First Pitch: Where Do the Pirates Need to Make a Move at the Deadline?

Today I discussed the needs for the Pirates as the trade deadline approaches, pointing out that they could use upgrades in the infield, first base, right field, and pitching. I’d say the biggest priority would be the infield, due to the injuries to Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison.

But then there’s the topic of whether the Pirates even need to make a trade at all. Earlier this week, Jonah Keri had an interesting thought about the Pirates, while listing them as one of the top four teams in baseball.

This is the strongest team the Pirates have fielded during the impressive run that started in 2013. And while that strength understandably triggers visions of a deep playoff run and a desire to add big-name players to make that happen, the Buccos might be so good at so many key positions that emptying the farm system to add a star won’t even be worth the trouble.

Granted, this was written when Jordy Mercer’s injury was still up in the air, and things have changed a bit since then. Keri even went on to say that the Pirates don’t need a starter, and that it would be wise to add a position player if Mercer went down for a long stretch, which is something I agree with.

The Pirates are currently the second best team in the NL, and one of the top teams in all of baseball. They would currently be leading four other divisions in baseball right now, including the other two in the National League. They got to this point with the team they have, and that includes Pedro Alvarez at first base, Gregory Polanco in right field, and Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke in the rotation.

The trade deadline brings this feeling that you have to add, because being a good team before July 31st suddenly isn’t enough. If you have any sort of weakness on your team, and if you can make an upgrade, then you must make the upgrade and fill that weakness or else you will never have a shot at winning it all. We’ll ignore the fact that the Giants started Travis Ishikawa throughout the playoffs on their way to win a World Series last year.

On August 1st we will start to hear about the trade deadline winners and losers. The winners will be the guys who make trades and add names. The losers will be the guys who do nothing, even if they were already a good team.

Last year the Oakland Athletics and the Detroit Tigers were both winners. The Athletics added Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester in July, while the Tigers added David Price. Both teams were first in their division on July 31st, with Detroit sporting a .552 winning percentage and Oakland putting up a .617 winning percentage.

Detroit didn’t see a big change down the stretch, winning at a .561 rate the final two months. They were then swept out of the LDS against Baltimore. That Orioles team added Andrew Miller, Alejandro De Aza, and Kelly Johnson in trades, with the final two being August additions. Miller was a big piece, but no one was anywhere near Price.

Oakland really fell apart, going 22-33 down the stretch. They ended up losing to Kansas City in the Wild Card game. The Kansas City team that made Josh Willingham, Jason Frasor, and Liam Hendricks their big additions (Willingham was an early-August trade). Granted, if Oakland pulls Jon Lester a little earlier in the Wild Card game, this might be a different story. Maybe we’re talking about Oakland going to the World Series and losing to the Giants because it’s an even year and the Giants had to win it all.

The overall point is that baseball can be unpredictable, especially when you reach the playoffs. The trade deadline brings up dreams about how adding [Insert Star Player Here] will lead to a championship run. But Oakland added two of the best pitchers on the market last year, and Detroit added possibly the best pitcher on the market, and neither have anything to show for it.

That’s not to say that the opposite approach works better. The Pirates didn’t add anyone at all, and they lost in the Wild Card game. Kansas City and Baltimore didn’t add much, although both advanced in the playoffs. The Giants won it all, and they did add Jake Peavy. However, their win wasn’t due to Peavy, as he put up a 6.19 ERA in 16 innings over four starts in the playoffs, and the Giants lost three of those starts.

One thing I find interesting is that the two teams who went all-in are now sellers one year later. Oakland has one of the worst records in baseball, and they gutted their farm system to go for it last year. Detroit is sitting at .500, but there are talks that they will trade David Price and Yoenis Cespedes. Meanwhile, the Pirates and Royals have two of the best records in baseball, and the Giants are just half a game back in the Wild Card race.

