Effect of the Deadline on the 2008 Pirate Roster

If only for the sake of quick reference, I figured I’d put together a where-we-stand chart for the Pirates’ roster as of the beginning of August. The left columns represent the 25-man roster (and corresponding salaries) of the Pittsburgh Pirates as of Opening Day 2007. The right columns represent my best guess as to what the roster will look like as of April 2008. I’ve made a handful of assumptions: Jack Wilson will...

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Indians Split the Series With Richmond

Boxscore (Photos by NancyZ)
Steve Pearce -- photo by  NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians managed only 5 hits against Richmond Braves’ pitching tonight, though two of those hits were solo home runs, by Adam Boeve and Luis Ordaz. The Braves put up 16 hits, 5 doubles and 11 singles to score 9 runs, as Marty McLeary took his 4th loss of the season at The Diamond in Richmond, Virginia. The final score was 9-2. It was the last meeting of the Indians and the Braves for the 2007 season
The Braves got things started right away against Tribe starter Marty McLeary, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning. After two quick outs, LF Brandon Jones reached first base safely on a grounder toward the right side of the infield. Tribe 2B Luis Ordaz waved off 1B Steve Pearce (photo), and Ordaz was able to field the ball and throw to McLeary covering first base, but the throw was not in time, and Jones had a single. RF Doug Clark followed with a walk, and 1B Barbaro Canizares knocked both baserunners in with a line drive double into center field. Canizares went to third when SS Brent Lillibridge singled, but both were left on base when McLeary induced 3B Wes Timmons to fly out to end the inning.
Adam Boeve -- photo by NancyZ
The Braves’ scheduled starting pitcher, Lance Cormier, was called up to the parent Atlanta Braves today, and the Braves had to turn to right hander Jeff Bennett to make a spot start. It was Bennett’s third start of the season for the Braves. He pitched 5 innings for the Braves, giving up only three hits — a single to 2B Luis Ordaz in the 5th inning, a double to SS Brian Bixler in the 4th inning, and a solo home run to RF Adam Boeve (photo) in the second inning. He also walked one (Bixler) and struck out three Indians.
The bottom of the 5th inning brought a rally for the Braves. Marty McLeary started off by striking out Brandon Jones, but then walked Doug Clark, who promptly stole second base. Barbaro Canizares singled, moving Clark to third base. SS Brent Lillibridge doubled, bringing in Clark, and Wes Timmons was intentionally walked to load the bases, in hopes of a double play. But C Iker Franco didn’t cooperate with the Indians’ plans — instead he singled into left field, scoring Canizares and Lillibridge. That was all for McLeary, and Josh Sharpless entered the game in relief. Sharpless got pinch hitter Dan Smith to strike out, and then got CF Pete Orr to ground into a force out. The Braves had the lead, 5-1, a lead they would not give up.

Brian Rogers  -- photo by NancyZ
The Braves added two more insurance runs in the 6th inning. Brandon Jones walked, stole second, and advanced to third base on Josh Sharpless’s wild pitch. With two out, Barbaro Canizares got his 4th hit of the game, a line drive double into left field, scoring Jones. Canizares scored on Brent Lillibridge’s third hit of the game. When Wes Timmons also singled, Sharpless was lifted in favor of reliever Brian Rogers. Rogers (photo) threw three pitches, getting Iker Franco to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning, with the score standing at 7-1.
Richmond struck again in the 8th inning for two more runs. Reliever Jesse Chavez came in to take over for Brian Rogers, who had allowed one hit in 1.1 scoreless innings. With one out, Barbaro Canizares doubled for his 5th hit of the game, and Brent Lillibridge doubled for his 4th hit of the game, scoring Canizares. A wild pitch by Chavez moved Lillibridge to third base, and Wes Timmons pushed Lillibridge across the plate with a single.
Luis Ordaz -- photo by NancyZ
Ryan Basner pitched the final 4 innings for Richmond. Like Jeff Bennett, Basner also gave up a solo home run, this one to Luis Ordaz (photo) in the 8th inning. Adam Boeve had the only other hit off Basner, a single in the 7th inning. Basner also struck out three Tribe batters. Bennett earned the win, his first with the Braves. Basner earned his first save for the Braves.
Indians’ hitting gems of the game: Home runs by Adam Boeve (his 4th with the Indians and 18th overall for the season), and Luis Ordaz (his 2nd of the season).
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: A double play in the 3rd inning. With Brandon Jones on first base, Doug Clark grounded to 2B Luis Ordaz, who relayed to SS Brian Bixler, who in turn threw to 1B Steve Pearce (4-6-3).
NOTES:
An unusual occurrence: Brian Bixler was thrown out trying to steal second base in the first inning. It was only the 4th time Bixler has been thrown out in 24 attempts.
Marty McLeary’s last win occurred on June 4th — that’s 11 starts since his last win.
Go Tribe!

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Game #107 vs. Cincinnati

PNC Park | 7:05 | Snell vs. Matt Belisle | Box There are a lot of things in life I don’t get. Matt Belisle’s mastery of the Pirates this year is one of them. He has six wins total and three of them have come against the Pirates. To quote stand up comics imitating Harry Caray, “I just can’t figure it out.” Somebody smarter than me or who has video access to Ian Snell’s starts or who has some...

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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:

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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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