First Pitch: The Pirates Second Half Pitching Depth

A big reason why the Pittsburgh Pirates were successful last season was due to their pitching staff, and more specifically, the depth of their staff. Every time a starting pitcher went down, someone was there to step in and keep the team afloat.

The depth in 2014 has also been strong, although the story isn’t exactly the same for the guys that are being replaced. The Opening Day rotation included Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Wandy Rodriguez, Charlie Morton and Edinson Volquez. The final two starters have been with the team all year. The first three starters have needed depth options to replace them at times. And none of those options have done that well.

Wandy Rodriguez was horrible in his time with the Pirates this year. Francisco Liriano has struggled, although his xFIP suggests he should be better going forward. The only guy with good numbers has been Gerrit Cole, although he’s not looking like the ace he looked like at the end of last season.

The current rotation includes Cole, Morton, Volquez, Jeff Locke, and Vance Worley. The last two guys are depth options who started the year in the minors. The Pirates sent another depth option down today, optioning Brandon Cumpton to Triple-A when Cole was activated from the DL.

Cumpton, Locke, and Worley have been outstanding this year. They have combined for a 3.78 ERA in 107 innings. That’s number three starter results from guys who weren’t among the top five starters on Opening Day. It’s even more impressive when you consider that the group’s total is inflated by a horrible outing from Cumpton where he gave up ten earned runs in 3.2 innings. Take that away, and the group has a combined 3.05 ERA in 103.1 innings.

You’d like to think that the current rotation will continue to do well, and will stay healthy the remainder of the year. As we’ve seen the last two years, neither of those things are guaranteed. Fortunately for the Pirates, they’ve got some good depth options beyond Locke and Worley if the team needs a starter in the second half. Here is a look at the top candidates.

Brandon Cumpton – He would be the top guy right now, just because of his MLB experience. As I pointed out, he has that one bad outing, which gives him a 4.61 ERA. His 3.93 xFIP is much better, and actually ranks fifth among all Pirates starters this year. Cumpton will get another shot in the MLB rotation this year.

Casey Sadler – Sadler has been used in the majors this year, but he’s been a reliever, and has been used in a way where he hasn’t gotten regular playing time. The result is a 6.23 ERA in 8.2 innings. Since returning to Triple-A, and returning to a regular pitching schedule, he has one earned run in 18 innings over three starts.

Stolmy Pimentel – Pimentel looked great today, touching 97 with his fastball several times, and topping out at 98. He worked in the 93-95 MPH range most of his outing, throwing four innings. He also mixed in an upper 80s slider. This combination with his fastball and slider is largely what put him back on the prospect map last year. We haven’t seen this version of Pimentel much this season, and that might be due to a lack of use and infrequent opportunities. He would be a good option to start if he was stretched out, although that might be hard when he’s pitching out of the bullpen.

Nick Kingham – Kingham has been great so far with Indianapolis, giving up one earned runs on 11 hits in 20.2 innings, with a 15:3 K/BB ratio. That’s the limit to his time in Triple-A, although there is precedent for players making the jump to the majors in the Pirates’ system without a lot of innings. Jeff Locke made a late season jump a few years ago without a lot of innings in Triple-A. Brandon Cumpton made the jump last season without a lot of innings. I could see Kingham making the jump to the majors later in the year if he keeps up this pace with Indianapolis.

Francisco Liriano – This isn’t really a depth option, since Liriano will return to the rotation no matter what when he’s activated. It will create a depth situation, as someone will have to be removed from the rotation to make room for him. Edinson Volquez or Vance Worley could be moved to the bullpen, or Jeff Locke could be optioned to Triple-A. There seems to be a few weeks to go before Liriano will return, so a lot could happen. If a move was needed today, I’d move Volquez to the bullpen, and have him be the number one depth option. As for Liriano, he’s not technically a depth option, but he could be the biggest boost for the rotation in the second half. He has been horrible this year, but the advanced metrics say he should be better. He’s nowhere close to being the ace he was last year. If that pitcher somehow returns, then the Pirates will be in good shape with their rotation over the final two months of the season.

