Open Discussion Thread: The Countdown to the Alvarez Decision

Every time there is a big off-season transaction date, I always check to see when the transaction could be expected. I go back through old e-mails, seeing when the Pirates issued a press release in previous years, in order to anticipate when the news will come out this year. Today is the non-tender deadline, which means the Pirates need to make a decision on whether to tender contracts to all of their unsigned players. The biggest decision would be with Pedro Alvarez, as I discussed last night.

Unfortunately, in looking back at previous announcements, the news didn’t come out each year until around midnight. So we’re in for a long wait for the official news, with the chance for some transactions to take place today.

Just like yesterday, I’m working on hammering out the rest of the profiles for the 2016 Prospect Guide. We’re keeping watch if any news comes up today, but for now we’re going to try the discussion thread again.

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  • Awful! Now we get to see a platoon with a minor leaguer that has been awful in the majors great

  • Whoop there it is.

    All that fuss for a guy that gets the boot. Think im more upset at Jaff getting the boot as well.

    • Down goes Alvarez…he’ll get picked up. Just wasn’t the right spot/value for him here. Now can we use the money to upgrade the team somehow, please?

      • Be interesting to see his value.

        And yeah, use the monies.

        • I imagine Seattle would be in…maybe Cleveland…I just don’t see a huge market or a big contract. This only matters though if they utilize the funds to make an upgrade to the team…I just feel skeptical about that.

          • Cleveland seems like too much logic to ignore. Need, enough money, new place for Pedro to figure things out.

          • And now Houston makes some sense. Just non tendered Carter and can get Pedro for a reasonable 5 million likely.

        • Is it bad that I want like 4 of the recent non-tenders? Haha

          • I’ve seen 3 reliever names where i went “hey yeah, he’d be fine in the pen”. Along with Henderson Alvarez, ive been a bit puzzled at some non tenders.

  • If we all agree to stick on this thread when the decision is announced, we can honor Pedro with being the point of discussion on the longest thread in PP history.

  • Poor Jaff Dacker

  • Adios, Pete. It’s official.

  • Here’s how I see this playing out: Pirates trade Alvarez for a prospect at the midnight deadline. However, the official paperwork isn’t filed until just after midnight. This snafu results in nullifying the trade and allowing Pedro to become a free agent

  • Some really interesting non-tenders:
    Cesar Ramos, Steve Cishek, Henderson Alvarez, Yusmeiro Petit…I might take all of the above.

    • I agree. Pettit has always intrigued me. Alvarez, even if he’s not able to compete till July or so, would be an impressive pickup if he’s not completely broken.

  • Tim, any other teams left who haven’t announced yet?

  • Who will break the news? Or is there a press release?

    Any trade rumors circulating?

  • Its 9:30 and still no answer.

    Does that mean anything?

  • Steve Cishek just got a big payday thanks to the Cards. Unless he is injured and we don’t have any indication yet that he is, he should immediately become a top free agent target. O’Day is fishing for 4/$36M or thereabouts so the much younger/accomplished Cishek should be an attractive pickup. Best K/BB ratio of career in 2014 and his 2015 stats after being traded to Cards were very good. I see him as Soria comparable.

  • Henderson Alvarez was just non tendered!! Instead of a reclamation project how bout get a legit number two cheap with two arbitration years left and keep fingers crossed he recovers properly from offseason surgery.

    • Pass

    • He’s pretty, but he’s not going to be cheap.

      I’ll bet a nickel it’s going to be 2/18 to sign him…and that’s with no guarantee he’ll be ready by 5/1.

      • He should be cheap. His own team didn’t want to spend $4 M on him! Not a lot of negotiating power

        • He has power…

          He now has the power to negotiate with 29 teams and to offer himself up as a 25 year old arm in search of a two year deal.

          Unless there’s something scary in his medicals…I think he’s going to have his pick of teams.

          • I dont think a team is going to love the fact that it cant use him until June or July. A team will have to love him so much that it finds another guy to fill his spot but be easily replaceable.

            Teams will inquire, but the fact that he’s out until June or July dents his market. Shoulder surgery isnt something teams will easily assume he’s over and back to ace form from.

    • I already have fingers crossed on their other broken pitchers 🙂

    • Shoulder surgery in July (Alvarez). Shoulders aren’t like elbows, tough to fix. And also tough to fix guys (Searage) with injured shoulders.

      • He doesn’t need fixed just to be healthy

        • Being healthy after shoulder surgery doesnt for sure guarantee the same level of production as prior to surgery.

          He’s a fine guy to bring in relatively cheap, but the risk is there.

    • I like it, but mlbtr says he’ll miss at least a month. If he recovers, that could be a huge move value move on the cheap. I wonder about offering cishek who cards non tendered

  • Ike Davis was non-tendered. Anyone want him back? Unless the Pirates throw Josh Bell right into the deep water, I think they have to bring Pedro back. I don’t know who they can afford that would be better. Pedro’s defense has to improve in his second season at first base.

  • Well, everyone can relax…it’s official, the Pirates have non-tendered…

    …no one as of 8:16 EST.

    Happy Wednesday 🙂

  • Why not get creative and tender then trade Day-dro and $3-4 million and a Top 30 arm to an AL team and get something of real value back?

    • Easier said than done, but If they did tender him, that scenario or something similar is what they would try to do.

    • Pedro at 3-4 million is likely something they’d like to keep around for depth purposes. Allow Bell another entire year in AAA, roll with Morse and Pedro, and worst case Pedro still is replacement value with Morse hurt and you are back to using Bell mid season.

  • So I get easily confused…

    If the Pirates non tender Alvarez, that would make him a FA. As a FA, he isn’t going to get anywhere near 8M a year. So why didn’t Borass (yeah, I know how it is spelled), approach the Pirates with maybe a 2 year 10/12M deal?

    Then again, I think about Melancon. Is anyone really going to pay him 10M other then the Pirate’s at this point?

    So, with both players having little trade value per the pundits, and a combined projected salary of 18M, lets just non-tender both of them, and use that 18M/yr for a top-middle-tier pitcher? (sounds like an oxymoron to me…top- middle…lol)

    I know it won’t happen, but its just a different way at looking at it maybe 🙂

    • -“So why didn’t Borass (yeah, I know how it is spelled), approach the Pirates with maybe a 2 year 10/12M deal?”

      Far from an exact comp, but this is essentially how the Brewers were able to get Carlos Gomez to sign that ridiculously cheap 3 yr/$21m extension a year before free agency. I don’t think the Pirates would go for this idea quite frankly, but I do think it would be wise for Pedro to take that from someone like Colorado who can afford to play him at first, which is the only way he’s making real money at this point in his career.

    • Because Boras wants him in the AL…in a friendly stadium…where he’ll hit 35-40 HR’s.

      I can’t argue with it…it’s good business sense.

      If that happens, Pedro goes into FA able to make $12-$15M/year. So, whatever he makes this season plus $13.5M next year is greater than $12M for this year and next.

  • According to MLBTR Samardzija has a $100M offer.

    The price of established pitching just got higher…much.

    • That’s incredible. I thought he was 60-75.

      • That’s putting a smile on Zach Greinke’s face and making Price kick himself.

        I assume Cueto is pretty darned happy about it too…although he just turned down $20M AAV.

        • The thoughts around here a month ago seemed to be it was such a large FA pitching market, that it would depress some of the values some.

          Instead, I think we are seeing the local TV money kick in to full force. And some teams of the usual heavy hitters havent spent a dime yet.

          • There is never, ever enough pitching, Arthur. Even in today’s pitching-dominated game. Teams simply raise the bar on level of expected performance. Ten years ago a starter that could go 180 IP with an ERA around 4 was mid-rotation; now that guy is one contenders are looking to replace…as the 5th starter.

            Only draft pick compensation depresses the pitching market, because the demand will always outpace the supply.

            • I understand that.

