First Pitch: What Do Today’s Moves Mean For the Rest of the Pirates Off-Season?

The Pittsburgh Pirates made several moves today, adding four players to the 40-man roster, claiming Pedro Florimon from the Washington Nationals, and still not confirming the Radhames Liz deal, even though everyone else is saying it’s a done deal. Here is a rundown from the busy day.

The Rule 5 Additions

I profiled the Rule 5 additions here, and looked at the guys who are eligible here. I’m not going to go into detail on either subject, and will let the links speak for themselves.

I will point out one big misconception about today’s deadline. This isn’t about protecting every single prospect, and no one is lost because of today’s moves. The purpose here is to protect players who are at risk of being drafted by another team, and protected all year. That’s very rare, even if it did happen to the Pirates last year with Wei-Chung Wang. In fact, last year at this time, the talk was about how Zack Thornton was a near guarantee to be taken in the 2013 Rule 5 draft. He wasn’t. In the “eligible” link above, I talked about the guys who stand the biggest risk of being taken this year.

The Roster is “Set”

Each team “set” their roster today, which implies that these rosters are final. They aren’t. Last year the Pirates removed five players from the 40-man roster in the month following the Rule 5 protection deadline. That was during a slow off-season. The first two moves came five days after the rosters were set. The year before that, which was a busier off-season, they removed five players in the first ten days following the deadline.

Looking at the current roster, I can easily find players who could be removed for future free agent signings, waiver claims, or any other move that brings in new players and bumps someone off the roster. Chaz Roe, Jake Elmore, Preston Guilmet, and Pedro Florimon are four quick examples. And those examples represent a trend this off-season, which explains why the Pirates have so many of these guys on their 40-man.

And once that Radhames Liz deal becomes finalized, expect one of these guys to get the bump.

The Bench and Bullpen Needs

If you’ve been paying attention to the moves so far this off-season, you’d notice two trends. The Pirates have been loading up on infield bench and bullpen options. Some of that started towards the end of the season. Here are the players acquired for each category.

Relievers: Chaz Roe, Rob Scahill, Preston Guilmet, Collin Balester, Jeremy Bleich, Deolis Guerra, Brad Lincoln, Blake Wood, Radhames Liz (eventually)

Bench: Pedro Florimon, Justin Sellers, Jake Elmore, Gustavo Nunez

None of these guys are guarantees for a major league roster. Their upsides are mostly middle relievers or bench players. Most of them will spend the season in Triple-A, only getting the call when an injury occurs. But none of that really matters, because all of these guys are cheap. With the exception of Rob Scahill (who cost Shane Carle in a trade, and Carle profiled as a guy who might have a shot as a fifth starter, but probably a middle reliever), none of these guys cost anything important.

Even the reported $1.5 M a year for Radhames Liz isn’t significant, especially when you consider the track record the Pirates have with finding hidden pitching gems. At this point, if you’re complaining about any pitcher the Pirates have added, then you’re ignoring Francisco Liriano, Edinson Volquez, Vance Worley, Charlie Morton, Mark Melancon, Jeanmar Gomez, John Holdzkom, A.J. Burnett, Vin Mazzaro, and Jason Grilli. I’d go on, but I’m only listing guys who had good seasons in the last two years, and were either reclamation projects, hidden gems, or both.

As for the middle infielders, the Pirates have prioritized defense with all of the above guys, including today’s waiver claim, Florimon. By now we should know that the Pirates prioritize defense for their backup middle infielder, especially at shortstop. They did this the last two years, and that didn’t stop them from making the playoffs the last two years. The common argument against these moves is that they aren’t finding someone who can hit while putting up good defense. Those players exist. They’re called starters. The Pirates have one of those guys. They aren’t available on waivers or as minor league free agents. They aren’t found on the benches of every other team. The position is so thin that when it comes to a backup, you choose one or the other. The Pirates choose defense.

