First Pitch: The Pirates Need More Outfield Depth For the 2016 Season

With less than a month until Spring Training, there is still some time for the Pirates to make additional moves. I don’t think they’re done adding to the team just yet. One of the moves they might need to make could involve the outfield, which is a topic that was brought up to me this morning on Twitter.

My response on Twitter was shorter, but to expand on this, I think the Pirates could use some outfield depth. They lost Jaff Decker (recently signed by the Rays to a minor league deal) and Keon Broxton (traded to Milwaukee), which meant they lost two of their best defensive bench options for the outfield, and two of the only true outfielders they had.

Granted, there’s not much need for a defensive option with the current Pirates’ outfield. The bench options will get some starts, but you’re not calling for a late inning defensive replacement for the trio of Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco.

So let’s take a quick look at the current outfield options, broken down by category.

The Utility Players

These guys can all play the outfield, although most of them are infielders. Josh Harrison leads the group in his super utility role, although this comes with the disclaimer that he will probably be a starter at second base until Alen Hanson takes over. Sean Rodriguez is another option as a utility guy. It should be noted that Rodriguez and Harrison combined for 30 starts in the outfield last year. The rest of the bench players throughout the year combined for 25 starts, which made up 5% of the starts throughout the year. So maybe the Pirates have their bench outfielders already.

The other utility options are more in theory. Pedro Florimon has received work in the outfield. There was talk that Hanson could get work in the outfield last year, although Hanson told me a few weeks ago that he hasn’t been approached about that for this year. Cole Figueroa has played a few games in left field, so he’s another guy with limited experience. Adam Frazier has the most experience after playing center field last year, but he wouldn’t be an option until the second half of the 2016 season, at the earliest.

And honestly, if you’re going to take a utility infielder and make him an outfield bench option, might as well go with the guys who already have the experience, and who have fared well at the position (Rodriguez and Harrison).

No Defense

The first base situation has a few guys who can also play the outfield, although the defense here is alarming. Michael Morse played six games in left field in 2015, although none in Pittsburgh. He can play the outfield, but you probably don’t want him there. Jason Rogers spent 14 innings in left field last year, but is another guy you don’t really want playing the outfield, especially left field at PNC Park. In each case, you’ve got the potential for a good bat, with horrendous defense.

I don’t know if I’d classify Jake Goebbert in the same situation. He has played all three outfield positions before, suggesting that he’s not just a guy finding time in a corner due to the lack of the DH in the National League. I don’t know how good his outfield defense could be, but he seems like a top candidate to be the true bench outfielder, and that seems like a better fit for him than the first base platoon.

The Real Outfielders

With Broxton and Decker gone, the Pirates don’t really have any true outfielders. Willy Garcia is the top option, but comes with question marks about his strikeouts. He’s got two great tools with his raw power and his arm. His upside is a strong fourth outfielder, and he could be a starter one day on a weaker team. He probably won’t be ready on Opening Day, but if the Pirates need a guy to replace one of their starters, he currently looks like the best option if the strikeouts improve in Triple-A.

Beyond Garcia, there’s Danny Ortiz and Antoan Richardson, who are both non-roster invitees. Both project as guys who might end up on the bench in Triple-A, or filler for the level until the guys in Double-A arrive in Indianapolis. I’m not sure I’d put these two in the mix.

The Need For Another Outfielder

The Pirates will be fine for bench options if McCutchen, Marte, and Polanco stay healthy. They could go with Sean Rodriguez, Josh Harrison if Hanson is ready for second, and maybe even Jake Goebbert. They won’t need many starts, since the Dream Outfield© will get a ton of playing time.

But what happens if the Pirates do see an injury? Willy Garcia sounds like a great backup on paper, but this all assumes he will be ready in time, and he has more work to do than guys like Elias Diaz and Alen Hanson to be an option for the majors in the first half. Jake Goebbert is interesting, but is an unknown in the majors. And the Pirates haven’t been an organization that relies on just one or two depth options, especially if one of those guys might not be ready in the first half.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates add more outfield depth. They don’t really need it in terms of bench help when the Dream Outfield© is ready. But they’d definitely need someone better than the group they have now, just in case there is an injury to one of the starters.

