Trahern, Jurrjens Would Be Welcome Addition to Pirates’ Weak System

Paul Meyer poured out the depressing news in this morning’s Post-Gazette:

A report from Detroit indicated the Pirates and Tigers had completed a Wilson trade early this week in which the Tigers would have picked up all of Wilson’s remaining contract money—in excess of $14 million.
“We had a deal,” a source said.
The Pirates would have received Dallas Trahern or Jair Jurrjens—both 21-year-old right-handed pitchers—and a mid-level position player prospect. That deal apparently collapsed when the Pirates asked for a major-league player, perhaps outfielder Craig Monroe.

If you’re in Dave Littlefield’s shoes and David Dombrowski, general manager of the Tigers, comes to you and asks to eat any part of Jack Wilson’s contract and give you two top prospects, there’s absolutely no reason for Wilson to still be wearing black and gold.
None.
While this report is a step up from the pessimistic guess I took yesterday—at Pittsburgh Lumber Co., I tried to figure out which unnamed prospects might’ve been heading the Pirates’ way—it’s still not very consoling.
If Littlefield wasn’t willing to accept a package of Trahern or Jurrjens and Brent Clevlen Tuesday, I have no faith that he’ll do the right thing and make a move now.

Nevertheless, unlike Virgil Vasquez, Jordan Tata and Eulogio de la Cruz, three righties that I’d guessed might be on the Pirates’ radar, neither Trahern nor Jurrjens is on the Tigers’ 40-man roster—and as such, they’d still be eligible to be moved in a deal in the waiver-trading period.
Consider it a chance at redemption, if you will.
Let’s take a peak at who might be on the move to Pittsburgh’s affiliates should Littlefield manage to consummate a trade with the Tigers:

  • Dallas Trahern, 21, is a right-handed starting pitcher who just made the jump to Triple-A Toldeo. Selected in the 34th round of the 2004 draft, Trahern has developed surprisingly well, pitching in the Gulf Coast League in the second half of ’04, A-ball in ’05, advanced Single-A in 2006 and now Double-A and Triple-A in 2007. His strikeout to walk ratio is a solid two to one, and he’s posted sub-4.00 ERAs every step of the way. He’s a ground ball pitcher that, in a year or two, would be an attractive rotation candidate.
  • Jair Jurrjens, 21, was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003. Like Trahern, his progression through the Tigers’ organization has been smooth, never repeating a level until this season. At Double-A Erie, Jurrjens has a 3.32 ERA through 105.2 innings—perhaps signaling that he’s ready for a new challenge. He’s ranked fourth among Tigers prospects by Baseball America behind Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin—two of the best young players in the game—and Brent Clevlen.

Clevlen, an attractive option as a toolsy, young outfielder, likely wouldn’t clear waivers and therefore shouldn’t be eligible to be moved in the deal as noted. The Tigers do have other bats, though, who might catch a Pirate scout’s eye:

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Tigers May Have Offered Jurrjens, Bat for Wilson

Time for an update on yesterday’s Wilson to the Tigers news. In this morning’s Post-Gazette, Paul Meyer lays out the deal that was allegedly on the table for the Pirates: A report from Detroit indicated the Pirates and Tigers had completed a Wilson trade early this week in which the Tigers would have picked up all of Wilson’s remaining contract money—in excess of $14 million. “We had a deal,” a...

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Trahern, Jurrjens Would Be Welcome Addition to Pirates’ Weak System

Paul Meyer poured out the depressing news in this morning’s Post-Gazette:

A report from Detroit indicated the Pirates and Tigers had completed a Wilson trade early this week in which the Tigers would have picked up all of Wilson’s remaining contract money—in excess of $14 million.
“We had a deal,” a source said.
The Pirates would have received Dallas Trahern or Jair Jurrjens—both 21-year-old right-handed pitchers—and a mid-level position player prospect. That deal apparently collapsed when the Pirates asked for a major-league player, perhaps outfielder Craig Monroe.

If you’re in Dave Littlefield’s shoes and David Dombrowski, general manager of the Tigers, comes to you and asks to eat any part of Jack Wilson’s contract and give you two top prospects, there’s absolutely no reason for Wilson to still be wearing black and gold.
None.
While this report is a step up from the pessimistic guess I took yesterday—at Pittsburgh Lumber Co., I tried to figure out which unnamed prospects might’ve been heading the Pirates’ way—it’s still not very consoling.
If Littlefield wasn’t willing to accept a package of Trahern or Jurrjens and Brent Clevlen Tuesday, I have no faith that he’ll do the right thing and make a move now.