The Rest of the Off-Season

On Friday, November 21st, we reach the one week anniversary of the A.J. Burnett signing. I bring that up as a reminder that:

1. It’s still November.

2. The Pirates have actually done more than just add minor league free agents and waiver claims this off-season.

Are the Pirates doing nothing so far? See last week. Is Burnett enough? No. Is it too early to assume the Pirates are done? Yes.

Maybe it’s the lack of rumors that suggest the Pirates aren’t doing anything. Never mind that there were zero rumors about Burnett until the moment the deal was done. It was the same thing with Francisco Liriano back when he was signed. There was about a day’s notice when Russell Martin was signed. The Pirates don’t like information getting out there until a deal is finalized, which is why they won’t confirm the Liz deal. But it’s easy to read between the lines here and see what is going on.

The Pirates are looking at pitching. Neal Huntington has said as much when he talked about how they were trying to bring back Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez, but might have a difficult time bringing both back after the addition of Burnett. The pitching market is stalled right now, and will be stalled until the top tier establish the market. After guys like Jon Lester and Max Scherzer sign, we’ll start seeing guys like Liriano and Brandon McCarthy on the move. Again, it’s November 21st. There’s still three weeks until the Winter Meetings. So don’t expect the Pirates to be doing anything on the starting pitching market until that market gets going.

After designating Ike Davis for assignment, the projected payroll is at $71.5 M. The Pirates were already trying to give a big contract to Russell Martin, along with pursuing another pitcher. They have plenty of money to get at least one more starting pitcher, and they can spend money on an established guy this time, rather than rolling the dice on another reclamation project.

And expect more fliers on bullpen arms and infield bench options. A lot more. These moves don’t hurt anything, and they don’t prevent the Pirates from making moves that could provide a big impact to the team.

So what if this is all the Pirates do this off-season, and they don’t add the pitching they need? That’s a question best answered three months from now, when we get to see if that scenario actually played out.

Links and Notes

**Pre-Order the 2015 Prospect Guide

**Pirates Prospects Who Are Eligible For the 2014 Rule 5 Draft

**Pirates Add Four to the 40-Man Roster, DFA Ike Davis

**Pirates Claim Pedro Florimon From the Nationals

**Radhames Liz’s Winter League Team Announces His Deal With the Pirates

**Winter Leagues: Two Pirates Players Make Their Winter Debut

First Pitch

  • Another thread ruined by this Marty clown!! You guys should stop responding to this clown, maybe he will go away!! Hopefully he will go away!!

  • YAWN. Another post and conversation about the Pirates offseason and the winter meetings haven’t even happened yet. Complaining about AAA depth signings just reaks of desparation… we get it, some think the Pirates are the only team that signs players like these… some think that NH is a complete idiot… and no facts will ever get in the way of a good uneducated troll diatribe. Tim is spot on… AJ and Cervelli are solid moves early this offseason…and it’s pretty clear (to all but the most troll-like out there) that the Pirates intend to spend a decent chunk of dollars on starting pitching before it’s done. Wake me when they’ve done that and then we can have a debate.

  • I’m sorry but I wouldn’t trade Stetson Allie for any one of those guys including Rad Hammies. This has George Bell written all over it. And the notion that teams wouldn’t take a 1B out of AA is betrayed by Detroit taking Chris Shelton. I think Bobby Bonilla was taken out of A ball, as was Bip Roberts the same year. You don’t take risks with guys who might hit 30 HRs some year. No probs with signing an Elmore, Nunez or Sellers but Florimon clearly makes them all extra long shots. Jeez Neil, you have such a good streak going too.

    • I think the teams-don’t-take-1B narrative also should at least come with the caveat that half of big league ball clubs are allowed to use a DH. A team could pretty easily get him 200 PA and give him the platoon advantage for most if not all of them.

      Also, this: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-right-handed-power-problem/

      Teams are crazy hungry for right handed power, and those are the two boxes Allie checks off first and foremost.

