According to Bill Brink from the Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Pirates have asked about Oakland A’s infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Cliff Pennington and San Diego Padres infielder Clint Barmes.

Pennington has mostly played shortstop during his career, but he can also play second and third base. He is hitting .245/.322/.292 in 61 games, mostly off the bench. He hits free agency at the end of the season, and combined with his offensive stats and remaining salary, the price to acquire him should be rather low.

Clint Barmes is having a strong season as a part-time player for the Padres. He is hitting .284/.324/.440 this year, which are well above the numbers he posted in any of his three seasons in Pittsburgh. Barmes has only been playing shortstop this season, but he can play the other infield positions in a pinch. He is a favorite of Clint Hurdle, so I’m sure he wouldn’t mind bringing Barmes back. With his defense and the way he is hitting, plus a salary much lower than Pennington, the Padres might be able to get a decent(better) return than Pennington would bring.

Ben Zobrist has been a much better player in the past, but he has really struggled in Oakland. In 61 games this season, he is hitting .258/.346/.423, so the numbers aren’t bad on offense. It’s his defense that has taken a hit, with an -0.8 dWAR according to Baseball-Reference. He has played shortstop in the past, but this season he’s just seeing time at second base and in the corner outfield. His value was higher when he was putting up bigger numbers while occasionally playing shortstop and center field and hitting better.

Zobrist seems like the best player to get for a pennant run, but not the best fit for the Pirates right now. He also has a much higher salary($7,500,000 in last year of contract) than the other two, so that could factor in on what a team is willing to pay to get him in a down year. Barmes might actually be the best fit for the Pirates right now, and it isn’t out of the question that they could get Zobrist as well, since they fill different needs. It’s just a matter of what they are willing to add when they know both Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison will be back for a pennant run.

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    • Walker/Cutch/Polanco’s errors lead to KC scoring. The Pirates failed several times to get a hit with runners in scoring position. It’s the players who play, and if they continually play poorly the manager gets fired.

  1. Will the sentimentalists in the PBC front office trade or cut Sanchez? He’s fun to plug in but he can’t hit.
    Morel is a nothing burger, and Pedro is…Pedro. Polanco’s shortcomings are beginning to wear on me and Cutch looks like he needs a major rest.
    Does NH need to wait until 7-31 to bring in some talent?
    I’d go for Byrd and A Ramirez and give up whomever in our minor league system it takes to get them.
    I don’t think–despite all of the PP headlines–are minors are as rich as people claim, therefore waiting on them to blossom is a mistake.
    It seems half the “names” are on some short or long term DL. And nobody seems to have a power bat.

  2. The fact that Brent Morel is in the majors is a joke. Even more of a joke: he started at 3B tonight for a playoff team. Call up Hansen already. This is ridiculous

    • There is no reason Bret Morel should e on this team beyond this weekend. He is terrible. Having Morel Stewy and Rodriguez in your line up when a DH is available is awful. Not only could this bunch not hit that can’t field either.

  3. why doesn’t Polanco understand the concept of a 2 strike swing as a low power lefty handed batter with speed. THis at bat against Holland just pisses me off and makes me wonder why he’s on this team. Horrible at bat

    • And what about Morel’s at bat immediately after the injury when he swung at the first pitch from the new pitcher with a 3-1 count?!

      • we supposedly have a great farm system, but who do we have on the bench? Morel, Rodriguez, Ishikawa (regardless of his big night last night), Decker…..

        • And even then we cannot make the right damn decisions!

          Sean Rodriguez has a .494 (YES, you read that right) OPS against RH pitching. Why was he still in the game when the lefty was injured?

          Brent Morel has a…..wait for it………415 OPS (yes, again, you read that correctly) against RH pitching the last 3 seasons.

          Travis Ishikawa has a .705 OPS against RH pitching the from 2012-2104…

          Explain that brilliant managerial decision to me, please…

    • What pisses me off even more? Seeing Marte thrown out at the plate for the FIRST out of a 3-0 ball game. Stupid isn’t even the right word. It is worse than stupid…beyond idiotic…and he was being WAVED HOME!

      • I have not kept a log but I am convinced this team has blown more games due to bad fundamentals and mistakes than any in recent memory. I believe it is easily 10 games or more. Cole has a right to be hot about this one. The big problem is the team has looked BAD since the break. The way this is going the wild card is not at all safe.

  4. Speaking of infielders, I was thinking as Walker made the error that allowed KC to score 3 unearned runs in the 8th tonight….

    The Pirates are not a very good defensive team, in addition to lacking fundamentals on the base paths. Just glancing at 2015 team fielding stats…

    (1) Fielding percentage – 12th in NL/24th in MLB
    (2) # of errors – 3rd most in NL/5th most in MLB
    (3) # steals allowed – most in NL and MLB – 13 more than the next closest team

    The only plus is that the Pirates have turned the most DPs in MLB.