Nevertheless, unlike Virgil Vasquez, Jordan Tata and Eulogio de la Cruz, three righties that I’d guessed might be on the Pirates’ radar, neither Trahern nor Jurrjens is on the Tigers’ 40-man roster—and as such, they’d still be eligible to be moved in a deal in the waiver-trading period.
Consider it a chance at redemption, if you will.
Let’s take a peak at who might be on the move to Pittsburgh’s affiliates should Littlefield manage to consummate a trade with the Tigers:

  • Dallas Trahern, 21, is a right-handed starting pitcher who just made the jump to Triple-A Toldeo. Selected in the 34th round of the 2004 draft, Trahern has developed surprisingly well, pitching in the Gulf Coast League in the second half of ’04, A-ball in ’05, advanced Single-A in 2006 and now Double-A and Triple-A in 2007. His strikeout to walk ratio is a solid two to one, and he’s posted sub-4.00 ERAs every step of the way. He’s a ground ball pitcher that, in a year or two, would be an attractive rotation candidate.
  • Jair Jurrjens, 21, was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003. Like Trahern, his progression through the Tigers’ organization has been smooth, never repeating a level until this season. At Double-A Erie, Jurrjens has a 3.32 ERA through 105.2 innings—perhaps signaling that he’s ready for a new challenge. He’s ranked fourth among Tigers prospects by Baseball America behind Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin—two of the best young players in the game—and Brent Clevlen.

Clevlen, an attractive option as a toolsy, young outfielder, likely wouldn’t clear waivers and therefore shouldn’t be eligible to be moved in the deal as noted. The Tigers do have other bats, though, who might catch a Pirate scout’s eye:

  • Gorkys Hernandez, a 19-year-old outfielder who?s incredibly far away from the majors (but still possesses an interesting level of talent).
  • Jeff Larish, a 24-year-old left-handed hitting first baseman built in the Adam Dunn mold?moderate batting average, high on-base percentage, oodles of power. With LaRoche, Pearce, Delaney and Eldred in the system, you have to wonder where Larish would fit in. (I?m not really a fan of making a trade that necessitates making another trade.)
  • Tony Giarratano, a utility-type who technically isn?t on the 40-man roster after being placed on the 60-day disabled list. Giarratano wouldn?t get me too excited, but given Littlefield?s penchant for light-hitting infielders, he seems to be a likely target.

If Littlefield would budge a bit and accept minor-league players in this deal (rather than Monroe), he’d give the organization a shot in the arm it desperately needs. Not only would he be adding talented youth to a system devoid of true prospects, he’d be ridding himself of a portion of Jack Wilson’s backbreaking contract—a win in and of itself.
We’ll see what happens over the course of the next few days, I suppose, and hold off on critiquing our general manager until he pulls the trigger—something that’s bound to happen, for better or worse.

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Tejera Shines as Indians Top Braves

boxscore photos by NancyZ
Indianapolis Indians’ pitcher Michael Tejera earned his third straight win, as the Indians held off the Richmond Braves and squelched the Braves late inning rallies, to beat the Braves 4-3 at The Diamond in Richmond, Virginia. The win gave the Indians their first back-to-back road victories in about 2.5 months. Middle infielders Brian Bixler and Don Kelly led the Tribe’s offense, with Bixler hitting two doubles and knocking in two runs, and Kelly reaching base in 4 of 5 at-bats, with a double and three walks. In an interview after the game, Bixler had praise for his teammates:
?Don (Kelly) did a great job reaching base four times tonight. He really sparked us at the top of the order….Bret (Prinz) did a great job tonight. He was aggressive in the strike zone, and that?s what you need from your bullpen guys.
?It feels good to win back-to-back games on the road. We got out to an early lead tonight, and played well enough down the stretch to hang on for the victory.?
Brian Bixler -- photo by NancyZ
Braves’ starter Moises Hernandez, in his first AAA-level start, allowed a baserunner in each of the first two innings. 2B Brian Bixler (photo) walked in the 1st inning, reached second base on a balk, and reached third base when Hernandez’s pick off throw went wild for an error. Bixler was left standing on third when the inning ended. In the next inning, the Tribe’s 3B Jose Hernandez grounded to shortstop, and when Braves’ SS Brent Lillibridge’s throw went sailing into the Braves’ dugout, Hernandez went to second base. He was also left stranded on base at the end of the inning.
The Indians got onto the scoreboard first, in the top of the 3rd inning. With one out, SS Don Kelly and 2B Brian Bixler hit back-to-back doubles, and Kelly scored on Bixler’s RBI, to put the Tribe up 1-0.