              I just thought a month ago, the word around here was that the Pirates would have no problem securing Happ or someone else in the 2-3 year, 20-30 million dollar range.

              Offseasons still young but already some projections at MLBTR, Fangraphs and elsewhere look low.

              • Oh, I know you do…it was more my smarmy attempt at sub-commenting those other who were thinking prices would drop. Which was jerkish of me, and not really necessary.

                • I’m starting to get nervous, because I think the boys on Federal Street are surprised at the prices so far. I agree with Blaine, even the reclamation projects prices have probably climbed.

          • What I’m very concerned about is how high this brings the floor up.
            Frankie was a 2/7.
            Volquez a 1/5.

            The Pirates pattern of reclamation seems to have hit a bump…don’t know that you’ll find any worthwhile fixer-uppers under 10-12.

            As well, this blows up the trade market…

          • Also a part of this is next years FA market. Anyone who needs a TOR arm has to get it this year, because the market sucks next year. Anyone is dire need of a SP either gets it here or relies on whatever is in its system.

            Teams like BOS have to overpay now because fair price and not getting your guy means you wade through the crap fest next year. The lack of high upside arms next year only helps teams overpay this year.

            • For the sake of conversation, was Price really an overpay?

              FanGraphs estimate missed by $2m. Zim actually signed for less.

              If anything, it seems like top salaries are more or less stagnating with mid-to-bottom contracts rising. Ugly combo for the Pirates.

              • Overpay in the sense of “will he provide X value for the total X dollars” No. Or i at least think he’ll be close to providing 30 WAR over that deal.

                But itll be front loaded, and only certain teams are able to pay value over 7 years for only good value in 4 of them. I think Price was an overpay BOS could afford, in the sense that they’ll get near what they paid for him and be fine if he only throw out 3 WAR in the last few years.

                But i agree that the big risers this year are the mid tier contracts. I think thats happening for many reasons, one of which is the fact that if you need SP next year you should get it this year. Next year is an ugly FA market almost universally.

                • “Next year is an ugly FA market almost universally.”

                  I did not know that, but im sure the FO did. Makes it more perplexing.

                  • In 2017 the Pirates will have Taillon, Kingham, Glasnow, and Brault in the rotation because pitching prospects are high-probability bets, Arthur. You big dumb dumb.

                    • Depends on what we are discussing. High probability to be 3 WAR? Nah. High probability to be average or better at their rotation spot? About as high probability as a guy making 15 million a year is to keep producing his same level year to year.

                      If we enter 2017 with Cole-Liriano-Taillon-Glasnow-Any number of young arms, that rotation doesnt strike me as full of potential suck. No more so than Happ would be to suddenly be a #4 SP type rather than solid mid rotation.

                      Guys like Taillon arent sure bets, but in terms of probability they arent a ton different than signing many FA guys and guaranteeing a certain level of production from them. Taillon can be every bit of what Cole was early in his career by 2017. Mid 3s ERA.

                    • And Luis Heredia in the 9th, closing games out.

                      They play the Mcdonalds music when he comes out….I’m loving it.

                  • Not much TOR stuff, and the middling stuff is lacking. Not just at SP, but many spots.

                    Idk if that alters how PGH operates, but if they do feel pressure to solve the #3 spot in FA this is the year. Really expensive and longterm deal year, but the year. Personally i think unloading Walker to nab a Kennedy type would be easily doable.

  • Brandon Moss is a potential non-tender candidate… how about bringing him back to the burgh?

  • Neftali Feliz is going to get non-tendered…Potential reclamation project?

    • Outstanding minor league rehab candidate. Still throwing gas, just sucking. Not sure if he will be offered MLB deals or not.

    • Honest question to the group: what’s the limit?

      -Four bullpen slots, including at least one back end arm
      -A mid-rotation starter
      -Piecing Morton back together again
      -Maintaining high maintenance deliveries in the form of Liriano and Locke

      What is the limit to what we can reasonably expect Searage to accomplish?

      And before someone starts with the “it’s about more than one person” business, whats made Searage/Benedict/Hurdle so successful is their ability to translate. To take the scouting, analytics, video and translate that into instruction players can handle. And that’s far from a skill that’s easily replicated, or else Searage/Benedict/Hurdle wouldn’t be getting the praise they are.

      Individually these are all reasonable options, but my goodness. Add them all up and you’re looking at an *extremely* risky pitching staff.

      • Great point

      • Should paste this to what Tim asked on Twitter this morning.

        • Missed that exchange but did see the question…I mean, Tim’s definitely right to call out those who don’t want to see *any* reclamations, but man, if Searage can pull off turning around over half the damn staff then back up the truck and pay him more than Hurdle and Huntington combined.

          • Remember when Leo Mazzone was the pitching guru of baseball? I think there is even a stat out there that said while in ATL, Mazzone lowered pitchers ERAs by a half a run. Now I’m not saying he wasn’t a good coach, and to be fair he had some great pitchers to work with. Obviously.

            I just thought it was funny he went to the Orioles when he cashed in with Peter Angelos and was retired in two years after fizzling out. Point being, I can see the same happening with Searage. But sometimes I wish NH, the other pitching coaches, and ultimately the player would get at least a little more credit.

            I think you’ve said it alot, they aren’t the only team flipping pitchers.

            • The counter example is Dave Duncan developed a reputation for honing pitchers and became the highest paid pitching coach in baseball, the Cardinals haven’t really suffered since his departure in 2012.

              • I think the Cardinals have had a tried and true way of developing arms for a long time. That’s who’s people and methods I’d be trying to steal. But I’m sure Duncan has a lot to do with it too.

                • Seems like STL is a good example of how 1 guy can be very much a big part of the success of a method, but not mean that losing him=the method goes to complete crap.

                  Put in place a quality group of people that have success over a length of time, the system can endure even with the loss of great people. Sounds hopefully familiar.

      • Much as we try to assume what NH is planning on doing, until we actually move Melancon its not a ton of bullpen turnover. As of this moment, we operate with Caminero-Hughes-Watson-Melancon. Assuming 1 spot goes to a random young arm/low buy “who is this” guy like it seems to each year, it leaves us needing a 7th inning option and a long man.

        Much as NH has said this or that, i see no indication he’s gonna move Mark just to free money. And if that market doesnt heat up for Mark, 1 year at 10 million is doable.

        • Your wife must love you, Luke. Unlimited faith…

          • No wife, not at 23 lol.

            Thats not even really faith in NH, because id want them to move Melancon if at all possible. Thats really just faith in no team willing to overpay for Melancon and NH not dumb enough to just dump Melancon without a semi useful return.

            • Ha! Glad there’s another young buck on here…just wish I could say I was still that young.

              If Huntington hadn’t been so persistent with this whole “10% of payroll on a closer” bullshit I’d agree with you, but boy the writing sure does seem to be on the wall.

              I have my doubts that Melancon will return equivalent *big league* value, but you know Huntington would be more than happy with a few A-ballers with upside.

              Good as gone.

              • Not feeling young lol at 23 the body isnt supposed to start sucking. My right knee tells me when its gonna rain….why santa why.

                I just dont see anything in his history to suggest he’ll settle for “a few a ballers”. He saw writing on the wall with Hanrahan but didnt settle for A ballers, he threw in another player and found enough value for his liking.

                I dont see NH as willing to just let him go for lotto tickets just to save money. I think he’d do that with Walker before Melancon, due to ease of replacing Walkers value with the current roster.

                • Wait, you don’t think that Mark Melancon, coming off a season where he wasn’t even able to keep his big league job, was anything more than a lottery ticket?!

                  If it makes you feel better to say a reclamation pitcher than an A-ball prospect, by all means, have at it.

                  Huntington just subtracted from the big league club for A-ball prospects last year and has never done anything *but* do quantity over quality trades. The chances of getting big league quantity back, in my opinion, are fairly slim, at which point the possibility of using Melancon to stock the farm is high.

