Pirates Aren’t Currently in on Justin Masterson

I thought this was noteworthy since Justin Masterson is my favorite out of the bounce back pitchers who are available this off-season. Bill Brink says that the Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t currently one of the teams who have checked in on the right-hander.

This could mean a lot of different things. The Pirates have already signed A.J. Burnett, and you could argue that he’s a sort of reclamation project. Right now they probably need a pitcher who will provide a little more assurance of strong production. That type of pitcher would require a bigger financial commitment, but the Pirates have that left over after Russell Martin signed with the Blue Jays. Someone in the Francisco Liriano/Brandon McCarthy tier of pitchers would make sense.

This could also just mean that they don’t like Masterson’s chances of bouncing back, rather than totally eliminating them from the reclamation project scene. They definitely need one more starting pitcher, since the current rotation is Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnett, Vance Worley, and Jeff Locke until Charlie Morton returns. They might be able to get creative and add two starting pitchers, especially if they’re going with Pedro Alvarez at first base (leaving all of the remaining money for pitching). In that scenario, they could add an established player, plus a reclamation project.

What we do know is the obvious, that they don’t appear to be in on Masterson at this time. While I like Masterson as a bounce back candidate, I trust Ray Searage, Jim Benedict, and everyone who was responsible for all of the previous reclamation projects.

  • I think Brett Anderson is probably on the Pirates radar. He is only 26 and can be a very good pitcher if he can stay healthy.

  • With the Cards trading for another LH Middle of order bat, Jason Heyward, I am only more fortified in my opinion Pirates need a stud LH SP next season. I hope they bring back Liriano since they seem to have no interest in Lester.

    The pessimist in me is prone to believe they want to see if they can get a draft pick for Liriano and then go sign the latest reclamation project instead.

    Please don’t let it play out this way NH!

  • Considering Justin Masterson sucks, this is great news!! Please, Neal, stay out of the dumpster you have to dive in to get him.

  • Even after an off year I wouldn’t be surprised to see Masterson wind up out of the price range for the Pirates. I like Josh Johnson I don’t think his injury history is a problem as long as he’s healthy the first 2-3 months I also think he will have less suitors and be cheaper than masterson while having better upside

  • I wonder if the Pirates would have interest in trying to see if they can “reclamation” Ubaldo Jimenez? The price would be high in dollars but low in prospects and maybe the Orioles would take little in prospects and still fork over some cash. Could be interesting in a move back to the NL, although expensive. Wonder if we could get him “relatively cheap” and still bring back Liriano?

    • The year before that he pitched very well so I doubt they give up on him that quick, and there is still 3 years and a lot of money left on that contract, so that’s not the kind of contract they’re looking for since by 2016 they’re looking to have 4 prospects be in the majors potentially

  • If fangraphs thought our 2014 rotation stunk, wait until 2015.. holy smokes, cole and the wing & prayers

    • Just buying time…

      And playing with house money… If 3 years ago you told our front office that Taillon would progress slow and then need TJ surgery , do you think they would guarantee two consecutive playoff appearances in the fearsome N.L Central ?

      • We’re living off reclamation projects on short term deals.. they’re great for filling the backend of the rotation but they shouldn’t be the main course.. with the success rate of pitching prospects I would hope they planned on getting what they’ve got so far

        • You drunk from the Haterade Rick… No ! ! !
          So you force me to get ahead of ourselves… It is not a permanent philosophy ..
          2016 Rotation : 1. Cole
          2. Morton
          3. Kingham

          • sorry..
            5. Glasnow

            • And an unlimited list of over slot signees spanning the last 5 drafts… All sporting big rugged 6’5 frames and big velocity…. Things have gone far from as planned and they band aided a playoff staff together , sometimes last minute.. Not once , but twice…

              • You see my profile pic ? A sober reminder of how remarkable that accomplishment has been… Stark contrast to that tearful 20

            • I hope so.. I’m a huge fan of Huntington and don’t second guess what he does.. but this rotation is looking mighty weak to me and there doesn’t seem to be any reasonable thing neal could do about it.. i love prospects and all, but to have your teams so reliant on their development isn’t usually a path to success

              • I def agree… I think they will make a big run at bringing Eddy back and continuing his upward trajectory . He was a first class # 2 most of the summer.

