First Pitch: A Trade Doesn’t Make Sense For Pirates in This Seller’s Market

The MLB trade deadline is just a few days away. The rumor mill has been heating up lately, but we’re still at the point where nothing is really happening, and so many teams are stuck in no-man’s land, wondering if they should buy, sell, or stay put. The few teams who are sellers will take advantage of an extreme seller’s market. I’ve been writing about this over the weekend, noting the big prices being paid for starting pitching and relief pitching this year.

It’s no secret why this is such a seller’s market. It’s also nothing that is going to change anytime soon. MLB has added additional playoff spots, putting more teams in real competition for the post season. As a result, you’ve got situations like the one in Tampa, where the Rays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, and are 4.5 games out of the playoff race, but are two games under .500 and behind five other teams for the second Wild Card spot in the AL.

Rather than chasing a playoff opportunity that has a small probability of actually happening, the Rays should sell Price by the deadline and capitalize on this massive market. If the trade deadline was moved back to the end of August, to adjust for the new playoff spots, they might have more time and a better picture of where they stand as contenders. Right now, they have to gamble either way. Sell Price and miss out on your chance to make a comeback, or keep Price and miss out on a chance for a massive return.

On the flip side of this, you’ve got teams like the Pirates. They’re looking at all kinds of pitching, but they’re in a tough situation. The pitching that would upgrade their team will cost a ton in prospects. The great fear for Pirates fans is that the Pirates only have a few years to compete with Andrew McCutchen on the team, and won’t take advantage of those years. The reality is that if you set the parameters for how long you can compete, and make moves with those parameters in mind, then you’re probably only going to compete during that time period. The Pirates could save their prospects, get stronger for the long-run, compete this year, continue to compete in future years, and possibly even compete after McCutchen is gone. They could go for cheaper options in this route, although those options aren’t likely to be better than what they have.

While the extreme seller’s market really helps a team that might rebuild, it hurts a team like the Pirates. They’re on the edge of contending, they can’t afford to give up massive returns or top 100 prospects for rentals, and chances are we’ll probably see them wait until August, hoping someone will be available a month from now. The risk here is that they might not have anyone available to them. If the trade deadline was moved back, they wouldn’t have to worry about that, and would have more options to choose from, leading to better prices in terms of giving up prospects.

How you feel about the current market really depends on where you’re sitting. If it’s a team like the Cubs or Padres, who are clearly out of it, then the current system works. It offers the chance for a quicker rebuild by loading up on a ton of prospects, in exchange for rentals that won’t be worth the prospects that were acquired. If you’re a big market contender like the Angels, you probably don’t have to worry about paying a high price in prospects. If you’re a small market team on either side of the border of contending, then you’ve got a difficult decision to make, and a situation where an extra month might make that decision much easier.

The system isn’t changing this year, leading to a huge seller’s market. If it doesn’t change in future years, then we can expect the same situation each year. And since every single team has their own weaknesses each year, the Pirates will be stuck with a tough decision. Do they make a trade each year, paying a premium to address a weakness that might not even make a difference down the stretch? Or do they stick with what they’ve got, and resist the urge to dream about how Pitcher X will be the difference between their current contending status, and making a big playoff run. That kind of dream ignores a lot of research that shows how deadline acquisitions really don’t provide this type of impact at all.

I’ve been saying for the last month that I don’t think the Pirates need to make a trade. They aren’t in the current playoff race by accident. I think they can make some internal moves that could help the team down the stretch. A month ago I suggested moving Edinson Volquez to the bullpen when everyone in the rotation was healthy. That would add a boost to the pen, while keeping the best members of the starting rotation in the rotation. I still think this is the way to go.

I think the Pirates have the aces they need. One of them just pitched a rehab start tonight, and the other will make his third start tomorrow since the All-Star break, after giving up one run in 12 innings during his first two starts. If the Pirates can get one of Francisco Liriano or Gerrit Cole pitching like they did last year, then this rotation will be fine.

The offense is much better this year than it was last year. The bullpen has struggled, but I think the Pirates can find an upgrade without paying a premium for what amounts to such a small impact. I think Jeff Locke is looking the best he has ever looked in the majors, and don’t see him regressing this year. Vance Worley is pitching like he was before his injury in 2012. If he was playing for another team with these numbers, and he was on the trading block, people would be talking about him as a good trade option. If you believe that his 2013 struggles were only due to mechanical issues, then there’s no reason to think what we’re seeing now isn’t legit.

I know it’s not a popular stance to say that the Pirates shouldn’t do anything at the deadline. It’s much easier to be on the other side, calling for the Pirates to make a move at any cost. That’s the side that has the irrefutable facts, like “the Pirates won’t contend without A.J. Burnett this year”, and “the Pirates can only contend by trading for a productive starting first baseman”, or “if the Pirates wait until June to call up Gregory Polanco, the season will be over.” Somehow the Pirates are currently sitting half a game out of the Wild Card spot, despite the fact that they didn’t spend a ton of money on Burnett this off-season, didn’t immediately trade for a first baseman, aren’t getting good production from the first baseman they acquired, and waited until Super 2 passed to call up Polanco.

And now we’ve reached the point where the results of those old arguments are ignored, and the Pirates can only contend by making a trade and dealing key pieces of their future, all to win this year. Because the only way to win this year is to add outside help at the deadline, despite the fact that they’re already winning and contending without that help.

The grass is always going to be greener. There’s always going to be a weak spot on the team that could be upgraded. There will always be a possible trade that could take place, allowing you to dream about how that’s the move that will put the Pirates over the top. But in this extreme seller’s market, one thing that is for sure is that the Pirates will be giving away a lot of future pieces if they make such a move. And if they fall into this trap where they “need” to make a move every time they’re contenders, then they won’t be contenders for a very long period of time. I say go with what has gotten you here so far, make some low-key moves to provide some depth and a small boost, and see your biggest improvements by adding prospects to the team each year — kind of like the process they used to not trade Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco in previous years.

