First Pitch: As Expected, Trades For Starting Pitchers Will Probably Cost a Ton

Here’s something that probably won’t be a surprise: starting pitching looks like it’s going to cost a lot on the trade market this year.

We saw this already when Jeff Samardzija was traded to the Oakland Athletics, with the Chicago Cubs getting multiple top prospects in return, highlighted by one of the best prospects in the game, Addison Russell. Based on the current rumored asking prices, it doesn’t look like the remaining pitchers on the market will come cheap.

**The Rays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, and while they’re still under .500, they’re technically just a few games out of .500. This means David Price is almost certainly off the table, thus driving up the value for everyone else who might be available. If Price does become available, then the asking price will probably be insane.

**The Rockies wanted Kevin Gausman from the Orioles for Jorge de la Rosa, according to Jon Heyman. That’s the 33-year-old Jorge de la Rosa who has only pitched more than 130 innings twice in his career, and who currently has a 4.19 ERA in 116 innings for the Rockies, with a 4.11 xFIP that suggests things won’t be getting better. You can be the proud owner of this back of the rotation starter making the remainder of his $11 M salary, and heading to free agency in the off-season, all for the low price of one of the most promising young starting pitching prospects in the game.

**The Padres want Ian Clarkin and Eric Jagielo for Ian Kennedy, but the Yankees don’t want to pay that price, also according to Heyman. If that’s the price for Kennedy, then it might not be too bad from a rankings perspective. Clarkin and Jagielo can’t be found on any of the big pre-season top 100 lists, or mid-season top 50s. Baseball America had them ranked 7th and 5th in the Yankees system, coming into the year. However, there’s a lot of potential upside here, as both were first rounders last year. Both players received 55 potential and high risk ratings from BA. The Pirates had two players with that rating: Josh Bell and Harold Ramirez. JaCoby Jones was given a 55, but also an extreme rating. Bell may have moved beyond those rankings, but it’s also possible that one of the Yankees prospects (Clarkin, most likely) has also improved his stock. While this potential price for Kennedy seems reasonable, it also might not be complete. Heyman says the Padres need to be overwhelmed to move Kennedy.

**Jayson Stark says that Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels aren’t likely to be dealt. In regards to Hamels, he says that this is due to a price “that no one would possibly give up.” We heard earlier about how the Pirates don’t like the 2015 player option for A.J. Burnett. Stark says that the Orioles have lukewarm interest in Burnett, while the Yankees said “no thanks.”

**The Cubs want to trade Edwin Jackson. He does have a 3.95 xFIP, which suggests he’ll be better than his 5.61 ERA. However, his ERA is constantly worse than his xFIP, and he’s making $11 M a year through the 2016 season. Even if he does start putting up results closer to the advanced metrics going forward, I don’t think $11 M a year plus trading prospects to get him is worth it for his production.

Just to recap, if you want a top pitcher, be prepared to give up the farm. If you want a back of the rotation starter, be prepared to pay a price that you’d think would be reserved only for a top of the rotation guy. Kennedy seems like he could be the best value on the market, but with the Padres looking to be overwhelmed, it’s very possible that he could end up being over-priced.

For the Pirates, the most important thing in the final two months might be a healthy Gerrit Cole and having Francisco Liriano pitch the way he has been pitching in his last two starts. It seems that if they want outside help, the cost will either be a lot for something they already have, or way too much for an upgrade that might not be worth the massive price.

Links and Notes

**Prospect Watch: Nick Kingham’s Dominating Start Goes Downhill Quick

**Injury Updates: Harold Ramirez, Connor Joe, Barrett Barnes, Austin Coley

**Pirates Don’t Seem to Like A.J. Burnett’s 2015 Salary

**Andrew Lambo off to a hot start after return from thumb injury

**Prospect Highlights: Back-to-Back-to-Back Homers in Altoona

**Minor Moves: Orlando Castro Placed on the Altoona DL

**Minor League Schedule: Chad Kuhl Has Everything Working For Him This Year

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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  • pilbobuggins

    I still have hope that the pirates will pull off a christmas in july miracle and get kennedy for a price the bucs are willing to pay. If not I have visions of a jolly fat man dressed in blue dancing in my head. Then if all else fails and the salary stars all line up for the bucs. waiting in the wings is that lump of coal aj burnett, I guess the consolation for coal is if you squeeze hard enough you get a diamond.