      • My guess is that they sent Allie to Mexico to practice hitting breaking balls, and he struggled. With Bell behind him he might not have much of a shot at MLB in the Pirates’ system. Too bad we can’t include him with others in a trade for a highly rated 3B prospect.

        • I have rarely replied, and I haven’t followed Marty’s posts closely but I have to agree with a lot of what he says. The Piratrs always seem to hold back on pulling the trigger on acquiring a top tier impact free agent. Russell Martin was a signing that worked out, but now is the time to really go for it. By that I mean a top line pitcher like Lester and Liriano. We need the overwhelming, dominant pitcher to lead what we already have. Build it and they will come.

  • I want Liriano. We need that #1 capable starter that he is when he’s right. He is among the 2nd tier of FA starters and we cannot afford the top tier . So lets take a little risk and spend the money to bring him back. He does have and injury history but he’s a power lefty who know this system and the guys who run it,and he likes it here. If it doesn’t pan out We got got high upside talent depth in Taillon,Kingham,and Glasnow on the way. I think it’s more important to get Liriano than Volquez. We need that dominant lefty in the rotation. A top 4 of Liriano,Cole,Burnett,Worley would look real nice. I’mm betting Worley has a couple more ticks on his fastball next year

    • It’s not the money on Liriano; it’s the years he wants.

      A 4-yr. contract on any pitcher is really risky and with Liriano it might be super-risky.

  • The moves the Pirates are making lately are primarily depth moves, you can’t get to the playoffs without a lot of depth, most of these guys are good players, just one dimensional. Every team has them, the Yankees paid half a billion dollars last off season and did not have an infield when the season started, I take that back, they had one dimension…Old! No 3rd basemen, an aged finished SS, no 2nd basemen, an off injured and old 1st basemen. If the Pirates started that infield they would have been run out of Pittsburgh.

  • The Pirates really don’t have that many moves left to make…

    -8/8 position players locked (Cervelli, Pedro, Walker, Mercer, JHay, Marte, Cutch Polanco).
    Like it or not, this is done.

    -2/5 bench players locked (Stewart, Snider).
    The 1B RH and UTIL IF are the keys here. T Sanchez an option at 1B/C, plenty of low cost UTIL guys, Lambo/Decker/Tabata could be last guy on the roster worthy. So with zero moves, bench could be:
    Stewart, T Sanchez, Florimon, Snider, Tabata….not as bad as people tend to scream it is…but a 1B and improved UTIL guy would be nice here.

    -4/5 rotation locked (Cole, AJ, Locke, Worley)
    They definitely need a Liriano/Volquez/McCarthy here. I’d like 2, but that seems unlikely, so hopefully they add another low cost ‘project’ on a short deal. Going into the season w/ 6 options, Cumpton/Pimentel as spot starters if needed and Taillon/Kingham vying for summer call-ups. Pretty solid.

    -4/7 of the bullpen is locked (Melancon, Watson, Hughes, Holdzkom).
    Cumpton, Pimentel and Sadler are all longer relief options. LaFromboise could be a lefty option. Liz maybe? So I’d say the need here is 1 arm here, which they may already have with their claims. Trust the Pirates to fill the bullpen as they typically do well and cheaply.

    Bottom line: Need 1 SP and a RH 1B, with a UTIL bench player and a bullpen arm being needs if the claims they’ve made aren’t good enough. After that, anything is more of a luxury add.

    • You’re probably right on the position players. Hopefully Tony succeeds with the 1b experiment. But I don’t agree that a rotation of Cole/AJ/Locke/Worley/project is solid at all. Worley has never pitched more than 130 innings in MLB. Locke hasn’t put together two decent halves. And projects are projects. Ray & Jim do fix pitchers, but not at a rate of 100%. And we pretty much all agree that Volquez had a bit of luck last year based on his relative success vs. peripherals. Who really knows what Morton will bring this year, although contract dictates they’re going to pitch him.