                  • C’mon, subtracting Snider for what he got was not exactly 1-1 with subtracting Melancon.

                    Unless you think Melancon is also likely to regress a ton, in which case itd make sense to just dump him.

                • Oh, and wait til you see what it feels like to wake up after a night a drinking at 30.

                  • Seriously though, i fell off a truck in drinking ability somewhere between 22 and 23.

                    Feel like im the Tommy Boy scene where Farley sets the toy car on fire. At 22, im driving along, driving and almost hit a tire “woah, that was close.” At 23 i fall off the cliff when waking up the next morning and wonder why I decided to throw down shots.

              • I used to be a young buck!

      • How good is Benedict’s replacement?

    • Id rather take Al Albuquerque. DET just let him go, a year removed from fine 7th inning type work. He’ll be relatively wanted, but you could replace Soria right there for less than Soria wants.

  • You know what would be better than discussing an $8m gamble on Pedro Alvarez?

    Celebrating signing Byung-ho Park for $23m.


  • I’d only tender him if I am virtually certain I can trade him. Save that 10 million and go at a good SP.

  • So many people talk about how easy it can be to plug guys in for Alvarez and walker. Defense aside which matters but think about this.
    1.Team hit 140 hrs and scored 697 runs.
    2.Alvarez accounted for 20% percent of teams hrs in a limited role
    3. Walker and Alvarez combined for almost a third of teams hrs.
    4. They accounted from 21% of teams Rbis
    5. Combined for 43 hrs and 148 rbis
    6. They combined will make somewhere in 18 to 20 million in arbitration
    7. Without their home runs they would rank last.

    • to just remove Neil’s and Pedro’s stats from 2015, you’re also removing 980 ABs (of 5631 team ABs) that would get reallocated somewhere. so if you remove more than 17% of a teams ABs, no it’s not shocking to me that they would fall in the NL rankings

      • How do you replace 43 hrs and 158 rbis for 20 million or less

        • I don’t care about HRs. Those aren’t the only way to score runs. To replace 158 runs in 1000 ABs isn’t that absurd (not to mention the 20 runs that not having Pedro at 1B accounts for)

          • They accounted for a fifth of teams runs scored period not just hrs. If you think that 158 runs is that easy to replace on their budget i would love to hear how you would do it!!! And be realistic don’t say I’ll trade the whole farm system for arenado or something.
            And if you want to subtract pedro 20 runs for defense still doubt you can come up with a plan for 138 runs on their budget.

            • The honest answer to your original question of where they replace that production is they don’t.

              For better or worse, losing Alvarez and Walker from a lineup that was already only average to begin with means they have no choice but to become a run prevention team. Great pitching, and great defense.

              How well you believe they’ll do that essentially decides how well you think they’ll finish next season, because it’s *extremely* unlikely they match even last year’s offensive output.

              • I agree! You got to tender everyone. It’s a 1 yr commitment to a slightly higher payroll to try to keep pace with cubs and cards and to help bridge gap for the young guys

                • And this is why I kind of bristle at the “payroll flexibility”/”market constraints” cliches in this specific instance.

                  Yes, from a long range point of view those both are absolute realities the Pirates have to work with, but it’s incredibly naive to think there’s no possibility of them pushing a budget in a single year. It absolutely can be done. It absolutely *is* done, and by far more than the Mike Illitch’s of owners. No team has ruined themselves from losing money once, for christ sake.

                  As a fan of a baseball club at the absolute top of the win curve having just two more years with one of the top three players in the league, you’re damn right I’d rather take that chance than admit to the reality of a “retooling” year.

              • We actually finished 4th in baseball in non pitcher wRC+.

                The average offense wasnt average at all.

                • Oh, pitchers don’t bat in the National League?

                  • Well to make a fair comparison between AL and NL i went with non pitchers, because otherwise some teams (like Boston) get a massive bump in wRC+ because a pitcher has a 200 wRC+ in like 4 at bats.

                    If you look just NL, all things included, still 3rd best. No matter how you slice it, our overall offense was above average.

                    3rd in the NL.

                    • 4th in runs scored, with just a 14 run spread between them and 8th.

                      That’s not anywhere close to being comfortably “above average” when discussing losing 20% of that offense.

                    • 3rd in wRC+, which i trust far more than almost any other stat in this situation. When trying to determine the worth of an offense, using the metric that attempts to evaluate overall offense seems fair.

                      Fair to say there might not be a huge gap in some areas, but thats still knocking them for being that little bit better than most teams. Different wasnt great, but its there.

                    • You are really taking the potential loss of Alvarez hard.

              • Which is why they may tender both.

              • They need Marte to keep growing and become the next level player he has all the tools to be. He needs to keep lowering # of K’s as well as get his act together on the base paths. Also time for GP to hopefully put it together as well. We’re going to need both of them in a big way.

              • 107 wRC+ and 4th in the baseball isn’t average. And yes it will be difficult to remain highly ranked and win 98, all things regress.

      • if you replace Pedro with Ike Davis you get 3 HRs and a 650 OPS…. so careful what you wish for, hopefully Morse could do better. Neil on the other hand, would probably be replaced with JHay full-time, which I think would be an offensive wash and maybe a defensive gain. Yes, I am more bullish on Harrison than Walker going forward. If however someone will offer up any7 value for Pete, say a Cervielli type AAAA player at a position of bench need, I would happily tell Morse to be ready for 600 AB and use the money to extend Cervelli.

  • Oakland got canha who I wish we could have traded for last offseason. He got playing time in 2nd half and was real good.

  • It might be fun to discuss, but I don’t think that it will really make any difference. Alvarez’ value to the Pirates has dropped so low that other teams will just wait. If the Bucs non-tender him, they get nothing. If they tender him and then trade him, they’ll most likely get next to nothing. No one is going to get into a bidding war over this guy. IMO the Pirates would get less for Alvarez than they did for Travis Snider.

    • I really wouldnt mind tendering him an offer. Worst case scenario is he basically repeats last year. Obviously, thats not good, but wouldnt be the end of the world. Also, Bell is no sure thing at first, and at this point would not be an upgrade. Hopefully Bell comes up in June and is adequate defensively and above average with the bat.

  • OAK has just announced that Ike Davis will not be tendered… projected arb salary = $3.8M… discuss!

    • I would take him over Pedro in a second

      • You don’t understand how truly awful Davis was last year. Truly and I was a HUGE Ike booster.

    • Oakland is too smart to let Davis block an offensive juggernaut like Lambo. ,)

    • Only as a backup behind Morse until Bell becomes whatever the team deems “ready” to be promoted.

      Ike as a starter is no solution, but if they want to save some money and try to keep depth behind Morse in case of injury Ike wouldnt be terrible.

  • If they parts ways with Walker and Pedro, they could conceivably have a lineup with only one left handed hitter. That’s a scary thought.

  • the only way i will view a non-tender of pedro as negative is if Sean Rod is back in a bucco uniform in 2016

    • Without Sean Rod who will pull a “hold me back” during those intense baseball scrums. The second time he did it I wish they would have let him loose. Funny how he couldn’t quite break away. Starting him in the WC game was a terrific vote of confidence to your team. Certainly showed us what the manager and GM think of Pedro. The Cardinals show Pedro more respect than the Bucs.

  • Tim! What’s the record for comments on a post? We might break it here. Nobody on this team has been analyzed more than Pedro.

    • If we havent broken it, lets get to work boys.

      Thankfully this is an all day issue since nothing will be announced until late tonight. Oh the places this thread may go.

    • 327. When I announced that the site would be going to subscription. I haven’t read through this one, but I’m guessing there’s a lot less “I hate you!” posts directed at me in this one.

  • I see Walker getting $15mil+ on the open market. He should be easiest to move, but the hardest to replace immediately. Melancon should net a B pitching prospect or a high upside reliever… Wilson netted us Cervelli last year…I’d love to see them sneak another similar player for Melancon.