Links and Notes

**The Latest on the Gregory Polanco Extension Talk

**Austin Meadows to Make His Return to the Field on Monday

**Prospect Watch: Offensive Outburst From Jamestown, Bell, Frazier and Ramirez Continue Hit Streaks

**Minor Moves: Stetson Allie Activated From the DL

**Minor Moves: Jerrick Suiter Assigned to Bristol, Pirates Release Pitcher

**Minor Moves: Wyatt Mathisen to the West Virginia DL, JaCoby Jones Activated

**Pirates Activate Gerrit Cole, Option Brandon Cumpton

**Prospect Highlights: Pitching From Joely Rodriguez and Nick Hutchings

**Minor League Schedule: Zack Von Rosenberg Starts For First Time in Two Years

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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  • Monsoon Harvard

    If I was Huntington, I’d make every effort to trade Liriano for a prospect or something decent.

    • Lee Young

      agree.

    • emjayinTN

      MH, I totally agree. Are we going to try to keep Liriano? No way, even though his every other year routine means that someone should be looking for a bounce back year in 2015. Instead, I think the plan has to be for him to try to get a start or two in before the AS Break. He is making $8 mil this year and will be looking for a long term contract after the season is over. When the season started I thought him to the YAnkees would be a possibility and we could look for Jagielo and Clarkin, but both of those prospects are having excellent years in 2014. I think it may be time to look for a future 3B.

    • Spa City

      Concur 100%. Although they could hold on to him hoping he rejects a qualifying offer, it seems better to trade for a player or two who is close to the majors. My ideal trade would be Liriano to the Mariners for Chris Taylor. The Ms have a quality shortstop in Miller, and they are in the playoff hunt. They want to make a big splash in their first year with Cano. The Bucs need a quality shortstop.

      • Lee Young

        Everything I’ve read is that Taylor’s fringe arm may move him to 2b. He has split his games between 2b/SS this year.

        I wouldn’t mind having him in the organization, but Hanson is rated higher than CT.

    • jaygray007

      But if the pirates want to compete this year, would they trade their 2nd highest upside starting pitcher?

      If they lose a bunch of games here coming up, i totally agree though.

      • Lee Young

        He may have a high upside, and the metrics may say he is going to bounce back, but I have my doubts…..(altho not as much doubt as us trading for Price….lol).

        We seem to be doing fine without him. Let other teams see how he’s doing after he comes back and then move him for as much as you can get. We’ll survive, imo.

    • johndw28

      I have doubts anyone would give up a prospect with any real value at this point for him. I’d rather just roll the dice that he can regain some of his form with time off and help us in second half. If he would return someone who would be a top 10-15 prospect for us that might be different story.

  • jaygray007

    I really hope they keep kingham. Glasnow obviously has the higher upside, but Kingham has an immense amount of probability on his side. He is just so close to being a major leaguer himself that I would be bummed if they traded Kingham and other neat stuff for a starter like Price.

    • Lee Young

      I doubt if we’ll be trading for Price. jmo

      • jaygray007

        I doubt it too but I don’t think it should be counted out. If there’s anything that they’ve proven, it’s that they’ll fill a hole that they need to fill. If you ask me, the only thing that the 2014 and 2015 teams are missing is a top of rotation pitcher. Maybe that’s price. Maybe that is renting Brandon mccarthy and then extending a bought-low Liriano. I dunno.

        But if there was a a time when a year and a half of an ace was needed, it would be now. Taillon is out and probably shouldn’t be depended upon next year. Glasnow is probably 2 years away. The 12 million that they offered burnett is still available. Liriano to FA. I think it would make sense.

        • Lee Young

          not counting it out, Jay….just seriously doubting it.

          I never counted myself out when asking the pretty girl for a date, but I usually doubted she’d say yes…… :) :) :) :)

          • jaygray007

            Haha nice. Yeah I doubt it too. I was just showing that I actually had a thought process there that was more thought out than “OMG I WANT AN ACE. SOMETHING SOMETHING THEY GOTTA BE ALL IN SOMETHING SOMETHING OWE IT TO THE FANS SOMETHING SOMETHING”.