The idea that you have to load up to make a run for the World Series sounds good on July 31st, but the theory doesn’t always hold up by October 31st. The belief that you need to load up for a playoff run is usually supported by the idea that you won’t get another chance in the future. The irony here is that this process usually limits your chances of success in the future.

The Pirates have taken a good approach in the past. They’ve added guys via trade, but they haven’t given up any key long-term pieces. The biggest loss might have been Dilson Herrera, although that trade for Marlon Byrd came right after they saw a few key injuries to their outfield.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see them make a similar move for an infielder, after injuries to Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison have left their infield depth depleted. And when you think about it, that makes total sense. As I mentioned above, they got here with the team they have, including struggling players like Alvarez and Polanco. But they also got to this point with guys like Harrison and Mercer. The Pirates are still one of the best teams in baseball with Pedro Alvarez at first base. But you can’t say the same thing with two of their infielders on the disabled list.

Beyond adding an infielder, I don’t know if any other upgrade is absolutely necessary. I do like the idea of adding someone like Adam Lind to not only upgrade over Pedro Alvarez in 2015, but to upgrade first base in 2016 until Josh Bell arrives. I’ve always been high on Gregory Polanco, so I tend to buy into short-term success like his July stretch, with the hope that he’s finally figuring it out. Thus, I wouldn’t target right field, unless it’s an addition like Ben Zobrist where you’re upgrading the infield first, while adding security in the outfield. I think the bullpen could use an upgrade, but I don’t see the Pirates making a huge splash there, and I think they could get by with a lower key addition. And finally I think that adding a starting pitcher is just a luxury, although it will be interesting to see if the large amount of pitchers on the market will make the prices somewhat reasonable to make that luxury worthwhile.

I’d expect the Pirates to be active in the upcoming week. I think their biggest need is an infielder to replace the lost production from injuries. But beyond that, they don’t necessarily have to make a move at any of the other positions, since this is a very strong team, even when you consider the few roster spots that aren’t producing this year.

**First Pitch? I remember this feature! A little behind the scenes on the absence: I haven’t written this article since the last day of the draft. A big reason for the break is that I followed the draft with a ton of behind the scenes work on the site. You probably remember the membership software transition, followed by our change in site servers. Both changes have been outstanding, and have made life easier on the business side of things. The result is more time for articles, and some days it feels like that’s just 20% of my job.

Those two things took a few weeks to implement and iron out. Then with all of the other behind the scenes stuff (personnel, booking travel, overseeing projects and upgrades, and other business related items), along with travel, it was just hard to get back into the swing of things with writing a nightly article to go with all of the daily articles, and all of the other work I had. I did have a plan to have other writers featured in this column, and that could still happen going forward. But truthfully, I kind of missed it. And there’s no better time to bring it back than right before the trade deadline.

**Also making a return: the 2015 40-man payroll page, and the 40-man roster/future payroll.

**Prospect Watch: Heredia Can’t Repeat Success, Allie Hits 15th Homer. I’ve mentioned before that the Prospect Watch is going to get some massive upgrades. We’re almost ready to roll those out, and should have the new and much improved Prospect Watch by Friday. Those of you who have been looking for more stats are going to be very pleased. Be on the lookout for those changes in the next day or two.

**Pirates Receive Competitive Balance Pick in 2016 Draft. And surprisingly the Cardinals didn’t receive anything, which is the way it should be, as the Cardinals don’t need any kind of competitive balance compensation.

**Pirates Call Up Florimon, Option Boscan, DFA Aquino. My thoughts on the moves are included, featuring an evaluation of Aquino.

**Barrett Barnes Promoted to Altoona. I gave my thoughts on his power, which is much better than the numbers indicate.

**Looking at the Pirates’ Needs as the Trade Deadline Approaches

**Morning Report: Chad Kuhl and Minor League Playoffs

 

  • First BIG trade domino falls…Scott Kazmir to the ASTROS for a C+ (Daniel Megden) pitching prospect and a C+ catching prospect. That is TREMENDOUS value for the Astros. BOTH prospects are in A+ ball…seeing this I am definitely more hopeful of the Pirates can pull off a couple very good moves. This would have been an awesome move for the Bucs.

