It should be no surprise that the Pittsburgh Pirates are unsatisfied with their current first base situation. They brought in Travis Ishikawa in a waiver claim earlier this month, despite the fact that he is a left-handed hitting first baseman, just like Pedro Alvarez. And the reason they would be unsatisfied with first base is because Alvarez has been horrible defensively, while also seeing his offense slump.

So the latest news from Jeff Passan, quoting¬†one GM saying that the Pirates are offering Alvarez to everyone, isn’t a shocker.

Alvarez is making $5.75 M this year, and he doesn’t have much trade value, since he has been replacement level the last two seasons. Dealing him away would basically be a salary dump, with the hope that they could get a marginal prospect, or perhaps more international bonus money or an additional competitive balance draft pick in 2016. Beyond that, a team would have to really believe that Alvarez could bounce back to get anything else. And if that was the case, Alvarez would probably be gone by now.

I think he’d have the most value to an American League team that would use him as a designated hitter. But even then, his value would be pretty low. Dealing him would just be a way to clear space on the roster for an upgrade, while also getting out of the final $2+ M that he is owed for the season.

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124 COMMENTS

  1. I cannot imagine his value is going to be very high – he is not hitting for average or power, he can’t play a position, and is only useful to AL clubs who don’t already have a capable DH or two….the available market for Pedro has to be small…..

    To get anything of any value, he would have to be part of a larger trade where he is NOT the primary asset going back…

    • The homeruns tonight and last night both first at bat with the sun shining bright. Does any body have the stats of his average and homeruns in daylight? I am not talking just day games versus night games. A GM evaluating Pedro would be smart to analyze this. You have to wonder if west coast teams, Florida and Arizona may be better for him. I can’t remember any other player with such dramatic differences daylight vs. the lights.

  2. Should have jettisoned him two years ago, ah well all water under the bridge now. I wonder if they have any of those gold balls laying around from last years homerun derby? It’s not like whoever has them needs ’em and they would look a whole lot better in gold than pedro does.

  3. I was just thinking how ironic it was when Boras tried to back Alvarez out of his signing in the 2008 draft…and wondered how much better the Pirates would have been if they had lost him and gotten the #3 pick in the 2009 draft as compensation.

    …then I looked at the 2009 draft class the Bucs had…never mind.

    • Yeah, the 2009 draft was not impressive, might not have even gotten a major leaguer out of the #3 overall pick that year.

      • There was that guy named Trout that went 25th…but, yeah…it’s doubtful they’d have caught that lightning in a bottle. After him, you’ve gotta whole lot of guys that haven’t amounted to much or have yet to contribute.

  4. It’s a shame that during the pennant race your top draft pick and offensive weapon has been MIA. Hope this doesn’t drag out because he seems to have a good rapport with his teammates. I wish he would have started hitting some bombs.

  5. Although he had his moments 2-3 years ago, overall a major disappointment for a player drafted #1 overall….

  6. Honestly, I think it’s a good news day if for no other reason than the Nats, who are down to Harper and AAAA guys in the OF, didn’t go out and sign Chris Heisey, the Liriano killer. Man, for all our complaining, their roster is in tatters right now.

  7. Another STELLAR lineup card tonight authored by Clint Hurdle…Brent Morel at 3B and Pedro Alvarez at 1B with Kang at SS. For real, Clint?! You’re bad at this…very, very bad at this.

    • Morel is 3-3 vs Fister and Pedro is 4-7, so if Clint is grasping at straws, at least he has SSS on his side. Stewart is also 4-7, although you didn’t indicate he’s in lineup.

    • What do you recommend? Its not like there is anyone any good sitting on the bench. If you have a beef it has to be with GM who has left hurdle zero options.

    • Four years of, arguably, the most productive 1Bman in the game at less then $10M/year?

      …and the return is two top prospects, a diminishing ex-prospect (don’t get me wrong, I love Polanco…but he’s not living up to the hype/potential), and a strikeout prone, platoon hitting DH (whose salary next season will be higher than Goldschmidt’s).

      No.

  8. I get how it would lower salary obviously if we just get one of those things back…but to me, a salary dump makes it sound as if we must get rid of salary which I think we all know (hopefully…lol) isn’t true. I look of it as more of a roster dump to clear the space and shedding some salary is just a by-product of that.