            • Lee Young

              I actually had a few pretty girls say ‘yes’, but after a couple of dates, they usually came to their sense.

              :)

        • leowalter

          Brandon McCarthy a top of the rotation candidate ? In which universe ?

          • jaygray007

            Yeah I should’ve put a sentence before that and should’ve proofread better. Just wanted to go through different scenarios. I obviously didn’t want to say he was a TORP.

    • emjayinTN

      Agree, now is not the time to go backwards on a long term plan. Going into 2015 with Cole, Morton, Locke, Cumpton, and many others to include Nick Kingham, possibly Jameson Taillon by mid-season, and watching Glasnow at AA/AAA is a plan I could support wholeheartedly.

      • emjayinTN

        Sorry, I forgot to add Pimental in that group.

  • mysonisnamedafterRoberto

    Hey Tim, it looked like, and the Mets broadcaster Ron Darling explained, Stolmy was throwing a split with as his offspeed pitch. Darling was explaining the difference of the two and from his description that acted more like a split. What ever it was 17 swings in missing in 4 innings was impressive.

    • Lee Young

      He would definitely need that 3rd pitch if he was going to start.

    • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

      I think what was new was the 97 and 98 up in the zone. We haven’t seen that kind of velo from old Stolmy in quite awhile. He looked awesome.

  • mysonisnamedafterRoberto

    Hopefully, the time off for Liriano will help him clear his head.

  • Spa City

    “Depth option” is just a nice way of saying “not a particularly good pitcher.”

    Instead of describing Cumpton, Morton, Locke, Sadler and Worley as “depth options,” just be honest and say “they are not good pitchers but we are stuck with them.”

    • johnj618

      You just named guys who would currently be starters on half of the staffs in the majors. Saying they are not good pitchers is just dumb. Depth option means they have more than 5 major league caliber starting pitchers.

      • Spa City

        You are right. The Pirates rotation is chock full of aces. With Locke, Morton, Cumpton, Worley, Volquez and Sadler on the mound we should breeze right into the playoffs with ease.

        • S Brooks

          I don’t think anyone is suggesting those guys are aces. But there’s a pretty big category between ace and “not particularly good,” as you suggested those guys are. You need 5 guys to fill out a rotation, and there aren’t enough aces to go around, so every team needs capable guys in the middle and back end. Can you win a playoff series without a #1 or #2 on your staff? Most likely not. But that’s not the point of the article. The point is, the Pirates are loaded with legit, league-average or better types who can fill in, in case one of the starting five gets injured or a spot starter is needed for a double header.

          And make no mistake – a #4 starter is a good pitcher. Anybody who can be depended on to take the hill, spin a quality start better than half the time, and keep his team in the game is a valuable commodity. Take a look at the depth charts for the 16 teams above .500: Cumpton, Morton, Locke and Worley would slide into at least the 4 or 5 spot of just about every one of them. And 3 of those guys started the year in AAA.

          • Spa City

            No need to convince me. Pirate fandom is big enough for everybody’s opinion about how good Charlie Morton et al are at pitching. I think a rotation filled with these guys is poor. You disagree. No need for you to convince me I am wrong.

    • Lee Young

      Tell the Mets and other teams that these guys aren’t good. I guess those teams must just have a bunch of bad hitters?

      • Spa City

        Well.. I doubt I am alone in suggesting the Mets actually do have a bunch of bad hitters.

        • leowalter

          You are also pretty much un-Informed. I am really trying to be kind here.

          • Spa City

            Why start now? The anonymity of the internet usually means these message-board discussions are nothing but vicious, ad hominem attacks. Let’s start this way… You are an uninformed dolt, and nobody can believe you manage to dress and feed yourself everyday.