                • Agree on eddy for sure.. thanks for the optimism : ) I do like locke more than most, same as you.. I think he’s growing into pitching deeper into the season. . That small frame of his isn’t helping

                  • It’s funny so many fans blame NH that we don’t spend enough. He is our advocate to ownership pleading for funds… Then the slightly less dull blame Nutting for being cheap… He is certainly investing beyond our 9th in the N.L attendance … I take pride in lil ole us standing on a hill of Goliath’s…

                    • Overall Neal has done a great job. But leaving $8-$9 million of allocated funds in the vault this past season instead of spending it to improve the team is certainly a subject deserving of criticism.

                    • Even more pressure to use it now… 2 years in a row in wild card , right?

                    • I don’t believe they just roll it over. Neal alluded to using it for “baseball operations” (which seems a broad definition that could include debt pay down I suppose), so sounds like it’s already been spent.

                    • Yeah , right. Or paying the electric in the S.American facilities , etc. I hate to admit what a great point that is and how accurate it likely is. The way I figure it , especially w Cutch on board essentially making the same demand, this is the last pass they get. Once all of the projected pieces are in place from the original framework,i.e., Pedro , Cole , Marte ,Polonco, Taillon , etc. ,it marks the point where real money needs to be invested in real players to fill the remaining voids. The whole $95mill that is available needs to go to salary , especially with constraints on draft spending and teams like the yankees outspending us in S. America …Winter 2015 , NO MORE EXCUSES !

                    • Yeah, we should criticize him for offering money and getting turned down, and not throwing that money at random crappier players that were left. We should, in all postseasons, make sure to spend the money we have no matter if we find the players we actually want.

                    • Neal misread the market. A great executive wouldn’t have that happen to him. Mozeliak didn’t and he’s got a proven playoff-tested veteran at league minimum for 2015. I’d expect Neal to know all the angles, be aggressive and make that kind of deal.

                      The result is you get Brent Morel on your playoff roster. And he’s about as random and crappy as it comes.

                    • This may be the dumbest thing you could post. Great executives now amazingly dont ever get outbid and not sign players apparently. We got Brent Morel because we had 2-3 middle infielders go down and had to use essentially a backup minor league infielder in the bigs, which is a reason to criticize how NH fills out the AAA roster not the ML roster. Its also the epitome of stupid to say that w should have been able to find a quality bench RH in September since anyone half decent is playing somewhere or on a roster. You jump between about 3 arguments without care for the market realities. NH didnt misread a market, he failed to overpay for guys like Loney and Johnson and instead didnt spend the 9-15 million that was offered to them. Heaven forbid we avoid spending market price on average players.

                    • I’m not talking about Loney or Johnson or anyone at the start of last season. I’m talking July/August when money was freed up to pursue a Price/Lackey level guy. They didn’t get those guys because Neal misread the market. And then they didn’t spend that money on adding something lesser, but a part that may still have helped.

                      Most other contenders got spare parts in July/August they wanted/needed to help their clubs. Other than Axford, Neal didn’t and even he has remorse about that.

                      Face it, Neal is good, but he’s far from perfect. And Morel being added to the playoff-eligible roster on August 28 underscores that failure.

                    • So you are of the opinion that the only reason NH didnt acquire those guys is he misread the market? You could see NOOOO other reason as to why he, and ALL other GMs, didnt get those guys? NH isnt perfect, but you level charges against him that are childish. You are arguing that not acquiring talent automatically=misreading the market even though the MARKET dictates how GMs act in terms of what it takes to acquire value. The market of mid year evolved into “if you want SP, you gotta give up major league players”.