    He’ll put up 1 more, maybe 2 depending on the amount of opportunities he has left, 25+ HR type season in his career…but at some point MLB will just give up on a ML contract for Pedro UNLESS he ever gets it together defensively at either position. You can only have a platoon DH situation for so many games in the AL.

  9. Pedro could be one piece of a multiplayer offer, the balance being prospects, for an impact MLB player. Hopefully a power hitting 1B or 3B player with a few years of control.

  10. Pirates could have beat that deal for Kazmir and not suffered much for it. The loss would have been worth the upgrade to make a run at the WS. Its time…

  11. The Pirates need to get something done quick. The fact that we are going into this Nats series with Ishikawa as our starting first basemen and Florimon as our starting SS is embarrassing . I really wish Walker could be moved to 1st, Hansen Brought up and Barmes brought back to play SS and slide Kang to 3rd .
    Hansen 2B
    Polanco RF
    Cutch CF
    Marte LF
    Walker 1B
    Kang 3B
    Cervelli C
    Barmes SS

  12. I really think he could turn into an asset for an AL team. Just based on their park, the Red Sox would be a great fit–the Monster would remind him to take outside pitches the other way and of course he has the power to hit mistakes out of any part of Fenway.

  13. I see Pedro as a throw in player in a deal for a 1B. The team trading their starting 1B still needs a warm body to stand on the bag and if they’re sellers at the deadline, they can’t care too much about winning this season.

    No matter who he’s playing for, I figure he gets non-tendered after this season. No one in their right mind would try to offer him arbitration… well except maybe the terrible GM of the Phillies.

  14. Couple of comments.
    1) I believe Pedro is a good person and will miss the quality person on the team.
    2) If they are just dumping salary, just DFA him and see if he is claimed.
    Do you think he would be claimed?
    3) Before we do that, any chance San Diego trades us Pedro for Barmes?

  15. It’s unbelievable to me the Pirates didn’t offer more for Kazmir. The Astros gave up two single A prospects ranked #19 and #21 in their system. For the Pirates that would’ve meant JaCoby Jones and Yeudy Garcia?!?!?!

    • Those were pre-season rankings. From everything I’ve seen since the deal, those are out-dated since both guys have moved up. The catcher is now considered a top 10 guy.

      • Even then, Tim, this deal is widely being discussed as being a deal HEAVILY weighted in the long future for the A’s. The fact that they took two high-A ball players…that set the market pretty low, honestly.

  16. With the Kazmir trade as a backdrop, I would seriously consider making a run at Mike Leake from the Reds. Could not cost much more, even within the division, than what the Kazmir cost was for the Astros and would definitely help out the back end of our rotation.

  17. No surprise. That said, I hope our front office feels pretty confident with their plan at first moving forward. As frustrating as Pedro can be, I would still take him over Ishakawa/SRod.

      • Billy Beane just took two single A prospects from the Astros for Scott Kazmir. They weren’t even rated in their top 15. There is hope for us.

        • Exactly right. After that trade I got much more intrigued about potentially pulling a starting pitcher from this trade deadline. They basically GAVE away Kazmir….Maybe a top 100 prospect and a couple A-ballers would get both Clippard and Zobrist.

          • Eh, the not top 15 rankings were pre season. The catcher is tearing it up this year, and is a potential top 100 prospect in all of baseball next year. An Astros blog had them at 9 and 12 in their midseason, post draft, update, so I would not call that a giveaway at all.

            • Kiley McDaniel said if he were to update his lists that Nottingham (the C) would rank between 6 and 10 in the organization and between 85-150 nationally. Only update I’ve seen so far.

    • On a team of ground ball pitchers, they may feel Ishikawa being reasonably competent defensively, despite the lack of a bat, is still actually an upgrade, and I’m not sure I’d disagree with them. Not entirely, anyway.

      • Ishikawa would be OK if we weren’t also fielding terrible hitters elsewhere in the lineup. We are a team predicated on pitching, which means we need better defense I agree…but we cannot continue to give up hitters to get that improved defense.

  18. Just saw someone throw out a trade that would be really interesting:
    Julio Tehran
    Jim Johnson
    Juan Uribe
    —————–
    Reese McGuire
    Austin Meadows
    Pedro Alvarez

    I think I would actually make that deal. IF the Pirates were able to get Tehran back to where he was previously they get a cost-controlled #2 starter…a great bench bat/3B bat in Uribe…and a potential back of the bullpen arm in Johnson.