    • StevePegues

      No. A depth option is someone who can be called on to fill in for someone who’s struggling or injured. For pitchers, sometimes it’s a bullpen guy who can take a spot start or two or three, etc. Sometimes it’s a guy who gets called up from AAA, where he might be a legit prospect, a major-league retread looking to make it back to the show, or an organizational-filler type. Any one of those kinds of guys can and do get called on to take over in case of need; and, if you look around baseball and into it’s past, you can find guys from every player-type (prospect, MLB-retread, and filler) that have been called upon for depth and have had at-least short-term success.

      • Lee Young

        Steve…and a lot of these ‘depth options’ go on to have good (sometimes great) major league careers.

        • StevePegues

          Yep. Sometimes they do.

          But even if they don’t, a retread guy who’s clinging to the remains of his pro career and signed a minor-league deal just so he could play one more season at age 30+, or a non-prospect filler type who was never seen as being anything special… if that kind of guy gets called up from AAA and gives you a couple good starts or 30 good AB’s, then he was a good, if not great, depth option. His career may be over following this season, but he was valuable depth for as long as it lasted.

  • Lee Young

    Right now, the Bucs have no true ace. Liriano and Cole pitched like one last year, but can they do it again? They appear to have a bunch of 3 thru 5 guys, but they can win with that. I (vaguely….I am old…lol) remember the Lumber Company never having a true ace, but they managed to win year after year.

    We may not have a “Lumber Co”, but we’re above average in hitting, on base, etc.

    So, I think we can contend with this staff.

    • lonleylibertarian

      So much of this will depend on if and when Frankie comes back.

      And how he pitches if he gets back in time to get multiple starts before the trade deadline…

      If he has value trading him to a Seattle or Toronto for a quality prospect might make sense – even if it leads to bringing up Kingham in August…

      I actually think there comes a point where getting grounded in the Majors makes a lot of sense for preparing a pitcher for a spot in the rotation – a Kingham with 6-8 Major League starts this year could be a solid part of a young rotation going into 2015,

      If he pitches as well in his next half dozen AAA starts he probably has little to learn or prove staying there.

      • leowalter

        Good point lonely. Even pitching out of the bullpen can help ground a young guy who is a prospective starter.

    • leadoff

      At this point in time they have 3 pitchers that have pitched like aces even though they are not regarded as aces and 2 that should be aces and have not pitched like aces, if the 3 that have pitched like aces continue anywhere near where they are and the 2 that have not pitched like aces pitch like aces down the road, this will be a formidable pitching staff. Of course when Liriano comes back one of the more productive pitchers they have lately will be shipped out and we might be back to losing games watching should have bin’s. Watching struggling should be’s is tough to do when they have pitchers without reputations that can get the job done, but are not going to be here.

  • leadoff

    The Pirates do have a lot of depth pitching wise throughout the entire organization, so having said this I would address their real problem and that is their hole at the 4 spot, they tried to fix it with Davis that did not work and all the rest of the Pirate hitters have tried, but they simply don’t have a 4 hitter on the roster. I am going to start beating the drum for a 4 hitter and I don’t care who he replaces outside of McCutchen in the entire lineup.

    • lonleylibertarian

      And they sat on their hands and passed on Abreu because they didn’t want to invest the money to win – much more concerned about maintaining years of control on their prospects.

      25 HR – 63 RBI

      How would that look batting #4?

      • leadoff

        I don’t think I would classify it as the Pirates sitting on their hands. You could make the same statement about various players in the majors and you could say that 29 other teams were sitting on their hands.
        Right now he would look pretty good, however, I don’t know how he would look hitting in PNC park, The Pirates don’t have the money to invest in winning that the majority of the major league teams have and to invest in an unknown is very difficult to do. I also do not know how long Abreu will hit like he is hitting.
        If they had the money I would say Abreu would have been worth the investment, but a low revenue team has a tough time making large investments in unknowns.
        Keep in mind the Pirates outbid 10 teams for the services of Polanco.

        • lonleylibertarian

          With the glaring hole at first base – and the kind of money they were talking about spending on Loney, Abreu could/should have at least been considered – nobody would have predicted this level of success – but the Bucs had 1. A glaring weakness. 2. The opportunity to show the fans they were intent on winning. They decided to pass…

          That’s why I am passing on attending games -they off course could care less and don’t need or want my support – and I get to enjoy the Root games and less expensive beer and popcorn.,..