      Nor do I agree that Pimintel or Sadler are decent options for the pen – both have proven terrible to date and I’d actually give Pimintel a slim chance of figuring it out, giving Sadler a near-zero chance.

      IMO, the only reason to not sign Liriano for 3/$36 is not finances, it’s whether Ray & Jim agree that he’s got 3 decent years in him. Bucs aren’t going to go for a top name and Liriano is best of the rest. Add another guy in the $6-$8 mill range for depth. Neal can always trade from strength later.

      • I do agree with you that the Pirates should try to get 2 legitimate SP options, Liriano being ideal. They spent $5 million on Volquez last year, which was definitely a project guy. Bumping to the $6-8 million range is cool with me (Morton at $7 million I believe) so there isn’t a major difference. I forgot to include Morton, not sure about his health but he’s a similar option to Locke and Worley. Gotta figure at least one of those guys will be dependable, if not more.

        The bullpen is a crapshoot. I believe Pimentel gets another shot. Sadler can be lumped in with the host of guys they’ve claimed, hoping 1 good arm comes from that group would be awesome. And we can lock Liz in for sure now. Still not concerned at all about adding high priced guys here.

  • Bench/role player signings shouldn’t be compared to Harrison/Mercer/Walker, et.al. The comparison is vs. Jayson Nix, Brent Morel and Michael Martinez. Which is a pretty low bar.

    Fun fact: In just 31 games and 40 PAs over two partial seasons with the Bucs, Pedro Ciriaco compiled a 0.4 WAR.

    That’s what you’re hoping for. Just a guy who’s not going to drag the team down.

    • I never understood why Pedro Ciriaco didn’t get more of a shot here. Must have stepped on Clint Hurdles foot.

      • Ciriaco and Argenis Diaz both represent a trend of the Pirates targeting strong defensive middle infielders, then never using them. Not that either player has amounted to anything. Just weird situations where they got a guy in return in a trade, then apparently had no intention of using that guy.

        • Ciriaco did a bit better than Diaz in that regard. He was a hero in Boston for the better part of a year – he was Brock Holt before Brock Holt. Then he went *poof*. But he had a nice run for a year.

  • Looks like a little light to middling housekeeping going on at pirates central. The only real concern I have is by designating ike I hope that does not mean they are going to hang their hat on pedro at first. Crossing all fingers and toes that all it means is he has trade value while ike apparently does not.

  • Sure they’ve been adding bullpen and bench options. One minor problem though, none of the guys they’ve added are any good.

    • They’re called bench guys for a reason, they’re not as good as starters. They’re not bringing in Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval to be bench options.

      • No, but it might be nice to see them add Headley and a strong starter. Interestingly enough, the Pirates have the money to give Lester. The length of the contract might make then uneasy but they have the money to make it work at least for the short-term with no repercussions.

        • Yes. That would be nice. Although I’m not sure Headley is much more than a very expensive defensive specialist at this point– not sure his bat will bounce back to what it used to be.

          But Marty’s criticism isn’t that they haven’t done that yet. His criticism was that the bench and bullpen guys they signed aren’t very good. No crap– the fact that they’re not very good is why they’re bench/bullpen guys in the first place.

          • for whatever reason, WAR loves Headley. and his skillset should age gracefully.

            if they miss out on the decent pitchers, i think signing him and letting Harrison be the first guy off the bench for injuries and platoons and stuff would be an out of the box, good way to improve the team if other things fall through.

            • Headley is not that good. I don’t know why people are so high on him. I don’t care what his WAR is, he doesn’t produce enough offense to be a corner player. He’s basically Ike at 3B.

        • I don’t see either lester or sherzer coming to the bucs, ( think teams in blue either east or west coast) shields may however fall into the pirates depth. Not likely but at least possible.

          • I’m coming to an opinion that if the Bucs were actually in play for Shields, I’d rather pay less for Hammel with the assumption that Ray/Jim can get his GB rate back up to his 2.6-3.8 WAR years.