                    • No. What the market evolved into was, “If you want those specific pitchers, you gotta give up major league players.”

                    • I don’t understand why you would give up anything of value thru trade to acquire a guy that was likely not going to play

                    • Name a starting pitcher that was traded that didnt require a major league player in return. Any pitcher that was a clear upgrade cost ML players. Even John Lackey cost ML options. The only type of guys that got moved that didnt require that was Justin Masterson, which isnt a clear upgrade to the rotation we had. If the argument is NH failed to assess the market and missed chances to upgrade his team, its ignorant because the market said “quality upgrades cost something you dont have the depth to replace well”.

                    • You’ve imposed a self-limitation by defining the potential universe as only those pitchers who were traded.

                      So far you’ve called me ignorant, dumb and childish. So I’ll respond by calling you incapable of creative thought and one who buys whole cloth into the prescribed narrative.

                      You know those trades that nobody saw happening? You don’t see many of those with this team. Cervelli was a good one. We could use more.

                    • Yes, i did put the limitation on the discussion of the market during the trade deadline last year that we can only judge the market via what trades actually occurred. But i will say that the Tabata for Stanton deal that didnt happen but hypothetical could have would have very much shifted how the market played out. Not exactly sure how a discussion of how well a GM did during a mid year trade deadline can include deals that DID NOT happen.

              • I believe the 2015 payroll will be around $95mill… So after Davis is supplanted by Laroche or similiar…. $15 to $18mill on pitching… They are not planning on taking steps back bc one starter isnt ready.

                • Marlins have showed aggressive interest in Laroche, and Stanton’s deal was backloaded so they could buy a competitive team. I would bet that’s where he ends up

                  • I’m sure we def agree our front office can be very creative and will address the 1st base situation.. Pedro will back up 1st and 3rd.

                    • I personally feel like they will feel around the trade market for possible first basemen, but I wouldn’t be shocked to still have Pedro and Gaby around going into next season, like it or not. It just isn’t a strong free agent year, sad but true.

                    • I agree.. And worse things than a full year of Dave Kingman like Pedro.. But Gaby is the most puzzling business move… Like a Polaroid while digital cameras are being eliminated by our smart phones… Gaby is a Polaroid.

                    • I actually like Gaby. .291 career average against lefties, hit .333 against them in 2013. This past year was just a down year for him. Also a pretty good bench bat and can play 3rd in an emergency.

                    • C’mon John , now I know you just like arguing w me. “Career” ? Those numbers are so misleading. So inflated by 1 and a half seasons that it took the league to figure him out. Miami say the trend and dumped him on us. He has not been a serviceable major leaguer period. Then consider the expectation for a 1stbaseman..UGGHH ! ! He represents a valuable roster spot by June of 2015. It is hard for me to tolerate he was pushed on us as a viable everyday 1stbaseman last spring. I would much much much rather gie the everyday job to Ike Davis.. At least he has an actual track record, some history of hitting in the past.

                    • What is he supposed to be? A right handed platoon bat. What did he do last year for us? Hit .333 against lefties. Everyone thinks he was so bad last year, but its because he had so many at bats against right handers. A shocking number, his OPS+ vs lefties last year was 120, meaning he was literally 20% above average at his job, hitting lefties.

                    • Actually , I think he had better numbers in that 2 month sham where he played everyday. He had 5 hr’s and 80% of his R.B.I in mid May… He actually took it down a notch from his expected low.. He hits like a back up defense 1st SS or catcher.

                    • 64% of his rbi’s came against lefties.