    • emjayinTN

      pb: I guess I am wondering why we have to be searching for pitching that is tremendously overpriced. Right now here is what we have in our Rotation and others who have been in our Rotation at times this year

      Liriano, 88 IP, 2-7, 4.18 ERA
      Cole, 86 IP, 7-4, 3.78 ERA
      Morton, 126 IP, 5-9, 3.28 ERA
      Locke, 62 IP, 2-1, 3.05 ERA plus 56 IP at AAA
      Volquez, 117 IP, 8-7, 3.86 ERA
      Worley, 41 IP, 3-1, 3.10 ERA plus 46 IP at AAA
      Cumpton, 56 IP, 3-3, 4.98 ERA plus 59 IP at AAA

      This is without thinking that Stolmy Pimental or Jennmar Gomez may be able to perform spot starting duties, and we have others at AAA who could very well be up in September – BTW, it may be time to stretch out the work of Nick Kingham so that if he does come up in Sep, he may have something left in the tank.

      For my money, I am selling Francisco Liriano if we can get from the Yankees what SD is asking for Ian Kennedy who has Boras as an agent. If we have to toss in a guy like McGuiness, Dickerson, or Decker added to Liriano to get two prospects with high ceilings like Jagielo and Clarkin, I make the deal and never look back. With 6 full time SP’s and 2 part-time SP’s available, and possible help to come in Sep, the positives outweigh the negatives for me. And yes, it is a very large gamble

      • jaygray007

        They wouldn’t get 2 guys like that for Liriano. Kennedy has another year on his contract. that’s a lot of why they can demand what they’re demanding (which i dont think is that much).

        ever since liriano came back from injury, he’s been awesome. I don’t think they can afford to give up their 2nd highest upside major league pitcher in the middle of a pennant race. I think that’d be insane.

        • emjayinTN

          jg: It is the type of move that would put the GM on the spot to take a lot of heat if we do not make the playoffs. Looking at the numbers, are you comfortable hitching your wagon to Liriano to get this team to the playoffs? I think he will close ground on reaching .500, but I do not think he will lower his ERA that much. I see him improving his FA Stock, but not much more than that. And, I have been wrong before!

          • jaygray007

            i’m fine with the team standing pat in order to get in the playoffs. I’m not okay with subtracting from the team in order to get in the playoffs.

            Liriano is over his early season homeritis, which isn’t surprising to me, as his ‘stuff’ is exactly the same as last year (filthy slider, fastball that touches 94).

            Homeritis worries me when the pitcher’s stuff actually decreased. if liriano was throwing like Wandy, i would worry. but not with the stuff that he has.

            his ERA is about 2.5 in his last 40ish innings (very quick math in my head). they need Liriano more than a 100th ranked prospect right now.

            • http://batman-news.com NMR

              Good conversation, guys.
              .
              I just can’t see giving up pitching if you’re a serious contender, and want to win.
              .
              This may interest you guys: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/7/24/5928069/francisco-liriano-slider-pittsburgh-pirates-pitch-values

            • emjayinTN

              Excellent points and the bottom line for why we do not trade Liriano at this point is that you may never be in this position again to make the playoffs. But that does not mean that I would trade anything for pitching that I do not think is absolutely needed and is greatly overpriced. But, if NH gets a wild hair, Jagielo and Clarkin are high ceiling guys, but I would not be upset to get LH hitting 1B Greg Bird, or RHSP Luis Severino.

              • jaygray007

                NMR, i’ll have to give that a read later.

                and yeah, emjay, yeah there’s obviously a point where if a team overpaid for Liriano, you’d have to take it.

                I’d just require that they also go get somebody else as well.

  • csnumber23

    No thanks to Edwin Jackson. I never thought he was any good when the Bucs tried to get him a few years back.

    • bucsws2014

      I’m with you. If you go back on this site and others, we were in the minority. Lots of folks wanted Jackson (including Tim). I’m hoping that was out of desperation of wanting to see somebody/anybody get 8 figures out of Nutting, not actual analysis.

      Then again, people were pining for Jorge de la Rosa before that. And after not getting Jackson, lots of folks wanted Roy Oswalt.