            • Hammel would be nice even mcarthy, given the track record of benedict and searage at this point I think they could resurect any arm we can think of it seems the key ingredient is a pitchers willingness to do things differently.

          • There is about equal chance the Bucs offer me a contract as Shields.. We can be 1 , 2 in the rotation .

        • How are things in crazy town?

        • Yes. Lets re-fill the log jam we just loosened by removing Davis , with an even bigger underachiever at 5 times the cost to sit next to Pedro while they both don’t play 1st or 3rd. YAY !

      • They could at least find bench players that are, you know, worthy of being in the Majors. None of these bums are.

        • It’s november

          • What has this front office ever done to make you believe they’ll go out and add the bench, rotation, and bullpen help they desperately need? They make 1 or 2 moves an offseason, and they’ve already made their 2 moves this offseason with Cervelli and Burnett. Both moves that I like, but they still have huge holes in the rotation, bullpen, and on the bench.

            • well, we could start with the fact that they brought in Cervelli and Burnett.

              when was the last time the had a desperate hole in the offseason that they did not fill adequately? Sure i guess you can count 1b last year, but they got Ike 2 weeks into the season.

              • hen was the last time the had a desperate hole in the offseason that they did not fill adequately?
                ______________________________________________________________________________________

                Last offseason. Needed a lot of starting pitching help, brought in one guy. Needed at least two.

                • Vance Worley doesn’t count?

                • i guess if you thought that the was no value in seeing if Wandy could bounce back, then sure. you can argue they needed another one. Or at least shouldve started Worley in the majors.

                  • Count me in that group. I never expected Wandy to pitch effectively again once arthritis was mentioned. And certainly no reason to think Worley didn’t need that time in AAA to get to the point where he’d be useful to the big club. Volquez was likely to have some adjustment period.

                    They did need to acquire another arm last offseason, IMO. Different situation when the club is challenging for a division than rebuilding. When you’re challenging, you can’t roll the dice on as many “if’s” as the Bucs did last Spring. And we saw the result.

                  • Anyone who expected Wandy to contribute was an idiot. We already know NH is an idiot.

                • Not only a troll, but stipid

                • Same whine, different thread. Nothing new here.

                • No…we didn’t need 2. We could have used 2. We needed 1

            • Bullpen help? Really? You are asking what proof there is that this FO will go find and set a quality bullpen? The list is about 10 long.

        • What a troll

          • Piss off.

          • LOL !

          • Marty is gonna show up at the ballpark armed and go on a spree.

            • There are plenty of commenters I have disagreed with at times, as you well know ! And, I have no problem that someone has another opinion.But, when somebody is totally irrational, and makes ridiculous, unfounded assertions, I can’t stand it.

              • Ah. The other side of the 1st amendment sword… With saying whatever you choose comes w tolerating others … My fsther-in-law seems irritated by my right to vote around election season… Bet you and him would hit it right off Leo.

                • Didn’t you realize I was talking about that ” other guy ” and more than less agreeing with you about his comments

              • Didn’t you realize I was talking about that ” other guy ” and more than less agreeing with you about his comments ?

        • Good to know you are the authority on how deserve to be a pro and who doesnt. You should apply to be a GM.

    • When you find a team that has Babe Ruth just sitting on the bench, lemme know.

      • Babe Ruth, no. Josh Harrison, maybe. But that doesn’t imply there’s a solid methodology for identifying who that guy is.

        • Guys, guys, guys.

          JHay is a starter. Say it with me now. That guy played his way off the bench and made a first round pick expendable. Produced unreal plays all over the place. Scored crucial runs. Ignited things. Nearly won the batting title.

          What they need, outside one more good pitcher, is some bullpen cover and a good defensive middle infielder. MINORITY REPORT: I’d say also that they need a good right handed bench bat to augment Snider from the left.