    • Idk, Harrison isnt a total WAR loss at 2B. He could move to 2B, throw out a ho hum 1.5 WAR and make up a chunk of that 2.4 WAR. The bench would need a replacement IF type, but hell if Hanson doesnt seem a good fit for the bench to start his career.

      Id think Melancon is the toughest to replace, though the WAR for relievers issue makes it not a WAR issue as much as a production issue.

      • NH’s strength has ABSOLUTELY been cheap relievers though.

        • Oh without a doubt. I wouldnt say id be worried about replacing him, just that it’ll take the most work. NH could replace a chunk of Walker’s value by simply moving Harrison to 2B and Kang sticks at 3B. At that point, you’d be looking for bench players to fill in rather than looking for a legit 2B option.

      • I agree with you about Harrison and hopefully Kang is ready opening day. That’ll make life better for all involved. Hanson makes me nervous with his bat, but he is easy to get excited about. A switch hitting second basemen with speed and above average defense? Sign me up. I dream on him being a 1-2 hitter in the 2017 lineup.

        The past two years I’ve had more confidence in Watson than Malancon, but Melancon has consistently been incredible. There is just a huge part of me that doesn’t worry about the Pirates ability to find productive relievers. They’ve had a competitive advantage in that department for several years.

        • I dont think PGH will do it, but id hope to see Hanson show up and be a bench player his first year or two. Allow Harrison to move to 2B, Kang at 3B, and have a fine bench option in Hanson.

          He still gets enough playing time with Harrison moving around to spell Kang or Polanco, and give Harrison simple days off. With a clear value placed on keeping players fresh, Hanson off the bench seems logical to me. Kang-Mercer-Harrison-Hanson-Walker-Morse as an infield rotation with a few FA bench additions to round it out.

          • Couldn’t agree more. Ease Hanson in. He has so much potential he is easy to dream on.

    • If Kang were healthy, I’d think Walker would be the easiest to move and the easiest to replace. You’d just move Harrison into second and Kang would be your every day third baseman. You’d need some good infielders to replace what Harrison, Ramierez and Rodriguez gave you as utility players but the drop off between Walker and Harrison isn’t that great. I think Harrison will take a step forward this season. I for one would be totally confident with that infield configuration. But I don’t know that Kang will be back by Spring. That was a bad knee injury and I don’t think it’s at all guaranteed he will be the same player again, let alone next year.

      As it is I think both Walker and Melanceon will be fairly easy to move but difficult to replace. In saying that I don’t know what the Pirates are looking for, and I don’t think either will bring back the kind of return in a trade that some posters here seem to expect. But both are quality players worth their expected salaries.

      • Harrison is not Neil Walker. Harrison is a good bench bat that had a very good year. . He will be an above average defensive 2nd basemen though.

        • 8 points separated Walker and Harrison last year by wRC+. Since no one thinks Walker is replicating his career year of 2014, Walker is likely a 105-115 type 2Bmen with poor defense.

          Harrison might not have the 135 wRC+ in him, but if he “only” throw out 100-105, he provides only a slight downgrade on what Walker is likely to produce going forward with better defense.

          All things being equal, Harrison isnt Walker but he could easily be as valuable overall. Harrison could start at 2B for more than a few teams.

  • Things have been very eerily quiet with Huntington this off season so far….they usually keep things close to vest, but I just get a feeling that there are going to several happenings over the coming days. Hard to really guess what NH is going to do.

    • Feels like the quiet before the storm doesn’t it? I get the sense they are going to be more active on the trade market and grab 1-2 pitching FA’s.

  • I agree with David. Plus we truly have no cleanup hitter at all without him so there’s no true replacement in-house

  • Todd Shevchik
    December 2, 2015 1:31 pm

    What about signing Pedro to a 2 yr. $8 million dollar contract? Then he would have value in the trade market to the Pirates and help them bridge the gap.

    • If you were Pedro, would you sign that?

    • maybe 2 yrs for 16-18 mil, it would be considered. 2 yrs/8 mil…not a chance he would take that.

    • You can’t be serious, with Boras as his agent there is no way. And Pedro/Boras can front all they want to the media, but they know he is best positioned to maximize any potential contracts as a DH in the AL. Speaking of, I really don’t care if there is a DH or not, but can we make the leagues the same already. The NL is at such a disadvantage.

      • Alvarez *most certainly* is not in a position to maximize potential contracts as a DH. Not only does that cut the demand side in half, it also puts him at a position where his bat has to be even better.

        Alvarez probably isn’t more than a year-by-year player for the rest of his career as a full time DH. He has to convince teams he’s at least a part-time position player.

        • Respectfully disagree there. He is on the verge of being non-tendered because he is unusable in the field. As a DH, a team would gladly take a chance on him. He’s proven to let his defensive woes affect his bat at times, so a focus on purely hitting could pay off for him. I believe you said earlier that any AL team would take a flyer on him for 3-5 million, which is more than if we non-tendered. I did not mean maximize in terms of a lucrative long term contract, I merely meant a job, one he’s highly unlikely to get in the NL right now.

        • David Ortiz went to the Red Sox and learned to be a professional DH – he was 27 year old and had a max of 1.1 WAR and his best year as a Twin he hit 20HR. He played first base about as well as Pedro for the first few years in Boston.

          No guarantee Pedro can do something similar – but 30+ HR power is rate these days – just 12 total in the AL last year.

          • Pedro is 29 and hasnt shown Papi’s ability to hit for average or get on base. In fact, Papi showed those traits in his early 20s and only became consistent by age 26-27.

            Pedro hasnt shown the skills in many areas Papi did, and Pedro is older than when Papi took steroi…broke out.

    • Because he is a Scott Boras client. He would never do that

    • I don’t think you’re that far off, to be honest. Low, yes, but he’s gotta convince a club to give him a chance in the field in order to rebuild any value. If that takes some sort of handshake agreement for a bit less money, so be it.

  • I am optimistic about the Pirates over the next few years but I also see a real challenge. How do they integrate a number of prospects onto the team and still stay competitive in a tough division? The Cubs got outstanding results from their young guys this year, but that seems like an anomaly. The Pirates probably need a stronger first half to the season than in past years so they have some cushion when the young guys start coming up in June.

  • With Alonso having been traded…the market for someone other the Pedro keeps getting smaller and smaller.

    While I’m not excited about him, none of the retreads seem to have me smiling, either.

    • Just took a look at the FA’s 1B’men….

      Hell, half seem to be Pirate castoffs:

      Jeff Baker (35)
      Chris Davis (30)
      Corey Hart (34)
      Travis Ishikawa (32)
      Kelly Johnson (34)
      Garrett Jones (35)
      Dae-ho Lee (34)
      Justin Morneau (35)
      Mike Napoli (34)
      Daniel Nava (33)
      Steve Pearce (33)
      Mark Reynolds (32)
      Sean Rodriguez (31)
      Chris Parmelee (28)
      Wilin Rosario (27)

  • I don’t think I’ve seen this mentioned, but it seems like Garrett Jones would provide a hell of a comp for what the Pirates should be expected to do in this sort of situation.

    Last year of arb, $6m projected salary. Jones’ offense cratered, whereas Pedro’s defense did him in. Nobody would trade for Jones knowing the Pirates were likely to non-tender him, which they did, and he ended up signing a two-year FA deal.

    Right or wrong, I’d be shocked if the Pirates tendered Alvarez.

    • Up until reading a lot of comments today, I thought there was no way PA didn’t get tendered. I have swung over to the belief he will not get tendered. He is such a wreck in the field. He does hit HRs, but little else.

    • I’ve used the Jones/Alvarez comparison a couple times, (Jones was a better overall hitter in his time with the Pirates), also Alvarez’s career path mirrors Mark Reynolds’s.

      But the Jones was 4 years older showing signs of decline, batted ball distances was headed down and whiff rate up, also Jones didn’t have the pedigree of Alvarez, which should account for something considering this front office consistently targeted former 1st rounders.