              • I don’t understand why you think its weak, just because there is no big stats or big names. These pitchers, at one time or another, have pitched like all stars for at LEAST 1/3 or a season or more at a time. Cumpton, Locke, Worley have all walked the walk. They might not be sexy, but who cares. Cumpton hasn’t had an opportunity to do it long term, but nothing shows he can’t. He would be a above average #5 on 90% of big league teams and Locke would be a solid 4 or guaranteed #5 on 100% of rosters. Meanwhile everyone complains that either of them even has a shot at the rotation, i mean man….wake up, we aren’t the yankees. Hell, even the Yankees aren’t the Yankees anymore.

                • Locke is plugging along , moving closer to stringing a full season together.. Despite, as stated ,small frame.They have crossed their fingers on Crumpton thus far and got lucky, and they know it. We are not a .500 team. A bar has been set. Crumpton is organizational depth, nothing more.

                • I thonk I am the one awake.. lol.. I’m ok with our pitching depth, which is what those guys are you listed.. I’m not a huge believer in cole at the top and that’s where my nervousness comes to play.. it’s not that I’m complaining about things not getting done.. it’s that the fundage is available but the options available are all patchwork type guys

          • I wouldn’t have the rotation like that considering that Taillon and Glasnow have more upside than Morton and Kingham. I would go like this.
            1. Cole
            2. Taillon
            3. Glasnow
            4. Morton
            5. Kingham/Sampson
            and then the starter that doesn’t make it could be a long reliever or spot starter.

            • I actually hope you’re right. Charlie is a known committee.. Thats how I based it.. If you’re right and Charlie stays at his par , that is one bad ass rotaion.

              • The only bad thing is I can’t think of any relievers other than Holdzkom that will be around for a couple years. Hey NH I think we found a new mission for you. Maybe the starter that doesn’t make the rotation could be used as a trade piece. I guess time will tell.

                • Or even moved to the pen.. Brandon Morrow for 1 yr $2mill… even if at the end of May his ERA is 5… Maybe a shot at maxing out one inning will work.. Just spitballin here.. see what sticks…

        • Those reclamation projects are to hold the fort until our prospects are ready, not to hold the fort until we spend 100 million on a free agent.

  • If you think Locke can’t pitch a whole season then you must hate Burnett. Very few pitchers pitch well from April threw September.Last year that would probably have been Volquez more than anyone else. Everyone’s favorite target Liriano came into July with an ERA of 4.72…. cut him! Locke is a solid #3 starter, as is Worley, as is Morton. Health is the only thing keeping this young rotation from being excellent just the way it is composed. A Liriano type signing pushes Morton out of the rotation. Don’t expect more than a Worley type reclamation or 3 (consider Lincoln #1)

    BTW, y’all notice Zach Duke got like $15M/3years after his second good year in a decade. Puts AJs deal in perspective.

    • If you think Locke is a solid #3 starter, you need to re-evaluate what a #3 starter is. One plus pitch, two average pitches, average command. Inning eater. He has no plus pitch, below average command, and his highest inning total is 166. He is a 4/5 starter

      • Jeez… Lotsa money available… Do you share my hope Locke will start as the #5 , if that? I have hope of upwards of $15mill to be spent on pitching

        • I’d rather it be spent on first base. no reason to spend big on pitching, it can always be had later via trade and we have lots of trade ammo

          • There is enough money available this time to actually do both.

            • Just because there’s money there doesn’t mean you have to use it. There really aren’t many starters I’d be comfortable with. I actually read Volquez may cost more than Liriano.

              • Ahh… But not a draft pick.. Frankie is gone… Say bye bye Frankie

                • What? That statement was worded very confusing

                  • If we sign Liriano we dont get a comp pick…

                  • He is saying we don’t get our draft pick if we sign Frankie and I think it is too much to give up.

                    • Eh, I don’t think the team loses their draft pick if its the team that gave the qualifying offer.

                    • They do. I looked it up.

                    • Whoever the guest is that upvoted that is a jackass . John admits he isn’t sure… I looked it up “Guest Voter”. If another team signs Frankie we get a draft pick. If we re-sign him we do not get a draft pick. It doesn’t even make sense if you say it out loud. We get compensated for bringing back our own free agent?!