**Pittsburgh Pirates 2016 Top Prospects: #9 – Nick Kingham. The top 10 countdown continues. If you buy your copy of the Prospect Guide, you’ll get all of the reports, along with our grades, and the reports of the 21-50 prospects and every other player in the system. It’s the most information you can find on the Pirates’ system, and the cheapest price you can find for a prospect book this time of year, especially with the Top Prospect and Annual discounts.

**Ke’Bryan Hayes Ranks Among Top Third Base Prospects. The Pirates get another player in the top ten lists. Hayes is one of the guys to look forward to this year, especially if he makes the jump to West Virginia.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 27, 2016 10:51 pm

    Off topic….thankfully, the Nats signed Bronson Arroyo….

  • Since Jaso and Rogers make Goebbert pretty useless I wouldn’t be surprised to see him waived if they can get a claim on Darren Ceciliani, cut today from the Mess. He’s got monster AAA stats (PCL natch) and a cup o Joe in the bigs last year. At 25 he can spell all the OF positions. Looks better than any of there AAAA options for a 4th man with some actual potential.

  • Last season was, I think, and aberration.

    Teams cannot expect to get 153+ games for each of their outfielders.

    The odds are pretty good that somebody’s going to tweak something, get banged up going for a catch, or get plunked in an unpleasant place.

    Sure, I would think, they could safely sneak S-Rod into a Sunday game to give one of the regulars a day off, but…if this team is going to contend…it definitely needs someone who doesn’t evoke cringes when thinking of him starting for 2-3 weeks.

    • As someone who watched nearly every game last season, I think I am entitled to an opinion. And frankly, I don`t quite understand all the hate for SRod as far as defense is concerned. He was solid in the field at multiple positions and actually made a few great plays at the corner positions.

      • I’d rather limit his time in the field because it limits his time at the plate. Last season was either an outlier or the beginning of the end…

        but a 13:1 K-BB ratio?

        That makes Willy Garcia wince.

        • You make a good point there Blaine. He`s got decent pop so hopefully he bounces back somewhat this year.

  • More and more I don’t understand the Jason Rogers fit. His spot should be the LH OF option.

    And I don’t see him capable of playing anywhere other than 1st. And that statement could hold for both Jaso and No Country for Michael Morse too.

    • I’m going to roll with the idea that NH and company know more than I do about players. They don’t part with prospects lightly and the fact that they traded both Supak and Broxton for him says something about what they think of him.

      • Yeah, they really nailed that Lambo call…and that Corey Hart plan…

        Look, *obviously* Huntington & Co know more than us, but just as obviously, they’re far, faaaaar from perfect.

        We either sit back and do nothing but blow rainbows up each others asses or present our opinions backed by what we consider the facts of a situation.

        • True but then again Lambo was already a prospect in the system and Hart was a low cost free agent signing. This guy was acquired for 2 actual prospects from a GM who’s fairly notorious for hoarding prospects. That, to me, is much more aggressive of a move than usual. Look, if Rogers ends up sucking, I’ll be first in line hoping he gets replaced. I was never a Pedro supporter and it bugs the heck out of me that Locke and Vogelsong are the potential 4th & 5th starters to start the year but questioning the Rogers acquisition is low on my totem pole. I actually think Rogers, Jaso, and Niscasio are the 3 acquistions that could end up being NH’s 3 best of the offseason.

          • What bugs me is that this we parted with 2 prospects for someone who’s role is redundant if we already have Morse/Jaso/Goebart. Those prospects could’ve went towards picking up someone to replace Volgesong in the rotation. Volgesong is looking up to be this year’s Corey Hart. But also I heard Rodgers can play 3B, is there any possibility he’s the holdover until Kang is back?

    • Makes less and less sense. Remember, we’re not talking about a waiver wire pickup.

      The club traded an arm just two years ago they though enough of to give $1m in the draft.

      For a 28 year old corner utility guy that can only actually play first base; the same position manned by their top position prospect *as well as* the right handed bat next in line and supposedly good enough to eventually DH (Jose Osuna).

  • Lambo was the opening day 4th OF last season.

    • Mentioned in support of Tim’s argument, I presume?