      What’s that saying about “sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make”?

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

        That was such a horrible time period. The DLR rumors were right after the 2010 season, where they had the worst record in baseball. The rotation in 2010 was Maholm, Duke, Karstens, Ohlendorf, Morton, and Brian Burres, with James McDonald joining at the end of the year.

        They didn’t sign DLR because they didn’t want to give him a player option. That turned out to be a good call, as he missed most of the 2011-12 seasons, and was only effective in 2013.

        The Jackson rumors came the next off-season. They had a better team in 2011, but their rotation still had issues that year (Morton, McDonald, Maholm, Karstens, Correia). And of course they didn’t get EJax and traded for A.J. Burnett the same off-season.

        Jackson wasn’t a horrible signing that year. He took a one year deal with the Nationals, and posted decent numbers. The next year he took a big deal with the Cubs, and has struggled since. I believe the Pirates offered him a one year deal. But they ended up better off with Burnett.

        • http://batman-news.com NMR

          Tim, how could we forget the 3 yr/$30m offer from the Pirates that Jackson turned down in lieu of the pillow contract with the Nats? More proof that no decent free agent wants to play in Pittsburgh under the Nutting Regime. Ah, I miss the old days.

  • jaygray007

    The rockies had to of been messing around when they asked for Gausman. There’s no way they actually expected the O’s to accept that.

    Gausman is going to be awesome.

    But yeah assuming all the Padres want is Jagielo and Clarkin… that’s not a bad deal at all. Time sites BA ratings, but i’ll just throw out some Baseball Prospectus bits.

    Jagielo is a guy who projects to be an average player. not a guy who jumps out as a potential star. Hanson is probably comparable. I’d trade Hanson if i had faith that Walker could stick at 2b for a few more years.

    Clarkin actually has 2/3 upside, but isn’t going to sniff the majors until 2017 or so. I wonder if you could trade some upside for major league proximity with Adrian Sampson.

    it does seem like the padres have the most reasonable price for an extremely reasonable pitcher. Get him. Volquez to the 7th inning to rip 97 mph. You don’t have to overpay for a bullpen arm. Maybe still get a lefty. i dunno.

    • http://batman-news.com NMR

      I like all of this.

      • B Thomas

        If you bring an SP and RP the Pirates have quite the logjam of players without options. Say we get Kennedy and Bastardo hypothetically. Pimentel, Gomez, Worley, Volquez would be my 4 pitchers on the fringe that would have to be designated for assignment. 2 out 4 would need to go initially and one more would need to go after Cole’s return. Who do you get rid of? Or do you send down Locke and Hughes/Wilson to preserve depth even though they have contributed greatly to this team and have been counted on a lot lately. Very tough call. Then again Pimentel I could see as being a part of the deal for a SP like Kennedy along with other Prospects.

        • S Brooks

          Yeah, that logjam is looming even without a pitching acquisition – when Cole gets off the DL as soon as August 2.

          My best guess is that Wlson gets optioned and Stolmy is part of the transaction to bring in an arm. I would rather it be Gomez, but his trade value is pretty negligible. If the Bucs acquire two arms, Hughes goes down as well. So in the hypothetical scenario where Kennedy and Bastardo are Pirates, you have:

          Cole, Frankie, Kennedy, Morton, Locke
          Melancon, Watson, Bastardo, Frieri, Volquez, Worley, Gomez.

          Wilson and Hughes ae recalled Sept 1.

          I like that Kennedy would help to bridge the 2015 staff until Taillon and Kingham arrive. You could do worse than a starting 5 of Cole, Kennedy, Morton, Locke, Worley for a few months.

          • jaygray007

            yep. this is why i love the idea of Kennedy (and price) so much… it’s the perfect way to not have to depend on Taillon to contribute too much after injury and not need Kingham to have to be perfect. a guy who is gone after 2015.

        • jaygray007

          Yeah if i got an SP and RP… let’s just say Kennedy and Bastardo….I would do…

          Liriano,
          Cole, Morton, Kennedy, and Locke (man that felt good to type. i think a
          mixture between nick kingham and Worley/Volquez spot starts could do
          the depth trick) with Melancon, Watson, Frieri, Volquez, Worley,
          Pimentel, and Bastardo.

