First Pitch: The Pirates Roster Decisions When Harrison and Mercer Return

The Pirates had some good news today, announcing that Josh Harrison will begin his rehab next week, followed by Jordy Mercer starting his own rehab a few days later. Typically a hitter in rehab will play two games at five innings, two at seven innings, and two full games. However, it sounds like Harrison and Mercer will have a different path, as Clint Hurdle said they would be starting with seven inning games, and aiming to get 20-25 at-bats total.

Depending on how the rehab goes for each player, the Pirates could have both back before the end of the month. Those returns would create some interesting roster decisions.

The return of Harrison would likely come first, and the decision here would be easy. The Pirates would most likely send Pedro Florimon out, which would require that he be designated for assignment. With Mercer returning shortly after Harrison, that wouldn’t be a big loss. Florimon would get very little playing time behind Mercer and Jung-ho Kang at shortstop. Florimon has no bat, and all of his value comes on defense, but Mercer would fill the need for a defensive shortstop.

The next decision would be difficult. When Mercer returns, the Pirates would have to choose between Sean Rodriguez and Travis Ishikawa, assuming Mike Morse and Aramis Ramirez are both safe on the roster. Ishikawa has been the best bench bat this year, which isn’t saying a ton, but he has been productive. Rodriguez hasn’t been productive with the bat, but can play a lot of positions with good defense, and has settled in as the late inning defensive replacement at first base. There’s some value there, although you could argue that Ishikawa could play the same role.

It would be interesting to see what the Pirates do, especially with the timing of the rehab. Harrison will start on the 11th, and will have 20 days, which means he needs to be up by August 31st. Mercer will start a few days later, which means he doesn’t need to return until a few days after rosters expand in September. The Pirates could get by without losing anyone with the following roster maneuvers:

**Bring Harrison back on the 31st.

**Option a relief pitcher or a starting pitcher who was recently used to Bristol. Why Bristol? Their season ends on September 1st, which means this player could be brought back to the majors on September 2nd. The Pirates don’t play on August 31st, so they’d just need to find someone who wouldn’t be used on the 1st. For example, J.A. Happ has an option remaining. They could option him down on the 31st, bring him back up on the 2nd, and he wouldn’t miss any actual time in the majors as long as he wasn’t scheduled to pitch on the 1st (and with the off-day, they could restructure the schedule to make that happen…or should I say HAPPen?).

**Bring Mercer back from rehab on September 1st, when rosters expand and no corresponding move is needed.

By doing this, the Pirates would keep everyone, and make their bench deeper for September. The only debate here is whether you rush back Harrison and/or Mercer a few days early, or give them a few extra days to return in exchange for keeping a strong defensive shortstop (Florimon) and either a decent bat off the bench (Ishikawa) or a super utility player who has been the defensive replacement at first base in late innings (Rodriguez). Considering how the Pirates have used their bench for late inning defensive swaps this year, I think there could be some value in keeping all of these guys around. A month of two extra bench options would at least be worth the same as a few extra days of Harrison and/or Mercer.

One other note: Happ (in this example) could be optioned down a few days earlier, depending on when he’s scheduled to pitch, which would allow them to bring Harrison back a few days earlier without losing anyone for good.

We’ll see how it plays out, but with some smart roster management, the Pirates are lined up to keep everyone when Harrison and Mercer return, leading to a much stronger and more flexible bench in September.

**Pirates Bullpen Shortens Game in Victory Over Cubs. Pete Ellis recaps tonight’s win over the Cubs, with a specific look at how the newly improved bullpen shortened the game.

**Prospect Watch: Hinsz Looks Good Again, Garcia Runs Into Trouble. John is going to expand on this in the Morning Report, but I really like how the Prospect Watch has been going with the recent changes. I also love that there’s more time for detailed reports. And of course the live reports are always something I’m proud of. My report from Morgantown tonight was one of my favorite ones from this road trip.

**Indians Claim Deolis Guerra Off Waivers. He would have been a good bullpen depth option in September. Fortunately, the Pirates have a lot of other candidates.

