Pirates Possibly Looking At Didi Gregorius

According to Jon Morosi, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had trade discussions with the Arizona Diamondbacks for shortstop Didi Gregorius. There were no details from Morosi on what the Diamondbacks could be looking for as a possible return, though they do need starting pitching.

Gregorius is a 24-year-old, who hit .252/.332/.373 in 103 games last year, his first full season in the majors.  Gregorius also played briefly for the Cincinnati Reds in 2012. He has never hit much in the minors, although he was always young for the level he was at. Prior to the 2013 season, Baseball America rated him at the 80th best prospect in the baseball, while MLB.com had him ranked 63rd.

He posted an 0.3 WAR on defense last year and Baseball America twice named him the best defensive infielder in his organization and in 2012, he was the best in the Southern League. Gregorius has a very strong arm to go along with his solid glove. Since coming to pro ball in 2008, Gregorius had played almost exclusively at shortstop, including every game he has played in the majors. He has played four games at second base, the only other position he has played.

Gregorius lost out the starting shortstop job to Chris Owings and according to at least one source, the Diamondbacks are looking for a major league ready starter to take the place of Patrick Corbin, who may miss the entire 2014 season with an arm injury. The Pirates have pitching depth at starter, but they also know that last year that depth came in handy. It’s possible that with the need to move one reliever before Opening Day, that someone like Jeanmar Gomez or Stolmy Pimentel could be used as a trade chip. Both pitchers have been stretched out during Spring Training.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • jaygray007

    That would be a fun acquisition, IMO. I’d guess that he has more than 1.3 WAR in him, as he put up a negative UZR/150 in 2013, but had a 7 arm and 6 glove according to Baseball Prospectus’s 2012 D-Backs prospect ranks.

    • stickyweb

      The talks are interesting. Coincidentally enough, FG posted an article on Fri. listing it’s projections for SS by team. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/2014-positional-power-rankings-shortstop/

      Using a hybrid Steamer/ZIPS formula, Didi is projected for a 0.8 WAR in 280 PAs, vs. the Bucs own SS being projected for 0.9 WAR in the same 280 PAs. The catch is that the Bucs SS listed is J Hay. I don’t know if this demonstrates the inherent limitations of projection systems or the “grass is always greener” mentality, but I thought it worth noting. Obviously, J Hay’s not getting anywhere near 280 PAs at SS, but it just goes to show that this potential trade may not improve the team as much as we think.

      That said, Didi is younger than Mercer, so he probably has more chance to
      improve his performance from last year, though the FG article does state he
      peaked on May 15 and posted Snider like #s the rest of the season (presumably without the toe injury excuse). If they do make this deal and end up with Didi, they should start to think about trading either Pedro (preferably) or Walker while they have a couple of years of control left. Either one should bring a good return, especially if they improve slightly on last year’s stats. They’d still have Mercer, Didi and which ever of Walker/Pedro is left, plus Hansen coming in a couple of years. Not quite asstellar as their OF situation, but pretty solid none the less.

      • lonleylibertarian

        You beat me to it sticky – I love these guys wanting to trade a quality starter for a SS who is very likely to have a Barmes like bat – and less power.

        Yes he is 24 – yes he is an upgrade on Mercer’s glove. But the differences are marginal at best – not significant enough to waste much on – Cumpton is worth more the Bucs than this guy would be.

        But you lose me at Pedro – no way you let him go – 30+ HRs are not easily found – and once found are not easily replaced.

        • stickyweb

          Yes 30 HRs are great, but a .300 OBP and 30% K rate are damn ugly. Unless Pedro takes a big leap this year, I honestly don’t see him as much more valuable than Walker or Mercer, but he’ll get paid a lot more because of those HRs. Let someone else overpay for those glory stats and take a couple of nice prospects for your trouble.

          • lonleylibertarian

            I would love to see some more from Pedro – but I do think he will be valuable in providing McCutchen some protection against RHP – probably would put Sanchez or Martin at clean up vs lefties. Last year GI was the most frequent clean up hitter – and he had an awful year – Andrew wins MVP. I think things get a bit better with Pedro making teams wary of giving up two run homers.