          Bring Wilson and Hughes back on September
          1 when rosters expand. I have no idea if Gomez has options left. He
          hasn’t been bad, but Worley could do as good a job out of the bullpen,
          and is more valuable long term. and yeah like you mention…. a guy
          like Pimentel could very well be a part of the deal and let you keep
          Gomez.

          • S Brooks

            Gomez is out of options.

            • jaygray007

              aight. in that case, i’m personally fine letting him go. in my scenario, they’d have “long men” between Volquez, Pimentel, and Worley in the bullpen.

        • http://batman-news.com NMR

          Good ideas, all around.
          .
          I personally don’t think a reliever is needed if a starter is brought in, due to the domino effect that would follow. I’d rather stick with Justin Wilson over Bastardo, and I have a gut feeling that Eddie Volquez could be just as effective out of the pen as some of these big name relievers on the block.
          .
          I have little doubt that Vin Mazzaro would be just as effective as Jeanmar Gomez, so he’s an easy drop for me.

          • jaygray007

            the extra lefty isn’t necessarily needed, but it’d be nice to not have to depend on Andy Oliver if Wilson or Watson get hurt. especially now that Schlereth is gone.

            it’s at least worth considering just getting another proven lefty and sending Wilson down to AAA until september 1. That way, you actually have a september bullpen that’s 9-10 deep. you could actually keep Watson fresh without feeling too bad about giving other guys the innings. you have Justin Wilson in that inning instead of John Wall and Wirfin Obispo.

            of course this is all assuming that Ollie Perez/Bastardo aren’t insanely expensive in trades.

            • http://batman-news.com NMR

              Never thought of that angle, jay. Very smart. I’m all for depth at this time of year.

            • Andrew

              Neal Cotts, is another name to keep in mind if the Pirates want left handed help, a better Bastardo, less walks. He throws a cutter/slider thing and has some reverse splits but he seems to generate some weak contact, has posted pop up rates of 17% in back to back years. Free agent next year.

        • moose7195

          Except that after the return they saw Huston Street get, also an instance where they needed to be overwhelmed, there is no way that lands Kennedy. I would love to get that type of deal, but I feel that they’ll require a Bell, Meadows, McGuire, or Glasnow to join Hanson in order to get that deal done.

    • indybucfan

      I don’t understand everyone wanting to ship Hanson out in every deal that comes along. Now I’ve never seen him play, but everything I’ve seen from people who have say he can stick at short and he has the tools to be a leadoff hitter. I don’t really want to trade that for a pitcher that may be an upgrade on what we have. It seems when a player struggles for the least amount of time, people are ready to cut bait with them. I’d prefer to give Hanson more time. I think he’s the shortstop of the future.

      • jaygray007

        i definitely don’t want to ship him out of town..

        he was just a quickly-found approximation for eric jagielo.

        If i had it my way, they would extend walker to be the long term 3b, and trade Pedro the second Hanson is ready to take over 2b.

        while i haven’t seen the “he can stick at ss” stuff that you’ve seen, i do like him as a 2b. i’ve seen concerns with his arm.

      • http://batman-news.com NMR

        I think this may be a matter of your perception, indy.
        .
        Ian Kennedy is a good baseball player. To acquire him, it will take good baseball prospects. I give jaygray enough respect to assume he isn’t one of these guys who thinks the Pirates can trade scrubs for good baseball players. That means he’s complimenting Alen Hanson, not condemning him.

  • marty34156

    Unless you’re someone who hoards prospects, then Clarkin and Jagielo is not a lot to give up for Kennedy. Pirates need a SP. Worley due for regression, Liriano is still an unknown, Cole an unknown due to health, Volquez still can’t be trusted, and Cumpton is awful.

    • mysonisnamedafterRoberto

      Which basically what we have seen the whole first half and a still in the hunt for a playoff spot. At the start of the year could you have imaged a worst case then what has happened with the pitching.
      Your top two pitching prospects injured all or most of the season in Cole and Taillon. Frankie pitching horrible and that Wandy and Grilli wouldn’t be on the team. You have Pedro looking pedestrian at the plate. SS, LF and 1st not preforming like last year or to expectations.
      Listen this team is fine. They need to learn how to win in their own division against someone other then the Cubs and continue what they done against everyone else.