Don Kelly -- photo by NancyZ
A rally in the 5th put more runs on the board for the Tribe. With two out, Don Kelly (photo) walked, and he scored when Brian Bixler doubled. Consecutive walks to LF Michael Ryan and 1B Steve Pearce loaded the bases, and sent Moises Hernandez to the showers. Reliever Zach Schreiber entered the game in relief. Jose Hernandez greeted Schreiber with a single to left field, scoring both Bixler and Ryan. Richmond’s LF Brandon Jones threw the ball into the infield, but instead of going to a cut-off man, the throw went wild and flew all the way to the backstop. Jose Hernandez advanced to second base and Pearce advanced to third base on the throw, but remained there as the inning ended, with the score 4-0 in favor of the Indians.
Lefty Michael Tejera started the game for the Indians. In the first four innings, he scattered two lone hits and a walk. The Braves got to Tejera in the 5th inning, putting one run across when 1B Barbaro Canizares tripled and scored on 3B Wes Timmons’ sacrifice fly. Tejera came right back in the 6th inning, setting down the side in order.
Michael  Ryan -- photo by NancyZ
Tejera was chased from the game in the 7th inning. With one out, C Brayan Pena smashed a fly ball off the top of the center field wall that bounced behind CF Luis Matos for a triple. RF Dave Clark walked, and that was the end of Tejera’s evening. Reliever Bret Prinz, in his third appearance for the Indians, took over for Tejera. The first batter he faced, Barbaro Canizares, hit a sacrifice fly to score Pena from third base. Clark stole second base, and then scored when Wes Timmons singled to left field. Tribe LF Michael Ryan’s (photo) throw into the infield caught Timmons off base, and a brief run-down, Ryan to 3B Jose Hernandez to 1B Steve Pearce, retired Timmons to end the inning. The score: Tribe still ahead, 4-3.
The Tribe threatened in the top of the 7th inning, courtesy of the Braves’ second reliever, Royce Ring. Ring walked lead-off batter Don Kelly, and then struck out Brian Bixler. Kelly stole second base, and then Ring struck out Michael Ryan. Ring hit Steve Pearce with a pitch, and then Kelly and Pearce pulled off a double steal, moving to third and second bases. But Ring got his third strikeout of the inning, setting down Jose Hernandez to end the inning.
Franquelis Osoria  --photo by NancyZ
Bret Prinz got into some trouble in the bottom of the 8th inning. He had struck out pinch hitter Jon Schuerholz to start the inning. Brent Lillibridge singled, and then stole second base — his 21st stolen base of the season. An intentional walk to CF Pete Orr put the go-ahead run on base with one out, and the league’s second-best hitter, Martin Prado, at the plate. Prinz got Prado to pop up, with the infield fly rule in effect, for the second out. Then with the count full on Brandon Jones, Prinz got Jones to swing at a pitch that came in around Jones’s ankles for the inning-ending strikeout.
Joey Devine came in to pitch the top of the 9th for the Braves. He gave up a walk to Don Kelly, but retired the rest of the side. Franquelis Osoria (photo) pitched the 9th for the Indians. He gave up a walk to Doug Clark and hit Wes Timmons with a pitch, but he also retired the rest of the side without a run scoring.
Michael Tejera earned his 6th win, and Franquelis Osoria earned his 11th save. Tejera threw 6.1 innings, and gave up 3 runs, all earned, on only 4 hits and 2 walks, with 5 strikeouts. Bret Prinz gave up 2 hits and a walk in 1.2 innings. Starter Moises Hernandez took the loss for the Braves, giving up 4 runs, all earned, on 3 hits and 4 walks in 4.2 innings.
Indians’ hitting gems of the game: Brian Bixler, taking at turn at second base instead of his usual shortstop today, had two doubles and two RBI.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: In the 7th inning, with two outs and a base runner on second base, Wes Timmons singled into left field. That brought in the run from second base, moving the Braves within one run of the Indians. Michael Ryan fielded Timmons’s single, and threw in to the infield, catching Timmons in a run-down for the third out. That ended what could have turned into a big rally, and preserved the lead for the Indians.
NOTES:
One Matt coming, one Matt going: Matt Kata has been designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates, to make room on the roster for pitcher Matt Morris, who was obtained in a trade on Tuesday.
The Pirates signed former Indy Indian (2004) OF Peter Bergeron to a minor league contract, and assigned him to Altoona. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bergeron played in the Baltimore Orioles’ system (AA Bowie) in 2005, hitting .296 in 91 games, with 5 HR, 33 RBI, and 13 stolen bases. In 2006, he played in the Phillies’ system, splitting the season between AA Reading and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In 90 games with Reading, he hit .266 with 7 HR and 34 RBI; in 34 games at S/W-B, he hit .202, with 2 HR and 9 RBI.
Go Tribe!

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Game #106 vs. St. Louis

PNC Park | 12:35 | Youman vs. Anthony Reyes | Box Tough to argue with this one. Shane Youman did what he’s done all year – pitch well enough to keep the team in the game, giving up three runs in five innings. The Bucs offense came back, with help from Ronny Paulino’s second homer in as many games. Jack Wilson also had another RBI. The game winning blow was a two out single from Jose Castillo in the bottom of the...

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Vasquez, Clevlen for Wilson was in the Works?

Complete speculation on my part, but it’s an educated guess based on these disappointing words Dejan Kovacevic printed in Thursday’s Post-Gazette: How close was [a Jack Wilson to the Tigers] deal to being done? One source intimately familiar with the matter said that a deal was virtually done Tuesday and that the Pirates would receive two of Detroit’s top six prospects, including an unnamed pitcher ready to join the...

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