          • Y2JGQ2

            He doesn’t need a big leap, just consistent improvement. We can’t replace him at 3rd base, so unless someone is going to trade us a big prospect at 3rd to replace him, its a horrible idea. We can’t have that hole at 3rd we had since we traded Aramis and get back to the playoffs. We aren’t playing for the future anymore, its time to win. I’m going to call for Pedro to hit. 263 this year with 37 homers, and 155 k’s. I don’t care what his OPS is, his job/role is to provide power when we need it. As long as he can make adjustments to his swing and approach when the game situation calls for it, that’s all i’m looking for, and maybe 5 less throwing errors would be nice

          • freddylang

            Say what you will about Pedro but he has a 6.1 WAR over two years and is entering his prime. You likely would be selling low. Even if he stays the same as the last two years the Bucs offense needs his HRs badly and 1-2 more years doing the same thing only solidifies his value…not to mention 3B is the greatest position of need in the entire system after him. Pedro trade talk just doesn’t make sense. As for Gregorious…if they could get him for a package of Gomez or Mazzaro or Pimentel I would be for it as long as none of the top 4 pitching prospects go. Gregorious is still young and there just aren’t many SS’s out there that can field and flash some offensive ability. He only played 450 games in the minors so was raw coming into the league so there is upside at 24. I like that he has some pop and is a lefty…nice for PNC. I also like his improving plate patience and the arm is spectacular.

        • emjayinTN

          I think we already have someone better than the lefty hitting 24 year old Gregorius in the switchhitting Alen Hanson who will be playing his age 21 season this year picking up at AA where he ended the season in 2013. A solid season means he is at AAA by mid-season. Their defense in the lower levels is about equal, and Hanson has much the better numbers offensively. This deal does nothing for the Pirates.

          • https://profiles.google.com/100212786463678215436 Nathan Swartz

            I’d do it for Gomez. (I’d prefer to send Vin). Didi can be in AAA for a year then come up when Barmes leaves.
            That gives a few options:
            1. Didi & Walker w/ Mercer as super sub/platoon.
            2. Didi & Mercer w/ Walker as sub/platoon/trade bait.
            3. Didi & Hansen w/ Mercer as sub w/ Walker traded for a 1B or moved to 3B with Pedro traded.

            • Y2JGQ2

              Didi is already better than Barmes, no reason to sit him there and keep harrison on the roster. Its just silly

          • leowalter

            I am with you and lonely on this one emjay.on all accounts you folks listed. sticky : try and find 36 HRs somewhere. And,and out is an out,whether you strike out,ground out or fly out,they all count the same.

            • pittsburgh412

              An out isn’t just an out. There are productive outs. There are sac flies for RBI, moving runners up. Also putting the ball in play gives a chance for errors. Striking out is unproductive out.

            • Y2JGQ2

              that thinking Leo is exactly why we left so many runners on base. Some outs move runners over into scoring position so that other outs can score them. A strikeout has never moved a runner over, neither has an infield pop up. Until they find a way to quantify the value of productive outs, the advanced metrics system is still seriously lacking

        • Y2JGQ2

          Um…..a young available short stop prospect with a potential all star glove at age 24 aren’t easily found, or traded for either. You’d be best to re-evaluate your thoughts on the value of a shortstop with a pedigree. If you think all that’s worth is a average sinker ball pitching righty with no pedigree, I’m not sure what scouting guide you are looking at. Those (righty depth starters) are as close to growing on trees as you can get for a ML position.

      • Y2JGQ2

        Didi= 1 year removed from top 75 prospect. Was a rookie last year. How many players come ANYWHERE near their long term value during their first year, maybe we are really really spoiled with what Marte just did. Anyone want to look at Cutch’s first year? Enough said. Barmes, while now good at short stop, was never a top prospect, never had a strong arm, and was never rated defensively as strong as Didi is, or as early. This kid COULD be a perennial all-star if he can hit .280

        How on Earth anyone compares a rookie’s numbers, to a guy like Snider who has been in the ML’s for parts of 5 years, is beyond me, its like comparing Neil Walker to JHay based on their AAA stats. Pointless. Never has he struck out more than 20% of his AB’s, at any level. He is a contact hitter, and he’s not fast for stealing bases, but has put up large triples numbers more than once, though his OPS sucks, I don’t really care how bad OPS is, because a consistent hitter at .720 OPS is way more useful with a low strikout rate due to the ability to move runners over and play small ball, vs. someone like Barmes, whom at .720 is way worse because there are no quality outs. Keep in mind, there was a time when Ozzie Smith couldn’t hit either, and .252 from a rookie shortstop isn’t bad under most circumstances

        • lonleylibertarian

          The guy who beat him out must be the second coming of Troy T.