  19. I’m approaching this deadline with cautious optimism. I get the impression that Huntington is going to be very aggressive this year but I can’t help but worry that he won’t pull the trigger. You almost want to see him pull off a trade like the Penguins do with Kessel but for all the aggressiveness the Penguins have had, they have 6 straight disappointing playoff appearances, a terrible farm system, and salary cap issues. I’ll be the first to admit that I have prospect separation anxiety. I’d hate to see Glasnow, Bell, or Hanson shipped out of town.

    • The Pirates would have a really hard time becoming the Penguins any time soon. They’d really have to try very, very hard to do that much damage. They have good prospect depth and they still will have draft picks because you can’t trade them away like in the NHL.

  20. We can talk all we want about Pedro not being a good hitter (as well as his terrible fielding) but we actually do not know how he would do as a DH. There are some players who hit better not having to worry about fielding at all. It is an INCREDIBLY small sample size, but this year in 13 DH at bats Pedro is hitting .308/.357/.972. Maybe he would simply be better if he did not have to think, at all, about ever seeing the field defensively…and maybe you can sell him like that.

    • How about they sell that Bautista and Moss found themselves after they got away from Pirate batting coaches, and maybe Pedro can as well. Both of those guys were pretty critical of how they were handled here. How about this one…..Pedro, Tabata, Heredia,and one of our top prospects not named Bell or Glasnow to a team with a full-time shrink and a first baseman they are willing to deal that can field well and consistently put the ball in play. We pay Pedro’s salary the rest of the year.

        • And that’s it. You can even take that average down to .220 and the OPS down to .740 and 30 HR’s even and I would’ve been thrilled with that this season. If I see Marte tonight at second say something to Kang at first with no outs I would expect it to be “get comfortable”. Of course they might need a translator.

          • I think in a hitting-only role he’d get back closer to his two big years and probably average around, like I said, the .230, 37-30HR, .760 OPS range.

    • That’s why I think the LaRoche/Pedro swap is a win for both teams. LaRoche, like Dunn before him, is simply unsuited to be a DH. He hits better when he plays the field. I’ve read it’s a mental thing and the guys who succeed at DHing usually have an involved routine to keep them focused between ABs. Pedro’s work ethic might help him succeed in that role.

      I don’t expect LaRoche to do great things, but at least he gets Bucs back to slightly over replacement level at 1b instead of a negative.

      And honestly, looking over all of MLB, the White Sox might be the only market for Pedro. Angels might also have mild interest… and having Pujols as a mentor would probably be tremendous for Pedro.

    • Watching Pedro its obvious he can’t catch up to a good fastball. I wish it were not true. Additionally he either can’t or will not try to go the other way where he could bat 350. He struggles horribly with pitch recognition as well. I do believe that a different set of eyes and maybe the proper tweaking could get him seeing the ball better thus making him more effective however I just don’t see how that happens here. If I am Pedro I hope for a trade to an AL team. I lose the attitude and show up to preseason workouts, I lose about 30-40 pounds and I sacrifice some power to become a better hitter. No one will mind if he hits is HRs 400 ft instead of 450ft. He has one year before FA so I would guess Boros will do what ever it takes to whip Pedro into shape.

    • Great observation Jared. He might be better. He still can’t hit lefties but he might be an .800 ops guy vs righties which would give him a little more value.

    • There is a standard DH penalty, of 5% of offensive production compared to offensive when playing the field

  21. How about they make the addition FIRST and then worry about getting rid of Alvarez. They can find a taker for Alvarez if they’re willing to accept almost nothing in return…find the replacement first instead of creating another hole.

  22. I hope the Pirates realize that if they package him with Locke and maybe a low level prospect that they could bring back Tulowitzki or be close to getting Goldshmidt or Freeman.

  23. Very sad. I recognize that no matter what, Pedro’s term with the Bucs ends at the end of 2016 at the very latest – he won’t re-sign, and the Bucs won’t have an interest in doing so anyway. More likely he is gone at the end of this year – DFA.
    The sad part is that he had (has) so much promise, and is an otherwise terrific person. He also has tremendous work ethic and is a true team player.
    So many times in the business end of sports, we fans (and probably the management of any team as well) forget the human element in this. “Pedro sucks!” cannot possibly be anything but awful to hear if you are in fact Pedro – or one of his teammates. They all know how much he cares and how hard he tries, and what potential he has.
    As a Pirate fan, I certainly want him to leave and to see the team improve offensively and defensively due to his departure. But, also as a Pirate fan, I have grown to admire Pedro as a person and as a player. And I wish him the very best, and hopefully in a new environment, success as a MLB player.
    And if he remains a Pirate thru this year, then wouldn’t it be great to see one last 1-2 week stretch of “El Toro” bombs that no one else on this team can ever hope to match.