Links and Notes

**Gerrit Cole looks strong in first Triple-A rehab start

Rumors

**Pirates Reportedly Could Get In On Jon Lester Talks

**Rays Scouting Altoona Curve Tonight

**Pirates Continue Scouting Phillies and Now Looking at Marlon Byrd

**Pirates Reported to Be Interested in LaTroy Hawkins

Prospects

**Prospect Watch: Stetson Allie Hits 15th Homer, Tony Sanchez Hits 8th Homer

**Top 10 Pitchers: Can Rafael Perez Be a Lefty Option For the Pirates Out of the Bullpen?

**Top 10 Hitters: Willy Garcia and the Other Talented Pirates Latin American Prospects

**The Penalty Teams Are Willing to Pay in the Draft

**Minor League Schedule: Buddy Borden Has Been Hard to Hit This Season

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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  • Kenny Moore

    If the Pirates were the type of team that went out and spent real money to fill holes in free agency I wouldnt mind possibly dealing a good prospect for a rental player or even a good relief pitcher but the Pirates franchise is cheap. I hope Huntington doesn’t make a move at the deadline. I say we call up both Oliver and Kingham in a week or two and give this playoff chase all we have. While Oliver of course might not be as talented as some of the names that are being linked to the Pirates I think he can help. The same applies to Kingham. Of course a few moves would have to be made roster wise but that wouldn’t be to difficult.

    The big question is why are the Pirates being linked to M.Byrd when our OF is set in stone. It makes me think that the Pirates could be thinking of moving Marte to Seattle.

    • Bryan Graham

      The answer could be that Byrd is better than either Polanco or Marte at this stage in their respective careers.

      • Scott

        Byrd would allow the Pirates to sit Polanco AND Alvarez vs LHP (J Hay at 3B), and add overall depth to a roster that current has Michael Martinez and Brent Morel on it. He also has an OPS of .803, which is significantly better than both Marte (.713) and Polanco (.674). That being said, I think it would be weird to acquire him with his contract situation, but a rental RH bat in the OF makes sense.

        • Ron Loreski

          Polanco is never going to get better against LHP if he doesn’t face them. Do you wanna limit him to a platoon player already in his career?

          • Scott

            It’s not about limiting him, it’s about putting the best lineup possible out there. It’s his rookie year, he’s got plenty of time to face LHP. Winter ball is a good place to work on that. It’s a significant weakness for this team right now having him and Pedro struggle so badly vs lefties. I’m just giving some rationale for a Byrd type of trade, aside from his contract situation.

            And it’s not like you HAVE to bench him vs every single LHP….you guys take the platoon thing way too seriously. If he’s hitting, he stays in the lineup vs anyone, plain and simple.

            • Ron Loreski

              The best lineup possible includes Polanco, unless hes bitter artic cold. Byrd just creates a bigger logjam when everyone is healthy.

              • Scott

                Polanco’s numbers really aren’t that exciting thus far. In 41 games, 5 HRs is good but JUST 2 doubles and 0 triples. Obviously he will eventually improve, but that might not be til next season.

                The Pirates can sit back and hope Marte/Polanco/Alvarez all play at the level we expect, or they can make an insurance move in case things continue as they have this year. I think Byrd is a bad move because there is no way we want that logjam to start 2015, but having a veteran player there the rest of this season makes the team better. Having that logjam for a playoff run is a good problem, and a huge difference from starting a season like that.

                That being said, a vet RH 3B would be the most ideal position player to grab if possible.

                • Ron Loreski

                  Completely agree on the 3B issue. The only available player that fits that bill is Martin Prado, unless I’m missing someone.

                  • st1300b

                    I’d prefer a better player – but in fairness to Pedro he has a better Walk% 11.1 and a better K% 23.9 than Olt 9.0/39.6, Juan Francisco 9.1/38.2, Mark Reynolds 10.8/29.8, David Freese 9.0/28.2, Chris Johnson 2.7/25.1, Headley 6.6/24.3, Xander Bogaerts 7.7/23.9 to name a few…

                    Wow, to think some K almost twice as much as Pedro is a little eye popping.

                    • st1300b

                      Another way to look at things is seeing how Anthony Rendon is whipping Pedro in every statistical category and waffling now with hindsight (Cole or Rendon??)
                      Still think I’d take Cole but it’s not a slam dunk as Rendon is really playing a strong game this year.

              • Bryan Graham

                FYI Mr. Loreski, Polanco is bitter artic cold against lefties. Obviously Polanco is the future, but sometimes you can’t wait on the future, especially when each game is taking on more and more importance.

    • st1300b

      Kenny, I think you hit the nail on the head with Kingham – but I’d put him in the bullpen and let him rip it one batter or inning at a time. He can always get length again next year. (Examples: Wainwright, David Price) Big arm, nice way to get pennant race experience.
      I think you get a better arm for the role this way than any other, and at no lost cost.

      For my money, if we trade it’s for a bat. I really liked the 3b from Colorado Nolan Arenado. This is a young kid with emerging talent, besides one trot to 1b that can be forgiven. He’s controllable as well. Does Pedro and a ground ball pitching prospect to Colorado seem like an attractive play… maybe with another Rockies prospect thrown in? I’d do that deal in a minute.

    • Lukas Sutton

      Russell freaking Martin. Why does anyone keep saying “they never sign real money guys to fill holes” and then move over a thread and say “WE MUST KEEP MARTIN”. We have been consistent in filling holes in FA the last 2-3 years. The Pirates are so cheap we signed Martin to a market value deal and it paid off big time. So cheap we were willing to offer Liriano good money and got lucky he broke his arm. If you are waiting for them to sign a 5 year 15 million per year guy in FA, cheer for a different team because it wont happen.

      • Kenny Moore

        Martin is hardly the norm and the Pirates are cheap and you know it! Ownership giving Huntington a budget of 20 million dollars last off season was comical. If you call that consistent in filling holes you and I have two different definitions of the word.

        If the Pirates want to show us fans that they are turning a new leaf they need to bring Martin back next year and pay him market value because some other team will pay him. Minus Cutch Russell Martin is our most important player in my opinion and I have heard in interviews that the team has the ability to add payroll so we will see. When it comes to anything involving money I don’t trust a word the Pirates say. They will end up letting Martin walk because they will not pay him what he is worth and then try and sell us fans that Tony Sanchez is ready when everyone knows he is not!

        • Lukas Sutton

          The difference between us is you assume not signing guys for market value means they are cheap. I think not signing guys like James Loney at market value is wise baseball. Never go to the FA market and expect teams like the As and Pirates to shell our big money, its the least efficient way to pay for production. The Pirates have signed a catcher at league value, extended Cutch, extended Morton and Marte all in 2-3 years and they are cheap? Go be a yankees fan if not paying market value for guys bothers you. They will end up letting Martin walk because he will get 4-5 years at 10 million from someone, and the last two years of that deal will see Martin not be worth that deal and be a drag on the team. Ill take smart and shrewd over “we gotta sign him for whatever it takes” if it ends up with us paying Martin 10-12 million a year to be a hurt backup catcher. Pay for the players future value, not the memories he gave you. Pay Martin market value, but not for 4-5 years. Its stupid baseball.