          • StevePegues

            Lots of teams had needs at 1B. Only 1 of them signed Abreu. So is the rest of MLB not interested in winning, then?

            • lonleylibertarian

              You r not serious – two thirds of teams were set at first base.

              The market for Abreu was at most 10 teams

              Dropped to 9 when the pirates decided to pass…

              Again, I am not saying the Bucs should have get into a bidding war and offered a lot more…

              But the OPTION of going for him rather than the whole embarrassing Ishikawa dumpster diving and overpaying for a guy who could not beat out Luis friggin Duda should have been considered.

              How much worse would Matt Haque be than the two clowns hurdle trots out as major league first basemen – he certainly would be more than $5M cheaper

              • StevePegues

                Those 2 clowns are actually producing pretty well. Each has an OPS+ over 100. Sanchez is slugging pretty well and Davis is getting on base OK to compliment that; it ain’t perfect, but it’s workable.

                So you’re not saying they shoulda matched Abreu’s very generous contract, but you are saying that they sat on their hands by not signing him and failed to demonstrate their commitment to winning? That’s rather contradictory, isn’t it?

      • Lukas Sutton

        You also have the advantage of knowing the end result and judging it off the results. It doesnt work that way. At the time it was a known risk, they gave him a ton of money. It was a risk the Pirates didnt want to take. It has nothing to do with not wanting to win, but making smart risks and not wrapping up too much into 1 player. Its not how the Pirates like to operate. They like to invest money to win into young guys they know well, like Cutch and Marte. Tough to call out a FO for not wanting to invest to win after they extend contract for Marte and Morton in the offseason.

      • leowalter

        How are you able to say with such conviction that they ” sat on their hands ” in regards to José Abreu ? And what makes you think he would have signed with the Pirates ? Were they and the White Sox the only two teams bidding on him ? And, how good would his numbers look on the majority of MLB teams ? I can tell you ! Really good.

        • lonleylibertarian

          One of the great things about the internet is that a little googling can answer all of your questions..

          8 teams were in the running
          5 bid over $60M for 6 years. or $10M+ a year – a 2.0 WAR break-even value
          He signed for $68M with the Sox…

          The scouting reports were “a lot like Pedro with better hitting skills.”

          That has proved to be more than true….
          WA
          Assume that it would have taken $70M to pry him from the White Sox…

          the Bucs are paying around $6M a year for a combo that is producing 0.3 WAR combined.

          Abreu is at 2.7 WAR at the halfway point…

          • leowalter

            And those numbers prove your point regarding the Pirates ” sitting on their hands ” ???? All Google has seemed to mean to you that is much easier to second guess anything the organization does or does not do.

      • meatygettingsaucy

        just when we were all starting to hope you’d never come back….

        • lonleylibertarian

          Why?

          What have I posted that is offensive or unreasonable?

          • leowalter

            Nothing is offensive, at least to me. But, unreasonable would be the suitable word.

            • lonleylibertarian

              I am willing to learn – could you give me a specific “unreasonable”? I think I have been consistent in supporting Marte and Pedro – they are both flawed – but both get treated harshly here and elsewhere while other obvious flaws get a pass.

              Fair and balanced would’ve nice

              • leowalter

                If I have to spend any time explaining why your thoughts on the José Abreu deal and the Pirates not wanting to get into the bidding process for him, I don’t have want to waste any more of my time on the subject. Case closed here.

  • leadoff

    This Pirates management team has never given up a top 5 prospect for anything, but with their surplus of pitching and talented position players both in the majors and in the minors they could make a blockbuster and get the 4 hitter they need.

    • lsutton

      No place to play him. Say they go get a 4 hitter (which is tough as anyone competing wont trade him, anyone not competing likely doesnt have a great one or wants to keep him as a cornerstone of the offense) the only options are 1B or 3B. 3B is unlikely with Harrison and Pedro already here, so 1B. Id rather not give up a quality prospect or 3 for a short term quality 4 hitter. Anyone long term under contract costs a ton.