**Mercer and Harrison Will Start Rehab Soon; Pirates Rotation Shuffled. Along with the Harrison/Mercer news, the Pirates rotation gets shuffled heading into the weekend.

**Michael Morse Hoping to Rebound With Fresh Start, Regular At-Bats. Pete Ellis takes a look at Michael Morse, who is hoping to get back to 2014 form.

**Morning Report: Draft Picks, Struggling Catchers and How Age Affects Prospect Status

 

  • Good analysis Tim, but I really don’t think they are going to do that. They will get them back as soon as they are ready- period. We have shown really poor roster management with bench players in the past, and I wouldn’t expect that to stop here. They will not care if they lose Florimon, and they shouldn’t. He is irrelevant. Of course this is all moot if they aren’t truly healthy and in sync, we need them to be the players they are. Truthfully Mercer fills a bigger hole on this team right now than Harrison since Kang isn’t really a major league shortstop. Harrison will inject a lot of energy and fire into this team for sure though, and will find somewhere to play. Rodriguez will keep the job over Ishikawa, as Travis’s defense at first is not good, and we will have plenty of pinch hitters on our bench in september anyways when the rosters expand.

  • Is there anything that Searage can do to help Happ, that anyone else has seen?…besides throwing pitches centercut?

    • Guy shows decent velo and the ability to get swing and miss, so really its working ahead (first pitch strike that PGH always harps on) and allowing yourself to work the edges. Biggest issue i saw was lack of consistent command and falling behind (thus forcing him to come in at hitters).

      I’d say if they can help him be more consistent in getting ahead, he’s able to keep games close.

      • When I looked at his splits, seems a lot of damage on the road. Safeco numbers werent too bad, and PNC should play somewhat near to that. Seems to fall in line with their other AL reclamations.

      • Did Seattle utilize any shifts?

  • These things always work themselves out. Someone gets hurt or is playing lousy or …………….. and it becomes an easier decision.

  • Tim…FYI: I thought that Happ had an option left, and you confirmed it, but your Option page has him with ZERO options.

  • Ishikawa is a more complete hitter than srod and can play 1B and OF. Srod will not be needed at 2b or 3b so his versatility will not play much at all with everyone back.

    • Ishikawa can play the OF in the sense that he owns a glove and can stand in the area OFers stand. His versatility isnt really useful when he’s awful at the “versatile” spot. Tough to say S Rod’s versatility wont play but ignore how Ishikawa’s versatility is kinda not there.

      S Rod gives actual defensive versatility and with Morse+Harrison the bench isnt without bat first PH options.

      • I started out thinking this way, and probably would stick to it if Sean Rodriguez could hit even a wee little bit, but I think I’m drifting towards freddyland (am I the only one who reads his handle as “Freddy-Land”?).

        With Mercer and Harrison back, Polanco hitting, and Ramirez not going anywhere for better or worse, I’m not sure I see the need for one guy that can do all those things unless he can also hit as well as the component parts. Ish and Morse aren’t versatile, I agree. But I’m also not sure they have to be with this team as it currently stands. Just hit, baby.

        • I could live with either, and letting the next 2+ weeks deciding it. If S Rod doesnt hit, meh. If he does keep having better at bats, meh for Ishikawa.

      • The Giants thought enough of Ishikawa to put him in the OF in the playoffs I’m not saying he is above average or anything out there. I think the only reason S-Rod is kept is because of the two other tomato cans they have at 1B…but Ishikawa is a decent 1B. Rodriguez is such a poor hitter. At this point he is an aggressive hitter that doesn’t walk and gears up to try to hit HR…which he isn’t that great at. 15 of his last 84 hits are HR…but he’s a .215 hitter during that span. Why have S Rod in the playoffs when you can actually have a guy with above a 25% chance of getting on base?

        • SF put him in the OF because they literally didnt have anyone else. To attribute that decision to trusting him would be akin to saying “The Pirates trust Pedro enough to put him at 1B during a pennant race”. No, we just didnt have any options before Morse showed up.

          S Rod isnt a great hitter, but his value is apparent on defense and with the ability to play many positions well. Ishikawa has a role, but its taken up by Morse. Zero value outside of hitting….which isnt likely to be all that above average.