          • Kenny Moore

            You can defend the Pirates and their cheap ways until you are blue in the face. There is no defense for ownership giving NH 20 million dollars to fill holes last offseason. I see you didn’t bother addressing that but I don’t blame you because there is no defense for it and you know it. What is stupid baseball is not bringing back Russell given the impact he has had on this team for the last 2 seasons.

      • Bryan Graham

        What team were you watching this past offseason in the free agent market? It definitely wasn’t the Pirates. They filled no holes.

        • Lukas Sutton

          Which player would have helped? You want James Loney? Josh Johnson? The only player fans wanted that has done well is Abreu, and that deal the Sox gave him was clearly above market value and not something we would have done. We needed to upgrade 1B and SP, and the market on 1Bmen was terrible and we rightly avoided paying market value for average players. Id also add that we have gotten terrific value out of Volquez. You dont make moves simply to make moves. We added a decent back end starter and a decent backup C. Why do people want the Pirates to use FA to fill holes, its the worst way to pay for production. Its overpaying almost every time.

  • pilbobuggins

    If you keep sitting around waiting for the next prospect to pan out you’ll spend a lot of time looking at the promised land without actually getting to taste the milk and honey.prospects are meant to be spent, they are like cigarettes in jail, you spend some and keep some for yourself. The ones you spend make life easier, the ones you keep make your life happier. The pirates have areas of depth they can deal from without hamstringing themselves short or long term. In short if the pirates want to get to the world series they have to take a calculated risk, no guarantee it will work out, then again there’s no guarantee those prospects you want to hoard like a miser will work out either.

    • Mike C.

      My question to you, lets say we add lester or price. Do you really think this is a WS winning constructed team?
      Love the Buccos, but I think we’re just not there yet. No need to make rash decisions. Better to gamble when the time is right imo

      • pilbobuggins

        Your never there until you are, it’s a calculated risk either way. The difference being if you hold onto prospects they may become mlb players, or you trade a couple of them for a chance to get to the world series and possibly win it. Either way your taking a chance and if your gonna do that don’t you think it should be for all the marbles , not just the aggie?

      • pilbobuggins

        And yes I do think this is a team capable of winning the world series. Last year they were one pitcher short of getting out of the ds. (Aj laid an egg) this year they are again one pitcher short, if you can get that shutdown guy who puts you over the top for a couple of guys who may or may not pan out,not to mention you have plenty to spare and then some, the answer is yes ,you grow a pair and go for it.

      • Ron Loreski

        Those 2-4 extra wins can be the difference between winning the division and missing the playoffs altogether. The NL Central is by far the tightest division in baseball. If you don’t think those wins make a difference, you sir are off your rocker.

        • gregenstein

          Don’t kid yourself. There is no player the Pirates could acquire worth 4 wins by himself. Last I checked, Old Hoss Radbourn was still dead, and Mike Trout is not available. Acquiring Marlon Byrd (and assuming he performs exactly as he last year for the Pirates) is only worth 2 wins.

          • Bryan Graham

            2 wins is a lot and makes your playoff roster much more potent. How is 2 wins not a big deal in a playoff race?

            • gregenstein

              2 wins would be a big deal. It is no guarantee that a Marlon Byrd would even provide that though, especially if you base it off of this year’s numbers, rather than last year’s Pirates 1 month numbers. I’d say he’s be a better bet to provide something around 1 win “extra” the rest of the way. And then you’re kind of stuck with him next year when you really want to be playing Marte, Cutch, and Polanco out there. It is not so easy to trade a 36 year old outfielder in the offseason who is under contract for 2 more years.

              • Bryan Graham

                No, but it’s also not a guarantee that he doesn’t provide 3 extra wins. By time this is over with you will have all the potential trade targets costing the Pirates games.

                • gregenstein

                  Yeah, it’s pretty much a guarantee Marlon Byrd won’t provide 3 wins the rest of the way. I’m actually saying I think Byrd would be a productive player, just not as good as he was last year. Saying a player will provide 1 win in 2 months of playing time is nothing to sneeze at. A team composed primarily of 3 win players over the course of the year is a playoff favorite. It’s just that there’s only so much 1 specific player can do. As I said, he is not Mike Trout or Old Hoss Radbourn.

          • jalcorn427

            Curious how Marlon Byrd will add 2 wins in 50 games when he has been worth 1.5 wins in 100 thus far in 2014.

          • Josh Dz

            That is where war is a garbage stat…. meaningless in a playoff setting… a pkayer like Lester makes them a world series contender… ans.byrd makes the lineup more dangerous. … id Byrd get a key rbi in 4 ganes that they win he is worth way more than his worthless WAR… and Lester is a ahutdown monster that wins ub the playoffs. … not saying they should so both just saying WAR does not measure their true worth

            • gregenstein

              ” id Byrd get a key rbi in 4 ganes that they win he is worth way more than his worthless WAR”
              —————-
              I could say this about Polanco, Tabata, or any number of potential RF’ers. Ike Davis hit a grand slam his first game as a Pirate. The rest of the time…eh, not exactly a world-beater.

              And, I’m not arguing that Lester or Byrd make the team worse. They would be improvements! I’d actually consider strongly the Lester trade if offered with the parameters Tim specified. I just don’t like how people throw the name “Marlon Byrd” around and act like he’ll save the world. Sort of like how everyone was throwing the name “Gregory Polanco” around in Spring Training and expecting he’ll step in and, at a minimum, be a solid defensive player with at least a bat equal to Tabata/Snider. Well, we’re almost 2 months into that name and it’s not exactly going as planned there.

      • Jared

        I suppose this isn’t a direct answer to your question but…I do believe that if the Pirates had beaten the Cards (and they were in the series the whole way and very well could’ve beaten them) that we would’ve represented the NL in the World Series. I wasn’t afraid of LA and still am not really scared of them. They play SD, Colorado, and AZ a lot…don’t get confused by their win total.

        What does that all mean? That, yes, I do think this club is a contender. We play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball and IF somehow we could find a way to win the central, yes, I do think we could contend for the NL bid to the WS. I don’t think we’d win the WS but I think we could get there out of the NL IF we could win our division.