    • I really think (but obviously don’t know) that he is the classic baseball head case – the kind that can’t help but overthink everything. (Baseball seems to foster that obsessive trait.) He’s got the skill, he reportedly practices, he’s smart – I think he needs to get back to just playing. Unfortunately, I really don’t think it will or can happen here

        • It does no good to practice hard and long at the wrong things. He hits straight out a few times and then thinks it’s safe to go back to trying to pull everything. If he gives a month of games to concentrating on making contact and putting the ball in play straight out, he will cure his “eye problem”. Some AL team with a no-nonsense approach to his AB’s will end up getting a 30-40 HR hitter. Wanna bet he does not end up in Texas with Jeff Banister?

          • I think the Pirates really miss Banister as Hurdle’s right hand brain. He might figure he can straighten Pedro out. But I think Pedro already tried the “making contact” approach last year. It looked like he was just trying to place the bat on the ball. He needs to grip and rip, but that is predicated upon actually seeing the ball, which I don’t think that he does.

            • There’s a truth to that. Sounds trite, but I don’t think he keeps his head on the ball. You see it in his follow through where his eyes follow along with the the bat instead of the bat leading. If he was a golfer, he’d be slicing into the woods a ton.

    • Well put. I’ve heard terrific things about his work ethic as well. When he was hot there was no one, even Cutch, that had a bigger impact. But he’s a dumpster fire at first and the power isn’t there to mask the K’s, lack of walks, you name it. Don’t worry. He’ll catch on with an AL team and get paid.

    • I think you summed up perfectly this situation. It is so unfortunate that it has come to this. Was really hoping the move to first would’ve freed his bat. He’s just laboring anytime he is on defense.

      • A bad team with no pressure or a place that needs hitting desperately is the place for Pedro. I live in st Pete and I have said the rays are a great fit for Pedro all year. Small park, low pressure, horrible hitting team that needs a dh. He could thrive here. Pedro for brook fordyce in a deal would work for me.

        • Best thing for Pedro would be to get released and allow Boras to find a team with an actual hitting coach that knows what they’re doing.

          Pirates took that guy from 2013 and tried to make him something he’s not. One size fits all approach that has clearly worked for them well in the past. Sheesh.

            • Look at how the swing has changed. Look at how the approach has changed.

              Now make a logical argument for why anyone should’ve done that to a flawed, but still productive power hitter.

          • The hitting coach who Brandon Moss credits for turning him into a fastball hunting pull happy slugger, has screwed up Pedro Alvarez’s swing? Color me skeptical.

            Alvarez pretty much maxed out the grip and rip it approach, putting up one of the more valuable < .300 OBP seasons, he didn't really have any more contact to trade.

            • I’ll ask again, explain to me how anything they’ve done to him has actually made him a more productive hitter.

              • With two more home runs in 2014, Alvarez ends the season with a .325 wOBA and 110 wRC+. His value is
                tied up in rare events, for me the idea that the Pirates ruined, him is just another example of inferences being draw on insufficient evidence, which is the story of Pedro’s career.

                A little more luck on line drives, (.585 BABIP compared to career average of .748 coming into the season) and his total offensive production is above career norms for 2015.

                I’ve followed these conversations about the Pirates ruining Alvarez and I don’t see it. I’m no swing analyst but I don’t see these supposed swing changes, the loading of the hands, the stride, and follow through appear to pretty similar throughout his pro-career, but maybe, which is entirely possible, I’m missing the finer points.

                Approach wise there have been different versions, but there are for all hitters. We try to simplify hitting with cliches, but it is about making constant adjustments,
                cover one hole and you open another 2013
                and 2014 seasons are pretty stark. 2013 was peak selling out for pulled power, but remember the arc of that season, he was a fairly pedestrian hitter in the 2nd half. And 2014 looks like 2012 in some regards. In 2014 and 2015 he has traded strike outs for ground balls.

                Regardless of approach the results have been similar, the profile may be different, but the overall contributions really haven’t been.