    • No, we are not a very good team at discipline, baserunning, or defense. That is why we are a contender and nothing more. People can say all they want about our record and that we’re an elite team…but McCutchen can’t figure out where to throw the ball, Neil can’t field a ball in a big spot (8th inning), Caminero can’t throw strikes after being brought in, we can’t run the bases…and we squander opportunity after opportunity with Sean Rodriguez and Brent Morel in the lineup. Score should have been 1-0 after the 2nd inning…and not because of a bad Home Run call. Could ANYONE put the ball in play to score Marte, please?!

      Someone tell me why Ishikawa, the way he’s been hitting (despite the fact that we know he’s not very good–neither is Morel or Rodriguez), was not immediately in the game when the lefty starter Vargas got injured. Explain that to me.

    • Take away pedro and guys playing out of position too much because of injuries and the pirates defense is just fine

  5. Here’s the BIGGEST difference between the Pirates and the Royals and Cardinals….the Royals and Cardinals are (mostly) very well managed, play good defense, and do not make many mistakes. The Pirates are (mostly) not well managed, play mediocre or less defense, and make way too many mistakes. Pitching, fielding, baserunning…terrible managerial decisions…Ishikawa in his only at bat of the game gets a hit. Are you serious?! Why was he not in over Morel or Rodriguez as soon as the injury took place?! So very frustrating.

    • And now that run/not run with Marte thrown out, idiotically waved home as he was, at the plate looks HUGE!…with 2 hours and the bases loaded in a 3-1 game. I continue to shake my head at some of the things this team does on a nightly basis.

  6. Pirates are going to lose this game, a game they really should have had a much better chance of winning. I am beginning to REALLY question Clint Hurdle as the manager of this team. Leaves Cole in too long again…And can someone tell me why after the injury we didn’t pull Morel or Rodriguez in favor of Ishikawa who raked last night?! How stupid!

    And we bring in Caminero?! What a joke…

    • Jared I agree on him not getting Ishikawa into the game…..who raked two games straight. That terrible D in the 8th was embarrassing. Did you catch the Cole stare at Cutch after the bad throw? How about the big hand for Cole coming off the mound from the classy KC fans.

      • Its inexplicable. I mean I kept saying all game as countless righties game out of the bullpen…”Hurdle, could you PLEASE give the lefty with a hot bat an opportunity?!”…NOPE! Morel and Rodriguez. We fall 5 games back…because of ineptitude and poor fundamentals. We may be the 3rd best team in baseball…but the two best teams actually understand how to play sound baseball.

    • He will first talk about need to get Caminero work on arm slot. Then he will mumble about how he had to get Morel acclimated because he needs him and lastly must play Rodriguez? Then will ignore how team is fundamentally unsound and state bullpen needed saved.

      • It is becoming abundantly clear for those of us who have been neither here nor there about it…that Clint Hurdle is NOT a very good manager. Caminero was the choice?! Continually poor decisions and leaving pitchers in too long. after the error tonight Cole should have been pulled for Hughes to try to get a double play…

        • Hurdle is a poor in game tactician. But he is an above average club house manager, keeping the team egos in line and generally having the team ready to play. (Though Cutch’s performance last night has a humiliation in al ot of ways).

  7. C’mon how many times will Morel be allowed to fail before he no longer is in the organization? Watching him be overmatched repeatedly is embarrassing.

  8. I heard Hanson, Floriman, Ngoepe, and Lombardozzi are also available for a low cost as well.

  9. I really don’t get the pursuit of a player like barmes. Is his bat vs florimons really worth anything significant over a 6 week stretch? As far as zobrist goes he seems like a case of a player being underrated so long that he then becomes overrated. He’ll probably fetch a bigger price than he’s really worth.

  10. Why can’t we get crazy and just go after it …. ONE TIME!!! …. let’s go get Tulowitzki! What do you think it would cost? If Colorado takes on more/less money, that impacts the prospect package going back, right? Instead of going and getting three players, why not just trade for one that would solve a lot of the problems? You put Tulo in the middle of that lineup and now you have your SS for the next five years. I don’t think it’s that far-fetched. They can afford it.

    • Looking at this type of trade, let’s take a few things into account:

      Tulowitzki is owed $94 million over the next five seasons and has a $15 million team option with a $4 million buyout. The Pirates would not be able to take on this type of contract without having the Rockies picking up a substantial amount of this contract. Therefore, the Pirates would have to send several top prospects.

      Now, the Rockies have a new GM and trading an established superstar would be a huge gamble unless he was getting some SERIOUS talent in return. You’d be looking at several high upside prospects being traded but it would depend on Glasnow being involved in that conversation. It seems like such a trade would be a three team deal.