        • Lukas Sutton

          You arent scared of Kershaw-Greinke-Ryu? You should be. I dont look at their win total, i look at the best rotation in the majors and realize in a 5-7 game series beating any of those pitchers twice is scary.

          • Jared

            Fair enough. We are, after all, 0-2 against those starters (both losses to Ryu). However, we’ve had a very good run against the Dodgers bullpen when we’ve played them and are, what, 4-0 against Beckett and Haren? Yes, the Dodgers are not a team that we could walk through, easily sweep, or not have to put up a good series against. However, I never said any of that. I just said I wasn’t really scared of them. I do think that the Pirates could contend in a 7-game series with them and I do believe that would be the only way we’d see them if we won our division. The question was whether the Pirates are really a team that could contend/win the WS, and I hold to my original proposition that last year I thought we could’ve beaten the Dodgers and I think the Pirates could this year too…

            • Lukas Sutton

              We are 0-2 against Ryu and have been amazingly lucky to avoid Kershaw. Which validates my point that we may beat Greinke or Ryu 1-2 times total, but you cant really think we beat Kershaw twice. We could win 2-3 games at best unless that staff falls off. I dont see us being better than LAD and we would have a heck of a series against STL. Not WS contenders yet.

    • moose7195

      There is no guarantee that the players you trade for contribute either (see Rodriguez, Wandy, Morneau, Justin, and Ludwick, Ryan). Except that risk is even worse because if they fail, its a double whammy because you lose the prospects and you lose the player when they eventually leave. So yes, there is risk in prospects. But you get 6 years for each prospect to provide value. You only get a couple months to a year plus of the guy you’re bringing in.

      • pilbobuggins

        Please allow me to repeat myself since I enjoy it so frickin much, and I’ll type slow so you can comprehend what I’m saying, AGAIN. You are taking a risk either way, the difference is,one is for the world series,the other is for a guy who may or may not pan out. In other words, on one hand your betting on a guy to help you win the world series, on the other guy your betting he becomes an mlb player. There are always going to be more prospects, you may only and usually do get one shot at the title. Thus ends the lesson I hope you learned something.

        • moose7195

          Type as slow as you want, it wont mean you’re not spouting nonsense. Maybe you should start reading slower because my point was at the end of my post, it wasn’t about the inherent risk in players. You want to talk about adding wins to a team, but you’re not thinking clearly. Prospects aren’t like Battleship. It’s not just “hit” or “miss”. They’re real baseball players that learn and grow as they age. So over the course of their major league shelf life they should be much better at the end than they were in the beginning. I understand that some prospects fail, but when you’re giving up 4 or 5 of the good ones in your system you’re guaranteeing yourself that you lose value because the guy you bring in will only be here for 2-14 months. The prospects get to be here for 6 years. And the prospects you’re asking them to trade aren’t just some scrubs, they’re some of the best in baseball. The World Series window doesn’t close forever if the Pirates don’t gut themselves for David Price. They still have a team with a ton of talent that is still developing. So they will improve naturally, and they will stay good for a while.

          PS:How’s the Mark Melancon prediction going?

          • leowalter

            I am happy to sit back and see someone else slam some of the total nonsense I see here this AM.

          • pilbobuggins

            One word, moron.

      • Scott Kliesen

        Moose, i think you’re off your rocker if you believe Lester will tank if Pirates acquire him. He has been one of the best SP’s in the AL, in a hitter friendly park I might add, and to suggest as a lefty he’ll come to one of the most pitcher friendly parks and tank is a ridiculous assertion.

        Furthermore, let’s say we face the Dodger (Kershaw or Greinke) or Cardinals (Wainwright) in a one game WC matchup. Who would you want toeing the rubber, Liriano, Cole or proven WS champion, Jon Lester?

        And lastly, by all accounts Kingham is projected to be a solid middle of the rotation SP. Pirates are loaded with guys who can fill that role. Cumpton, Sampson, Worley, Locke to name just the ones off the top of my head. If Pirates trade Kingham as the centerpiece of a Lester acquisition, they’ll still have Cole, Taillon, Morton, Locke, Worley and Cumpton next year and Glasnow coming in ’16. It’s not like they won’t have the pitching available to compete again down the road.

        As they say, fortune favors the bold.

        • moose7195

          Please show me where I said professional players would start tanking if they come to Pittsburgh. Sometimes a change of scenery doesn’t do a player good and they struggle. I never said anything about failing on purpose, sometimes good players fail on accident

          I’ll have to answer your second paragraph with a question. How are Liriano and Cole pitching by the end of September? Because Liriano acquitted himself impressively against another ace in this league in Cueto. So I’m not terribly worried about a one game playoff

          And lastly Nick Kingham will probably not be the only thing given up in a Lester deal. There is at least one other significant piece that will have to go. Kinghams potential is clearly different than Sampson or Cumpton, whose ceilings are #3 starters. Kinghams floor is one of a #3 starter, meaning that he has potential to be much better than that. That has real value, unlike the guys you named which are more projection than results and stuff

          • Scott Kliesen

            Maybe tanking was wrong word. I didn’t mean to say Lester would fail on purpose. I meant it’s unreasonable to think Lester would do worse in Pittsburgh than Boston.

            I could be wrong, but not once have I read Tim or any other paid writer on this site say Kingham has upside to be a #1 or #2.

            As for Cole and Liriano, who knows where they’ll be at end of year, but I know Lester has been better than either this year in a much more difficult park and league to pitch in. That is why I believe he is the right answer for Pirates, as long as price is close to reasonable.

        • pilbobuggins

          Thank you for providing a voice of reason, most of the folks on here think the pirates farm is a pack of rats on a sinking ship with one piece of cheese between them, when in fact it’s a luxury liner with plenty of cheese to spare, so much so that they can share a little w/out going hungry ,while enticing a stronger rat over to add a little muscle for protection and all so they can get to the port with the very best cheese in the world.

    • unfurious

      I’m a sucker for a good cigarette analogy so I’ll counter with this: Replacing the young developing players with rentals is like putting the cigarettes out and then lighting them again next season. It’s just not the same smoke. It takes longer to get lit again and it doesn’t have the same flavor.
      Through development and some smart acquisitions the Pirates have a contender that still has unrealized potential. Rentals squash that. If the Pirates are serious about competing with guys like Cole, Locke, Morton, etc you need to get those guys in the playoffs. You don’t let them take you to the doorstep and then say “Sorry you’re not good enough. Maybe next year.”
      Standing pat isn’t about saving money. It’s about continuing to develop into a dominant team. Instead of buying lottery tickets, lets get to where we can print our own.