          All this wailing and gnashing of teeth is misplaced. The Bucs are getting incrementally better year by year. See it for what it is.
          _______________________________
          “Ah-say! There’s just somethin’ ewwwwwww about a boy who don’t like baseball!
          -Wabbit

          • Wabbit – you made my point in the first part of your response. As far as the second part – a RH bench bat is needed, but not because of Snider, who seems to have figured out how to hit LHP quite well.

      • I just want bench players worthy of being in the Majors, not these bums.

        • Having three backup infielders that can’t hit, at all, makes me long for another season of Barmes. He can’t hit either, but he’s still a better option than these 4. Morel was sent to Indy, if he makes it, yet another no hit infielder will be available.

          • Barmes isn’t any better defensively than Florimon.

          • Who are the 3 backups who can’t hit?

            • Jake Elmore, Pedro Florimon and Justin Sellers. Jake .221 in 3 partial ML seasons(.290 in the minors-664 games), Pedro .204 in 4 partial ML seasons(.250 in the minors-808 games) and Justin .198 in 4 partial ML seasons(.267 in 932 minor league games). Additionally, the best hitter of the bunch, Jake, has teensy weensy power. He is fast though, and can run. So there’s that.

        • name some players not just whine about it.

        • You are the bum, you just need to realize it.

          • At least I’m not as useful as a piece of trash at doing my job, unlike some of these bums NH brings in.

            • I’m buying Marty a Yankee hat… He’ll like the Bronx and the hum of his wine will blend into the background …

            • I am certain the qualifications for your job are as high as those for professional baseball players. Nice try, but you may as well wear an I Am A Jerk sign.

        • You weren’t very high on Harrison last offseason either, so…

          Every team signs IF depth players like these guys. Didya hear that St. Lous picked up PIrate castoff Dean Anna? Maybe he’s the best option for them outta spring training and maybe he ain’t– that remains to be seen– but griping about signing guys like him now is complaining just for the sake of complaining. Relax and enjoy life, dude.

          • And that is an organization that is also carrying Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso on their roster.

        • So do we- we just don’t make the assumption that minor league free agent signings are supposedely going to bench players. Marty, what % of minor league free agent signings with an offer to come to spring training actually make the team? How about we save the complaining for when we sign this trash to MAJOR league contracts

    • As Tim said…it is Nov 21st.

      Chill.

      • There’s no reason to believe they’ll address the massive needs in the rotation that still exist, they’re track record syas they won’t.

        • Hey Marty.

          Disagree, brother. I think recent history is replete with the Pirates getting what they can and keeping the hull from springing a leak at the same time.

          Lookit. You can go to an Ivy League school for your undergrad and pay $100,000 or more per year. You can take the same undergrad classes at a public university for a tenth or less the cost and get the same education. The education is in the student, not in the university.

          Same thing in baseball. You can pay for John Lester if you can afford to, sure. But you can also get nearly the same performance for a tenth of the price. Is the difference between a Liriano and a Lester worth THAT much? Absolutely not.

          And – look you guys all know this – The Pirates are a good bet for any pitcher who wants to come and unscrew his mechanics and get back to being successful. You surely don’t think that’s part of the A.J. Burnett deal? Really? He’s seen the difference between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and he knows what it’s worth to him.
          ——————————————-
          “Ickity-ackity-ooph! Oo-oo-squeak-ah-ah-pthththth!”
          -Wabbit

          • Wabbit, just walk over to the nearest wall and pound your head 9 or 10 times against it. It’s about the same as having a conversation with Marty.

          • This team desperately needs a top of the rotatio guy to go with Cole, they’ll have to pay for that. Rather it be prospects or money, they’ll have to pay.

            Yes reclamation guys have worked out here, but others have not. Guys like Burnett, Liriano, and Melancon came with a lot of reasons to think they’d be okay. Liz has Ernesto Frieri or Jon Sanchez written all over him I feel.

            • to be fair, you probably thought Liriano, Burnett (versions 1 and 2), Melancon, Grilli, Volquez, and Hanrahan would be failures too. Plus Liz is probably gonna be in AAA anyway. Liz is probably not going to be good. But it doesnt matter cuz he probably won’t be on the team.