          • Well, at least Pedro hasn’t been making a horrific number of errors since the break. They have A-Ram jumping right in there and making up for it though!

          • S-Rod walked the other night. That pitcher should be thrown out of the league for doing the impossible.

  • Can someone give me a refresher on how playoff rosters work? Do you have to be on the 25 man before Sept 1 to be eligible?

    • August 31 roster plus anyone on the DL is eligible. There’s also a neat little rule that you can replace a guy on the DL with literally anyone in your system – they don’t even have to be on your 40-man – as long as they’re in the system on August 31. So with all the guys the Pirates have on the DL, it creates lots of options for playoff rosters.

    • Anyone on the 40-man roster on August 31st is eligible for your playoff roster. And for everyone on the disabled list a certain amount of time, you get a replacement, using anyone in the organization.

  • As soon as Harrison is ready he should be back in Pittsburgh. Same with Mercer. I’m not saying to rush them back but I don’t want to hold Mercer until September unless he is absolutely not ready just to play roster games. To me it’s pretty simple. Ishikawa has to to when Mercer is ready and hopefully Jordy is ready soon. No knock on Ishikawa but he is redundant as we would basically be carrying 4 1b. As poor as his bat has been, Rodriguez’s versatility gets him the nod over Travis I. The schedule is brutal as far as days off and we will need Harrison and Mercer as soon as they are ready. Aramis has been terrible with the bat and his defense is nothing to write home about either. Kang has been brilliant but could use some rest.

    • What’s Mercer’s role going to be in this scenario, John? It may be damning with faint praise, but isn’t Ishikawa the best bat off the bench against RHP, Mercer included?

      Aramis Ramirez can’t he benched soon enough and I don’t think anyone should expect Harrison to hit immediately, so maybe there’s a role for Mercer at SS and Kang at 3B for a while. Otherwise, Mercer’s only real regular role would be PH bat against a lefty, and I’m not at all convinced Hurdled wouldn’t go to Morse and Ramirez first in that scenario.

      • I think there will be plenty of opportunity to get Mercer in the lineup even without sitting Kang(and Kang will benefit from some rest imo) But even with him and Mercer in lineup at same time you could play Jhay at 2b to spell Walker or even in the outfield to to give Cutch a night off potentially as you slide Marte to center and possibly Polanco to left. As good as Kang has been it’s easy to forget Mercer is a superb defensive SS. With the GB heavy approach we can definitely use Jordy in the lineup a good bit.

      • If we are going by career #s Morse should be considered a better bat vs righties than Travis I. Career WRC+ of 118 vs 96 for Ishikawa. Although Morse struggled in Miami in limited at bats it’s not as if Ishikawa has been lighting it up vs righties this year(85 WRC+)

      • I think you go with a matchup situation with our pitcher. Mercer slides in at SS for guys like Morton and Locke, Kang and Harrison can go with Cole and Liriano. With the TOR going, you can go offense heavy and then get Mercer some games when the back end goes. Kang should play everyday.

      • Agreed. Mercer at short and Kang at 3B with some combo of Harrison playing Some RF vs lefties and all three sitting occasionally should work and allow everyone to get their abs. Mercer off the bench a little more than the other two in this scenario.

      • It will be interesting how Josh’s hand fares. Ive heard it takes months to fully recover from that type of injury.

  • A glance at some WAR numbers have Jung Ho Kang with a 2.4 WAR for Shortstops with 300 PA’s or more – that would rank 3rd in MLB. Is that an indicator of what might happen when Jordy is ready to return? JHAY steps in immediately. And for the up-the-middle theorists like me, Cervelli 2.4, Kang 2.4, Walker 1.9, ‘Cutch 3.7 – damn nice!

    • That’s nice, but almost all of that up the middle WAR is offensive driven not defensive driven, in fact the defense up the middle is pretty bad, led by McCutchen. Cervelli is pretty solid defensively and Kang has been OK at short but much, much better at 3B…Walker has no range and I’d below average defensively and Cutch we all know his struggles defensively.