      • pilbobuggins

        Trading a couple of assests for a very good shot at the world series does not hurt the farm long term,or short for that matter. The system is deep in many areas and dealing from one or two of them to make a playoff run is a no brainer. I like your analogy,mines better but yours has potential. Keep em’ hangin uf.

        • unfurious

          Here’s the scenario that get’s my anxiety up: Pirates give up Bell, Glasnow and a PTBNL for a year and some months of Price. Everyone cheers and prognosticates. Then Harrison flattens out. Pedro sets a record for the most overthrown ball (5th row, second deck), Ike Davis forgets how August works, Marte spends the year swinging at gnats, pitchers forget how to pitch because Price does it different and Polanco keeps on “learning”. Even if they limp into the postseason, they get annihilated by a team that is ready to play… Flash ahead…Taillon never really recovers from surgery, giant holes are exposed in the once-promising MLB squad, the most ready blue chippers become all-stars for other teams, everyone is talking about how it all went wrong and discuss what we can get for Price at the nest trade deadline.
          My hope is that they make minor additions to bullpen: Strengthened bullpen allows starters to pitch an aggressive 5 innings (rest is gravy), future starters lead the way and get real playoff experience. Marte and Polanco get an early taste of a playoff run without the win-this-year pressure. Pedro and Davis smack the hell out of August and the postseason (then I sell high on them and make Harrison my new 3B). They play to win now and leave themselves stacked for next year anyway.

  • Scott Kliesen

    Tim, I believe you and NH are like minded. NH will refuse to overpay to get a true difference maker like Jon Lester, even though there’s no debate they have the quality depth in the farm system to acquire him and his presence in the rotation would significantly enhance Pirates chances to earn a playoff spot and make a deep playoff run. Oh, and by acquiring him, it would prevent a competitor like the Cardinals or Dodgers from upgrading their rotation, too.

    Life is about timing and taking calculated risks that have a chance to swing the pendulum one way or another. Sitting on your hands waiting to see what happens around you is usually a formula for disaster.

  • emjayinTN

    Again Tim, timing is everything, and writing this before Vance Worley went out and pitched a complete game shutout and the anemic bats against LHP’s struck for 5 in the first two innings – it all fits perfectly into the storyline. I agree 100% that we should not get into this situation where we make a move simply to make a move. I do not think it is needed. The win last night also insured the Pirates second plus .500 month being 9 above .500 in June and at the present time we are 5 above .500 in July with 3 games left. Our early season difficulties in April and May, when we were a combined 7 games under .500, are not even visible in the rear view mirror at this point.

  • Mike C.

    Is it my fandom bias but why does it seem it’s a seller’s market when we’re good, and a buyer’s market when we sucked?
    Just the pirates luck lol

    • stickyweb

      It does seem that way Mike. But keep in mind the Bucs never had a Lester, Price or Smardjza to deal away. About the only good player they had was Bay, and they botched that one. But they did a great job of getting talent for the lesser players they dealt.

  • William Wallace

    Yes But…… Marte is reminding me of Tabata 2.0. He was a head case before the concussion now I wonder what he will be like when he returns. Maybe he is reading Murray Will’s book on how to run the bases while in rehab.

    • jalcorn427

      This is utter nonsense, Marte has been the 5th best player on the team by WAR this year. Yes, he has been worse than 2013, but he is still hitting at an above league average clip (wRC+ 105) and adding a ton of value on the bases and defensively. Couple that with a clear surge in performance over the last few months and we have the biggest misinterpretation of player value on the team. Marte was just ranked as one of the 50 most valuable players in MLB.

      • Jax Maxton

        And he’s a young guy in only his second full year who has faced some challenges on and off the field this season.

        • S Brooks

          This can’t be stressed enough. He’s really had a rough several months off the diamond. Marte is an impact player and will reward the Pirates’ patience.

    • jaygray007

      Marte is 85 times the athlete Tabata is. he can contribute with the glove, unlike tabata. even when his bat is lackluster.

    • leowalter

      Yes indeed ! That Murray Wills was some player. SMFH at that one.

  • B Thomas

    I feel the Pirates have prospects that they can trade like Alen Hanson and Harold Ramirez that won’t come back to hurt them that bad in the future.

  • DarkPhenix

    Reading others’ comments, I just don’t understand the narrative obsession with going after the big names and spending tons of money equates to winning a World Series. It just seems like fans demand the Pirates to bet the farm and sign huge contracts just because that is what’s done in baseball. That’s what the Yankees do. It just seems to me that most fans take for granted that that is the only way to win.

    I would love to see the Pirates do something like the ’79 Steelers and win a championship with an entirely home-grown, farm-raised team. If you figure a team can bring up a player and keep him for an average of 6 years, maybe more with smart, early extensions, then the Pirates would need to replace 4 players a year from the farm. That’s a starter, a position player, a reliever and a bench bat. I don’t think that’s out of the realm of possibility.

    Besides, paying big money for big names generally means one thing: those players are old. The older they get, the less they produce and the more the team pays. Seems silly to me.

    I agree with Tim. The Pirates should stand pat.

    • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5315860 ndbrian

      That’s always the mantra. But the same people that demand a big name trade now will wonder why Nutting is too cheap to go out and buy a big name in the offseason. It’s easy spending other people’s money.
      People also love being able to tell their buddies about the big “name” their team traded for or signed. To borrow a phrase from another sport, I call it the Snyder Effect. I live in D.C. and for years the Redskins “won the offseason” with big name aging stars. The post-season…not so much.

      • pilbobuggins

        Guys like you are the kind who settle for the mediocre kinda homely girl because she’s easy to get,when with a little investment and effort you could have had a real hottie. Have fun turning off the light.

        • gregenstein

          “She may be an ugly woman but she if cooks squirrel and dumplins, that’s the woman you go after.” – Phil Robertson

          • pilbobuggins

            Happy!Happy!Happy!

        • Mike C.

          My point is its never a good idea to overpay, AND replacing volquez with price isn’t going to be that big of a difference unless u get past the WC game and into short series.
          We’re not ADDing Price, we’re rrplacing volquez, there’s a difference.
          Also , my analogy would be, u seem like a guy who says “screw this normal life. Go all in NOW” and bets his life savings in a poker game. =)
          Sure u can win big, or go back to the pirates of 10 years ago with no WS champion PLUS no future.