      • leadoff

        Your right it will cost a ton, I have not researched the market because that type of player requires more research than I could ever do, but I would not worry about whether a 1st basemen or a 3rd basemen sits, neither of those two can do what they should be doing anyway.

        • Lukas Sutton

          The 1B platoon has been performing fine, fans just assume 1B has to provide power. Fans would prefer Ike Davis hitting .220 with 20 HRs right now rather than .250-.260 with lower power. Also, if you trade for a 3Bmen you eliminate a lot of Harrisons playing time. He would be a 1-2 times a week player. The trade doesnt make sense overall IMO. Offense has been very good as is the entire month.

          • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

            IMO the 1st base platoon has been poor. But there’s not much better out there. Abreu was a no brainer. I have to imagine the Bucs were competitive in their bidding. But the White Sox blew everyone else out of the water. Good on them.

            • Lukas Sutton

              Abreu was a good option until the Sox overbid everyone and basically made a giant gamble. It paid off, but at the time it was a good no-go by other teams to try to out bid them. Results favor the Sox, but the move at the time was more risk than many teams want to affix.

  • bucsws2014

    Right now, I see the Bucs finishing with 85-86 wins. Probably just outside a WC slot. The old “you don’t win championships in April but you can certainly lose them” thing. Barring an 18-9 run in July, I think the focus relating to roster moves will be on 2015 – which is not what I want to see, but it’s far more likely the FO takes the long view instead of making significant moves for this year’s team.

    The BP will get more expensive. Gomez & Watson enter 1arb, Melancon and Frieri are 2arb. Between the four of them, that could be $4+ million added to payroll. I’d guess that means Gomez will move, but that would likely mean Pimintel sticks as the long guy, not a starting candidate. Can’t say what they’d do with Frieri until we see more of him, but if does do well here, he’ll be close to $5 mill next year (as will Melancon). I don’t think that’ll be palatable to the FO in a “normal” year, but it may be perfectly palatable for 2015.

    The opening day rotation would look like Cole, Morton, Locke, Worley and Cumpton. Sadler (who does little for me) and Kingham are the first two depth options. Morton sticks out from that group as he’s scheduled to make $8 million next year. I mentioned yesterday that I have a feeling he could be moved – and if so, it would be for an SS. I think Hurdle and Ray have seen enough and frustrations with him are high. Other than Cole, nobody currently pitching for the Bucs has more value. If they do move Morton, then an FA signing would be in play. While the Bucs might go the reclamation route again, I don’t think it’ll be for a guaranteed rotation spot like it was for Liriano & Volquez. More like Worley – time in the minors. Bucs will also have 2nd half pitching depth ready to move up as needed.

    The Bucs shouldn’t need Liriano next year, so they should try to move him asap. He’s not going to get much, certainly nobody who’s going to crack the 25-man this year unless it’s a reliever. However, if Volquez can put together more 7-8 inning gems and fewer blowups, there could well be a place for him in the rotation – and IMO, Volquez’s July starts might be the key to making Morton expendable.

    And even with all of that, the most important move the Bucs can make for their pitching staff is to re-sign Martin.

    • lonleylibertarian

      I wonder if resigning a catcher who cannot get on the field for 100+ games is a good idea?

      Martin is not a big guy and wear and tear may be showing – I worried about this earlier when he went on the DL – and thought he might offset those concerns by coming back and starting 6 of 7 games for the rest of the year – there is of course still time for him to show he has the durability needed to earn the kind of contract he will be seeking – but sitting two days is not encouraging…

      • Lukas Sutton

        Sitting 2 days is likely a call Hurdle made to get him rest so as to keep him fresh come August and September. Hurdle likes giving key guys extra time off before off days when he can. But i agree with the idea of avoiding signing a catcher his age to another deal, likely 3 years, as he wont age well into his mid 30s. Id do a 2 year deal but avoid 3.