  • Anyone interested in Lonnie Chisenhall as a bench/fill in 3rd baseman.

    • buccotime57
      July 23, 2015 2:18 pm

      Yes I would I watched him multiple times in the minors, always thought highly of him.

  • This had me thinking on why we don’t need to trade for an Ace.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/whats-happened-to-teams-that-traded-for-aces/

    -If you’re good enough to make it, you only need small additions.

  • The penguins have totally benefited from an all in approach every year since they won the cup. They now have little young talent, few picks and fewer prospects.

    • Haha exactly

    • Not the same situation at all…especially since in baseball you can’t trade away all your picks…

      • buccotime57
        July 23, 2015 2:13 pm

        I was just trying to say the pens do not value prospects and always want seasoned vets. This has not worked out.

        • The opposite can be true just as equally where you overvalue assets that are depreciable…that have high attrition rates. We don’t need to trade our whole farm system for some upgrades…but we can afford to make trades. I would be more comfortable with trades IF I liked the last 2 drafts more than I do, especially this last draft…but still, we are in a good enough position that we can trade from. Besides Herrera and Brock Holt who have we traded that really has turned out to be a great prospect?

  • I can’t believe I’m typing this, but I am convinced the Pirates not only will, but should, re-acquire Barmes.

  • The truth is that the Cubs are likely to acquire another top end arm whether it be Hamels or Price (linked strongly to both). The Pirates are fading quickly post break and while you do not panic, a move still needs to be made. We are looking at a team that has put out some bad lineup cards recently due to injury…we do not need this team to be going into the most important time of the year with Florimon and Morel.

    I would go “all-in” for a guy like Ben Zobrist because he has the most value for this team. He can play 3B and he can play 1B and he can play the OF. His bat plays REALLY well as a RH bat against lefties…with a .793 OPS this year against lefties and a .786 OPS against lefties between 2012-2014. Zobrist also has pull-side left handed power against RH pitching which would be very good for him in PNC Park. I understand that Zobrist is a rental, but based on his bat and his versatility I would look to resign him in the offseason as well. I think this one bat could actually solve all the current issues, although you’d wind up with Kang still at short which is less than optimal.

    My wish-list is basically as follows:
    1. Ben Zobrist- see above
    2. Juan Uribe- he has 5 HRs in 52 ABs against lefties this year
    3. Adam Lind- multiple years of control at a position even our CF has said needs to be solidified.
    4. Mike Napoli- hate on him all you want, but the guy can still mash lefties with 5 HRs in 78 AB this year against lefties and a .822 OPS
    6. Tyler Clippard- another late-inning arm to pair with Watson and Melancon

    I would sell a top 5 prospect in our system to the A’s for Ben Zobrist AND Tyler Clippard. I would also try to acquire Mike Napoli on the cheap. IF the Pirates were able to pull something like this off they’d wind up with two additions who hit .800 OPS (about) versus lefties and a dominant bullpen arm. They would be short on a shortstop, but that’s a normal offensive weakness in lineups…if Florimon can defensively be sound then fine.

    • I disagree about Zobrist. He is hitting worse than Barmes this season and his IF defense is worse, too. Barmes is better right now and would cost far less than Zobrist.

      You suggest Pirates acquire all these players who mash lefties, but in reality Pirates play about 80% of games vs RH SP.

      • Interesting you say that when to get deep in the playoffs you’ll have to, likely, go through Lester/Bumgarner and Kershaw.

        Barmes can play SS and allow Kang to go back to 3B which is nice, but he cannot play RF against a lefty or play 1B. It is interesting that you disagree about Zobrist since his .772 OPS would rank, what, 3rd on the team? Only behind McCutchen, Marte, and Kang….

        • Scott Kliesen
          July 23, 2015 10:34 am

          Barmes is a better stop gap until Harrison and Mercer return because he plays stellar D at SS. Kang can return to 3rd base where his D is better. And once Harrison returns he can play RF vs LH SP.