      • Just an observation. Not sure what to make of this conclusion.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pirates add more outfield depth. They don’t really need it in terms of bench help when the Dream Outfield© is ready. But they’d definitely need someone better than the group they have now, just in case there is an injury to one of the starters.

  • You know, if Morse or Rogers hit, since I don’t think either has a history of massive platoon splits, we don’t need a 4th outfielder. When we want to give an outfielder a day off against a righty, just send Jaso out there and leave Morse or Rogers at first. Boom, fourth outfielder.

    For a long-term problem, there’s a lot of positional flexibility on the roster, so take advantage of that to fill the spot. Harrison or Jaso to the outfield, something reasonable to fill in the spot on the infield, maybe Hanson.

    • C’mon. Jaso was a DH in the AL for a reason. 8 career games in the OF. And RF would be the only place he could be even remotely trusted.

      Goes against their renewed commitment to defense.

      • Given that this is the team who put Corey freaking Hart in RF last year, I don’t think they’re opposed to sacrificing a little defense on occasion in favor of a bat they expect to do something positive.

        Jaso’s a good athlete. He can probably fake it out there, and his bat against righties is good enough to make up for what he lacks defensively. Besides, you have to think his role next year will be 4th OF if the DH doesn’t come to the NL, because what else would you do with him once Bell takes over at first?

        • And Corey Hart didn’t make it a few weeks before he was relegated to 1st and primarily PH. And I think he was done playing before school was out.

          I’ll be honest. They’ve pissed around at first since Laroche left. I really don’t know what the plan is there moving forward, outside of Bell. Hope to god he works out.

          Lot of people who’s opinion I respect, like Jasos bat, but I don’t think he’s proven squat defensively. Anywhere.

          • “And I think he was done playing before school was out.”

            Almost…logged 16 PA’s in June.

            Interestingly, his last plate appearance for the Pirates ended with a two-run homer that broke up the Nationals shutout of the Pirates in the 9th on June 21st.

            Just a fun fact 🙂

            • Seriously though, I think he was done playing the field around then. If I remember he would disappear for a week at a time. Only to fill in late at 1st or PH.

              I remember he hit a double and reached 3rd on a error during the Philly exhibition, and his knees were never right after.

              • I agree…but in that game he did start at 1st and log 4 PAs.

                Before that…yeah…it was a lot of DH/PH stuff.

                Sad to see a guy hobbled like that…especially so young. He was a dice-roll coming in though. With the 4th spot this season…I’m very much hoping the Pirates don’t go with another reclamation project. That’s just fine for a pitcher…too much risk for a guy you want to get 150-200 PAs from.

            • Wow, thats a hell of a way to end a career!

              Great find, Blaine!

          • He’s never been on a team who had a need for him to play a defensive position. Before concussions moved him off catcher, that’s where he was going to play because that’st he most valuable position. After he got moved off catcher, being in the AL, why would a team put him anywhere but DH? The risk would be unnecessary.

            The Pirates are going to find ways to keep his bat in the lineup against righties wherever possible, and that requires he has a defensive position. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a good idea, but Jaso’s athletic enough to not scare the team away from using him in the outfield. This isn’t Corey freaking Hart, he can actually move.

            • I don’t know, man.

              Tampa first basemen accounted for a stunning -2.8 WAR last year while their DH’s not named Jaso were worth 0.8 WAR.

              I won’t appeal to authority, but if the Rays thought Jaso could play 1B they made awfully poor choices for where to distribute playing time.

        • If you are gonna use Jaso in the OF, at least RF allow him to play really deep and avoid having to handle ranging backwards. Wouldnt be great, but he’d be able to come in on almost anything.

  • I would think that if an OF went down, J-Hay would move to the OF and the Bucs would pull from the middle IF depth in AAA to play 2B.

    • JHay is an adventure in the of
      Keep him in infield

      • I always thought he wasn’t half bad out there. Not to mention, he has a better bat than any other potential replacements and I’d rather had Hansen getting a shot at 2B than Morse, Rogers, etc playing in right or left.

      • This is a great point, Jeff. JHay wasn’t always JOSH HARRISON, super utility player.

        I can still remember that crazy catch against the Yankees in 2014 where the collective fanbase kind of said, “Holy sh*t, Josh Harrison can play outfield like *that*?”