                  • All things being equal , John, We are all deathless Bucco fans,forget die hard.. we left that behind ten years ago.. So 1st , lets hope I am right.. 2nd , you’re right, they have got to be creative, limit deals to two or less years… But we know they can be creative and I believe they will commit between $90 and $95 mill this year.. and that # plus inflation will remain going forward.. Ownership owes it to NH… and us…

      • He’s more a #5 with the potential to pitch like a #3 for stretches of time

  • I think an issue may be that his price tag isn’t as low as a reclamation project should be. I bet he gets about 8-10 million a year, due to his numbers the previous year. I like Brett Anderson, hes been great when healthy, and he only needs to hold a spot til Taillon/Kingham are ready. Plus, he’s another lefty.

  • A.J. at the price we landed him is essentially a throw in to whatever the offseason plan may have already been. They took that one year gift and will nearly spend what they planned before he called.

  • The front office bashers and haters are already set back by the addition of A.J as a 3 , 4, or 5 starter to break camp. If A.J. is our # 5 when we hit our stride mid summer , I would say we look pretty formidable w 2 or 3 young studs in front of him.

  • Wilbert Matthews
    November 18, 2014 7:12 pm

    So Volquez is not on the table?

  • I don’t understand why people are excited to mention Brandon McCarthy as a possibility. He had one solid season, 2011 with Oakland, and 2012 wasn’t bad but besides that nothing but mediocrity. Yes, his 2nd half 2014 statistics with the Yankees look great, but his 1H2014 statistics with Arizona look terrible. Long term which is the real McCarthy? Who really knows! The Pirates need another major addition to the starting rotation, but it needs to be someone with great consistency and thereby predictability (and thereby expensive). I would rather see them develop Kingham and then Taillon than invest in McCarthy. Early in the season throw Cumpton out there at #5 if they have been able to land the “big fish” who can be a #1.

    • I meant “#5 if they HAVEN’T been able to land the “big fish”..

    • I agree.. Cumpton should only be used in dire straits.. If a guy like Morrow holds the 1 yr $1 to $3 mill projection on the market or a pro but injury prone Gavin Floyd comes cheap we should be able to get 2 solid months out of some mix of vets like that.. June 1st we have Kingham , Sampson and maybe Taillon. Survive til June 1st.

      • I would actually be fine with Cumpton in the rotation to start the year til Morton is healthy, then being depth. I like him. 3.04 FIP in the majors, although it is kind of a small sample, and I like his stuff. Especially if they would use the money on say, a first baseman

        • I consider myself very much a realist…. And I see plety of funds to add a real starter , one or two reclaims… And still Adam Laroche or an equal dollar upgrade at 1st.

          • See, I think its important to spend smart. Don’t spend money just to do it. I think Cumpton could be a solid 4/5 starter, and in terms of the pieces out there we could add and what they would cost, I don’t see them as smart moves. Plus a lot of the proven pitchers want multiple years, and we have guys in the upper levels who will be ready then.

            • two year $20 to Eddy.. Crumton goes away.

              • Why are you so down on Cumpton? He’s pitched well in his short time in the majors and has pretty good stuff

                • He is Casey Sadler or even Jeff Locke if Locke wasn’t Lefty… Overachiever w limited exposure.. When he gets around the rotation a few times and big league hitters get a book on him , he is meat… That being said , you’re right , good young pitcher… But he would do for us in 2010 or 11… The bar has been raised.. We can’t even be satisfied w that damn wild card.. time to take out big brother, St. Louis .. Crumpton will even lose out to Locke, not cus of stuff but cus hes lefty.

                  • Cumpton can touch 97 with his fastball, has better off speed stuff than locke, and better command. I for one never understand how Locke gets by how he does without getting crushed. Probably due to him being lucky, as shown by his 4.32 career FIP

                    • I believe the Locke-Martin battery had the third highest “framing” benefit in MLB last year.