              Most people aren’t disagreeing that they should probably get a more proven guy for the rotation. Tim says it in the article. I’ve said it.

              IMO, Liriano or McCarthy is the bare minimum if Pedro is the 1b. To me, a bounceback like Morrow or Anderson would be okay if it means that they can get LaRoche for 1b to upgrade over Pedro.

              If that doesn’t happen, I’ll be disappointed.

              Where we disagree is where you’re saying that the Pirates always just leave terrible spots on the team. (and where you said Huntington was an idiot earlier)

              • I actually liked the Liriano, Burnett, Melancon trades. Grilli I didn’t mean giving a shot to since the team sucked in 2011. I did despise Volquez though. However, I also used to like and believe in this FO until last offseason. Then that all changed.

                They need a Liriano/McCarthy/Santana type, and then, preferably, another pitcher. I’d like Brett Anderson. I’d love LaRoche for 1B, but won’t happen. It’ll be Pedro and Gaby, but I can live with that.

                • so last offseason is the one that made disillusioned you as a Pirate fan…? (Last offseason that led to an 88 win season…)

                  So all of this… your comments upon comments about how stupid the FO is… isbecause Wandy Rodriguez was in the rotation for a month.

                  That’s what this is all about. Jebus.

                  • It’s a lot more than just Wandy Rodriguez. They showed zero commitment, IMO, to building on 2013. Evident by the fact they were worse in 2014. There was also the way they horribly managed the roster throughout the year, and then did nothing at the deadline despite having one of the NL’s worst pitching staffs. Then when they screwed over season ticket holders like myself with the way they handled playoff tickets, that was the straw that really broke the camels back for me.

                    • I dunno. i think the team was actually better in 2014 even though they won less. They were lucky to reach 94 in ’13.

                      Did they actually screw over season ticket holders? Didn’t that whole thing come down to “Hey. As long as you commit to playoff tix by this date, you’re guaranteed tix. If you don’t commit by that date, the only other way to guarantee tix is to get season tix for next year.”

                      So if this isn’t about that last spot in the rotation, what spot is it about?

                      What should they have done before 2014?

                      It’s not about 3b because Pedro was coming off the good season.
                      It’s not about Mercer because he is a nice SS.
                      It’s not about walker.
                      Marte is a good LF.
                      Cutch is Cutch.
                      We knew Polanco was coming
                      Martin was Martin

                      Cole is Cole
                      Morton is a fine #4
                      Liriano was Liriano.
                      Volquez was good
                      and you said that Wandy isn’t the whole problem

                      The bullpen was coming off a great year.

                      So this is about 1b then, right? That’s what this has to be about. What else could you possibly want to change about that team?

                      Napoli wanted to go back to the Red Sox. Loney wanted to go back to the Rays.

                      So that leaves Jose Abreu.

                      So is that what this is all about? Because they were one of the 29 teams that didn’t sign Jose Abreu?

          • re: ” Is the difference between a Liriano and a Lester worth THAT much? Absolutely not.”. During the regular season, maybe or maybe not. Probably Lester is worth one or two games more than Liriano, and maybe that’s immaterial with regards to making the playoffs. But if you have to win one game in the World Series who do you want on the mound, Lester or Liriano? Is winning that one game, and a World Series Champioship worth $12MM? Maybe.

            • Winning 1 game is as much about good fortune than it is the difference between Liriano and Lester, because honestly those two in 1 game may not be any different. On any given day, Liriano can throw 7-8 innings of shut down baseball.

              • Your philosophy is why people continue to play the slots at the casino, and why the House always continues to win.

              • when you think about it, lester is projected to be a 3.4 ERA pitcher and Liriano is a 3.7 ERA pitcher.

                So one gives up 3.4 innings in 9 innings and one gives up 3.7. One gives you a 53% chance of winning and one gives you a 50% chance of winning. Really negligible in a 1 game sample.