        He barely had a hundred innings in the outfield in the previous three seasons combined, and never graded out particularly well…nor did he last year.

        That 2014 season is the clear outlier.

        • Fun Fact #2:

          If the Pirates pick up both Harrison’s and Marte’s options, Harrison will be the higher paid player for 2019/2020.

          $22M > $21.83M.

          He picked a heck of a time to have a career year.

          • He’ll never see the options exercised, but that is kinda wild.

            • 93% agreed. But he’ll still out earn Marte by ~2.4M in the guaranteed year of 2018.

              I’m guessing, when Harrison’s agent was presented with that contract, his call to Josh was: “Hey man, you need to get over here and sign this right now!”

              • Haha, absolutely.

                I didn’t hate the deal – like Tabby’s extension, neither of those last two guaranteed years were gonna be killers even considering the eventual regression – but I felt it was completely unnecessary. The only benefit to the club was/is *if* Josh Harrison somehow not only continued to be JOSH HARRISON, but also managed to maintain that level of play through his age 32 and 33 seasons.

                I’ll take my chances…

                • Agreed…I’ll be curious to see what the cost/WAR is down the road. According to Fangraphs, Josh was a $10.8M player last season.

                  I’d hate to see the Pirates paying $10.5-11.5M for a utility player five years from now…but, if he’s a 1.5 WAR player and it’s up to 8M/WAR…who knows?

                  But, yeah, that 5 WAR stuff is a distant memory.

                  • Those estimates really mean nothing to me. Factually speaking, no single team uses the league-average $/WAR number to justify their own decisions. So while it’s nice to use in an academic sense, it really doesn’t provide much insight into the value Harrison would provide *to the Pirates*.

                  • he will be better than last year- i’ll put money on it.

        • Line drives right at him not pretty…but I guess lot of established outfielders struggle with those

  • Where is Gorkys when you need him? 🙂

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 27, 2016 9:46 am

    Seriously, I think they need to give a kid like Garcia a shot – they traded Broxton and passed Rojas over so many times that he has now become a non-prospect…

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    January 27, 2016 9:44 am

    Well, they could always call up Broxton – good outfielder, fast, can steal bases, has some pop – oops, forgot we traded him (and a former second round pick) for an overweight first baseman, thinking that would help the defense at first base….

  • Yes, a team expecting to truly contend for the Division title in a race as tight as the NL Central projects to be needs far more outfield depth than currently on the Pirates roster…and more infield depth…and more starting depth.

    But speaking frankly, there’s half a dozen holes on this roster that could be exploited as much or more than needing a quality fourth outfielder. I don’t see why outfield is necessarily any more important than the others, and this may very well be the only chance a kid like Willy Garcia gets with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    In 2017, this “re-tooling” ends. But for now, I have absolutely no more of a problem with getting as many prospects a chance as possible, 4th outfield role included.

    • Just remember, your boy SRod is blocked at 1st. And daddys gonna get his reps for him somewhere.

      • If only there was a spot where he could play defense better than RF, and have the guy who usually plays at that spot play RF. Where would one look to put Sean Rodriguez to maximize his defense and possibly allow another player to use his versatility to help the team?

        • Yup. Everyone, Josh Harrison included, is gonna play 155+ games, and not slump at all.

          • Because thats what i said. Nothing purposefully strawman about that comment.

            If the worry is about S Rod getting playing time and OF depth, i presented a clear way you avoid S Rod getting the bulk of his time in the OF and a capable option taking those reps.

            If the worry is about a player getting hurt in the OF and us not having a ML quality option to take over, well yeah.

            • Priceless comments in the article, fellas. By Memorial Day, I’m sure there will be plenty of reneged views.

              • If he plays the bulk of the time in RF against LHP, ill easily admit its stupid. Idk why you act so superior as if im saying something that is crazy or that im steadfast in going “no no no, im right”.

                I feel its far more likely they shift J Hay to RF and S Rod to 2B in games where they rest an OFer. If they dont, they arent optimally using their bench in a way that at least maximizes overall defensive ability. If they simply throw S Rod in RF for extended playing time on a regular basis, ill be surprised.