                      I agree on Cumpton. He might only be a six inning pitcher, but those guys are useful too if they keep you in the game through those six innings. I’ve personally seen enough of Locke to know I hope Bucs don’t have to rely on him for a full season. Cumpton only had one bad outing (albeit a lulu).

                      And as a long-time Morton fan, I’m getting tired of him too. While it’s easy to say that pitchers can’t control wins, he simply hasn’t compiled enough of them in a very large sample size. If it weren’t for his contract, I’d suggest a move to the pen. It’s a put up or shut up year for Chuck.

                    • Thank you, a voice of reason. I just don’t see why people are so high on Locke while being so low on Cumpton. I mean is it because Locke is a lefty or something?

                    • Cumpton is never going to be a consistent major league starter… No more than Locke… Locke is Left handed guys. 1 out of every 11 human beings is left handed. That is it. Mystery soled. This is why an avg right handed fastball is 92-94 and left is 88-91. Supply and demand. John , didn’t you say yourself , He is the only LH Starter on our 40 man?

                    • First off, he only has 100 MLB innings, so calm down. Secondly, 12 percent of males or about 1 out of every 8-9 are left handed, its smaller in females for some reason. Also, 33% of pitchers are left handed. And about 29% of hitters are left handed. With the vast majority of batters being right handed, I don’t see why left handed starters are such a necessity. Lefty specialists make sense however.

                    • 2014. Good post here.

                      I am wishful thinking on Charlie Morton. Really like the ground ball machine. But he reminds me of a pitcher a few years back for the Pirates who was a tease like that. He’d pitch one great game and then stink for the next 3 or 4 and then he’d have another good outing. Pitched just well enough to keep the Bucs hanging on…
                      … gosh, what was that guy’s name….


                    • …Esteban Loaiza…

                    • I agree that Cumpton is solid, but you are a bit heavy handed when saying he can touch 97 since it seemed to imply he does so somewhat regularly. He sits 90-93 in most starts and almost never touches 97 while a regular SP. He touches 97 on shorter outings when he knows he isnt expected to go a full 6+. Though i would call both guys back end rotation starters since Cumpton doesnt miss a ton of bats either. Very useful depth option.

                    • If he needs higher velocity, he can add some, with great movement. His fastball is definitely better than Locke’s is what I was trying to illustrate.

                    • My point is you are essentially lying by saying he can throw 97 whenever he needs it. Just like any pitcher, he throws that when he doesnt have to throw a ton of innings. He rarely hits above 95 in any of his regular starts, so he cant simply rear back and throw 97 in the 6th inning.

                    • http://www.brooksbaseball.net/velo.php?player=592238&b_hand=-1&gFilt=&pFilt=FA|SI|FC|CU|SL|CS|KN|CH|FS|SB&time=month&minmax=ci&var=maxmph&s_type=2&startDate=03/30/2007&endDate=11/19/2014
                      He threw above 95 in every month but July (1 appearance), he has good velocity, and can go 95 if he needs it. There aren’t a ton of pitchers who can do that

                    • 95 isnt 97 as you were saying before, and yes there are a decent amount of RH pitchers than can hit 95 and sit 90-93 on average. Im not arguing he isnt quality depth/maybe 5th option, but to say he hits 95 consistently or that what he possesses is rare is giving him more credit than any scouting report i’ve seen and any reality i’ve watched of him. He’ll average around 92 and hit 95 a few times a game and generally limits walks BUT doesnt miss a ton of bats.

                    • The owner of this site said he’s seen him hit 97, good enough for me. Also the average starter velocity last year was about 90, and Cumpton’s average was 92.7. He isn’t ideal but you could do much worse for a 5th starter if need be. Also, I still maintain he is better than Locke.