  • They gave Josh Bell 5 million dollars 5 years ago and just moved him to first.

    In 6 months thats your first baseman. We need to stop kidding ourselves here, fellas, regardless of what you think of him.

    • Just like Polanco has been the starting right fielder since the day he was called up, am I right?

      • Did they or did they not move Travis Smizik to accommodate that? Same thing is going on here, to an extent.

        • Yes, the year *after* they demoted Polanco during his rookie year in favor a Snider. Come on, you get this.

          • The kids gotta play man. That was a record breaking investment they made at the time. Time to get a return on it.

            • Record breaking investment would mean they are going to do what is in his best interest, not get him in the pros ASAP.

              Thats not far off from what DL thought time and time again. Young guy with talent and big investment? Get him in the bigs and playing sooner rather than later.

              • Smh. Gave a HS kid 5 million dollars, moved him to firstbase. Nontendered a guy who hit over 100 Hrs for them. No interest in anything of note on the FA market other than retreads and MiLBers. Michael “Freaking” Morse.

                What do you need Luke, a sign?

                • You can be a dick about it for no reason, or we can actually argue this.

                  Bell was moved to help him find a way to the majors quicker. It wasnt happening the OF, and they moved him to best allow him to succeed in PGH in the majors. That doesnt jive with then going “but we gotta get you there ASAP since we paid X amount. Gotta get that return on investment ASAP brotha”.

                  And the 100 HRs line is classic Pedro fans. I dont dislike him, but HRs are literally all you got. Average wRC+, low average, bad defense, marginal OBP. Id bring him back only because its ensuring one injury doesnt ruin the position, but not because Pedro is worth 8 million.

                  What we gave Bell as a signing bonus shouldnt come into the discussion, its a stupid thing to act like matters at this point. Thats 2005 PGH level stuff, acting like what we paid the guy means he has to show up even if he’s not actually ready.

                  • Money ABSOLUTELY is part of the discussion. It has been and always will be. Not just with the Pirates, but baseball in general.

                    • Money matters in the sense that they arent going to block Bell and make it tougher for him to arrive.

                      Money doesnt matter in the way you are acting like it does. They arent going “since we paid Bell this much, he has to arrive ASAP even if we dont think he is ready”. This FO doesnt think like that, thats what Littlefield did to try to win 83 games. Bell will be given every chance to succeed, but not hurried with no care for depth or options ahead of him.

                    • Thats what you think. Im telling you what I think.

                      And I THINK, Bell is what they are going with. If they make an investment elsewhere, you will have my apology.

                    • Again, thats either purposely missing what i said or just not reading what i wrote.

                      Not one argued that they are going to go with Bell at some point, we all agree and thats clear. I argued against your ridiculous notion that reasons for going with Bell are because of his signing bonus and that his signing bonus dictates how quickly they feel pressured to have him arrive.

                      “The kids gotta play man. That was a record breaking investment they made at the time. Time to get a return on it.” This was the post im arguing against. I dont think he’s “gotta” play this year, i guarantee his bonus has 0 to do with their evaluations of him, and that they dont think of things as “get a return on our money quick”.

                  • Not to mention they actually gave Alvarez himself a higher bonus, and once again, demoted him when it was necessary.

                    Not exactly sure what Arthur’s getting at. *Of course* they’re going to give Bell every chance to succeed as the ML 1B, but they very clearly aren’t afraid to demote similar players when needed…which makes having a viable backup all the more necessary.

                    • Im confused too honestly.

                      “. I dont think he’s “gotta” play this year, i guarantee his bonus has 0
                      to do with their evaluations of him, and that they dont think of things
                      as “get a return on our money quick”.”

                      I didnt say any of that bullshit.

                      All im saying is they payed this guy a decent amount of money not to go to college, changed positions, and so far have no acquired anyone that seems to be a long term option at first. The position seems to be Josh Bells, to sink or swim.

                      Where $@^& Dave &*#@ing Littlefield came from, i dont know.

                    • If you didn’t say any of that “bullshit”, then the words Luke quoted you writing mean different things to you than they do to me. And Luke, apparently.

                    • Idk what you wanted “the kids gotta play” to mean if you didnt intend it to mean play this year. As for not saying money impacts their evaluations of him, thats your entire argument. You literally make it again in this post by mentioning his money.

                      Dave Littlefield made a career thinking things like “we paid this kid a lot of money not to sit in the minors and change spots, get him up here and sink or swim”.

                      Thats classic Pirates of the late 90s early 2000s. Use the financial amount you paid him to dictate how you develop him and his timeline.

                    • And who are the names of these Littlefield players you’re referring to?

                    • Im not gonna argue with that level of stupid. That list is easily found and easy to remember, you are now just being obtuse for no reason.

                      Start with Aramis Ramirez, then work your way down the painful list of names DL ruined by getting to the majors without care for development.

                    • That’s because players were drafted for signability, not any large signing bonus. And almost every single one of the pitchers had elbow or shoulder problems before ever reaching the majors. Many never made it at all.

                    • Paul Maholm never spent more than 8 starts at any level until AA. He put up good stats, so promote! He was rushed up because he put up good stats and was a “prospect” and it did him no good. He basically skipped the low minors for no real reason.

                      Its a not totally tiny list of guys who either were drafted high or showed big stats at some point taht suddenly got a call up.

                      If you showed big stats, you got brought up quickly to help the team win ASAP. That sounds good, but if you miss development while moving quickly you can suck against better competition and we have the Pirates.

                    • here’s your exact quote:
                      The kids gotta play man. That was a record breaking investment they made at the time. Time to get a return on it.

                    • I stand corrected.

                      And he should play for all the reasons I stated.

      • Pirates strongest area of depth is OF, I’d call Cleveland (who is desperate for OF help) and offer Polanco for Carrasco. May be cutting ties too quickly, but Meadows and Ramirez are coming and getting Carrasco and his very friendly contract thru 2020 would be a great get.

  • Pedro is like my Oil and Gas stocks. I can’t sell now because I am so far underwater. I am waiting for a turnaround that may not come for years. I sit and wait and hope for improvement. Everyone please turn your thermostats up to 90. Even you Tim.

  • Curosity is getting the better of me.
    If he is not tendered, which team would target him and what offer (less than the $8MM or so he is expected to get) would get him signed?

    • Just about any AL club could take a $3-5m flyer on him. Nobody is going to trade for him when the Pirates MO has been to non-tender similar players.

      • He could be part of a larger package in a trade. Straight up, he has no real trade value.

        • Very true. Some situation where the other clubs sends a more expensive player to offset the difference in value, instead of the Pirates straight up eating some of Pedro’s salary.

          Ubaldo Jimenez probably regained too much value last year, but something like that.

    • If the Rays move Loney and put Morrison at 1st, could see Tampa get in the mix.

      • The Rays are going to have a more difficult time moving Loney than the Pirates will in moving Pedro. You can hide Alvarez’s poor glove at DH and receive modest value, but unfortunately the problem with Loney is his noodle bat – he hits like a second division shortstop.

        • I think they could fit all three in the budget and eventually trade one later.

          • One issue with the Rays is if they are seriously looking to compete this year.

            Seems like moving for Pedro is a more win now move, and id hope TB is planning down the road since BOS+TOR+NY=TB is screwed in that division.

  • I’d rather the Bucs spend that $8 million on another 1B reclamation project or two, because we’ve seen the upside with Alvarez, and defensively there is no upside.

    • Would that reclamation be a 1B like Ike Davis, Garrett Jones, Gaby Sanchez, Andrew Lambo, or Matt Diaz?

      The reason we trust the Pirates to pick up crappy pitchers is because they’ve actually proven capable of turning them around. Their track record with first basemen looks worse than a dumpster full of the money they paid these guys lit on fire, and then put out with a stream of urine.

      Non-tender/trade Alvarez, by all means, but for the love of all that is holy actually spend that money on something worthwhile.

