P3 Episode 13: What Are the Needs For the Pirates as the Deadline Nears?

Pirates Prospects PodcastEpisode 13 of The Pirates Prospects Podcast can be downloaded or streamed below. This episode includes analysis from Tom Bragg (@TomBraggSports), James Santelli (@JamesSantelli) and myself (@timwilliamsP2) on the Pirates. Highlights of the show include:

**With Jose Tabata returning with a hot bat, we ask whether the Pirates need to trade for a right fielder. One factor that could impact the decision is that right field has been the most productive offensive position across the league, and the Pirates haven’t been getting consistent offense this year.

**The bench has also been an issue. We talk about building from the top down by upgrading the lineup and moving a good player to the bench. The Pirates also don’t have a big threat off the bench. Could that be Garrett Jones if the team upgrades at first base?

**I talked about platoons this week, looking at the spots that need them and the value of those platoons. We discuss the strategy of platoons for the Pirates bench.

**The bench talk got into the topic of Brandon Inge and how he’s the weakest link on the team.

**Most of the upgrade talk has been focused on hitting, but the Pirates have been winning because of their pitching. Should the Pirates be focused on adding a starting pitcher? They might not need a top starter for the rest of the season, but a top starter could help them in the playoffs. The Pirates have an 86% chance of making the post-season based on the recent projections.

**The Pirates have had a great bullpen this year. James argues the Pirates should add a strong reliever to add to the Jason Grilli/Mark Melancon/Justin Wilson group. I don’t like the idea of paying for relievers. The Pirates have had success going with low-cost upgrades, which is an approach I think they should continue. So we debate, and that leads to the idea that Gerrit Cole could be a dominant reliever in the playoffs.

**Music: ‘Let’s Get it Started’ by Oh No Not Stereo. Courtesy of BeatPick.com

Click here to download the show (right-click and “Save Link As”) or stream it below.


‘Let’s Get it Started’ by Oh No Not Stereo. Courtesy of BeatPick.com

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Tabata’s average is okay, but still doesn’t hit for much power – maybe that is the best the Pirates can do this year in RF. But longer term, they need more power and RBI production from that position – as well as at first base.

Unless we can land a young stud for RF – like Stanton for example – who, I think would cost too much in players and salary to justify getting him – I would try a platoon of Tabata and Lambo and see how that works out. Snider is never going to be more than what he is – he’s had plenty of opportunities to show if he is more than a spare part.

I am not a Morton fan – so if we can land another pitcher who would be an improvement over him and therefore replace him, I would be all for it. Addition by subtraction in my mind.

I do think we need another dependable arm in the bullpen. I don’t know if Mazzaro is going to be consistent enough, and I am not a fan of Hughes. Now, Vic Black could be that guy – I would like to see him and Lambo be given shots in the second half of the season – they have both earned it.

Bottom line, I still think this team is 1-2 years away from its peak – so, I don’t see a player out there (who is likely available) that is going to be the difference maker in winning a championship. Therefore, I would not want to see any of our top prospects be traded for short term players or rentals, who may not be much better than what we have.

How about that De Aza guy from the White Sox? Much younger and much cheaper than Rios, but his stats are almost identical as Rios. Is he a good outfielder with a strong enough arm for RF?

Maybe a player to replace Inge – someone who could play multiple positions, but can actually hit. Another arm for the bullpen – long or short man. And, if they can get a RF with power – and not trade away the farm – that may be worthwhile – someone like Byrd or this De Aza guy. Pence and Rios will both cost too much.


I think when Wandy comes back that will be like the replacement for Charlie Morton. Or if Charlie earns his place in the rotation I am a fan of sending Cole back down to increase depth. I don’t think we need to trade for a pitcher.
This is going to be very unpopular but I think Pence is not out of our price range. I would look into trading Polanco for a guy like that. We do not have a need for another center fielder in the near future but we do need a power hitting right fielder in the present. Worth it to me.


In no way do I consider trading Polanco for anyone. To me, he is more untouchable than Taillon. Polanco is your RF of the future. Plus tools all across the board and will hit for power. He will be up by mid-June of next year. I am not giving Polanco up for anything less than Stanton, and even then, I would have to think long and hard about that before I did.


If I am the GM, Polanco is untouchable unless it is for Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, or Troy Tulowitski!

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