                But im sure you’ll also show up and be forthcoming with apologies if you arent correct about stuff.

            • Except all you’ve done is move the crappy player in question from one spot to another.

              Nobody is talking about *defense* when expressing concern over Sean Rodriguez getting extended playing time, Luke.

              • Weird that no one is talking about half of what a player does when getting playing time.

                He’s going to be a poor bat no matter where he plays, so id argue defense is the only thing we should be worried about in terms of his production. We either get a light bat and no defensive value or a light bat and sit him in the only position he profiles as average or better.

                The argument isnt even about his playing time, it began as “our system sucks in 4th OFer depth and now clearly S Rod will play”.

                • You’re presenting a false choice, Luke.

                  The decision shouldn’t be a matter of which position to play the crappy player.

                  We’re arguing the crappy player shouldn’t be playing in the first place.

                  • No, that wasnt the original argument. Thats my point, this has devolved into a stupid strawman.

                    No one disagrees with the notion that he shouldnt be playing, but i take issue with the above characterization that since “daddys gets his playing time” itll clearly happen in the OF. I see no clear reason why the team will clearly use him in RF a ton.

                    He’s bad, we all dislike having him, but the above complaint was about him being clearly an option to play sizeable amounts of RF. No one argued about him playing in general, we all agree and its ignoring the actual discussion.

                    • “No one disagrees with the notion that he shouldnt be playing, but i take issue with the above characterization that since “daddys gets his playing time” itll clearly happen in the OF.”

                      So you’re arguing strawman because Sean Rodriguez is marginally less awful playing infield than outfield?

                      I don’t think that’s what “strawman” means, Luke.

                    • Im saying we went from discussing where this player will get time to “we’re arguing the crappy player shouldnt be playing in the first place”. We, in fact, were never arguing that last point on this thread. Thats a strawman, it was never the original contention but was brought up for no reason.

                      I was arguing Sean Rodriguez at 2B because the team defense is better that way than him in RF. I brought up strawman because somehow we went from that to the mythical contention that anyone thinks he’s a fine option to start.

                • I think we’d all try to find the option where he doesn’t play period minus an emergency

    • You know what’s funny is that most of the articles I’ve read about the Bucs going into spring training are praising their offensive depth as a strength. No one has them outside the top ten in the majors. Most of the national media considers them one of the best teams in baseball and yet the general rhetoric on here is gloom and doom. We seem to forget that Pirates do a fantastic job at getting the most out of their roster and that this is still a very young team with room for improvement. I think Morse and Stewart are the 2 oldest position players on the roster. I would venture to say the Pirates floor this year is 83-85 wins. Sure, things have to go right just like every team. J-Hay, Cervelli, Kang, and Polanco are all potential 3.5+ WAR players with Cutch, Marte, and Cole almost guaranteed to be at least 5 WAR. If Jaso and Rogers/Morse combine for even 2 WAR then that’s a big improvement at 1B. This is a very good team.

      • Wait, what?

        First of all, you’re gonna have to link “most” of these articles praising their offensive depth.

        Second what is “doom and gloom” about anything I just said? The Pirates absolutely are one of the better teams in baseball and should compete for a Wild Card spot, but they happen to play in the same Division as unquestionably the best team currently constructed in the game. Nobody objectively sees the Pirates as better than the Cubs. That’s not doom and gloom. There’s absolutely a million things that could change that, but you can be damn sure you’d be changing your tune if the Cubs and Pirates were flipped in this scenario.

        Relax, it is what it is.

        • I guess my response was to the overall sentiment of the board than to your post in particular. I’m gonna go back hunting the internet for articles since I’m at work. I will tell you that Bleacher Report was one of the them and one of the head writers at ESPN was another.

          • I’d ask to please keep “overall sentiment” conversations to off topic discussions.

            There’s actual current content to discuss here; no need to drag conversation into some overarching pissing match about feelings.

            • Well, technically I was on topic as we are discussion OF depth and I was referencing the overall sentiment of said depth. I read message boards on other sites too and I sometimes run them together. The Bucs Dugout message boards are highly pessimistic about everything so I probably go a little out of my way to find reasons for optimism and silver linings.