    • pilbobuggins

      I’m in agreement with you on that marty,the pirates equivalent is hanson who they can afford to let go and mcguire, who I don’t think they can afford instead I would opt for heredia. If that is ok with the padres that deal gets done yesterday. Not only would the pirates have a very good arm for a playoff run this year, they would have him next year as well. His salary next year projects to be around 9 mil and I think this year is a couple mil.,the pirates can afford the prospects and the salary is in keeping with what this front office seems to like.

  • ClayDog

    Rather than go after another starter, when the asking price is too high relative to value, how about making a VERY bold move and try to get Tulowitski, who, per other reports, may be available. I know Mercer has been playing well, but imagine having the top SS and his might bat to complement Cutch. He sports a .340 BA, with 21 HRs, a 1.035 OPS and a 5.6 WAR, AND he’s under team control through 2021 at a very reasonable price (given his performance). Rumors have it that the Rockies are looking for young pitching talent, so why not give up Taillon, Cumpton, and Glasnow, and toss in Lambo (or even Mercer) to boot, to get one of the best players in the game. I know that’s giving up a lot of young arms (aka the future) to win now or in the next few years, but after 20 years of consecutive losing and 35 years since a World Series win, why wait longer than that? Imagine a batting order of

    Polanco
    Marte
    Cutch
    Tulowitski
    Walker
    Martin
    Alvarez
    Davis/Sanchez
    Our pitching could continue to perform “as is” and we could add nearly another run/game to our offensive numbers, which would likely put us over the top. Call me crazy, but…

    • mysonisnamedafterRoberto

      I think unfortunately that will not be enough. My guess would be Cole, Taillon, Glasnow and a 10 through 20 bat. With his contract you would have to empty your farm system. Your only bargaining chip is his history of injury.

    • Dave

      How about Alvarez for Tulowitski. Can you imagine Alvarez’s power in that thin air? Can you imagine how many tickets that would sell?

      • ClayDog

        I like it… I’ve been a Pedro fan since the Pirates drafted him (and still wear his original #17 jersey), but am disappointed that he hasn’t continued to improve or even repeat the same power numbers as last year. I also agree he’d likely do better in Denver, though I’d hate to think where his throws to first base might wind up in the thin air. So, by moving him and getting TT, Josh Harrison and Mercer could vie to take third base (hardly a drop off from 2014 Pedro).. The fact that TT is on the 15-day disabled list wouldn’t spook me (assuming he can pass the physical otherwise). The Pirates and other teams have traded for players on the DL before. Again, if the Pirates want to win it all, the ML roster must improve.. the guys in AAA and AA won’t help at all this year and likely very little in the next couple years either (except perhaps for Taillon, but who knows). So, I don’t get all the talk about not giving up prospects when they are hardly a guarantee (hence, the prospect label) and would need to displace currently better major league talent.. Why wait?

        • jaygray007

          Tulowitzki is worth about 5 Pedro Alvarezes.

          He’s under control for a very long time and is very very good.

          Alvarez is under control for a medium amount of time and is only kind of good.

    • has5025

      Tulo’s splits away from Coors Field, as well as his injury history scare me. Away from Coors he’s not much better than Mercer has been the last 2 months.

      • smurph

        That and the fact that Tulo is on the DL for at least the next 15 days makes that trade a no-no.

      • http://batman-news.com NMR

        “Away from Coors he’s not much better than Mercer has been the last 2 months.”
        .
        Oh come on now!

  • R Edwards

    There isn’t one starting pitcher, who is likely available via trade this year, who could significantly upgrade the Pirates current rotation – and therefore would not justify what it would likely cost in prospects and/or salary. I include Burnett, Lee, Jackson, Kennedy, Masterson, and de la Rosa.

    I think our greater need is in the bullpen and first base, but again – the price will be high and we already made two dumb trades this year (Davis and Morris), and I don’t want to see a third bad trade.

    Even though the price was high for Byrd last year, I was was fine with it – as we had to do something about RF and in my opinion we would not have made the playoffs without Byrd for the last 4-5 weeks last year. I just don’t see a first baseman or relief pitcher who I would put in that category – available, could be the difference, and would not cost a king’s ransom. Just look at what the Tigers paid for Soria?

