Pirates Acquire Russ Canzler For Tim Alderson

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired 1B/OF Russ Canzler from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson. Canzler is on the 40-man roster, and to make room the Pirates placed James McDonald on the 60-day DL. The Pirates have sent Canzler to Triple-A.

In his career in the majors, Canzler has a .271/.304/.396 line in 96 at-bats. In the minors this year he has a .276/.369/.430 line in 323 at-bats in Triple-A. What is interesting is his career success against left-handers.

2013: 1.346 OPS in 82 PA

2012: .860 OPS in 182 PA

2011: .921 OPS in 152 PA

2010: 1.013 OPS in 143 PA

2009: .568 OPS in 95 PA

2008: .925 OPS in 122 PA

With the exception of that 2009 year, Canzler has crushed lefties. That could be a key part to this addition. He has spent most of his time at first base, but also has time at third, and the corner outfield spots. The Pirates don’t have many guys who can hit lefties, and this could give them another option. In a limited sample of 31 plate appearances in the majors, Canzler has a 1.086 OPS.

Alderson had a 2.79 ERA in 42 innings with Indianapolis this year, along with an 8.1 K/9 and a 2.1 BB/9 ratio. He saw his fastball velocity come back in recent years, sitting 90-93 MPH, along with a good curveball. However, he didn’t have success in the rotation and doesn’t have dominating stuff out of the bullpen. He could make the majors as a decent middle reliever, but the Pirates have so much depth in the bullpen that it wouldn’t hurt them if that happened. They’d get more upside if Canzler could hit lefties in the majors.

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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  • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

    Canzler has been through quite a few organizations already this year. Obviously they view Alderson as a throwaway. Russ hits lefties much better than righties and can play all the corners- could this be the cheap in-house replacement for Inge?

    • http://www.ashevilleroadbowling.com hunter

      Those are essentially Inge’s positions and heck he even has a game at 2nd this year.

  • elgaupo

    I think you’re looking at next year’s platoon mate for Snider or Lambo in RF with Tabata being the 4th OF.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.j.stein.3 Jeremy J Stein

    Could be an Inge replacement if another trade doesn’t happen before July 31st.
    .
    OR Canzler could just be a Triple A depth if Walker is hurt for a while and Harrison is on the major league roster.

  • imadushbag

    alderson will be a free agent at the end of the season i think. would not of been able to protect from the rule 5 draft, if someone wanted to take a shot at him.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

      I believe Alderson was already eligible for the rule5 last year. Just like Lambo, no teams took a waiver on him.

      • imadushbag

        thank you

  • deacs

    Getting way ahead of ourselves here with this question but Polanco hits lefties ok doesn’t he? I remember reading that on this site at one point. It would be nice to march the same OF out there everyday and not have to worry about a platoon. Can anyone confirm this?

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

      When he’s ready, Polanco will be an everyday player.

      • deacs

        Thanks Tim

    • pittcat90

      Last year, Polanco hit .396 against lefties in 126 PA. Seems like he can hit anyone he darn well wants to.

  • justin14

    Does this mean we have given up on Matt Hague? We could have just called him up and placed McDonald on the 60 day dl and call up Hague instead of trading for Canzler

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

      I don’t think this helps Hague, since Canzler is Hague with better power and more versatility.

  • http://www.finner.smugmug.com finner68

    Canzler is from this area and I saw him play recently for Norfolk. He has some power. He has a bit of an uppercut in his swing. I think he was the DH the games I saw him in Scranton. Not noted for his glove.I would like to see Lambo get some at bats this year.. if they have given up on Snider.

  • https://profiles.google.com/112402176672885120423 Alex Henry

    Honestly i just don’t like the trade i don’t see this guy as an improvement in any aspect and getting rid of Alderson a 24 year old who has a ERA below 3 out of the pen even if he didnt help the club he could have been a September call up i just dont see the value in the trade plus Canzler was DFA’d we might have had him for nothing.

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

      Alderson is no big loss. He also wouldn’t have been a September callup. Short term and long term, Canzler could provide more value to the club. He hits lefties, which is something the Pirates need. Alderson was way down on the RP depth chart.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

        As much as we all would love to have Alderson make it, Tim is exactly right. Black, Welker, Hughes, Morris, Reid… there are so many other RHPs to choose from.

      • https://profiles.google.com/112402176672885120423 Alex Henry

        I agree he is no big loss also your right i got carried away saying September call-up but i’m just leery on the fact he was DFA’d we could have gotten him for nothing but i hope i’m wrong and it’d be a treat if this acquisition got rid of Inge for good time will tell i hope we get that production out of him i just think there hesitant to get rid of Inge for some reason but if you believe he will actually be on the club and contribute then ill take your word on it thank you

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    This cannot be anything but a need for a player for Indy….his career track record sounds like Jeff Clements and Jerry Sands – another AAAA player.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.donahue.100 whiteAngus

      I disagree. With Inge struggling, Harrison always a question mark, Tabata’s health issues… you can see why Canzler is being looked at. Besides, hes already on the 40 man. If Inge doesnt turn it around then he will probably be replaced sometime after the break.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susanne.klichlangford Susanne Klich Langford

    Canzler has played 100+ minor league games at 3B although he has an .870 fld pct there and even worse this year so he may be a butcher there.

  • smurph

    I think it is more important for your bench players to be hitters than fielders. They already have 2 (3?) players on the bench who can play defense but noy hit. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guy you could send up there in the late innings of a 1-run game who could deliver for you (Smokey Burgess, Manny Mota, Lee Lacy)?

  • burghdood

    Right on Smurph-bench hitting has been one of their few weak spots this season, & that 1346 ops against lefties (this year too!) is almost Puig-like!!
    The punk bench was mostly disguised this year (so far) by the stellar league leading pitching, where they frequently found themselves with a lead in the late innings…as the season rolls on & the starting pitching typically slows down a little (a common phenomenon as was described the other day by Teke), a bench guy with pop can become invaluable.
    Another good swap senor Huntington!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/bryan.graham.773 Bryan Graham

      One of their few weak spots? Their whole offense is a weak point. Last night when I checked they were tied for next to last in runs scored in the NL. Thanks goodness for Pedro, he has basically been this years version of what Cutch was last year (the whole offense)

      • burghdood

        Let me rephrase that then-the bench is their “super” weak spot, & that although the starting lineup isn’t exactly strong, they have been adequate enough to have one of the best records in the majors, with timely hitting & some power. When any starter came up, you had the feeling that something might happen (except for the rt fielder), & with Tabata warming up, even that is becoming poss. solidified into a perhaps a mediocre to decent offense! Top of the lineup is now close to a 300 avg!

  • emjayinTN

    Tim: In Canzler’s 82 PA’s against LHP in 2013 he has more walks than K’s, and 12 extra base hits. He needs to be in Pittsburgh right now, with Harrison going back down to the minors. And, although 27, he has hardly any ML Service Time and will be a $500K guy for probably 3 more years. Overall, he has excellent double/HR numbers and is another of those guys who needs a chance and could be a real find for the Pirates.

  • http://www.finner.smugmug.com finner68

    I have a photo of Canzler if you want it for your player page.