        • He was the choice of the best management team in baseball man…no questions asked. Heaven forbid our “advanced metrics” and “statistical calculations” tell us that Neil Walker isn’t very good at 2B and move him to 3B to keep his bat in the lineup and bring up a top prospect. No, no, no…we have an answer…Morel!

  11. Zobrist would be a nice addition but he would be a rental and likely an expensive one…lots of teams are interested in him. I don’t see how Barnes or Pennington are much better than Gift…..

  12. Oh good grief, they should go get Jose Ramirez from the Indians now that Lindor seems to be working out. He’s a good defensive SS who will hit better than Pennington or Barmes, although he will cost. But he has about 4 months of ML service time. He can probably be had for somebody like Blake Wood or Radhames Liz and a lower minors INF.

    • At first base you also need someone who can hit righties and take some at-bats away from Pedro.

  13. I’d be fine with a Clint Barmes. He’s a strong defender, He’s hitting lefties. He’s a great club house guy We know what we are getting, but This team needs an impact bat. If they are going to go get an impact hitter at another position then go get Barmes as a stop gap at SS. As I said yesterday and Greg Brown said today, I do’t want to see Jung Ho Kang at SS for the next 6 weeks, He’s a 3rd basemen in this league. I have been a big proponent for landing Justin Upton but Gregory Polanco might be turning a corner .288/.400 in July and I would hate for him to take a seat right when he’s figuring it out. It looks like 1st base is the biggest need. Bench get’s better with Barmes when Mercer and Harrison return. Adam Lind,Clint Barmes,and Ben Zobrist would look real nice. need bulloen help to and a starting pitcher is probably needed. I don’t trust Morton or Locke in a pennant race

  14. why trade assets before you see if the assets can play.but zobrist is an upgrade so he would be my choice.

  15. Zobrist will be the sexy choice, but when have the Pirates ever gone that route? I think Barmes is most likely trade target.

  16. It’s all well and good that the pirates will be getting harrison and mercer back for the pennant run, problem is you have to be in the pennant chase when it gets here. With the current lineup that’s a lot more questionable than it was notlong ago. So major needs are infield help and middle relief with secondary needs being right field and a back end pitcher. (Looks like first probably won’t get fixed until the off season,if then) so there’s barmes,pennington,uribe, zobrist ect., it really does not make much difference which one as long as they get one.

        • You insinuated Pirates would be out of playoff chase when Harrison and Mercer return from injury. Which in my mind is a ridiculous assertion no matter who Pirates have playing in their place.

          • Six weeks of morel, rodriguez and ishikawa along with a very unproductive pedro making up at least a third of the lineup and you think that’s a playoff caliber lineup? Maybe you had better rethink who is being ridiculous.

            • This debate is ridiculous. Pirates won’t go next 2 weeks, let alone 6 weeks, with last night’s lineup. But even if they did, they still have enough talent to remain in playoff chase. That’s my point.

              If you disagree, you need to look closer at talent on roster.

    • Zobrist would be an upgrade over S Rod. He’s a rental. The A’s are clearly out of it. You might need a bit more to get the deal done but I’m not including anyone higher than Clay Holmes. If they want more then go for Barmes considering Harrison and Mercer aren’t out for the year.
      I wonder if name recognition matters to GM’s by the way. Also Sean Rodriguez bunted with two strikes yesterday. I think they have more confidence in Cole swinging the bat at this point.

    • I’d be surprised if the A’s didn’t get a Top 100 prospect or Major League equivalent back for Zobrist.

      • Well, then that certainly means Garcia and Brault would not work. Haha. I knew/figured Zobrist would not be cheap, but giving up someone like Hanson for Zobrist just wouldn’t make any sense.

        • The Pirates gave up a prospect of similar value (Dilson Herrera) plus a reliever (Vic Black) for a lesser player (Marlon Byrd) just two years ago.

          You don’t have to like it, I know I don’t, but this is what it takes to make this sort of upgrade.

          • Lesser player?

            Marlon Byrd had 21 HRs, 71 RBI, an .848 OPS, and a 4.0 WAR when the Pirates acquired him for Dilson Herrera & Vic Black in 2013.

            Zobrist is 5 – 32 – .769 – 0.6 in those same categories this season. Other than being more versatile defensively, I’m not sure I’d consider him a better player than Byrd was in 2013.

            More in demand than Byrd, maybe. Not better.

      • Any team that would give up a top 100 prospect for 2 to 3 months of Zobrist is insane.

  17. Zobrist can play 3B and provide more value there than Rodriguez…and he can help at 1B and probably provide more value there than we’ve gotten. We are in a pennant race, or so we hope…get a deal done for Zobrist.

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