    • mysonisnamedafterRoberto

      Great points. Last year is different than this year. Last year it was about reversing a culture mind set. You had to make those moves. This year if they continue to play the way they have over the last couple of months, then they will finish with a winning record and be in the hunt for the playoffs. That builds on the culture change.
      But they are not ready for a World Series. Our pieces are not developed enough to handle that condition and there is not a single player out there to change that.
      We need to remember this team is built for 2016. That is the year you make a move.

      • R Edwards

        I agree 100% – I think team is still a year or two away from being a real contender to win it all. We need to improve the rotation, fix first base, and address third base from a defensive standpoint.

        I assume we will likely see combination of Taillon, Sampson, Kingham, and Glasnow added to the rotation over the next 1-2 years. The only downside – they, along with Cole, are all right handers.

        As for first base, I would move Walker to first base over the Winter – and put Harrison at second base. He can hold down the fort at second base until Hansen arrives (I don’t believe he will stay at SS). Lambo is another option.

        As for third base – that is a tougher situation – we have no one on the horizon in the system. We may need to trade for one or sign a free agent. I would NOT extend Alvarez. I like him and seems like a good kid, but his throwing errors, high strikeouts, and exasperating inconsistency at the plate are maddening. Given his age now, I don’t see any reason why any of these things will be reversed – I think that is just the kind of player he is and will be. If Lambo cuts it at first base, move Walker to third.

        • S Brooks

          Don’t worry, no one believes that Alvarez would sign an extension if offered – his agent Boras has signed just a handful of extensions, and none of them has been team friendly.

          I think he sticks around for ’15 and will be traded to an AL team that offseason.

          • cmat0829

            Does anyone have Boras’ phone number? Would love to call him and ask him his view of Pedro’s throwing, a potential move to 1B in offseason, and whether realistically he is playing his way into a DH role. Be fascinating to hear the superagent spin on this.

            He seemed so free with his advice for teams in the offseason, including how much impact the rotund Kendrys Morales would have (still laughing at that), so would love to hear his views on El Toro.

  • TNBucs

    I’d be interested in Jackson if

    1. We’re not confident on Cole’s health for the ROS (I’m not confident and with another injury bound to happen, I think we may feel like we’re one pitcher short down the stretch); and

    2. The primary benefit to the Cubs would be salary relief (as when we acquired AJ).

    I think in the right situation Jackson can still be a solid middle-of-the-rotation innings-eater that could help us the next couple of years as we break in a lot of young pitchers. But the last thing we’d want is to help strengthen the Cubs’ future which already looks pretty formidable.

    • cmat0829

      Why all the fascination with acquiring “innings eaters” for this rotation? The Pirates are absolutely STOCKED with competent innings eaters for the next couple of years. Even right now, with Cole, we are 7 deep in competent starting pitching. Liriano – Morton – Locke- Volquez – Worley – Cumpton – Cole. On top of that, you can add Pimentel, Sadler and Kingham. And if 10 deep isn’t enough, you could stretch out Gomez. For next year, Taillon figures in there somewhere, and Sampson is on the periphery…and down the line, obviously Glasnow figures in.

      NO THANKS. If there is indeed a no-brainer upgrade to be had (and on Kennedy I’ll defer to others to opine if he truly is), then sure, it is a move that would make some sense, but the cost will be more than the Wandy Rodriguez trade 2 years ago (Owens/Grossman). Having Kennedy for 2015 would be a boost to that trade payoff, so again, not dismissing it, just not completely sold on him being a major upgrade justifying the cost.

      • http://batman-news.com NMR

        Well Liriano and Volquez are free agents, Worley and Cumpton probably aren’t any more than 5th starters, Pimentel and Sadler are reaches as starters in the first place, and Jeanmar Gomez…we aren’t actually discussing Jeanmar Gomez as a starting pitcher on a playoff team, are we?

        • cmat0829

          NMR, you always make good points. I guess I should have separated 2014 and 2015 in my response. WE have no need for ‘innings eaters’, period. Either this year or 2015. If we are a playoff team, focus need not be on adding MORE innings eaters.