          You people need to sober up – we already have Robert Andino

  • Hunter4221

    Seems like a fit. Even a lefty so a combo with Didi and Walker starting the Barmes and Mercer available to fill in would work nicely.

  • Born4rf

    I’m not sure I see this as a trade for us but for someone else. Fer’instance, the Mets are very much in need of a SS and Didi would be a better prospect than Tejada. I could see us sending Gomez to Arizona, then flipping Didi to the Mets for Davis, who is now healthy and hitting. Gomez could end up the best player of the bunch so it’s a very doable deal IMO.

    • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

      Gomez is the worst player in that deal. You’re probably looking at someone like Stolmy, or at least Locke, to get that one done.

  • fisk72

    Not for Kingham though. Jeanmar or Stolmy fine.

    • John Dreker

      Diamondbacks want someone who can step into their rotation now, so Kingham wouldn’t fit that bill

      • fisk72

        MLB Trade Rumors mentioned him, that’s why I brought it up. Locke also listed.

        • John Dreker

          Locke would also make sense, although that wouldn’t help the logjam in the bullpen. The Pirates are going to have to move one of them before Opening Day unless someone gets injured

          • fisk72

            Agree.

  • jaygray007

    Locke would actually make a lot of sense if they had faith in their depth’s health.

  • Jelme

    I’m scared of what Didi would cost…but I’d like acquiring him. Free up Alen Hanson to move to 2nd if needed and takes pressure off of him to be THE SS of the future.

    • kube

      On another subject, can I have your thoughts on adding 1B LaPorta. Who has been Recently released.

      • Honusty

        LaPorta hits from the right side – Pirates are seeking a left handed bat to platoon with Gabby.

        • leowalter

          Not only is Matt LaPorta RH,he is a AAAA hitter.

          • freddylang

            LaPorta hasn’t even played well in AAA the last few years.

    • Y2JGQ2

      its a matter of whom they would want. Locke? Pimentel? Gomez? Mazzaro? Give them Locke and Mazzaro and the deal is done

  • smurph

    I like the idea. The problem would be that you would have 5 non-1B infielders, 3 of which are SS’s. If they make the trade the logical move would be to cut Barmes, which they are not going to do. Nothing against Jordy, but I don’t think many of us expect him to be the Pirates longterm SS.

    • jaygray007

      I wonder if the Pirates could buy low on Didi and move Mercer to the Mets as a cheaper-to-acquire alternative to Nick Franklin. Mercer for Ike Davis and a prospect would make some sense, IMO. Heck. I wonder if the Tigers would be interested in Mercer.

      • jaygray007

        Then again, I dunno why the Mets wouldn’t just deal for Didi. Wait. I guess they don’t really have the MLB-ready pitching.

      • lonleylibertarian

        I wish you Ike Davis guys would get real – he sucks!

        • csnumber23

          Ike Davis does not suck compared to what we have at 1B! Do I want someone better, Yes, but I would take him in a second over the scrubs we currently have.

          • lonleylibertarian

            One good year – 2010…

            Strikes out a ton – projects to be a 1.5 WAR…
            About the same as GI Jones was for the Bucs in 2012 and nobody was very sad to see him go…

            Sanchez is projected at 1.0 as a full-time 1st baseman – what are you proposing to deal to get a small bump in possible production – and a worse defensive first baseman

            • csnumber23

              I have zero interest in seeing Gaby Sanchez on the field against RHP. Davis is still only 26 and hits RHP well so a platoon would work. I rate his defense right on par with Sanchez. Again, I prefer someone better but at this point we are about to see Ishikawa starting against RHP. To me that is unacceptable!

              • leowalter

                To you Cs ? And you are in what position to make that call ? Largest expert on the thread ?

                • csnumber23

                  I am posting my opinion chief!! This site is meant for people to post their opinions. If you don’t like my opinions mr expert then don’t read my posts!

              • honusty

                What’s wrong with csnumber23’s post? A lot of people have this view.