      • Jared this is a garbage post IMO. Cutch has been very good, Cervelli has been very good, Kang has been very good, and Walker has been very good. None of them have any significant error issues, all are smooth defensively with excellent coordination and skill. The only defensive issue you could take is that some range may be compromised, but with shifts and the offense that is not an issue. There are issues on this team with defense but it isn’t with those four players.

        • Walker is not good defensively. -4 in runs saved which ranks him 27th among 2b. Very good offensively for a 2b but a huge stretch to say he’s been “very good” defensively. Also wanted to add Cutch has not been good defensively either this year. -6 runs saved ranks 30th among CF.

          • Honestly, Walker plays as well as he possibly can. He can’t control his range, which is why I don’t like saying he is a bad defensive 2nd baseman. There is nothing he can do to be better, his physical tools are maximized, he never makes mental errors, and he does a great turn of double plays. I don’t know what else you guys want from him. Cutch has no excuse for his play, he HAS speed. He just is a terrible center fielder

        • Walker is bad. Errors are not really a great way to show defensive worth overall. Walker has shockingly bad range.

          With you on Cutch though, overall he’s been fine in CF.

          • Cutch has not been fine if you’re looking at BIS runs saved or UZR. Rates poorly in both of those. Not saying I want to move him out of center but don’t see empirical evidence to say he’s been “fine” in center defensively.

            • UZR puts him top 60 in the league. So when comparing to his peers, he isnt elite but not bad at all. If you look at UZR and assume anything negative is bad, you’d conclude Trout is bad on defense this year.

              All of his defensive stats are consistent, he’s right around the 60th best overall OFer on defense. When you consider that 30 teams run with 3 OFers, he’s fine.

              • Bill James disagrees. -6 runs saved, 30th among centerfielders this year. Good on deep balls, below average on everything else.

                • And he’s only good on deep balls because he positions himself halfway to Blawnox. Fairly sure I could grab my share of balls to the track if I was starting twenty feet in front of it.

              • Also his UZR/150 of -13 ranks 20th of 25th qualified centerfielders.

                • Fair enough, i just dont see the reason for comparing CFer to CFers. As an OFer, he’s been more average than bad. You’ve got park differences, etc etc. Of all the OFers in the game, we have one playing elite, one playing a bit above average, and one average. Cutch isnt killing us on defense.

                  • No he’s not and I think he’s “OK” in center but I certainly wouldn’t call him good defensively now. The way he rates on Bill James/BIS backs up what I see with my eyes. Pretty good on deep fly balls. Has been very poor on things hit shallow this year and mediocre as far as balls hit in between

                  • Then again the argument was only that Cutch’s value wasn’t in his defense because his defense isn’t all that good…that seems about the definition of average.

                  • The reason is because the center fielder is expected to be fast, and is the field general, no matter what park, he is expected to cover the most ground and should always be the strongest overall defender in your outfield. If he’s not, he should be moved to right or left. does the fact that he wouldn’t be better than any other center fielder nearly in the entire major leagues give you some perspective here? He isn’t a bad outfielder…….he’s a bad center fielder.

              • You can’t rate him against other outfielders, only center fielders. If you want to compare him to right fielders across the league, you are losing the point we are making.

                • So does that mean Starling Marte isnt better than any CFer in the game, because im somehow not allowed to rate him against them? Sucks for Marte since he’s better than many CFers.

                  OFers arent specific to 1 spot, particularly guys like Marte and Cutch. Its arbitrary beyond logic to argue “Cutch cant be compared to all OFers, he’s just a CFer.”

                  • Luke- unless they play multiple positions, which Marte and Cutch don’t, they are quite specific to one spot. You need to compare Marte to left fielders as long as he is playing left, cutch to center fielders as long as he’s only playing center. These are specialized players, and different positions in the outfield have different responsibilities, different ball angles, specific. Do you want to compare Harrison to 2nd baseman when he plays 3rd 80% of the time? It’s just ridiculous.

                    • So where does the best OF on a team play? If the answer is CF, that makes Marte 31st or lower in overall OF defense rankings just because he stands in LF.

              • 60 out of 90 is fine? um…..