          Kennedy I will allow is more than that, and therefore worth a look, which was my last part of the post. Having him in 2015 rotation, with Cole, Locke and Morton would make a lot of sense. Much more sense than say, AJB. But Kennedy is not an ‘innings eater’.

          To someone like Edwin Jackson, I’d greatly prefer letting Kingham get an early chance, Worley get the chance, Cumpton and even Sadler get the chance.

          • http://batman-news.com NMR

            I’m probably greedy, cmat, but I feel the Pirates need to be the team to turn the player around, not pay for the finished product. Big difference in value between getting a James Loney on a bounce back year for $2m vs. paying over $20m once he reestablished himself.

            • cmat0829

              AGREE, greed is good (Gordon Gekko) but Edwin Jackson is more an example of paying for past performance not hoping for bounceback. Worley fits that bill, as did Volquez, etc. My POV is that for a playoff push, we need not more of those, but a legitimate established upgrade and those are costly. If not, why not let the bouncebacks of Volquez, Locke, Worley continue?

              • http://batman-news.com NMR

                Well said, cmat.

        • S Brooks

          Now that we know 1/5 of starts are taken by depth starters, maybe it’s time to define the characteristics of “6th starter” – and I would submit Cumpton is exactly that.

          • http://batman-news.com NMR

            Could not agree more, Brooks. Perfect guy to have stashed in AAA, ready when needed.

      • TNBucs

        As of now our 2015 Opening Day rotation is Cole, Morton, Locke and a lot of question marks (and even Cole is a question mark given the injury, as is Locke with his inconsistency over the last 1.5 years). Of course they would have to believe they could “fix” Jackson as they have with Liriano, Volquez, Worley, Burnett,…Jackson’s been a good pitcher in the past and maybe with a few tweaks he could regain that form.

        • cmat0829

          You simply cannot say that Locke has question marks but be willing to pay the high cost in $$s and prospects to acquire Jackson to ‘eat innings’. Sorry. Doesn’t compute.

          Upgrade the rotation YES with a starter who is also on the club for 2015 YES trade away prospects to do so YES commit some salary to this YES. But Jackson to eat innings at a high price just because others have question marks? Silly.

          • http://batman-news.com NMR

            I certainly understand why you’d be hesitant to take a chance on Jackson, but there’s no way he gets moved without the Cubs eating a ton of salary, and even then he won’t pull any sort of legit prospect.
            .
            I’m all for giving young guys a chance, but think about where the club would be this year without Eddie Volquez. I won’t claim to be any sort of scout, but I’d say Jackson has just as much of a chance to turn things around as Volquez did entering the year, and I’d at leats be intrigued if he could be had around the same $5m cost.

            • cmat0829

              Jackson’s contract goes for at least 1 maybe 2 more years. Cubs actually gonna pay like half of the contract for EACH SEASON for nothing in return? Nah. They need innings eaters and bouncebacks too.

              • http://batman-news.com NMR

                Then there clearly isn’t a deal to be made.

        • Andrew

          Jackson is a fastball slider pitcher, that is a power mix for an aging pitcher. Seems to under-perform FIP because of a higher BABIP, possibly gives up more solid contact than average or has his platoon splits exploited. Those seem like fundamental problems that aren’t really “fixed” via mechanical adjustments.

  • leadoff

    When you look at the Pirate situation, you realize they will be fighting for a pennant, same as the Yankees, look at what pitchers the Yankees are dealing with and they have money, guys like newly acquired Chris Capuano and releasing the ever popular Chris Leroux. Without giving up the ship the Pirates are going to bring in, in all possiblity a journeyman pitcher, a mid tier bullpen pitcher, IMO that is about all they will do, names thrown around don’t mean much to them or me for that matter. IMO, for them to make a move on a mid tier pitcher, one of the 5 starters would have to go down, I think they would rather have a journeyman pitcher going down the stretch than a kid from Indy, if they were out of the race I think they go with the kid.

    • cmat0829

      Yankees are ‘in it’ the same way the Indians, Royals are ‘in it’. Fools’ Gold. I understand Cashman’s hands are tied, but look at what the Red Sox did a few years back… SOLD big time, cleared the deck and won the WS the next season. Yanks would be better served doing that than embarrassing themselves with dumpster diving midseason. Dumpster dives are for offseason only.