki, but inter-division trades are rare.

  • docdon385

    Why is Andrew Lambo’s name never even mentioned as a possibility? He’s hitting.288 with 24hr and 74rbi in 98 games combined between Alt and Indy with no drop off when he moved up to AAA. What am I missing?

    • MattInMD

      A bit of speculation here: Firstly, of course, Lambo’s AAA experience is limited. Neil Huntington has a history of keeping players at a level for a while, so we may be waiting that out.

      Practically, Lambo isn’t on the 40 man roster, so the Bucs would risk losing someone to add him. Not that it would be wrong to do that, but I think NH would have be pretty sure Lambo would be a significant upgrade to do that at this time. While Lambo’s slugging at Indy is better this year, Alex Presley is already on the 40 man and has MLB experience, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he would be brought up first.

    • coachdetesta

      I actually had this conversation with someone the other day when Grilli went down and the person I was talking to suggested giving some of the young arms at AAA a shot. I like Lambo and he should be a September callup and hopefully will contribute nicely but with 1 week until the trade deadline and being entrenched in a pennant race and playoff run there really isn’t enough time to experiment with younger players. Making a move for a more proven player is the right course of action right now and then young players like Lambo get their shot in September.

    • IC Bob

      Your missing his previous 4 years of mediocrity.

  • https://profiles.google.com/102804497270034978273 Marco Rincones

    He won’t come cheap but I still say try to pry Michael Cuddyer from the Rockies. He’d be a great fit. Pricey, yes – but the Bucs would win with Cuddyer in RF or occasionally at 1st base. He’ll knock in runs and be a great clubhouse guy. The Rockies are scuffling now and there’s no way they are going to catch the friggin’ Dodgers. Cuddyer is under contract for one more yr at $11mil. He’s worth it if they really want to win in Pittsburgh. Also, the Rockies need prospects.

    • moose7195

      The Rockies have said that they would need to be blown away to deal Cuddyer. I would think that would be Taillon and/or Polanco territory, which is something I wouldn’t want to give up. And even if the Rockies decide to sell, Cuddyer becomes the best OF on the market so the market will make it cost a Taillon or Polanco. Either way, he’ll cost more than I would want to give up. That said, I would love to get Cuddyer if we could find a way to keep our top two prospects.

    • BostonsCommon

      I like that idea, but the Rockies fall into that category of teams are only 5 games back, but should probably sell because they’re not really contenders, but who won’t sell because they think they should be contenders.

      Cuddyer would be nice though.

  • leadoff

    Would love to have Schierholtz, but have no inclination to give up anything higher than a “C” prospect and only one of them.

  • TNBucs

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Huntington goes “big” by trying to acquire a guy like Belt or Smoak (not that Smoak may be classified as “big” now but he has been hitting lately). If marginal upgrades like Rios and Schierholtz are going to cost decent prospects anyway, why not trade for a longer term solution by including a better prospect?

    I wouldn’t trade Polanco or Taillon, but if Schierholtz might cost, say, Heredia, why not use Glasnow as part of a deal to acquire a real upgrade?

    • csnumber23

      Why would you want to trade Glasnow?? He would be untouchable if I were running the team. Many scouts think he may be better than Cole and Taillon. The prospects I would consider trading for BIG upgrades are Kingham, Heredia and or Bell. Any of those 3 could land a lot. Taillon, Polonco and Glasnow should be untouchable with Hanson close to untouchable.

      • TNBucs

        No doubt that Glasnow looks great but he’s still in low A and a lot can happen. So say we have a chance to acquire a guy like Brandon Belt that solves 1B for years to come (rights controlled for four more years). I’d consider it.

        In general I believe in building through pitching, but also acknowledge the risk in developing pitchers no matter how good they look in low A.

        • csnumber23

          I would love to get Belt, I think he could break out at any time. I think we could get him without giving Glasnow. I think Kingham or Heredia and Bell would do it.

  • https://profiles.google.com/105668650510920614054 Brian Bernard

    TNBucs, not sure who you’re a fan of but trading Glasnow doesn’t help this team in the long haul – and #1 type pitchers are not players this organization needs to lose.
    I like the arms right now, and would be willing to move forward with no moves there, but in the field I would be hesitant to change the starting nine. The bench is in need of an upgrade and Snider / Harrison are the only two I’d consider sending down and replacing, but Snider is the type of player you’d want – just producing.
    I like Harrison too, but I think I’d rather have a bat than a glove and although he’s produced in AAA, he hasn’t in the show. Actually, Ramirez from the ChiSox would be a great guy for the bench – not at the price they’ve been reportedly asking though.

  • smurph

    I am pretty much in agreement with the majority here. The only way I would want Rios is if A. The Sox eat more than half his salary. and B. it is for a B or lower prospect. Both of those, not either/or. As for Schierholz, I’ve always liked him as a parttime player. He would be an upgrade over both Snider and Tabata. Again, no top 50 prospect. I wonder if the Pirates have interest in Kendrys Morales or Michael Morse. With their recent 8-game winning streak, I wonder if Seattle thinks they are contenders (they’re not).