        • lonleylibertarian

          Off day Monday – desperate for wins to get to the second WC spot – and five steals off of the pitcher yesterday yes – but if you are a competitor you don’t miss two days in a row – something else a foot.

          • leowalter

            Wrong this time. They wanted to have him sit as many consecutive days as he could yet miss one less game

          • bucsws2014

            As mentioned above, Hurdle has employed the day off + day sitting = 2 days rest for Walker & Cutch and any other full time regular he’s had since he’s been here. Martin was also hurting after his barrel roll into 2nd on Friday, so he might have an extra bruise or two.

            And if you guys really can’t see the difference in this team with Martin vs without, I can’t help you. 24-18 with him starting, 17-22 without.

            Come up with a better solution that doesn’t start and end with T. Sanchez and I might listen. But nobody has.

            I do not see Tony as a full time option at this point. I could see him carrying a quarter of the load next year with increasing responsibility going forward. If Martin only catches 100 games/year, I’m perfectly OK with that. Martin is exactly the kind of guy you want on your side when you’re going for it all. At the very least I QO him next year if he doesn’t want to take a 30/3 deal. Unlike AJ, I think he’d be receptive to that.

            • lonleylibertarian

              Geeesh – NOBODY is questioning Martin’s value – BUT he only has that value if he can be on the field – the signs at this point are not good on that. There have been catchers who were able to play at a high level into their mid to late 30s – Fisk for one…

              But there have also been a number of catchers who had good careers that stalled in the early to mid 30s.

              The most recent example is Joe Mauer – a 5+ WAR catcher who at age 31 is now a 1+ WAR first baseman…

              Both Carter and Bench were pretty much done as productive cathcers by their age 33 seasons…

          • Lukas Sutton

            Who is desperate for wins? We lost only 2 series all month. Nothing desperate about being in the thick of the WC race this far out of September. People act like its August 26th.

            • lonleylibertarian

              Well every championship team I know of was ALWAYS desperate for wins. Maybe part of what gets me in so much trouble on this blog is that I had the great fortune to play for a basketball coach in high school who was a local version of Lombardi for coach Kuzma wining was all that mattered – each quarter, each game. The idea that the manager can take some time off to be with his family at the All Star break in 2012 when his team was playing well but would need to play better to break a long history of losing and make the playoffs greatly soured me on Mr. Hurdle. Yes they won today – and probably many who I regularly annoy will be happy if the Bucs have there second straight winning season and and up with 82, 83, or 84 wins.

              For me that will go down as a lost opportunity to compete for and win the WS…

              • Lukas Sutton

                Yup, a guy being with his family while the players are with their family is why we didnt win more games. We should lock them all up once the season starts and make sure they focus on baseball 24/7, thatll ensure better play. OR we can be reasonable. This team wants to win everyday and it shows. Some fans want players to live up to a standard that isnt ridiculous, its insane.

                • lonleylibertarian

                  No. – they had catchers who could not throw anyone out and pitchers who could not bunt and a few other glaring flaws that might have benefited from a bit of work.

                  We just come at things very differently – I had the good fortune of working at Nike for a couple of years – Phil knight’s favorite athlete was john McEnroe – and one of his favorite sayings was around the Olympics “You don’t win silver – you lose gold!”

                  But not everyone is wired that way – enjoy “settling” – I prefer winning.

            • lonleylibertarian

              Do u have any idea what a Knoll, Lombardi or Leyland would have said if they heard you say “we only lost 2 series all month”

              If they were nice they woul point out that the Bucs have yet to sweep a series

              We obviously come from very different places – I like winning championships – not seasons or series

              • csnumber23

                Dude you said the team was dead and done in early May. Now they are back in the race but you are complaining about guys getting days off for rest. It’s obvious you look for anything you can to complain about.

                By all means, stay away from PNC park. I had a great time there at the game today and will make many more games in the 2nd half.

                Oh and for the record I have been saying since late April, I think this team is going to have a big 2nd half. I think the Brewers are playing over there head and will come back to the pack. I still think the Bucs can take this division with the big 2nd half I predict.