After it was announced that Starling Marte would be promoted tomorrow, I started getting the following question on Twitter: Do you think the Pirates will make any more moves now that Starling Marte is up?
My answer: yes. My reasoning: look at the pitching.
The pitching staff has been strong this year. Not only has it been strong, but it has depth. Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, and previously Rudy Owens were tearing it up in Triple-A. Yet the Pirates didn’t seem comfortable going to them, other than as spot start or emergency options. They went out and acquired Wandy Rodriguez, trading three top prospects away. Rodriguez upgrades the rotation, but upgrading the rotation wasn’t a big need. The glaring weakness was Kevin Correia (who has been legitimately pitching well the last few starts since the All-Star break), and he could have been upgraded by one of the three Indianapolis left-handers.
To sum it up, pitching wasn’t a big need, and the Pirates had plenty of options in Triple-A, yet they traded for outside help.
Now let’s look at the offense. It’s almost the exact opposite of the pitching situation. The offense is a need. There aren’t plenty of options in Triple-A. Even when you bring Starling Marte up to cover one of the corner outfield spots, you’ve got a second spot that has been covered by guys like Drew Sutton and Josh Harrison, who are better suited for the bench. And there’s no one else to join Marte from Triple-A. So either Marte is the entire answer for the offense, or he’s just part of the solution.
I can’t see him being their answer. If they weren’t comfortable going with a rookie pitcher to solve their minor weakness in a good pitching staff, why would the Pirates be comfortable going with a rookie hitter to solve a much bigger hole: the offense?
I don’t think the Pirates are done at all. They wouldn’t have scouted every potentially available hitter on the market just to call up Starling Marte five days before the deadline, trade for a pitcher, and avoid adding a hitter. We know Neal Huntington has been one of the most active GMs on the trade market. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more deals in the next five days, with one more offensive piece coming in to join Marte in upgrading the roster.
Links and Notes
**The Pirates beat the Cubs 3-2 today.
**Pirates Notebook: Correia Could Be the Odd Man Out of the Rotation.
**Prospect Watch: Cole and Taillon Struggle, Holmes Continues to Dominate.
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.