          And best of all, Barmes won’t cost Pirates a valuable prospect or two like Zobrist will.

          • Ok. SO I will do you one better…you can get Barmes for nothing resembling “a valuable prospect” who can hold down SS defensively until Harrison and Mercer come back and you can actually spend some and go get Ben Zobrist who can play 1B. Again, Ben Zobrist’s OPS would rank 3rd on the team currently!

            Consider, further, that besides this year in Oakland Ben Zobrist has continually been a 5 WAR player…Ben Zobrist would be a HUGE addition for this team. Can play RF, 1B, 3B, and 2B in a pinch. He would, essentially, replace Sean Rodriguez and provide a bat that is better than any except our top 3 hitters!

            • Scott Kliesen
              July 23, 2015 12:35 pm

              Fair enough, but Zobrist has spent majority of time at 2B this season. How much will his D hurt Pirates as 3B and SS? Furthermore, he has been a replacement level player outside of a hot month of June. Last 10 games he has 3 XBH, all doubles, with 0 RBI’s.

              The problem with Zobrist is Pirates would have to pay for what he once was, and not what he is currently.

          • Better yet, leave Florimon there and don’t give up anything. I don’t see why so many people are acting like 6 weeks of Barmes bat is going to be significant compared to anyone else.

      • Zobrist best position is 2B. He has 90 or so innings as a 1B, 20 as a 3B and is probably worse in the OF than Polanco. Forget about him being able to play SS. Plus he’s 34. Why overpay for him?

        Gotta agree with Scott on Zobrist.

        • Because he can play multiple positions and has a bat that would be the 4th best OPS on this team…that seems significant, right? Or do we not want to score more runs and get better production from our lineup?

    • This is going to be an interesting week for all Pirate fans. State of the art defensive shifts and new era [Golden State Warriors] rest theories for stars seem out of place when veteran players cannot execute little league fundamentals. Hitters stubbornly refuse to adjust to how they are being pitched. Now the players are publicly calling out for reinforcements. The coffers are full…………..what is management prepared to do?

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 23, 2015 8:58 am

    (1) SP to replace Morton – try to include Morton as part of larger trade (give Glasnow a start or two to see if he can handle it)
    (2) RH and LH RP to replace Worley and Bastardo
    (3) First baseman – Mitch Moreland would be nice…Lind too costly
    (4) Replacements for Florimon and Morel and Ishikawa on the bench

    • Glasnow is not getting called up this year

    • Anything else?
      No new RF?
      Moreland might cost more than Lind.
      Glasnow isn’t ready.
      Morton was left in too long last night.

      But, if NH DID go get all of this, Tim wouldn’t have any prospects left to write about, now would he?

      • Moreland wouldn’t cost more than Lind. Lind is a better player and is in our division.

        Neither one is likely…that’s why you have to think outside of those two and go all in on someone like Zobrist.

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        July 23, 2015 1:06 pm

        Glasnow is already better than Morton – what is the downside of letting him pitch a spot start or two and see what he has?

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        July 23, 2015 1:08 pm

        The Pirates don’t get use their prospects anyhow – might as well trade some of them…

  • A lineup with ishikawa, florimon and Stewart for any extended period of time does not project to play 500 ball. It’s really quite that simple. They need a bat and they need it before this series ends

  • This team HAS TO get some more offense. Even the players think they to make some moves. Neil Walker’s response to the question “Do you think they will make some moves?” “I would hope so”.So many games lost because of stupid mistakes and poor situational hitting. If you want to know how much they need a bat or two go back through all the box scores from this year and count how many games they have lost when the starting pitcher went at least 6 innings and gave up 2 or less runs. I think the count is at 14 or 15 times. You win even half of those games and your in first place

  • Regarding Morton… he has value IF Bucs treat him as a six-inning starter. Chuck’s had some 1st inning issues, but has been extremely solid from 2-6. However, the 7th, whether it’s the 3rd/4th time batters are seeing him or if he’s tiring… well, the 7th has been a disaster (and was Hurdle the only person in the world who didn’t know Morton had to leave before another lefty power bat came to the plate last night?).