                    • You jump back and forth, because the owner of this site also said in basically the same sentence that he only does that in shorter outings and ALSO said at the start that he sits 90-93 on average. I agree he is a solid 5 if needed and i agree he is better than Locke. I was simply saying he doesnt hit 97 as a SP and generally only touches 95 a few times when starting.

                    • I thought you were implying he couldn’t throw 97, I was just trying to cite proof that he can. I am going to stop discussing this now and simply state that I like Cumpton, I saw Cumpton dominate the Cardinals. If he has to pitch I have confidence in him giving the team a chance to win

      • I wouldn’t expect Taillon until August at the earliest and probably a September callup. He probably won’t return to the Indy rotation until late May/early June. I would think Kingham is the guy who could help the most

        • I say he returns to the Indy rotation late April or early May if everything goes fine and if it goes better than expected and he is feeling good possible the beginning of the season.

  • Good thing – thank you – better off spending the money elsewhere

  • PiratesForever
    November 18, 2014 6:42 pm

    Do you think that Taillon could claim a spot in the rotation when he gets called up? If so, who do you think will lose their rotation spot?

    • Look at it this way. Locke has trouble pitching a whole season. In a perfect scenario he does what he did in ’13 in the first half and gives Taillon time to get ready. And you still have Kingham is someone else falters. They still need that legit #2 guy Tim was talking about. That would also allow Taillon time to grow into a #2 like he’s projected to be.

      • PiratesForever
        November 18, 2014 7:01 pm

        Locke is currently are only lefty so it would be hard for the Pirates to take him out of the rotation and I doubt they would take him out if he is preforming like he did his All-Star year, I think they would wait until he starts to show signs of fatigue and can’t preform like he did before.

        • I don’t believe we have any real gauge on how Taillon has recovered from Tommy John to this point.

          • PiratesForever
            November 18, 2014 7:25 pm

            No, but the expectancy of him returning is high considering nothing bad has popped up in his recovery and all the things we heard are good.

            • I’m with you. At worst I see him as a 5 by seasons end. If recovery goes well… 2015 will be the beginnings of having 2 Verlanders atop our rotation for the next 6 years.

            • It is key to note that fastball velo often takes time to return to form for TJ guys, so its unlikely you see him throwing the same he was the first few months of him being healthy. When you add that to the fact that they are almost assured to have a pitches limit, its unlikely Taillon sees more than September like work in the bigs unless a ton goes well in his recovery.

              • It takes about one full year to get right back to where you were before the surgery if done correctly. He had the surgery in april. April 2015 it will be like he is any other AAA pitcher. He should be up mid season if everything goes right.

                • Could go either way.. I wouldn’t bet against either prediction… Some guys never recover their original velocity while a rare few gain MPH’s or even extra sharpness on breaking pitches… But time will tell.. Since I always disagree w Lukas I will say for 2015 add Sampson to Kingham in our eternal hope spring… #june1st

                  • I have a high doubt about this happening but maybe if the Pirates do sign a #2 starter and would like another one or they still need a first baseman. They could combine Sampson or Kingham with another prospect to get a nice player in return. I only see that happening if Taillon comes back better than ever and I wouldn’t want to depart with Sampson or Kingham so I hope no deal actually happens.

                    • They’ve got lots of options as far as getting a 1st baseman. Maybe they package Pedro with a prospect and get a guy for 2 or 3 years to give Bell time to develop. Maybe they go with an older guy like a LaRoche ona 2 year deal. thing is, if they clear out their current logjam at the position it gives them a lot of flexability as far as roster makeup.

                    • I think it sad to say that I kinda like Pedro at first and I think he could be very valuable there, remember he did tie for the league lead in homeruns in 2012 and he arguably had a better season than Ike, he had 8 more homeruns and just a few ticks under Ike’s batting average while Ike played like 20 more games.

                    • My Plan A would be acquiring a 2b or 3b and moving Walker to first, Harrison to the open bag. If Bucs don’t do that, then live or die with Pedro at 1b.