    • That was a really great comment, and one that perfectly summed up my feelings. I’ve been waiting to see him finally break out so long, and he has definitely carried himself with grace through all of this, that I have a hard time letting go.

    • It is sad, thought after his 36 homer season he was on the way up, instead he went downhill. Maybe he tries too hard instead of just letting natural talent dominate.

    • I agree. From time to time we fans see a player fail who has the tools needed to succeed. Ryan Volgelsong, Kip Wells and, perhaps, Oliver Perez were pitchers who had the talent but not the head needed to be a star. J.J. Davis had the tools but not the confidence. Eric Christiansen and Limas Sweed also fit the form.

      Even Barry Bonds. His second peak did not wholly surprise me. I expected it early on.

      Pedro’s story is a sad one — sad for him and his people, sad for Pirates fans.

    • Pedro is a lot like Jeff king. Always getting flashes and not greatness…and he seems like a nice guy and hard worker but you never see the fire or passion. They are what they are…although king was a way better player than Pedro will ever be. But king was up and down too and then retired on his teammates at midseason in KC. Being an MLB player is life for most and just a job for some.

      • In few other sports does the player have to deal with a higher percentage of failure for their efforts. In BBall your are good/great if you make more than 45% of your shots. In football the QB is good/great if they make a >50% completion rate. In baseball if you get a hit >30% of the time you are terrific. In Pedro’s case he succeeds 23% of the time and he “sucks”. If he succeeded 28% of the time he’d be awesome. Funny how 5% can make such a big difference.

        • He would still suck. he doesn’t take pitches and he will if the Pirates let him have 50 errors by the end of the year. Your point is good but it really doesn’t apply to Pedro because quite frankly he brings nothing to the table right now and he isn’t just a below average fielder he is historically the worst 1B of all time.

          • Your criticism of Pedro is valid. I didn’t really expand on my thesis which was responding to the comparison of Pedro with Jeff King. As I recall Jeff King hated the pressure that went with being picked #1 and the expectations to perform. The mental strain that went with failing to meet his own expectations and his perception of the expectation of others lead him to quit the sport in what should have been his prime. I can’t hope to be certain about what’s going on in Pedro’s head, but it seems very complex. He shouldn’t be failing as badly at 1B as he is. It’s almost like he didn’t want to move from 3B in the first place so subconciously he is sabotaging the transformation, while outwardly working hard. He is his own worst enemy. I have said in the past that Pedro is an analog to Dave Kingman, who had a 15 year MLB career with these career stats (.236/.302/.478/.780). Ironically Kingman was also a former #1 overall pick. Of course these type of stats fall short of everyone’s, expectations, which are that he should be that .280/.350/.500/.850 hitter. If Pedro would simply embrace who he is, relax and have fun with it, he’d do better in the field as well as at the plate I think. And he should get a new set of eyes, and keep his head on the ball!

    • Well said Sean. I’ll always choose to remember Pedro as a great Cardinal Killer, rather than the guy throwing balls into the stands. Even though he did a lot more of the latter than the former.

    • I couldn’t agree more with the above comment. I think Pedro is an excellent person and a good teammate and I feel bad for him as a ball player because I know that he has worked hard to improve as a hitter and as a 3rd and 1st baseman but for whatever reason it has not happened. With that being said there is no way the Pirates can keep him at first as the season progresses and unfortunately there will be little return in a trade

      • After the awful LaRoche years I don’t want another Adam at 1b.
        Pedro would look good in an Angels lineup though – a nice lefty bat around Trout and Albert.
        They should be able to afford a small penance to get him. Grant Green or Cam Bedrosian???

        • Most people would say this is not a good in season move. On paper you’re replacing Pedro with Hanson which is very appealing. However, and someone can probably speak better to this, Walker is not going to play first for the first time ever in a playoff race. Alvarez literally moved from 3rd to 1st just a year ago in a playoff race but my guess is they prefer to upgrade 1st via trade and keep Walker at 2nd. With as bad as Alvarez has been at first – if this was a real possibility it would’ve happened by now.

          • In his last year in AAA before he was called up, the Pirates had Neil Walker play all over, to include the outfield and 1b (oddly enough not 2b if I recall correctly ) so a move to 1b wouldn’t be completely foreign to Neil. Not saying that this is the best idea, but thought I shared that nugget.

        • They moved Hanson to 3rd base for the rest of triple A year. Pedro is gone next year, If there weren’t so many injuries now he would be on the “DL” like Corey Heart

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