    So, I don’t know if adding a starter is a priority, except for depth if one of the five goes down (and Liz can spot start), but the bullpen needs an upgrade. IMO, the biggest add should be another Hughes-type reliever – induces ground balls, comfortable in a fireman role.

    If there’s truly a fear that DFAing Caminero will result in losing him and him becoming a star elsewhere, then somebody needs to find an obscure injury to Caminero and stow him on the DL, because he’s not helping by taking up a roster spot.

    • I would not mind seeing a 5th starter acquired and putting Morton in the bullpen for a Hughes type role for the duration of this year…depending on the cost. Mike Leake would be a nice addition, although probably costly. OR, as you said, the Pirates can see Morton for what he is and tell Clint Hurdle that he doesn’t pitch into the 7th.

    • If Morton’s handled properly, he’s solid, but yeah, last night’s on Hurdle. Morton’s command had gone in the 7th, get him out. After the Rios single, which was smacked, he should have been pulled, no later than that. Probably earlier, really.

  • We always read about “small sample size” about players and trends but the sample size for the Pirates after the break has me concerned. Losing 5 of 6 games with a lack of offensive production, poor defense, coaching errors and spotty pitching lends credence that attention should be paid to a corrective change. Maybe after the St. Louis series this team thought they were invincible. The offensive weakness are glaring. But other issues are popping up that seems to be glossed over. One obvious answer would be to add a MLB bat instead of the multiple AAA marginal retreads. But with this series with the Nats coming up I really do not believe this team can play with them. Another 3 or 4 loses could cause a total loss of confidence.

    • Nice to hear from the extremist, doom and gloom, wing of Pirate Nation.

      • Not doom or gloom not extremist. It has been a poor showing for this team after the break — all levels. The coaching miscues should also be noted. It seems like when you came back from Christmas break you really did not want to be in school. I believe that holes exist that should be corrected. The Nats destroyed this team the last time we played and the current Pirate team is not performing well.

        • Every team has ups and downs each season. A 1-5 stretch isn’t exactly anything to be overly concerned with.

          Now if they lose 3 of 4 to Nats at home I may change my opinion.

  • The Pirates have the same record now has they did 2013, they won 92/4 games that year. The cards won 95/6 games same thing will most likely happen this year.

    The O is ok, you will have hot & cold streaks bc it’s a young club. Next year or in 2 this team could win 100 games, bc we won’t have Pedro on the team.

    If they are going make a trade, they need to get another starting pitcher like AJ or FL. Morton should be #5 and Locke should be traded. Also need another bullpen arm. We lost 5 games bc Hurdle only trust Watson, Huges and Mark.

    Hopefully all these young arms can stay healthy and get to the show soon. Side note about a hitting coach agree they need a new one, give Griffey Jr a call. Also they should hire Andy VanSlyke has a outfield coach to help Polanco and Marte

    • We have a lot of games left against the division and struggle mightily against our division…and while the record might be similar to 2013, the Cubs are going to be right there as well.

  • Welcome back First Pitch!
    Nice insightful article.
    There has been a lot of mention of Zobrist, but he would be a pricey addition in terms of prospects, not to mention him being a FA after the season.
    Martin Prado hasn’t received much mention as possibly available but I’d like to see the Pirates make a push for him. He has another year of control and he is very versatile. Plus he can hit.

  • They need to make an infield addition for a guy that becomes a solid bench piece once the starters return. If Hanson can become an option at third, I’d go there first. If the price for Zobrist is truly Bell+, I’m looking elsewhere. I would love to upgrade over Alvarez, just not sure if there’s a guy that’s out there other than Lind or Moreland to do so. If the cost for either is reasonable, I say go for it. As far as pitchers go, if they aren’t going after one of the top of rotation guys, they shouldn’t bother. Another bullpen arm wouldn’t hurt, but they probably have just as good options on the farm.