              • Y2JGQ2

                I also have no interest in seeing Gaby, I’d rather see Hague, or Glenn Davis for that matter. I’d rather have Ishikawa that Ike Davis quite honestly. Ishikawa hit better last year

            • jaygray007

              Mercer and Mazzaro for Ike and Brandon Nimmo

              • jaygray007

                Or Dilson Herrera!

                • https://profiles.google.com/100212786463678215436 Nathan Swartz

                  How about:
                  1. Gomez and c-level prospect to ARI for Didi
                  2. Mercer and Irwin to Mets for Ike Davis and Dilson Herrera (LOVE the idea of getting him back).

                  2015 infield: Didi/SS, Hansen/2B, Herrera & Walker subs. Young, upside, defense, and some offense and speed.

                  • Y2JGQ2

                    Well the mets have no interest in a short stop last time i checked and we wouldn’t even get Dilson back for Mercer i’d guess. Not many teams or experts put much value to him.

                • Y2JGQ2

                  Dilson, FREE DILSON HERRERA!

              • lonleylibertarian

                Where do u people come up,with this garbage – Ike Davis for Mazzaro,straight up is a terrible deal for the pirates and Nimmo projects as a 4th outfielder at best

                • S Brooks

                  Mazzaro was acquired with Clint Robinson for two guys that will likely never throw a major league pitch. I mean, he had a great year last year and all, but you’re not going to get a better return for a middle reliever than a 1.5-win strong-side platoon 1B. Especially when the entire league knows you’ve got to trade or release one before Sunday anyway.

                • Y2JGQ2

                  libertarian- what are you talking about? We are about to CUT mazzaro, trading him for Davis is like trading a pile of dirt for Ike Davis

                • Andrew

                  Ike Davis is a career .357 wOBA, 127 wRC+ hitter against RHP, even last year when he was terrible, 109 wRC+, if your are not willing to give up a middle reliever who the Pirates do not have a roster spot for something is wrong. Not that the Mets would ever accept such a trade.

                • jaygray007

                  i disagree that Davis for Mazzaro would be terrible. i personally think that’d be awesome considering every team knows that the Pirates have to unload a reliever

                • freddylang

                  It is still up in the air what Nimmo will be but I get your point. A lot of crazy ideas getting thrown around…but that is what this is for isn’t it?

            • S Brooks

              If GI Jones ’13 had played like GI Jones ’12 he’d likely still be in Pittsburgh. Not that I think Ike Davis is the answer either, but when your options vs. RHP look like 0-WAR guys (including Gaby, whose 77 wRC+ vs. RHP is dreadful), 1.5 WAR looks like a luxury condo on the beach.

            • Y2JGQ2

              I’m with you on this one- Ike Davis is not a fit.

        • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

          He’s better than what we have, and is an interesting buy low candidate.

      • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

        Very interesting.

        • leowalter

          Interesting ? Looks convoluted and pretty dumb to most.

          • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

            I wasn’t aware that you speak for “most”.

    • jaygray007

      and then Jay Hay platoons with Neil Walker maybe?

      • Y2JGQ2

        Under what situation in your apocolyptic mind is JHay getting Platoon time?

        • jaygray007

          i was just going off the fact that he often came in and pinch hit vs lefties. I didn’t realize he only got 42 AB against them last year. I knew he mashed, but didn’t realize the sample size was so tiny.

  • CityofChamps

    I like Gregorius, but I’d rather put our resources towards acquiring a first baseman. I’m sure it’s possible to do both, but I think first base should be the priority.

    • jaygray007

      There’d have to be a lot of other stuff moving around since Gregorious is just as good as -or better than- Davis AND is still in his cheap years, but there is definitely possibility of a deal.
      Locke for Gregorious makes a lot of sense. both are FA in 2019.

      • Y2JGQ2

        I agree with this

  • Y2JGQ2

    I Don’t see Barmes or Mercer as (shortstops) per say. Barmes played a lot at 2nd in his ML career, and Mercer played a bunch of 2nd as well coming up splitting with Chase. Any of them can also play 3rd pretty well. This would lead to Harrison going down, basically remove the chances of us keeping Neil long term, and Mercer being a super utility guy, who can also take pressure off of neil and pedro against lefties for 2014/2015

  • Honusty

    Gregorious has intriguing splits. Overall #’s brought down by his performance against lefties.