          • pilbobuggins

            Sorry, wrong on all points and don’t forget to turn off the lights.

          • Jared

            I think it is a little chicken-little to claim that one trade would set the Pirates back 10 years. Do you really think any trade would cost them anything more than the top 3 out of 5 prospects? The whole reason our system is ranked so highly (currently #2) is because of the quality+depth.

        • unfurious

          But you can’t blow your wad as soon as the pretty girl flirts. You need to slow down, throw on some Barry White and hit that for years to come. There will always be pretty girls, You gotta find the right one.

          • pilbobuggins

            What’s up uf? Good to see your wit is still sharp.

            • unfurious

              Waiting on a baby. Trying to balance out work-at-home, unruly kids, construction projects and my wife going through contractions in the middle of it (No. she’s not in labor now. Just false contractions. I’m not that crass). I pop on here and there for sanity sake.

    • Dave

      First principles, DarkPhenix. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, these men Pirates fans seek? Pirates fans covets. That is our nature. And how do we begin to covet, ParkPhenix? Do we seek out things to covet? We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don’t you feel eyes moving over the sports page, DarkPhenix? And don’t those eyes seek out the things they want? Pirates fans want names they know.

      words of wisdom from Hannibal Lecter

    • leowalter

      It is just like a bout of the flu Dark. Last year it was trade every one for Stanton, now it is Lester or Price. Like the flu bout, it will soon pass.

  • gregenstein

    I wonder if contenders will start to look to each other for help. Sort of like the Grilli/Frieri trade.

    • Bryan Graham

      I don’t know if I would consider that help, more of a garbage in garbage out type deal. Frieri definitely isn’t help, even in the most loose definition of the word.

      • gregenstein

        That was just the most recent example I could come up with, and there aren’t many. Teams don’t engage in MLB player for MLB player swaps much anymore. Lincoln/Snider a few years ago is another. I’m not saying this is perfect, only that I’d like to see teams the Pirates try this more. Maybe there’s a team willing to swap a good starting pitcher with a few years of control but has bad traditional stats and good “saber” stats for Alvarez or Marte.

    • Mike C.

      I say give our SPs shorter leashes, and target good 6th,7th inning guys with good xfip and stuff so we can goto the BP more often.
      Just having the moniker “closer” or “setup guy” raises their prices to crazy levels.

  • Jax Maxton

    It’s an easy question: at this point are the Pirates in the 2014 season to win it? They should be, and that means they should make some moves if needed. We need help at 1st base and in the BP, and I wouldn’t mind another starter at this point, either. I think if this team could just fill some gaps with quality players that they would quickly become the most dangerous team in the central division.

  • Bryan Graham

    I guess this article leads to the real question. Are you happy contending or do you want a real chance at winning the World Series? I don’t want to see the Pirates give up the likes of Kingham for a Lester or Price, but don’t undervalue what those guys bring. Instead of having the situation we have now where you say “if” Liriano, or “if Cole does this or that you have a real #1 guy that can go punch for punch with the Wainrights and Kershaws of the game. Personally, I don’t like any of our guys against any true #1. I do think though that the best option is bullpen help with what the current cost of what either top pitcher is. Sorry, but except for a couple guys in the pen it sucks. You don’t need to get dominant bullpen arms to upgrade the pen. Whatever the case ends up being, just please don’t bring back AJ.

  • jaygray007

    Is there a price where they should nab Lester? of course. Is there a price where they should say “screw it” and just go with Vanimal and Co.? of course.

    It isn’t black and white IMO. You don’t have to keep all of your prospects. we have 30 prospects that we’re in love with, but there isn’t going to be room for all of them. But if the prices are stupid, wait till the offseason when the market isn’t as obnoxiously bad.

    they have the chips to cash in on a deal if they’re smart about it. for example, would they really miss Austin Meadows that much? no. Josh Bell and Harold Ramirez provide plenty of OF talent. is he nice to have? yes. would I give him away for Nick Punto? no. would i give him away for Jon Lester? Probably if my scouts said he looked as good as his numbers indicate.

    it’s just a matter of… is 2014 the time to do something like this? is it best to wait until 2015?

    If i had it my way… i’d trade Meadows or someone similar for Lester and trade Marte after 2015 if/when Bell looks ready and either get a similar player at a different position or stock the farm.

    but i’d stand pat if Meadows isn’t enough.

    • jalcorn427

      Trading a top 100 prospect for 2 months of a SP is a terrible idea. You just aren’t going to improve the team by more than a win with such a move.

      Making bad trades with the current constraints on amateur spending is a sure fire way to end up back in 2007.

      • jaygray007

        to do it over and over again, yeah sure. Stupid to do it over and over again.

        I don’t think splurging once is going to kill the farm.. That’s the point of an elite farm system.

        if you don’t trade anybody ever, we’re going to end up losing Josh Bell to the rule 5 draft haha.

        BTW, you mention a win… that win is huge. Especially since it looks like the wildcard isn’t going to be coming from the NL Central. seeing as there are 3 teams within 2 games of each other, i think the payoff of upgrading is higher than we’re used to. That win is more valuable than a market value win.

        • jalcorn427

          So, when do you stop making bad decisions? Is one bad trade enough, 2 or 3? I would argue that the point of a elite farm system is to make bad trades for rentals unnecessary. They currently have a full rotation and Cole coming back next week. The marginal gain of replacing Locke, Worley or Liriano isn’t worth it. They also have Kingham who is MLB ready.

          • jalcorn427

            A good example is the Zane Smith trade in 1990. Sure, it likely helped them get over the hump in 1990 and he ended up signing to stay as a free agent. But those 10 starts ended up costing Moises Alou who should have been a key part of the Pirates replacing Bonds/Bonilla. The Bucs won the division by 4 games, Smith was hardly necessary.

            • jaygray007

              you’re right. the Smith trade crippled them… But i’m also going to assume that the farm system didn’t have much going on other than Moises Alou and whoever the other part of that trade was. That trade’s a little before my time, but judging by the 20 losing seasons that followed, i’m going to assume that that wasn’t an elite farm system like the pirates have today.

              • jalcorn427

                A fair point, what is funny/sad is that they did have an elite farm system in 1997 (ranked #1, 7 top 100 prospects) and they still never put it all together.

                • jaygray007

                  Abraham Nunez!

