Last week we started a Q&A article that will run every Friday. Right after the first article went up, we got a lot more questions. Normally I’ll be taking about five questions per week (and maybe addressing some of the common ones in First Pitch articles). You can submit your questions all week by using the Q&A form on the right side of pretty much every page on the site. Below are the questions for this week.
Zach Wolfe: Will the city of Pittsburgh be more likely to burn down PNC if Walker gets traded next off-season (even if Kang and/or Hanson is ready to take over), or leaves in FA after the 2016 season?
I don’t think either outcome will be pretty. But I think a trade will be worse, since it would involve the Pirates actively sending Walker away, rather than letting him walk and leaving the illusion that it was two parties who couldn’t reach a deal. Walker is a hometown hero. He’s the guy you see on TV every night after every win or loss, because he’s the guy that TV guys go to after every game for a quote. As a result, people are going to irrationally value him as someone who should be on this team for his entire career. That ignores the risks involved, such as the fact that an extension would cover his declining years, and the fact that he’s been injury prone and that will only get worse in his 30s.
I don’t know if Kang or Hanson will step up as options to replace Walker this year. It could be someone else. (Who was talking about Josh Harrison as the future starting third baseman at this time last year?) But if there is someone who can take over, and if Walker isn’t needed at another position, it would make total sense to trade him. But when that happens, expect outrage.
Shawn Inlow: Agree / Disagree: The Pirates’ biggest weakness going into the 2015 season is the lack of a True #4 hitter. Discuss.
I’d disagree. They basically have the same lineup as last year, just without Russell Martin and with Francisco Cervelli. Martin wasn’t a “True #4 hitter”, and they had one of the best offenses in baseball last year. This isn’t a team with a lot of weaknesses. If the lack of a number four hitter is their biggest one, then they’re in good shape, since we saw last year that they don’t need one to have a great offense.
Daryl Restly: Do you think the Pirates will continue to keep Jose Tabata at $4M this year and $4.5M next year to simply be an, at best, fifth outfielder.
I’m going to answer that question with another question. Do you think I will keep my student loans for the next two years, even though my business degree, at best, helps me with maybe 10% of my job? Just like the Pirates, I don’t have a choice.
Nelson Gilbert: What do you think will happen if Gregory Polanco struggles early ad he did at the end of last season. Do you think it will be Lambo or Harrison as his replacement. If not who?
I don’t think Polanco is going to be on a short leash early in the year. Look at what the Pirates did the last two seasons in right field. They went with guys like Jose Tabata and Travis Snider, and stuck with them for most of the first two months of each season, despite their struggles. Polanco is younger, and has much more upside. If he’s struggling around June, then they might send him down to get more work in Triple-A. As to who could replace him, I refer you to this article.
Steve Dimmick: The Pirates seem to be high on Kang already. Besides what they scouted in Korea, have they seen him hit anything live other than BP in ST? When does the live pitching generally start for hitters?
Kang did play at Pirate City when he was younger, and on a Korean traveling team. The Pirates are one of the few teams that scouts heavily in Asia, as shown by the number of players they have signed out of Taiwan. So I’d imagine they have seen plenty of Kang prior to signing him. As for live pitching and Kang hitting live BP, both things started this Tuesday.
Bill Kline: Is the studying of the Golden State Warriors a result of all the utility players they brought in or are all the utility players a result of the research?
I think the utility players are a result of the research, but a bigger reason for the utility players would be what happened with Josh Harrison last year. I wrote about that earlier this week.
Alex Warren: On the revised site where do I now find information such as the salary expenditures current and projected, etc.?
On the top of every page there is a tab that says “Resources.” Hover over that and it will give you links to the 2015 payroll, future payroll, 25-man projection, organizational depth chart, and the Spring Training tracker.