  • http://www.acme-tv.com LongJohnSilver

    Speaking of 1st base, Juan Francisco has been placed on waivers and also plays 3rd base. 18 HR’s last year all against righties. Throwing it out for thoughts.

    • John Dreker

      Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Pirates aren’t looking at Francisco as an option

      • Y2JGQ2

        why wouldn’t we?

        • John Dreker

          Apparently the question came up and he asked them and they said no. Not sure why they wouldn’t at least consider him, but I’m guessing they don’t consider him any type of upgrade. There is a lot not to like with him, low avg, no walks, no speed, below average defense

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    Why would the Pirates want Gregorius? To replace Barmes on the major league roster or provide depth and play at Indy? Given that the kid is not much of a threat with the bat and that we are not in desperate need for another SS, I certainly would not part with a top prospect for Gregorius – such as Kingham for example. But, if Arizona would agree, I would trade them Locke or Irwin – and throw Volquez in as a bonus!

    • Y2JGQ2

      Gregorius is a strong defensive shortstop, is young, and has a great pedigree. Thats why. Its rare that someone who plays SS ranked in the 100 is available on the trade market- literally ever. If they want Volquez, Mazzaro, and Irwin or Locke its a no brainer. Peace out

  • http://twitter.com/ndbrian ndbrian

    I suggested this move to Tim via twitter in December. Would LOVE to see it happen. Gregorius had a .790 OPS against righties. That’s great for a defensive guy. Bring him in and then let Jordy platoon back and forth between 2nd and SS against lefties. That way we’d only have one black hole in the Middle infield when lefties are pitching.

    • Y2JGQ2

      lol, valid point

  • db33

    Would Juan Francisco be an upgrade over Andrew Lambo?

    • John Dreker

      Ken Rosenthal said the Pirates weren’t interested in Francisco and wouldn’t pursue him

      • leowalter

        Thank the Lord for that favor.

      • honusty

        John, what do you think pittsburgh should do at 1B?

        • John Dreker

          At this point, I think they should go with Ishikawa and Sanchez and let Lambo play everyday at Indy. Ishikawa isn’t a long-term answer, but he is something with a lot of major league experience. They should also be looking at what might be available as teams make their final roster cuts. There could be someone better than Ishikawa that becomes available. If nothing comes up, I think they will keep looking throughout the season and while that happens, it gives Lambo time to get back on track. I think he can handle major league pitching, I don’t think he is ready now and it might be because he’s concentrating too much on the new position and pressing to get his average up at the same time.

          • lonleylibertarian

            Or u put Lambo out there and say we have faith in u and appreciate your hard work – give him 50+”at bats and see how things stand.

            I want this decided – Lambo is the answer by May 1, or he is gone.

            • John Dreker

              I would definitely do it the opposite way. Lambo could be a long-term piece, there is no rush to judge him. Right now he is really struggling through Spring and honestly, he had a pretty bad Winter League season too, so you can’t just say it’s only one month. I don’t think he is ready now, so I’d rather see him play everyday at 1B, no major league platoon. Once he starts hitting again, then you get him back to the majors. He could use more reps at 1B as well

              • lonleylibertarian

                I understand your thinking – my gut is that you have to get inside his head to figure out the right thing to do. He is still a young man and fragile in some ways I suspect.

                Sending him down after his work this spring might not sit well – he did cut down on strikeouts – I saw quite a few hard hit balls. His 1B play was not awful…

                But if he is a bit shell shocked a month at Indy might be a good idea.

          • Honusty

            Starting the season with Ishikawa would require an extra roster move, right? Does josh Harrison have any options left?

            • John Dreker

              It would, but they have to deal one bullpen arm, so that opens up one spot and they have to make a decision on Andy Oliver, either trade/release/waivers, so that opens two spots.

    • lonleylibertarian

      No!

    • Y2JGQ2

      Al sharpton would be an upgrade over Andrew Lambo currently

      • Honusty

        Only if he put some of the weight back on.

  • https://www.facebook.com/wilbertmatthews Wilbert Matthews

    There is no reason to do this. Mercer is a better bat. We lost a top starter in AJ. Why trade one away for a glove?! I say package Tabata and Watson to Boston for Carp.