          • jaygray007

            i said “once” haha. between the young outfielders (including Snider and Jay Hay) already on the MLB roster and the depth of OF in the farm system, they could add wins to the current roster without subtracting much long term wins.

        • stickyweb

          Why is it looking like the WC won’t be from the NL Central? I must be missing something, because I see the Brewers and Giants fading fast, leaving the Cards/Bucs to fight for the division and 1 WC and the Braves to be favored for the other WC. Keeping MIL & SF in the mix, it’s 5 teams going for 3 spaces (NL central and 2 WCs) with SF being the weakest of the lot. So the division has 3 of the top 4 teams going for 3 spots. It would actually be very surprising if the NL central didn’t get at least 1 WC. Probably not both like last year, but even that’s a real possibility.

          • jaygray007

            i guess i didn’t take the recent performance of the Giants into account as much as their whole record.

            I was looking at Fangraphs Playoff Odds, and the GIants and Braves were leading the WC Probabilities by a good margin. that’s all i was really going off of. but yeah i mightve discounted it a little bit when i first typed it.

          • Mike C.

            Im more inclined to believe the WC teams will be sf and atl.
            They’re both in a division with pretty weak teams, and i can see the 3 NLC teams (maybe 4 if you wanna include cincy) just beating up on each other

  • scrappy2499

    When Pedro is on he is on…However, he hasn’t shown up much this year not to mention his throws to FB are horrible. Any thoughts on shopping him to the AL as a DH for a decent return? He will not be around much longer and Harrison can play his spot at 3rd and we wouldn’t miss his production it looks like. Of course he could start tomorrow and go on a hot streak and crush 10 home runs in the next week and a half lol…

    • Jax Maxton

      I would like to see Pedro traded sooner rather than later, but there really is no hurry. Harrison can play 3rd for the rest of the season, especially against lefties, and then Pedro can be traded in the offseason. They really should trade him in the next year as he has shown a real lack of consistent production at the plate and cannot throw the ball to first. People are still enamored with what Pedro “might” be, but it’s becoming apparent that he is not going to become that All-Star player in Pittsburgh.

      • Ron Loreski

        I mean, Pedro was an All Star last year, and a silver slugger award winner. Just because he’s following that up with a horrible season doesn’t mean he won’t get it back.

        • Jax Maxton

          My problem is that Pedro is too inconsistent for a team of young guys who need consistency more than anything. People are always watching for the legendary and mythical “hot bat” that Pedro has exhibited over the past 2 years, and it has yet to show. Even if it does, how long will it last? There are just too many “ifs” and “maybes” when the Pirates absolutely need “absolutes”. Pedro may succeed better on a bigger market team, especially in the AL where they have other great talent where Pedro’s inconsistencies don’t matter as much and that mythical “hot bat” would help throughout a season.

          • lonleylibertarian

            Pedro is producing – a WRC+ of 107 and a WAR of 0.4.

            Why don’t you and the other bashers focus some attention on the black hole that is 1st base – Huntington made one of his worst trades to get a guy who had one good season a few years back and we continue to overpay for a guy who is supposed to bash LHP – who did very little to contribute during this last string of LH starters.

            And guess what – they are together absolutely AWFUL defensively – makes me long for the good old days of GI Jones.

            Lambo/Hague would be an upgrade IMHO

            • Jax Maxton

              I agree first base is a problem. So is third base. We also could use a couple of arms in the bp, and another starter couldn’t hurt, either. I’m not saying Pedro is the only problem. I’m not a total stats guy. I know Pedro’s stats aren’t the worst in some areas, but I also don’t need stats to tell me Pedro is not producing at the levels that were expected of him when he was drafted. I am ready to love Pedro Alvarez. But I also want this team to win this year. All Pedro is really bringing to the team is competing with the Pirates Parrot for who can give the most souvenirs to the first base side.

              I do not understand why people are so attached to Pedro Alvarez? He’s gone in, what, 2 years. The Pirates will NOT pay for him, and for good reason. I want to win, preferably this year. Alvarez, Davis, and Gabby are not helping us win right now. Harrison is, and he should be our everyday 3rd baseman. And if he becomes that, where does that leave Alvarez? He can’t be happy being platooned right now. That’s not what he was drafted for. And that’s not what the Pirates expected of him. So what’s the answer if not to trade him?

            • scrappy2499

              I’m not bashing Pedro. I like him and his power. I’m just thinking outside the box a little. We keep hearing about all the holes that need filled that and even though Pedro is not a hole he seems to be the ultimate rollercoster…Jax is right we could platoon him with Harrison for the rest of the year and trade him after this season and get a good return. 1st is an issue for sure I think we are kinda stuck there though because I don’t see to many teams trading for a less than steller platoon…I would love to see what Lambo could do also…

              • lonleylibertarian

                We don’t disagree on Pedro being platooned – and I do think that a spot should be found for Harrison every day. Too bad he can’t play first base and help out there…

                But that can come with rotating him at the corners and resting Walker every ten days or so to keep him fresh.

                Before this latest surge, I thought some patience with Pedro was required because I did not see a long term solution to 3b without him. But Harrison could be OK – I don’t think he has the glove that Pedro has – the range – but he does seem to be able to make the throws.

                So I agree that a trade can be considered – and should be. Pedro would be very valuable in the AL – he could DH and play a bit at third.

            • Lukas Sutton

              That black hole is producing a higher WRC+ than Pedro. I like Pedro and want him around but you cant use a stat and then ignore it after calling out another position. Gaby has a WRC+ of 97, Ike at 112. So that black hole together is producing similarly. Not only is Gaby not an overpay, but we are taking his first bad year against LHP and saying thats worthy of getting rid of him. Gaby is a useful bench bat. Hague as an upgrade shows you dont actually care for unbiased looks at a guys potential.

    • leadoff

      I think the right thing to do with Pedro is to fix him. He does not have much value if he can’t play 3rd base, trading him as a DH is not bringing much back in return. I would explain to him that he is going to be treated like an injured player and the Pirates are going to send him to rehab in Bradenton. Get him down there where they can work on him, get the reps, this team is far to good to have it dragged down by a player that is showing a very real problem. A player than can’t make routine throws and field bunts can’t play 3rd and running him out there every day is killing the pitching staff. IMO, Pedro is regressing, not improving.

  • Andrew

    I thought this a pretty good First Pitch article, but is seems to be getting a lot of comments.

