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Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Ideal Off-Season

Yesterday I ran a poll asking for you to vote on your ideal off-season at the four big areas of need: catcher, first base, shortstop, and starting pitcher.  The vote was meant to look at realistic options that are available to the Pittsburgh Pirates, rather than some of the options they have no shot at landing, such as Albert Pujols or Jose Reyes.

My ideal additions for each position would be Ramon Hernandez, Derrek Lee, Clint Barmes, and Chris Capuano.  The voters agreed with me in all four positions.

Chris Capuano saw the most votes in the starting pitching poll, narrowly edging out Rich Harden.  Capuano finished with 17.4% of the vote, while Harden finished with 17.11% of the vote.  The next best option was a trade, which received 12.39% of the vote, followed by Erik Bedard with 12.09% of the vote.  Paul Maholm came in fifth with 11.5% of the votes.

Clint Barmes had a much bigger lead in winning the shortstop poll.  Barmes took 32.65% of the votes, a big lead over the second place vote getter, Alex Gonzalez, who saw 14.29% of the votes.  Rafael Furcal was the only other free agent in the top five, finishing third with 12.54%.  The next choice was an internal option, with 11.95% of the voters wanting to go with an option like Pedro Ciriaco or Chase d’Arnaud.  In fifth place was a trade, with 9.04% of the voters saying this was their ideal choice for the off-season.  Ronny Cedeno finished with 5.83% of the votes, good enough for sixth.

The catching position had another clear winner.  Ramon Hernandez dominated the vote with 45.51%.  Ryan Doumit came in second with 12.08% of the vote.  9.27% of voters wanted an internal option, while 8.99% of voters picked my number two choice, Rod Barajas.  Rounding out the top five was a trade, with 6.18% of the votes.  Chris Snyder finished sixth with 5.06% of the votes.

The biggest winner was Derrek Lee, who took 47.71% of the votes in the first base poll.  Lee was followed by Carlos Pena at 19.71%, and Michael Cuddyer at 14.57%.  After that the top five was rounded out with 7.14% of people wanting an internal option, presumably looking at Matt Hague, and 5.14% of people wanting a trade.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.


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Barmes will be 33 at the beginning of next season.  Hernandez will turn 36 during the season , and Lee will be 37. 
Barmes had a career season last year (WAR 1.0 above previous high)
Hernandez will cost the Pirates a 2nd round pick
Lee was terrible last year until his audition in September

Adding a veteran for leadership makes sense, but the team shouldn’t give up a draft pick or rely on past their prime veterans to try and improve.  For this to be a good off-season I think the Pirates need to trade for at least one good young player.  For this to be an ideal offseason they need to acquire two or more young talented players.  The team has an all-star closer, depth at outfield and pitcher, and a significant amount of available payroll.  If the Pirates are willing to take back a bad contract and/or move Hanrahan and prospects they could do better than B,H&L. 

I would rather see Meek closing if it means that Yonder Alonso or Logan Morrison are in the lineup.  I’m ok with the team paying Bronson Arroyo, Ricky Nolasco, or Chone Figgins way too much for a season or two in order to get a young player (Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cosart, Justin Smoak) that will still be contributing when Cole and Taillon join the rotation. These are the kinds of moves that would take place in my ideal off season, not picking through a list of aging second tier veterans.   


I think they will make some sort of trade for SP, C, or SS. @facebook-1509972823:disqus 
outside of Pujols, Reyes, Fielder, Rollins, and maybe CJ Wilson(who I think will be way ovevalued and overpaid) the rest of the FAs are mediocre. If they can save some $ to put towards extensions or international players and get even a slight upgrade I think thats a huge win. I still think they will make a play for Edwin Jackson and kick the tires on Buerhle(big $ teams seem to be very interested though), Bedard, Harden, and most other guys slightly below that level.

Every year there’s 2 or 3 guys worth the big $ then 2 or 3 that arent but will get it because theres rarely much out there(see  Werth). The rest are all mediocre. Theyre either older guys with a few good years left(Lee and the like) or overpriced guys with a major flaw(Pena-Ks,avg). If they were that good teams would do what they could to get extensions done before they hit FA.