          • Cutch isn’t the best CF on this team, defensively at least.

          • You must have missed the dozen times he’s made ill decisions on throwing to bases he shouldn’t, being lazy out there allowing players to get doubles on balls hit right in front of him, and consistently getting the worst breaks on balls i’ve ever seen.

        • If my post was garbage then what was your post? You clearly have not looked at the advanced defensive matrices…nor were you apparently looking at the breakdown of OWAR and DWAR on these players…it is offensI’ve value and offensive value alone that have carried their value…Cervelli has been the best defensively and Kang has been adequate…but that’s it.

        • Brian- I’m sorry here man, but you are wrong. Cutch is a below average center fielder, he has made so many mental mistakes this year which has cost us runs its ridiculous. Lack of hustle out there has given up doubles multiple times on plays which shouldn’t ever be doubles plus him playing so insanely deep gives him no chance of ever throwing out anyone at home. Aside from that, he isn’t as fast as he used to be, i’ll be the first to say it. I’ll agree with what you said with Walker, but Kang is not good at short, even if you look past his range, kid is a 3b all the way

      • Seems like we over play the “Cutch is struggling on defense” thing a bit. Had his poor games, but UZR and UZR/150 have him top 60. Not elite, not anything that kills the team.

        • How does this season rank compared to other seasons of his?

          • Thats strawman stuff. You insinuated that everyone knows how bad he is struggling. He’s really not. He’s having a worse year, yes. But thats not, for me, “well we all know”.

            He’s average. His arm is no different, his speed isnt all that different. Bit more fluctuation in his range consistency is about it.

            • I’m with Jared here Luke, saying his points is strawman stuff is really just childish. Every point he made is valid

      • comments like these make me laugh so damn hard I almost pee myself, ‘scuse me a sec gotta go gottago gotta go right now.

        • You pee yourself when someone makes logically thought out statements backed up by statistics? Interesting…

          • Reading stats is something anyone can do, that does not mean you are coming to the correct conclusion. Any stat that says cutch is not a great center fielder is not only ridiculous it is laughable. I’m not trying to break your bells here I’m just pointing out how funny it is that anyone can with a straight face say, “cutch is not a great or even good center fielder”, if I see that I am going to laugh anytime. By the way these are the same stats that say pedro is a better defender than cutch, just sayin.

            • I don’t even read stats I watch games, and he is a below average center fielder in just about every way. Don’t you people remember Andy Van Slyke, a REAL center fielder. Some of you would have me believe Cutch coud even carry his jockstrap in center field. Now that’s laughable. People in Pittsburgh just have such an irrational love for him that they can’t be objective

              • Still laughing hysterically y2, find someone else to argue about. Cutch is one of the best players in the game period. I don’t see any of his detractors getting any traction, but hey if you want to burn yourself out in a losing argument by all means go right ahead.

                • We really don’t need to argue. There isn’t anyone saying he isn’t amongst the best overall players, but just like noone is claiming that Miguel Cabrera is a great fielder at first base, Cutch should also have noone claiming he’s a good defensive center fielder, because there really is nothing to back it up other than the starry eyes of his fans

                  • I’m not arguing, cutch is very good at all aspects of the game including fielding his position. Why folks insist on using numbers that also say pedro is a better defender than cutch obviously don’t know squat about baseball. I saw a line the other day that sums up what I’m saying, ” don’t scout the stat line”.(I apologize to whoever wrote that for not remembering who wrote it)

                    • Yep, and as I said, i’m not one of those guys using UZR or runs saved crap. I’m talking about watching him play. The numbers back up what i’ve seen though, so i’m just wondering what you are watching which is making you believe he is a good centerfielder. Good centerfielders don’t continuously throw when they shouldn’t, throw to wrong bases, play lazy in centerfield allowing people to take an extra base. Physical errors don’t bother me, everyone makes them. Mental errors are unacceptable, and Cutch has made more of those this year, than ever before in his career, and it is concerning. Now Alvarez is the worst position player at any position in the whole league, so i don’t really know what you are talking about there. His errors tend to be based on physical errors, not mental. And also based on still getting a sense of what he should go after and what he shouldn’t. Cut would be a better left or right fielder I think, taking a little pressure off. Unfortunately, whether you are good or not good, is not on a baseline, but compared to your peers. His peers are other centerfielders, and he is in the bottom third. It’s something you are just going to have to accept.

