First Pitch: Is Correia in the Rotation a Bluff?

In Kristy Robinson’s notebook tonight, the starting rotation was laid out for the next week. The order is as follows.

With Karstens starting tomorrow, the rotation will all be pushed back one day. Right-hander Brad Lincoln will be moved into the bullpen. The series in Philly is as scheduled: Erik Bedard Tuesday, James McDonald Wednesday, A.J. Burnett Thursday.  Kevin Correia is scheduled to start Friday’s opener with St. Louis. Hurdle said after the game they would not move forward with a six man rotation.

The key thing there is that Kevin Correia is in the rotation, and Brad Lincoln is back to the bullpen. This comes after Lincoln put up an impressive start on Saturday, and Correia put up a start that wasn’t overly impressive on Sunday.

Part of me can see this as being legit. The Pirates have ignored the advanced metrics and have stuck with Correia all year, even with Lincoln pitching well in the bullpen, and Rudy Owens and Jeff Locke pitching well in Triple-A. So why would it change now?

That said, I can’t help but wonder if this is a bluff. We heard over the weekend that Kevin Correia is on the trade block. Correia doesn’t have much trade value, although that’s not to say that another team wouldn’t deal for him. If the Pirates could get a team to take his remaining salary, and give up a marginal prospect, that would be a reasonable return. But that’s going to be a hard sell for the Pirates in their current situation.

Right now it looks like they need to deal Correia. They’ve got a lot of options, and he clearly isn’t the best one. They could move him to the bullpen, although they’re crowded there. Get too desperate to make a move, and there’s a good chance you don’t get proper value on the move.

So what do you do to maintain Correia’s value? Put him in the rotation. Make it look like he’s one of your top five options, rather than the guy you’d rather move out of the rotation. It would be very easy to swap him out and put Lincoln back in at the last minute. And I just can’t see the Pirates giving Lincoln chance after chance, and talking about the importance of giving him more chances, only to pull him after his outing on Saturday.

So I’m not buying Correia in the rotation. I could very well be wrong on this. They’ve gone with Correia over Lincoln before. But this time I hope they avoid Correia’s dangerous advanced metrics and use the start to see if Brad Lincoln can carry over his success from Saturday.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates lost 3-2 to the Tigers.

**Pirates Notebook: Rotation Still Has Questions; Moves on Horizon.

**Prospect Watch: Grossman On a Hot Streak Since Suspension.

**Prospect Notebook: Changing the Fastball Academy.

**Bryan Morris Promoted; Drew Sutton Claimed off Waivers.

**Matt Hague Trying to Stay Sharp in Bench Role.


  • Obviously, all options look better than Karstens right now.

  • I sure hope you’re right Tim, gotta see what we have in Lincoln and the AAA guys. It would be nice to know if we have internal solutions prior to July 31st. Bedard and Correia could be expendable.

  • I was kinda wondering if they were trying to bluff a little also…Brad has pitched two good starts this year and three not so impressive but seemed to figure out something this past time out. I don’t see why they say over and over lets see what Brad can do and when he shows you a strong outing you yank him. KC has played over his head again this year so I hope they are doing like you said and are hoping another team needs/wants him. Hey Tim what teams are hurting for SP right now with a few injuries poping up that may be a fit for a 5th starter?

    • Tim may very well be right, and I tend to think so, but this may not be about KC at all. Karstens is from that area and a test start or two may be a precussor to trade with the Padres.