  • Zachary Asman
    July 23, 2015 1:14 am

    Tim — was thinking about Aramis Ramirez. Seems like a trade for him would be similar to the Derek Lee trade in 2011, right? I’m talking in terms of cost.

    • John Dreker
      July 23, 2015 2:24 am

      Ramirez has about $6M left on his contract this year and he currently has a 0.0 WAR, so I can’t imagine there would be a huge cost. You would almost expect it to be a marginal prospect for Ramirez and cash

      • It’s a bit more complicated than that. First, his WAR on FanGraphs, which incorporates advanced metrics for fielding, is 1.2.

        $8 M of his salary is also deferred, and I’m assuming the Brewers pay that. So if he was traded at the deadline, he would be due about $2.6 M the rest of the year.

        But if you assume a 1.0 WAR the final two months (which is a bit optimistic), plus that $2.6 M, you get about $3.6 M, or enough for a Grade C pitching prospect.

        So still not much, but probably better than Aaron Baker-level.

        • John Dreker
          July 23, 2015 2:34 am

          I don’t trust any WAR that gives him a positive fielding report

          • Eye test suggests he’s marginally better than a statue.

            • I think he would help the Pirates and as Tim suggested, if they cost is a C pitching prospect, then I’d do it in a second, especially with the salary being lower. I just don’t think he’s going to be a huge difference maker. It’s possible he goes on a tear to wrap up his career, but it’s also possible he’s retiring because he knows he’s broken down and he crawls to the finish line

    • Ramirez is not an upgrade. I suppose one could say he would perform better if he was playing for a contender, but how good of a bet is that? I say let some other team find out.

    • Aramis Ramirez is not an upgrade at all. He has a .725 OPS but that means you’d have to move Kang to SS permanently which no one wants to see or remove Kang from the lineup…unless you are suggesting we take one of our hottest and better hitters out of the lineup for Ramirez and trade Ramirez’s .725 OPS for Kang’s .777 OPS…I don’t think that is smart, obviously.

  • Zachary Asman
    July 23, 2015 1:13 am

    I’m starting to think we could use another starter. We don’t need Hamels/Cueto/Price but someone from that next tier. I just think it could really strengthen our rotation. AJ is bound to regress a little from his excellent first half, Charlie has an ERA of 4.5 and his peripherals don’t suggest its just bad luck, and Locke is Locke. My first priority would still be a first baseman, but I’m starting to think a rental starter wouldn’t hurt.

  • Darkstone42
    July 23, 2015 1:01 am

    Lind or Moreland (same player, basically, same need filled, same amount of time, not terribly dissimilar dollars) and Zobrist (ideally) or a guy like Aramis Ramirez or Juan Uribe or even, yes, Clint Barmes to hold down the left side of the infield could be very good adds which cost reasonable amounts.

    Zobrist will be pricey, but if the A’s like some outfield guys and arms in the lower minors, we could get it done. The Rangers apparently want young arms for Moreland if they move him, and those we have, though I’m not sure how close to the Majors they want them to be. Aramis should be very cheap since he’s retiring at the end of the year and the Brewers won’t get anything for him at all if they don’t move him.

    • I don’t see Lind coming here. He has a team option for 2016 of 8 million, affordable these days. The Brewers would need to be overwhelmed with an offer to move him. And would you want to overwhelm a team in our own division?

  • While the pirates do not need a major upgrade ( although first base would be a nice fix) they do need to add another infielder to keep ishikawa,morel and rodriguez from the starting lineup at the same time.

  • This team can’t hit front line playoff pitching they shouldn’t trade prospects for fix because they’re not going anywhere! Need to fire hitting coach before next year.