  • IC Bob

    Extreme sellers market? Whats the basis for that? Garza? He was a pitcher in a really thin pitchers market. I really believe their will be super deals for RFs. Also their is no way Schierholtz gets a B prospect to the Cubs. Heck the word is Soriano is netting the Cubs a C prospect for the Yanks and he is way better on all fronts then Rios or Schierholtz. I think it will be difficult for the Bucs to upgrade in the pitching market (Though I don’t think they need to) but I think we can vastly improve our bench and or RF for next to nothing. I suspect we will within the next 30 days.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

      Garza is one. The Orioles trading a Grade B hitter for two months of K-Rod. There’s also not much available on the market right now, and not a lot of teams selling. Thus Demand > Supply.

      • IC Bob

        Those are pitchers not hitters. I think its arguable that both of those pitchers are the best available at their positions. I would be stunned if anyone gives the Cubbies anything above a grade C players for Scheirholtz. I can see Rios getting some solid return since his contract looks reasonable for the production. I really think the key will be which guys would command a draft pick if they stayed. I have a feeling their are lots of teams that teams who would fear arbitration and not want to over pay these guys thus they would just as well get something instead of nothing. I guess we will see in the coming days. Also I think contract dollars to value becomes a little overated at this time of year. Scheirholtz has $ value but he is a limited upgrade for any team.

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

          What hitters are actually on the market outside of Rios and Schierholtz?

  • Monkshot

    I looked at Morse also but with Seattle going on a hot streak and promising the fans this year is going to be different, I don’t see it happening. MLB definitely needs to move the trade deadline back to make up for the 2nd wild card. Soriano is netting a C prospect because of his salary, I’m sure the Yankees are picking up a majority of his contract.

  • Monkshot

    I also meant to add that Kenny Williams has been seen in Altoona.

  • https://www.facebook.com/corey.a.gentile Corey A Gentile

    Just saying .. how good would Jayson Werth look out in right field for us.

  • NickP

    Apparently the White Sox VP is scouting some of our guys in Altoona.

  • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

    The problem with the “Kenny Williams is in Altoona” rumor is that Altoona isn’t in Altoona.

    • clemente21

      To be fair the quote from Mark Gonzales is: “Sox executive vice president Ken Williams has been spotted in Altoona”. Not an implication that he’s there today.

  • csnumber23

    I would not give any more than a C level prospect for Nate Shierholtz, there is a reason he has been a career platoon player. Personally I would rather not even get him.

    Rios – I would be interested for a B level prospect and Chicago covering at least a 3rd of his salary.

    The 3 players I would be most interested in are H. Pence, M. Morse and K. Morales. Problem is the Giants still believe they have a chance and now Seattle somehow thinks they are in the race.

    These players should be untouchable, Taillon, Polonco and Glasnow. Hanson would also be untouchable unless we can get a young proven SS back.

    Because of our depth at these spots I would consider Kingham, Heredia ans Bell but only for HUGE upgrades.

  • Monkshot

    Tim beat me to it, I just checked to see who was pitching in Altoona, who is in New Hampshire.

  • CalipariFan506

    The teams selling have general managers who have and will again “sell the farm” for rentals. That’s if they’re even selling. I think Hahn in Chicago is dumb enough to stand pat and try to sign a free agent next season.

  • CalipariFan506

    Also, the White Sox had a memorable fire sale only 3.5 games behind about 15 years ago. It cost everybody in the organization their job. Ever since they have vowed to try to compete every year. Their fans don’t want to sell so even if they do trade Rios, Ramirez or Peavy it won’t be met with a ton of support.

  • IC Bob

    One last thing I think their is a lot of jockeying around in an attempt to enhance value of players available. How often did we hear all sorts of good name for our Bucs only to get some average single A pitcher or hitter. If the White Sox are looking at Altoona they may be looking at Dickerson and Rojas. I am predicting Schierholtz since the cubs owe us for all the kisses the previous GM gave them. In fact maybe the Giants will give us something good for the same reason.

  • CalipariFan506

    Bob I wouldn’t want to trade with the Cubs. Epstein gave us Freddie Sanchez who was hurt. Craig Hansen who was hurt. Brandon Moss who was hurt. And we caught Brandon Lyon who was hurt and returned him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.ransom.5 Jeremy Ransom

    I think we should go after Soriano. The Cubs are getting absolutely fleeced by the Yankees in the deal they’re talking. A low tier pitching prospect AND the Cubs eat most of the salary??? Yeah, I’ll take that.

    • CalipariFan506

      That is because Soriano made a list of teams he would accept trades to and the Yankees were most likely the only one. He refused the Giants last year, the team that won the world series. So I doubt he had interest in coming here.