                    • You were wrong yesterday, your wrong today and your gonna be wrong tomorrow. Sorry,that’s just the way it is. ( I do see him being a bit nonchalant at times, when your that good sometimes the ego gets in the way a bit. Nothing to serious though.)

                    • Opinions can’t be wrong, and opinions based on actually facts are hard to debate. When all you can say is “you are wrong” that usually loses. I don’t mind anyone having their own opinion, but I don’t usually retort if i have nothing to base my opinions on, I just keep them to myself

                    • Let me try this again cause I believe every one can be taught, so here goes. Cutch is the centerfielder for the pirates because he earned it and will more than likely be at center for at least two more years. I understand that the concept of earning something through hard work is a foreign concept in todays world. I do feel confident however if you concentrate real hard you may grasp this simple premise. Case closed.

                    • You may have a future as Cutch’s publicist

                    • That’s actually funny, good job y2. Although I think I would have to get in line behind millions of other folks who agree with me .

  • Let’s not forget Bucs need a decent pinch runner for Morse and ARam, both of whom would go 0-81 in the pierogi race.

    • Excellent point, but I think with some help from Randall Simon, they may be able to win a few of the pierogi races.

      Wow, did Soria make NH look good last night? He definitely has a strong assortment of pitches. Thanks to Polanco and ‘Cutch for waking up the offense – I thought that was a must-win type of situation, and the Pirates did well. The pitches to Schwarber and Rizzo did not look like bad pitches from Locke.

      • Schwarber’s was hung pretty well, but I swear Locke had to tip off that curveball to Rizzo. Lefty-on-lefty first pitch breaking ball painted on the corner down and away that Rizzo was absolutely locked onto. Maybe Locke/Cervelli were just becoming too predictable the third time through the order, maybe Rizzo is just really really good at baseball, but that’s a ridiculous pitch to crush like he did.

        • Rizzo crowds the plate, so outside corner is actually middle to him.

          • Check the location of that pitch, Doug.

            • Rizzo hits .350 against lefties. Combine that with the fact that he’s a couple inches closer to the plate than almost everyone else, and the fact that he has the 4th highest OPS in the NL, and that porobably explains it.

          • That was literally my thought when I saw the location

        • That entire inning was frustrating. Hangs one to Schwarber but Schwarber doesnt get all of it and it carries like no ball i’ve seen this year to the one area of the park its out.

          Then he actually executes a pitch and Rizzo goes all “imma hit everything” on it. Rough inning, thems the breaks.

          • Doug is certainly correct that Rizzo crowds the plate, but the plate is 17″ wide and that curveball painted the black at the very bottom of the zone. Rizzo even had to lunge out over the plate to get a barrel on it.

            That’s where I started questioning Locke tipping the pitch. I don’t see how Rizzo could’ve made that kind’ve move unless he was sitting dead red on curveball. Not the kind of pitch a hitter as disciplined as him hacks at in a 0-0 count.

            • Rizzo hits .350 against lefties. Combine that with the fact that he’s a couple inches closer to the plate than almost everyone else, and the fact that he has the 4th highest OPS in the NL, and that porobably explains it.

              • But NMR is right, none of that explains any hitter sitting on a curve 0-0. Any hitters, but especially good hitters, just arent sitting CB there. He’s either totally guessing (seems odd) or something else is going on.

                Thats a pitch location that really only gets hit that hard if the hitter knows its coming or guesses right.

                • That’s exactly what I’m getting at, Luke.

                  Doug could certainly still be right, that Anthony Rizzo is just really really good at baseball; those kind of players can do things that don’t make sense. If the count was 1-2 or something like that I doubt I’d have thought twice.

                  Just seemed incredible that a player as disciplined as he is went out there obviously looking to yank a pitch that well executed.