    • Darkstone42
      July 23, 2015 1:27 am

      No one can hit front-line pitching. Not consistently, anyway. That’s why it’s front-line pitching. We’ve knocked around some aces, and we’ve been held in check by others. That’s every offense.

      Yeah, we could use an upgrade with the bat, but let’s not pretend like the Nationals are out there knocking Kershaw around either, when he struck them out 14 times over 8 scoreless innings the last time they saw him. And then Greinke blanked them for another 8 the very next night.

      • At this time last year, the Pirates completed their game of July 22 6 games above .500. This year, the Pirates were due to come back to earth after how they finished pre-AS, so whatever we can do without doing so in a panic will be more than enough. Losing Harrison, Mercer, and Cervelli all at the same time is crippling, but some of the remaining players need to step up.

        I would not trade within the Division, and if we can develop a trade with an AL club, we have players that have limited control with more value in the AL. In the NL, if the Padres want to trade James Shields, let’s kick the tires.

        • To be more specific – some of the remaining players that need to step up can be revealed just by looking at their last 7 games. Walker, .200/.194/.300, 0W/8K, 3 RBI; ‘Cutch .179/.324/.321, 6W/11K, 3 RBI; Alvarez .174/.240/.174, 1W/18K, 4 RBI. Polanco is doing well, as are Marte and Kang – it is our foundation players who need to step up now and lead this team.

          Rotation is good in the Top 3, but Morton is 2-4, 6.34 ERA – heard that on MLB this morning and could not believe it. Our No. 5 Jeff Locke may just be leading the team at 2-3, 1.96 ERA in his last 7 games.

          • Does Pedro really have 18 K’s ine the last seven games? Holy schmoly. And I though Cutch was a K machine since the break.

          • Ground Chuck has inflated ERA due to the dreaded one bad inning. His career has been defined by not being able to stop bleeding. Last night was perfect example. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

            How Hurdle didn’t yank him before facing lefty Moustakis, then inserting Bastardo to face Cain after damage was done is beyond belief to me.

            • Because Hurdle is a bad manager. It is not surprising.

              • I choose to believe he’s a good Manager who had a bad night.

                • A bad night the night before too? And the night before that as well? He left AJ in too long, left Cole in too long…and left Morton in WAY too long. Clint Hurdle is a terrible game manager. He might be good with the players, but he does not do a good job of managing the team in-game.

                  • Scott Kliesen
                    July 23, 2015 10:10 am

                    In principle, I like that he shows he trusts his SP’s to fight through difficult situations. I like it more when he does it with AJ, Cole, and Frankie on mound than Chuck and Locke though. He mismanaged that situation last night much worse than two previous nights IMO.

                    • Oh, I completely agree. However, Cole was in the 8th inning and right near/at 100 pitches. When that error was charged to Walker I would have taken him out for a ground ball pitcher like Hughes hoping to get a double play.

                      He admitted that he left AJ in too long because AJ was fired up after the balk call and told him he wanted to go.

                      Last night was a disaster, a complete mental breakdown by Hurdle. As was not putting in Ishikawa earlier in the game before once the lefty was out.

            • Scott: Good point. Nothing against any of the guys listed, but what I intended by putting up these numbers is that no matter who we get at the deadline, it will not be enough unless our foundation guys wake up and start to lead this team.

              • Well, yes, clearly Mccutchen has to be much more Cutch like for us to be a good team…someone like Ben Zobrist immediately makes our lineup look much, much better.

          • I agree some players need to “step up” but it’s not only on these players. Some things are out of their control. When you have replacements coming in who are not scaring teams with the bat, it allows teams to pitch to these players differently…if this was a video game, there’s much more validity in saying players X,Y, and Z need to step up and here are their numbers. Just my two cents tho, I am entitled to being completely wrong. Lol

        • Personally I wouldn’t mind Andrew Cashner one bit. Would come cheaper, seems like a decent chance at reclamation, and he’s not a one yr rental.

    • Two WC games. They lost to Bumgarner. They beat Cueto. Which of those isn’t a “front line” pitcher?

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