      • This would be so funny if it wasn’t so sad.

      • I wonder if Tony Sanchez can play first? Hmmmmmm. Just a thought. 😉

      • Morneau. Meaning bring him back for a year.

        • Didn’t he have like 1 RBI here or am I wrong in what I’m thinking.

        • Ha, I knew I’d forget at least one failed first baseman in the bunch.

        • Id rather not watch him endanger his healthy by continuing to play. He’s another concussion away from some serious issues.

          • He’s being discussed all over the place.

            • Good for other teams. Id rather not watch him do it. I dont regularly watch most teams (apart from Sunday Night Baseball and something at a bar) and id love it if PGH decided not to roster a guy 1 fluke head shot away from serious issues.

              • Well, if he plays well, Ill just remind you and NMR you laughed it off.

                • Im not laughing it off, im saying (for the 3rd time because you refuse to even care to get what im saying) i think its best for his health to stop playing professional sports. That goes beyond his ability, beyond team needs, beyond if he has a market.

                  For his health, he should retire. Thats beyond all the other stuff.

                  • I just don’t think Morneau is that good anymore, he’s a huge injury risk, and I don’t think he ever wanted to be in Pgh in the first place. He looked like a deer in the headlights. He certainly didn’t hit worth a damn either.

  • Alvarez always generated way more conversation and opinions than actual baseball value.

  • Drew Pomeranz was just traded for Yonder Alonso…I would have taken that deal for Alvarez. Gotten us another relief option…

  • Positives to tendering him
    1. Potential everyday power threat at first if his def improves (doesn’t even need to be God just not awful)
    2. Power bat off the bench if not
    3. Potential compensation pick which is really important since they are no longer picking early.
    4. Possibility of trading him still in offseason or at trade deadline for anything either way not paying full 8 mil
    5. Not having a minor league depth option platooning at first.
    6. Non tendering him means you get nothing!!!!!

    1. Paying potentially 8 million.
    NO BRAINER!!!!!!!!

    • Chris, you missed one more.
      Player who you do not have to worry about
      making a bad personal life decision
      away from baseball.

      (one of the things that I can say I really like about him.)

      • As a father of a young son that loves the Pirates as much as I do this is something that doesn’t get enough good praise. Not just Pedro but the entire team is full of high character guys that doesn’t worry you that your son is admiring.

      • Great point. Through the adversity Pedro has exhibited model player behavior. This is one of the reasons why I’ll root for him to succeed no matter where he ends up in the AL.

    • 3. Pedro would really have to have a monster season to get a QO which would determine if the PBC would get a comp pick.

    • You may think it’s that simple, but it really isn’t. 8 million may not seem like much in a 100 – 120 million budget, but it represents a significant portion of the payroll flexibility needed for in season additions.

      Not to mention the Pirates may be in trade talks involving a 1B to replace Alvarez presently.

      I can assure you NH and his team are trying to put together a very complex puzzle right now and turn it into a roster to compete for a title within a relatively speaking tight budget.

      • Scott – This is where NMR and I have some common ground. Do not try to sell me on the payroll flexibility that will be available due to an $8 million dollar movement. This is MLB – the same one where Price just got $33 mil/year. That’s sticking some neck out there – $8 mil – for ANY MLB team is chump change for an average player. Christ we paid like $5 mil for SRod last year didn’t we?…
        No. There may be complexity, but not in this case. Sorry.

        • SRod was a $1.9MM player

        • I think his point was about the flexibility of having that 8 million along with what they currently have. Flexibility isnt about only what you save with Pedro.

          I dont wholly agree with his point, but it does stand to reason that saving Pedro’s 8 doesnt mean we now have 8 to spend…it means we have another 8+what we are currently rolling with to spend on a SP.

          If losing Pedro allows NH to get aggressive in the mid tier SP market, itd be obvious.

    • positives:
      1. that potential does exist
      2. your 5th highest salary on the team shouldn’t be a bench bat
      3. there is ZERO chance pedro would get a QO next season… if it’s realistic to not give him $8M/1yr, how does $15.8+M/1yr make sense?
      4. i think this is a reasonable plan given the lack of replacements, but it’s still a rate of $/gm at a performance level
      5. offseason is just beginning
      6. nothing (0) is better than a loss

      • Can you make a salary argument when no one on the roster is very comparable to baseball salaries plus all the guys still not to hit free agency

        • fair that baseball salaries aren’t linear with talent, but you should have to go lower than 5th before you find a ‘marginal’ contributor

  • Tendering should NOT be a foregone conclusion. Power – yes… but brings very little else to the table. And I disagree with a previous comment saying he holds more value to us than other teams… he is an AL DH who can spot play if needed. More so, you give him the project ~ $8 million next year, that is money that could be wisely spent elsewhere (I’d love to see Mike Leake!) I’m not normally a fan of big free agent spending due to age and declining production, but Leake is only 28 and fits the Pirates on-field strategy incredibly well. Obviously dropping Alvarez won’t solely pay for Leake, but it is a nice chunk.

    • If your idea of “a nice chuck” is half Leake’s salary for the first of at least a four year contract, then sure.

      I don’t say this to question your stance on non-tendering Alvarez, but to put in perspective just how much $8m buys in 2016. Not much at all.

      Best they can reasonably hope to do with that $8m is a reclamation arm or putting it toward the arbitration of a player acquired via trade.

      • Right on the money NMR. Leake may fit Pirates from a pitching standpoint, but nothing they have done in NH’s tenure would suggest they would target him. Pirates will play the reclamation card until it stops paying off.

      • 8 million won’t in and of itself get it done, no where close, but it does offset current day value and then the contract can be back loaded as most are and dealt with later. I’d like to think that a staff with Cole and Liriano at the top followed by maybe the inconsistent duo of Morton and Locke with no identifiable 5th starter would be be an area for NH to step up. Prior to signing Martin or Liriano, we weren’t big players in free agency. Change may be gradual, but it is change. Given the outcome of past couple seasons and current team makeup, I do not think NH squander this window.

        • If this were October, I would be in complete agreement.

          However, I’m really, really disheartened by the tone of Huntington thus far. Melancon and Walker are clearly on their way out, and Huntington has verbally been reluctant to enter free agency. Maybe there’s some significant trade in the works, but Melancon and Walker will *not* bring back more Major League value than they’re worth.

          Sure do look to be setting up for a “retooling” year.

          • May very well be right, I just think NH is playing it close to the vest given that teams are trying to anticipate what he might do and low ball offers. I am good with moving on from Melancon as I don’t value them as 10 mill players, and he should fetch a good return based on action so far. Next week and a half should be interesting.

          • Too early to tell. They could tender everyone and bring back essentially the same team, except for AJ. You might think that standing put won’t catch up with the Cubs/Cards, but the Pirates have players who we should reasonably expect will play better: Cutch, Polanco, maybe Marte, Harrison, and yes maybe even (Alvarez/Morse). The key will be what success they have in retooling the pitching. There are 2.5 months until Spring Training. No need to be glum now.

            • I’ve been saying pretty much the same thing. And if they were to start out with the bullpen they ended the season with, their bullpen could be even better than last year, too.

      • What is the expected contract for Leake – I’m in agreement that he’s a good fit probably money wise as well but who knows with the contracts being tossed around now.
        I was thinking AAV $10M?

        • More like 4-5 years at 70-80 million total.

          He’s a guarantee to get around 15 and a guarantee to get 4 years as i see it. He’d laugh at 10 million.

        • See Luke. Non-QO starters with his track record go for at least $15m/yr these days. Really, reaallllyyy tough market for a club like the Pirates.

          JA Happ was their only reasonable shot at a FA pitcher who isn’t broken.

          • Eh, i still say they can easily bring in Kennedy. Its a draft pick, but the pick will dump down the value for Kennedy a tick and he seems more likely for 3 years than 4. 3 years at 12-14 million might get it done.