                • He just went up to the plate saying, I’m looking for a curveball for a strike. He gets it, he creams it. It really isn’t any more complex than that. Every player in the lineup does that from time to time.

                  • If he went up looking for 1st pitch CB at the knees to drive, he’s a moron. Yeah, if he’s looking CB and it hangs he kills it. No hitter looks for that pitch in that spot 0-0. If a college kid gets that pitch and swings through it, his coach is likely going to remind him to not be swinging at a knee high CB first pitch.

                    • This response to my statement/post is so dumb i’m not even going to respond, i’m just going to laugh and move on.

        • Did you notice that Chris Davis went on a mad homerun hitting spree right about the time you said he wasnt good at baseball before the trade deadline?

    • S Rod could function as a PR in the few times you need a PR.

    • Silly after only 3-4 ABs but is anyone else a little excited about Morse. That was a high quality AB last night before the single on top of the double taken away from him. My oh my if he could magically find his 2014 form and take over at 1b we would have a very tough lineup. Getting way ahead of myself with the sss but like what I’ve seen so far.

      • Thought that was one of the smartest moves Huntington has made in a while. Took a sunk cost that, for whatever reason, clearly was never getting the opportunity to help the club and turned it into just about as good of an option as was available for a position of need. That alone makes it a win for me before Morse even swung a bat.

        Mike Morse is probably just as likely to pull another hamstring and strike out a third of the time the rest of the way as he is of turning in a repeat of his performance with the Giants down the stretch last year, but the upside of that equating is absolutely there in a way the Pirates didn’t have before.

        Nobody wants to talk about this for obvious reasons, but the Pirates simply had to do something to put together a lineup that could beat either Lester or Bumgarner in the Wild Card game, and Morse immediately fills a major hole against those lefties.

    • Mike LaValleire (1987) Harold Baines (1990) Rod Barajas (2010) Michael Morse and Aram in a race, 40 yard dash, who wins?

  • I say Pirates bring back Harrison as soon as he’s ready and they jettison Florimon. Kang, Harrison and Serpico can all man SS.

    I agree Pirates will do what’s needed to keep both Ishikawa and Serpico on team. Even if that means holding Jordy down if he’s ready before 9/1.

    • I disagree. Why play roster games to keep essentially 4 first basement. Ishikawa has been decent but I don’t view his bat off the bench that valuable that you want to possibly delay Mercer’s return/ especially assuming Florimon is gone when Jhay returns which would mean we would be playing with no good defensive SS’s behind Kang for that interim. Also guys like Kang are going to need rest.

      • There’s maybe more of a debate with Mercer’s return, but I do agree with Scott about getting rid of Florimon as soon as Harrison is ready. Harrison can play SS in a pinch and we are talking about a span of a week where that could happen.

        • Eh, not really. If Kang wasnt usable for whatever reason, i imagine they’d put Harrison at 3B and S Rod at SS for a few games. Cant really see a way Harrison is needed at SS unless they get rid of both Florimon and S Rod and Kang isnt able to go.

          • Fair, but my main point is that they don’t need to delay Harrison’s return just to hang on to Florimon. Florimon is immediately expendable when Harrison is ready regardless of who actually plays shortstop.

  • If we send Happ down, do we really need to bring him back? 🙂 I know, one game a season doesn’t make, but he looked gosh awful in his debut in a P Pirate uniform.

    • At least he isnt Dan “i throw 90 down the middle to MVPs” Haren.

      • Haren hasn’t thrown 90 since his Arizona days. I think his average FB velo is like 86.

        • Good call. So as i was looking up Haren’s average velo, i see an ESPN article headline “Harden not the reason for Cubs ending winning streak”.

          Funny, i thought spotting the other team 3-4 runs before the 5th kinda makes you part of the reason.

      • You look at Dan Haren and I know his results have outpaced his peripherals this year but damn………… I think if given choice between him and Happ I think I’d rather be running Happ out there every 5 days.

    • Eh- yep, for those of you whom have been saying Morton and Locke are barely a 5th starter ALL season, I introduce you to J.A. Happ, AVERAGE 5th starter in the major leagues. Anyone else need a cup of perspective?

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