                    • I don’t understand all this talk of moving Walker to first. Has there been any mention of it? Does he have experience there? It takes time to learn a new position, they wouldn’t just throw him out there. He’d be playing first in winter ball right now if this was a possibility. Him being a third baseman is more likely in the future. Also I’m not one of those people who think certain positions have to perform at a certain level, but Walker doesn’t fit the first base profile

                    • Walker is gone at seasons end next year. A 32 year old , injury prone defensily avg 2b ? We don’t wanna pay Martin , We gona give Walker 5 yr $50m .. More?
                      We cannot afford sentiment.

                    • PiratesForever
                      November 19, 2014 4:41 pm

                      I think those postitions are fine and I would like to keep them that way, the thing that I see here is that Walker won’t be returning after his contract runs out becasue they wouldn’t move Hanson to 2nd base just so he can be blocked from that Majors while he is at Triple-A.

                  • Ouch lol but i agree with pretty much everything you said. Its not a sure thing that a guy who does everything right in rehab will be fine 1 year out. I like Kingham as a back end 4 type option this coming year.

                • There is a long list of evidence that proves you very wrong. Even the success stories, which are large, show that your “it takes a full year to get back where you were before the surgery” is patently false. It takes a year to get game ready, and very often it takes another few months to see the same speed and command of the fastball that one had prior to surgery. The idea that if you follow orders and do things correctly = being right back to where you were in 1 year is at best debatable and at worse plain wrong. Plenty of guys see a period where they have to find their stuff and trust the arm again.

                  • http://www.hardballtimes.com/an-analysis-of-available-tommy-john-surgery-data/
                    Note that there is approximately a 90% success rate for mlb pitchers to get back to the majors, and also note that since 2006, the most common recovery times have been 11 or 12 months.

                    • Which doesnt prove my point of a pitcher being able to come back in 11-12 months (which you proved) and pitchers being able to recover and be successful (also proven) BUT the majority of pitchers are NOT able to recover and from day 1 see the exact same velo and control. Pitchers are able to throw in games at 11-12 months, and do go on to succeed after TJ. However, they are not able to return to being the exact same pitcher the moment they get into a game.

                  • Exactly Lukas,and those are the reasons I have to laugh when I hear the ” experts ” on the MLB Network talk about Harvey and Fernandez in terms like they will just step right into their respective rotations and perform in 2015 exactly like the did before their injuries.

              • I agree to a point, he will probably see more time than just September and his fastball might take a while to get back to form but when he does get back to form people that have TJ often recover with about 1-2 more mph on their fastball.

                • My only reason for saying September is they will almost for sure have him on a limit, and bringing him up before then (while totally possible in terms of his ability) could likely then cause him to be shutdown in September which seems counter productive for the team. I think when he returns he will be solid, take a few months to get fully back to form and be very much the player he was before, but the team will play lightly with his arm and not want to be in a spot where they bring him up in July, he does well and they shut him down in September due to pitch limit. Fans would freak if a successful pitcher gets shut down, even for intelligent reasons.

              • The Hardball Times study, and at least one other, showed that pitchers’ velocities are slightly higher the first year they return from TJS as compared to their last full healthy season.

                • But not the moment they step on the rubber after returning. Which was the ennnttiiiire point of my post. Not that they dont return well, but that gaining both control and velocity can take a month or two once returning. That, and if that study is asserting is asserting all pitchers that have it and return and add velo its wrong. Some do, some dont, and some never recover.

  • I cannot wait to see all the critical attacks to NH bc he isn’t in on this right hander w a 91mph fastball… I imagine Tim Williams is right and we will look higher end bc the financial flexibility exists to do so. Also, even at that reclamation level , this guy doesn’t fit our mold. The Bucs seem to prefer hard throwers.. Ala ‘ Morrow , Josh Johnson or higher tier Eddy Volquez .