            I know mlbtraderumors had Kennedy at 4 years, but i wouldnt be shocked to see his market set around 3 years 13 million.

            • Wow. I’d bet my mortgage that they ever, ever sign a QO player. I’ve frankly never even considered the thought.

          • Pirates gave an older Liriano AAV of 13, so 15 for Leake is not absurd to think from the Pirates.

            • Liriano is also a better pitcher than Leake. Leake will eat innings, but his periphs show a guy getting a bulk of value from the ability to throw league average in many many innings.

              Where as Liriano gave them upper rotation upside. Doesnt seem like a perfect comparison, and Leake wanting 5 years impacts how lovely PGH feels about him. Wont shock me to watch Leake get 5 years at 16-17 million.

              • Better is arguable if comparing apples to apples… At the same age of 28 when the Pirates first signed Liriano, his track record was not very good. Since signing, he’s been very good but not exactly a pillar of health either. I can easily see Leake taking the next step under Searage and Company.

                • You strawmanned the shit out of that.

                  At the time they signed their deals (which is what the argument is) Liriano was better than Leake. He had thrown 160 innings in back to back seasons, and done so with FIP and xFIP numbers that Leake has never seen in his career.

                  Liriano is better than Leake. Leake will get paid more, but Liriano easily could have demanded 15 AAV and gotten it. Leake throws more innings at league average, Liriano throws 160-180 innings at above average.

                  But yes, if you compare Liriano 4 years ago to pretty much anyone you win. But thats apples to steak.

                  • Or you just missed the point that since the age of 28, Searage and Co has done some great things with Liriano… Not hard to fathom that they couldn’t take Leake to the next level.

                    • Its a bit of a stretch, since he doesnt K very many people and already doesnt walk many. They cut his walk rate in half and he’d still not be a TOR arm.

                      And my point was that it makes 0 sense to compare him and Lirano at 28 since Liriano got paid crap then and the entire discussion is if they’ll give Leake a certain AAV.

                      When they gave Liriano the 13 AAV you used earlier, he wasnt 28. He was older, better, and likely got 2 less years than Leake. PGH isnt really a team that throws 15 AAV for 5 years at guys. For one example, Liriano is what they seem comfortable doing. Cheaper, higher upside, risk.

                    • Liriano initially signed 2-14 mill but was reworked due to injury. I compared the 13 AAV and the pitcher he had become to the pitcher Leake currently is and how I think he’d improve under Searage.

                      You have already stated the obvious market is at least 15 AAV for Leake, so it doesn’t really matter who you or I think is a better pitcher. The question is would they sign him. You think they wouldn’t, I think they would be inclined to break from NH track record of 2-3 year deals since he is only 28. If he were any better (e.g. more Ks), he be 20+ AAV and certainly out of our range. NH has said before that 20 mill to one player is not realistic for the team, but I can see him doing 15-16.

                    • I actually think 15 is the lowest Leake will come.

                      If Leake signs in the next week, i expect him to be closer to 17 AAV over 5 years. He can wait for Greinke to fall, and then amp up the pressure on teams calling him and sign nice and high.

                      If i had to guess, Leake goes 5 year 80-90 million. Teams missing out on Price and Greinke are gonna look around and see no QO+28 years old+ innings and pay out the nose.

                    • We are debating the same here really, just from different sides of signing him.

            • True, but just because they gave one guy that money doesn’t mean they can/will give two or three that amount at the same time. One mid-range salary might be all they can justify in the rotation right now.

              • NMR – Absolutely agree and what they do (how big they go in FA) will be greatly determined by what happens with Melancon, Walker, and Pedro. NH favors 2-3 year contracts to minimize risk, all I’m saying is I can see him breaking that “rule” for a younger guy like Leake especially since I have no idea what are rotation is behind Cole and Liriano.

  • Unless you find a way to replace his power, which I doubt they can, you have to tender him. His defense can only improve and you would think in a contract year he will be doing everything he can too. You can’t have a whole team that don’t hit home runs. You need at least one legitimate power threat. Big mistake not getting park!

    • “his defense can only improve”:
      2013: dWAR 1.8
      2014: dWAR -13.4
      2015: dWAR -22.6
      The whole OF and JHK could conceivably hit 20-25 HRs, it’s not like we’re devoid of power… just no monster power

      • Facts are such a bitch sometimes.

      • It is INFATHOMABLE to me that a first baseman can have a -22.6 dWAR. A folding chair could do better.

      • Those stats are pretty telling! No doubt! But in fairness, that was his 1st attempt EVER at playing 1st base. At the MLB level making a position switch like that for the first time even if it is to 1st base can be challenging. I would expect his dWAR to improve his 2nd year around.

        • fair, though the dWARs from 2013 to 2014 are both at 3B
          improvement is not a guarantee. statements like “well it can’t get any worse” are flawed logic

        • Moving from 3B to 1B should not be that level of hard. He isnt learning how to field a GB, and his issues clearly went beyond the details of playing 1B.

          He had an offseason of awareness he was at 1B, and by seasons end had a full year of playing it. If little decisions and when to stretch for a ball were his issues id feel better.

          His issues didnt get better and largely seemed to have little to do with learning to play 1B. Just learning to play any IF position well.

          • Luke, how do you then explain Kevin Young putting up 23 errors *after* logging 2500 innings at the position and then dropping back down to 7 a year later?

            Hey, I like baseball “making sense” just as much as you, but sometimes it just doesn’t. Shitty logic, sure, but baseball is weird. Far stranger things have happened.

            • Maybe Kevin Young is the go to example that proves Pedro is likely to have that type of turnaround and that it can happen.

              But for me, its a clear outlier type situation. Good for Kev, but Pedro shows no signs of that. So you’d basically be saying “well a few guys have done it, so Pedro can too”.

              Far stranger things have happened, but that doesnt make it likely or a smart move at all. I dont have to explain what happened with Young to think thats its a poor risk to assume Pedro will replicate that at all. He could improve a bit, still suck, and be less than 1 WAR again.

              • You don’t have to explain why your thinking is flawed because you’re going to think it anyways?

                Ok. Hell of a way to learn.

                • Excuse me? Flawed thinking? So in your world, all that is needed to make thinking flawed is 1 example?

                  I guess its real easy to invalidate any level of thinking then. C’mon, what im arguing its crazy. I think its far more likely Pedro doesnt randomly turn into an average defense than it is he slightly improves and still sucks. And you throwing out 1 example doesnt invalidate that by any logical stretch. Kevin Young existing doesnt invalidate the fact that a guy throwing out a crap defensive year is somewhat to not be average the following year.

                  • No, Luke, it’s not one example. Andrew used Eric Hosmer earlier, and you’re laughably wrong if you truly don’t think there are many, MANY examples a a given player improving at a position in their second year of a move.

                    Your logical fallacy tends to be arguing the general for the specific. “This trait has been shown to be this way, therefor that will happen”.

                    You originally argued that it shouldn’t be expected for his defense to improve in the his second year at the position. That’s all dcm said. And you’re absolutely wrong.

                    Pedro’s defense may not improve, but you’re far, faaar from proving that with any sort of reasonable expectancy.

                    FWIW, here’s a scouting report from people who kinda know what they’re looking for:

                    • I actually never argued he wouldnt get better, in fact i literally said i thought he’d improve slightly.

                      What i dont think he’ll do is suddenly be average. Thats a large improvement in 1 years time. Hosmer played 280 games at 1B before going from crap to average.

                      I think Pedro will improve a bit, but nowhere near enough to be sniffing league average. I originally argued its not fair to expect him to improve in a way that make his value a ton better.

              • His problem at 3rd base was not fielding. As a matter of fact, his fielding % I venture to guess was probable at minimum average probably even a little better. The throw is was the problem. His throws at 1st base are limited so he just has to do a much better job with the footwork and positioning which is something that can be improved over time.