    • lonleylibertarian

      Yep – thought Tim made a great case for standing pat. And I am someone who wanted an off season “statement” – AJ QO or Abreu signing…

      The price for the real “difference makers” is going to be too high and even with one or more of them the probable scenario is a wild card game – which is risky because it is potentially one and done – even if you are the #1 WC.

      Tim has also been beating the drum for moving the trading deadline back – I am not sure that is going to make much of a difference.

      I DO think that if you are going to make a move – especially for pitching you need to be like Oakland and make the move well before the end of July. I thought then and still think that the Cards should have made the move on Price/Zobrist right around the All Star game. Good for the Bucs [and Brewers] that they did not.

      I also think this is not a normal season – lots of average teams. A healthy Cole for the last two months along with a better Liriano and a couple more nice starts from Worely and the Division is in reach – especially if the Brewers and Cards stand pat, although I still think the Wild Card is best case.

  • leadoff

    “They’re on the edge of contending”
    I have said this before, if the Pirates were 20 games over 500, not one media outlet of any kind would put them down as contenders, I never saw a team get so little respect from the media. They are one of the best teams in baseball, as long as they are in Pitt they will never be contenders and if they won a WS, it would be classified as a fluke.

    • lonleylibertarian

      Hmmm….
      I have lived all over the country – and even when things were going bad I always thought the Bucs got their fair share of respect from media and fans.

      They however ARE NOT “one of the best teams in baseball” – they are a good team that has a chance to get to very good – but they are lucky that baseball has evolved to where there a lot of pretty average teams that cannot separate themselves from the pack – including the Bucs.

      After the A’s and the Angels there are about 19 teams that are pretty much even – then there are nine teams – 4 in the AL and 5 in the NL who are out of the running – for at least this year.

      • leadoff

        They “are” one of the best teams in baseball, they have one of if not the best record in baseball since May, they have the best home record in baseball. They have a team that has not even played well for most of the year and they are where they are, they have had their share of big injuries and still they are there. Also a team with all good players is a very tough team to play, because they don’t have a glaring weakness to concentrate on. They also have the most depth of any team in baseball. If they are lucky so are all the other teams in baseball. That lucky does not apply to them alone. I have seen every team in baseball play this year, none that I would be leary of the Pirates playing for all the marbles. Even with Alvarez going in the tank, they still manage to win, you got to be good to overcome Alvarez. As far as the media is concerned, when the Pirates win, they seem to always come up with an excuse for why the Pirates won, everything from them playing bad teams to the other team did not play their good players, or the other team has hurt players, give me a break!

        • lonleylibertarian

          Sorry – you are just flat out wrong. They are one of the WORST defensive teams in the league – they have no pitcher who would rate in the top 20 among starters. As I said, they are one of 15-20 teams that are good – but far from great. They are flawed at First, have a second baseman who should be playing first of DHing, a Center Fielder who would be better in left and yes the 3rd baseman is not great – but he is productive.

          They do not match up against the A’s, Angels, Cards, Brewers and Nats IMHO. Not that they could not beat these teams in a 7 game series.

          You seem to be suffering from selective hearing – no player has been as celebrated by baseball as Cutch – not even Trout. Martin gets a lot of positive press – Watson was selected to the AS game.

    • sammykhalifa

      But they ARE on the edge of contending–1.5 games out of a WC spot is on the edge of contending.

      • leadoff

        Who is contending?

  • Jared

    Let me ask this, and I am prefacing this with the fact that I know that these types of trades don’t usually happy at the deadline, they usually happen in the offseason…BUT, if you could make the following swap (and just assume for now that the rays would accept it)….

    Would you accept:
    David Price
    Ben Zobrist

    For:
    Pedro Alvarez
    Alan Hanson
    Josh Bell
    Adrian Samson

    • lonleylibertarian

      I would probably do it. BUT it is not going to be accepted by the Rays – not sure Pedro is a fit with them – he probably is in Toronto, Seattle or NY or maybe even Boston.

    • Lukas Sutton

      Pirates trade Pedro and Bell and we ruin the best future chance of having a decent 1Bmen. We would have no real depth at 3B, meaning resigning Walker and Harrison would be key along with signing a 1Bmen in FA, which is too expensive. Either move Pedro to 1st and trade Bell, or deal Pedro and continue to let Bell improve and he move to 1st when he hits AAA.

  • SportOMania

    In an ideal world the type of deadline trade the Pirates should make is for someone like Cole Hamels. Hamels is the type of pitcher that can matchup with anyone as a game one pitcher in a playoff series. He is under control until 2018 with a vesting option for 2019 that would make anyone want him back for 2019. It is said the Phillies price is a team’s top 3 prospects and that they are only willing to pay $10 million in salary relief. I would let the Phillies choose any 3 prospects they want for Hamels. He IS a top of the rotation starter not a potential one. He is under team control for nearly as long as any prospect once called up would be. And that control would coincide with all the years in which Cutch is signed. The team on the field is young and the system is deep so this trade is beneficial today and in the long run. The only problem is the Pirates cannot or will not pay Hamels’ salary.

  • TNBucs

    I agree that the Pirates probably shouldn’t try to make a deal, though at some point they need to pick up a starter for next season if they don’t plan to sign Liriano. Perhaps the opportunity will be there in the next couple of days.

    One thing I find interesting is that with the Rays hot streak and the Reds slump, they are about equally likely to make the playoffs (ESPN gives the edge to the Reds, Coolstandings to the Rays, and BP has them with essentially the same odds). People continue to assume that Price gets moved, but what about Latos or even Cueto? And given the return for relievers, what could the Reds get for Chapman or Broxton? Or maybe they sell high on Simon or get out from under Bailey’s contract? It seems like there is an opportunity there, but it would take them swallowing some pride. Of course they have a lot of games left with teams above them and I think they have the best pitching staff in the NL Central,so maybe they think they can get hot and make up the ground they’ve lost since the All Star break.

    • Lukas Sutton

      Cole-Morton-Locke-Worley. 4 guys that are under contract and good shots to earn a rotation spot next year. A Volquez type FA acquisition fills the last spot, and the second half of the year sees a Kingham promotion. Not including good depth in Cumpton and, depending on his progress in rehab, Taillon as a late year guy. If money were no worry, our opening day rotation could easily be Cole-Morton-Locke-Worley-Kingham.

  • coloneldickweed

    my #sauce is telling me that the Sox opened up Lester negociones with an asking price of Marte. …and that’s where things stand on that front

  • pilbobuggins

    Breaking news, pirates aquire lester from red sox for hanson , kingham and heredia.