The Pirates could probably affrord Pujols or Fielder and for the first 3 years $25-$28mill it would cost would probably be worth it. Problem is they don’t want a 3 yr 90mill deal they want a 6-8 yr deal averaging 23-27mill per. Having a virtually untradeable unaffordable contract in years 4 and beyond is something the Pirates could never afford to do. Even the Yankees will be hurting from A Rods terrible contract or the bad deals the Cubs strapped themselves with year after year,(see Soriano,Zambrano,etc.).


28 mil left how it breaks down- karstens 3mil, a-cutch 3mil, and hanrahan 3 mil , meek 1 mil,  morton 1.6 mil , grilli 1.25mil, veras 1.25mil, d’arnaud, mckenry, harrison, alex presley,  moskos, twats, leroux, d-cutch , matt hague 9 guys at 440k, james mcdonald and neil walker at 500k

w.l chen 
james mcdonald
Leroux (until morton gets back)


hanrahan (closer)
Grilli -Veras- set up
leroux (when morton comes back)

1. alex presley rf
2. jose tabata lf
3. a-cutch cf
4. D-lee 1b
5. ramon hernandez c
6. neil walker 2b
7. pedro alvarez 3b
8. ss- ??

bench- matt hague, d’arnaud, josh harrison, mckenry, ??, ??

43 mil spent- 9 mil left on 3 players. Barmes ( i wouldnt spend a penny over 4 mil for)


3 roster spots i put together with 9 mil left is there for extra bodies the pirates will need if you spend 4 mil on barmes then i would still look around for some aaa fillers for depth with the remainder of the 5 mil

Terry Gray

  Ideal. I realize that we were to speculate on realistic options, but it’s a sad day when mediocre has become our ideal. I hoped that when all the mediocre players were let go they would be replaced with players that would make the team markedly better. Have we become so numb to the loosing that the best we can hope for is to replace a bunch of replacement level players with a bunch of replacement level players.
   I can’t believe the hole sky is falling panic over the last week. These guys whose options weren’t picked up are the same guys we have been bitching about for years. Oh my God what are we going to do without Ronny Cedeno. I’ll tell what they should do, field a better SS. And the best we can reasonably speculate on is Clint Barmis.
  Finally Paul Maholm is out of the rotation, now we can fill that spot Chris Capuano. With all this money that is now available the best we can speculate on is clones of these guys at better values. I thought the payroll was going to go up.
   We don’t need to worry  about only getting only 80 games out of C anymore. Let’s replace him with Ramon Hernandez, and give up a second round pick in the process. Maybe we can sign him for two years and expect a draft pick when he becomes a free agent again at 40.
  Boy that 1B platoon idea last year wound up turning out lousy. Who can we find to platoon with AFJ this year? How many k’s do you think he and Pena can rack up combined? Or maybe, just maybe, Derrek Lee is looking for one more payday before he heads off for the home.
  Come on people, just because we have been fed a bunch of crap for the last two decades shouldn’t mean we should start looking forward to a bunch of peanuts and corn.


Ideal offseason – Wada – 2 yrs 8mil, Wei-Yin Chen 3yrs 18mil, Ramon Hernandez 2yrs 11 mil, D-lee – 1yr 6mil, ss- ?? . Trade Correia to kc for 2 mil in cash and player. Add to the books 19.5 mil + pedro 2.2 mil, tabata 917k, and 2 mil left over from correia = 24.67mil have 27.33 mil to fill out the 52 mil payroll expectation


20 something million on the open market should be much better than 20 something million of cedeno, maholm, doumit, and snyder.  They just have to spend it wisely.  Hernandez, Lee, Capuano, and Barmes could probably be had for around 20 and be at least as collectively good as the four that left.  Will be interesting to see if / what they spend.     Plus, I’d really like to see Bedard pitch for the Buccos…


None of the options that were picked high on the list would break the bank, I have to believe they still have enough money to fix the pen and get a decent starter.


I never realized what a good fielder Barmes was, can’t hit worse than Ronny. 

Ian Rothermund

I don’t think, in the long run, that Ronnie was all that poor of an offensive producer this past season.  Obviously, not great, but considering the defensive production, and relative reliability unmatched so far in his career, I think his batting average and OPS were completely acceptable, relatively.  What made him seem more disappointing was that the rest of the offense was so mediocre that we couldn’t just hide him in the lineup, we actually needed to expect something from him.  On any other team, he’d be hitting in the 7 or 8 hole and any hit he had would be considered a bonus as long as he kept playing defense. 

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