                • Footwork and positioning werent the largest issue, the largest issue was him failing to seem in any way confident in catching the ball or making simple plays (like flipping it to the pitcher).

                  The scariest thing about Pedros defense was that he made simple mistakes that werent really related to little details of 1B, and that he was consistent all year in how bad he was. Month to month, he didnt get gradually better.

                • And catching the ball.

          • I’m not sure the transition is that simple. Having played and been around baseball all my life, the transition from 1 position to another is difficult enough without having to do it at the BIG SHOW. Make no mistake, his defense was atrocious and I’m not making excuses. All I’m saying is, is that I would expect some significant improvement in year 2 of that kind of transition.

            • That’s the most frustrating part of the whole defensive issue to me; Alvarez *absolutely* has the pure skill to be an average 1B, based on what he showed as a 3B.

              Like you, I can’t explain why so little of that transferred in Year 1, but I have an awful hard time believing he completely lost it over one winter.

              His issues have developed and disappeared out of nowhere, which obviously doesn’t give you much confidence but does leave the very real possibility that he’ll show up in 2016 actually able to catch baseballs with a first base mitt and whatnot.

  • He has to be tendered! Another case of he has MUCH MORE VALUE to us then he does to any other team in MLB. You cant just ignore 30-40 HR power. Having said that, if they are able to trade him this offseason to an AL team or mid-season then perhaps that needs to be considered.

    • I think you are grossly overvaluing his “value” to us…

    • does he have “much more value”? Last year his WAR was 0.2

      • Right. Same as Jared Hughes. How many folks would say WAR perfectly captures the value Jared Hughes gives the Pirates?

        I think there’s a very fair argument to make that dissecting WAR down to the tenth of a win is a poor way to quantify value to a specific team. I mean, are you also going to argue that Aramis Ramirez and Sean Rodriguez provided the Pirates less value in their specific roles than a random AAA replacement?

        • I think there’s a huge difference between the value a reliever brings and the value an everyday position player brings. A position player should be worth multiple wins more than a reliever.

          • Not even close to the point.

            The point is whether or not WAR perfectly captures the value *any* player adds to a team.

            Think about what actual production was like from the bottom of the order when Ike Davis was content doing little more than taking walks in front of Jordy Mercer, who can’t hit RHP, and the pitcher’s spot, who can’t hit water if they fell out of a boat. According to metrics, Ike Davis supposedly created *more* runs than Alvarez, but who really believes that actually occurred? Nobody that watches the Pirates, I’d bet.

            • Ike Davis would have been more valuable higher in the order, I think, over the course of the season. He had the raw power and the eye, but no one was going to give him much to hit in front of Mercer and the pitcher. Coupled with the selectivity, you get Ike Davis’s walks in pointless spots. Pedro’s got more power, so he can do damage at the bottom of the order because he can actually hit bad pitches a long way. So you get Ike Davis walking.

              Even so, Pedro has to have some kind of hitter behind him, or else you’ll get something very Ike-like with a few more dingers. I think that might be why there were stretches when Cervelli, clearly the better hitter, still hit behind Alvarez.

            • WAR is cold and objective, but many decisions for club management are more subjective and reflect a lot of other considerations. Therefore, it is a tool and just one of the many tools in a good GM’s tool box.

              Being exposed to the advanced metrics on P2 has opened a whole other world of baseball for many of us. I am still learning that aspect of evaluation, but recognize the fact that baby boomers like me sound pretty stupid trotting out those “seat of the pants” based evaluations we applied long before Bill James was respected for his insight.

              • I appreciate that bit of self-reflection, emjay.

                I’m much more of the new age saber guy to your old school tendencies, but even I believe WAR is very often used by fans as more of a precise tool than it was intended to be. There’s really no sense in ever breaking it down to the tenth, for all intents and purposes.

                • The folks who actually develop these statistics consider WAR to only be useful to no decimal places, and generally treat players in ranges of WAR rather than its absolute value. It’s a decent way to do a first guess sorting of players, but a more granular approach is necessary to say anything truly insightful.

              • I would agree with you 90 % of the time on this one emjay. The other 10 % I am not giving due to the fact that I have heard Bill James numerous times denigrate one Starling Marte, both for his offense and his defense. Which tells me his numbers aren’t always correct or predictive.

            • That’s exactly Kozy21s point… that WAR for a hitter isn’t comparable to an RP.
              A position player plays upwards of 1000 innings a year while a reliever plays ‘half’ on 70 innings. So yes a reliever’s overall contributions get lessened by the math. No one but you compared WAR between position players and RPs.
              Comparing a 1Bs WAR to other 1Bs WAR… I don’t understand how that’s an unjust comparison. (Ike Davis had a comparable WAR for us, and he made $3.5M that year… if he was a disappointment at $3.5M, why is paying Pedro $8M a good idea?)

        • The question with Alvarez lies in two places when it comes to comparing his value to the Pirates with his WAR:

          1) On a team with an outfielder who hits like a first baseman, does our first baseman need to be much more than above league average offensively?
          2) How big of a detriment to total value are errors, really?

          I think the defensive component of WAR might disproportionately punish errors, especially since even the worst defensive players (read, Alvarez) will commit an error no more often than once per week on average, and most of those errors will only partially contribute to actual losses, if those losses even occur at all.

          Alvarez is consistently an above average hitter, though. He’s a below average offensive first baseman, but we will have a difficult time replacing his offensive value for $8 million or less. He’s our biggest power threat, and the team, top to bottom, is not an elite contact hitting team, so we kind of need that instant offense potential.

          So to me, Pedro to the Pirates provides a lot more value than a replacement level player, and he is worth $8 million next year.

          • Good post. One thing you have to account for with errors is what it does to pitchers. An error may (though id like to study that more) only partially contribute to runs being scored, but it’ll always cause a SP to throw more pitches.

            Its a small thing to think about, but a pitcher throwing 5+ more pitches an inning does change a game.

          • As much as Pedro drives me completely bonkers, I would tender him. Another year at 1st base and he may only make 20 errors. The Pirates have to show American league teams his wars without defense. Maybe then they could trade him. But, I would not let him walk.

            • Terry Fahrney
              December 2, 2015 7:32 pm

              Is there any way to determine how many of Pedro’s home runs were walk off, game changing, or solo when the game was already decided. I can’t remember any walk offs or game changers.

      • what would his war be as a dh , in a band box park. hmm. pedro has trade value at 8 million. ps walker could not be moved at 11 million, with out eating salary and the pirates don’t have 10 million dollars to pay a closer.

        • Alvarez gave back about 23 runs on defense last year, including positional adjustment. DH adjustment alone is 16 runs, I believe, which means he would’ve been worth roughly 1 WAR as a DH.

        • Walker is worth 15 on the open market, so he could certainly “be moved” without eating any money.

          Any “eating” of money would be done to increase the quality of that said return, but if they “only” wanted a B prospect for him a team would scoop up Walker in a heartbeat.

    • You can’t ignore the 25 errors , the 35 RBI with the 30 HR, the fact that he can’t hit LHP at all and the fact that when he does play he only plays 6 innings if the Bucs are winning. That’s not an 8 million dollar player.

  • Unless we’re willing to watch our investment to date walk out the door for no return, I think we have to tender him.

    • Bit odd to use “investment” as a reason to not let Pedro go and…..invest more in him before letting him go for….free.

    • Tender Pedro. His defense will improve at first. He always had good hands at third….and before we give up on him, remember Bautista! If he has a good year, make him a qualifying offer next year and get a draft pick if he declines. If our AAA lad rakes, we can bring him up in June and trade Morse or Alvarez. I remember sitting in the first row of the Clemente Seats and watching Pedro putting a ball 475 feet off of Wacha in game 5 of the 2013 LDS in right center field. Nobody else touched Wacha that day. I think Pedro is a leg kick away, a timing mechanism away, from a complete breakout. Also, he is our best baserunner….not our fastest, but our best.