                It’s the 162 game sample and the 30 start sample where you see the difference.

                • Winning one game in the World Series is as much or more about mentality than regular season performance. Who can ramp up their performance on the big stage versus who is crushed by it. No disrespect to Liriano. I like him a lot and advocated extending him since the moment he was signed. But Lester has the advantage in that he has demonstrated that he doesn’t fold in a World Series. Liriano’s response to that opportunity is as yet unknown.

                  • yeah sure. If proven clutch-ness is your thing, then Jon Lester is your man (ignoring his last Wild Card start).

                    • yes he got beat this year. Sandy Koufax got beat occasionally. What’s your point?

                    • Clayton Kershaw had a bad post season too. I guess that means he doesn’t deserve the Cy Young?

                    • oh no. i was agreeing with you, but just had to add that in parentheses for completeness. Communication through text failed me there.

                  • Lester folded against the Royals, you could see woe is me on his face and in his posture.

                • Very true. When factoring in the cost difference it’ll take to get Lester over Liriano, i’d be very happy to take Liriano over Lester on a 2-3 year deal. Lester may provide more assurance in terms of lack of the same injury history, but actual production+cost to acquire seems oddly slanted.

            • @piraddict – a reasonable post. Take the Bumgardner guy from San Francisco… Perfectly illustrates your point there.

              The contrarian view is simply that most Bumgardners don’t get to the world series. One usually does. Do you have that one? It’s almost roulette.

              The argument might be considered an honest debate about a very solid floor versus a lightning in the bottle ceiling.

              Good discussion today.

              -Wabbit

        • What track record are you referring to? They lost Burnett last year, and replaced him with Volquez. They added Liriano the year before that. They added Burnett the year before that. They’ve already added Burnett this year.

          • IT’S A TRAP!

          • The fact that last year they need a lot of rotation help. Only reliable guys returning were Cole, Liriano, and Morton. All they did was take a flier on a reclamation guy. Yes, he worked out. However, they still needed more than just that. There’s one example of that track record.

            • just about the only example.

              one example does not equal track record

            • Yep. They needed more than that. And they found it with Worley, Cumpton, Locke, and others. Pitching depth like that was a big reason that the team didn’t fall off the cliff when Rodriguez fell flat, when Cole and Liriano were injured, etc.

              It ain’t as flashy as signing someone to a bazillion-dollar contract, but it’s probably helps just as much, if not more.

            • Which reclamation guy are you counting? Volquez or Worley? Because both worked out.

              A big issue with the pitching last year was that Liriano and Cole struggled the first four months of the season. They didn’t have any reliable starters for a while there. Things started turning around when both got injured, and Cumpton, Locke, and Worley came up. The pitching was good over the final two months when Liriano and Cole got back on track.

              The idea that their problem was a lack of moves is ignoring what the problem actually was.

        • You are always thinking the sky is falling. There ARE no massive needs. We would not suddenly go 10-20 with our current signed pitchers. The problem here, is that you are so hell bent on being miserable, that even if we sign good players you will still complain that we didn’t go out and sign the absolute best player out there, and then use that to further your own endless complaining. We will address our needs by getting a starting pitcher and one more position player who is major league caliber to improve the team. Once we do, you will just complain about whom we didn’t sign.

          Maybe if you had realistic expectations you wouldn’t always be let down. Most of us know what town we cheer for, we know how much the ownership is willing to spend, and we just cheer when we feel that NH has done the best he can with the resources he’s been given. Why don’t you try to do the same

    • HOLD ON, are you telling me…..that backups….who will come off the bench and start about 10-20 games tops….arent that good??? Mind=blown

    • I can just imagine your brilliant analysis of the Edison Volquez signing last year….

    • You are so right Marty. Keep educating us on the obvious. The next person who says these players signed by ALL MLB TEAMS at this time are all-stars will be the first time ever. You are fighting the wind, my friend.

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