              • I don’t participate in or read the comment portion of Bucs Dugout, maybe that’s specifically what you’re talking about, but I’ll back up every word Charlie, Wilbur, & Co have written this offseason.

                Far from “highly pessimistic”. Well-reasoned and backed with facts to support their opinions. As a reader, that’s all I can ask for.

  • piraterican21
    January 27, 2016 9:22 am

    I’m missing something here, because I don’t get the hysteria! Why would the team waste a 25 or even a 40 spot on a 4th OF when the whole focus has been to have a bench of utility players. With the exception of Steward it seems that everyone on the bench has play the outfield as a pro!

  • Yep, when they traded Broxton, I said that we are now one too many inside
    pitches to Marte or Cutch away from a problem in our outfield.

    I think if Harrison is our 2nd baseman, then he needs to play there
    every day to develop consistency and maximize production.

    • Personally, I was surprised that they let Broxton go.

    • I think Austin Jackson’s days as an everyday player are over. Not because of his age but he just doesn’t produce as he should. I think he would be an excellent choice as a 4th outfielder. Rymer Liriano would be i would take a flyer on. He was once and not too long ago a top prospect, plus i would like two Lirano’s on the same team

  • From a poster on the Asylum. Here is a list of current OFers still out there:

    Domonic Brown RF
    Marlon Byrd LF / RF
    David DeJesus DH / LF (who EYE want…see the pic of his wife)
    Chris Denorfia LF / RF
    Dexter Fowler CF
    Jeff Francoeur RF
    Jonny Gomes LF
    Guillermo Heredia CF
    Austin Jackson CF
    Matt Joyce LF
    Rymer Liriano LF
    David Murphy DH / LF / RF
    Ryan Raburn LF / RF / DH
    Alex Rios RF
    Skip Schumaker LF
    Grady Sizemore LF / RF
    Travis Snider LF / RF
    Drew Stubbs CF
    Will Venable LF / CF
    Shane Victorino RF / LF
    Rickie Weeks 2B / LF / DH
    Delmon Young RF

    • WOW! That is one fine looking piece of ass!

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      January 27, 2016 9:48 am

      Is the first step for Pirates Prospects to become like so many other “sports” forums and sites, that degrade into soft porn sites?
      Is this really necessary?

      • Soft Porn? Are you nuts? It is just a pic of his wife…nothing more or less.

        But upon reading Catch22’s remark, perhaps that will be the last pic I upload of a ball player’s wife.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      January 27, 2016 9:49 am

      Scratch Fowler – he would cost a first round pick to sign him – he will be sitting around a long time…not close to being good enough to justify giving up a first round pick…

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      January 27, 2016 9:51 am

      Domonic Brown is still pretty young and has some skills – power, decent outfielder, etc. If he was cheap, I would consider signing him

    • I wouldn’t mind delmon young as a #5 for around 2 mil or less. You know what he will do off the bench…hack. Somehow he is still only 30 and has 137 postseason plate appearances and .820+ ops on those ab. He’s a good guy if used the right way and if you have a catastrophic injury he can still get hot at the plate and help you. Defense is bad though. I wouldn’t mind venable either but he probably will get more money.

    • I thought Garrett Jones’ wife was hotter.

    • That list is not inspiring.

      Fowler and Jackson can be crossed off immediately and I’m sure they’ll get starting deals somewhere.

      Byrd would be fine if he wasn’t going to be 39 before the end of the season.

      After that, it looks like a clunky list of One Year Wonders, Has-Beens, and Never-Weres.

      • Which is why I think they should just give Garcia the nod if an injury occurs.

        The difference in value between him, even if he tanks, and any of the 4th OF options isn’t winning them the division…

    • A lot of un-inspiring names but several who would fit the profile pretty well.

  • Tim………..As for perhaps putting Bell in the OF in case of injury, from what I’ve read, he is about as efficient in the OF as he is at 1b?

    Is that correct?

  • As presently built, the Bucs a knee or hamstring injury to the one of the dream outfielders leaves a gaping hole. All three of our guys have missed time with injuries and Marte and Cutch are consistently hit by pitches. I like the Garcia option. Snider seems to have digressed to a pinch-hitter but a spring invite might not be a bad idea if he is still out there. However, I thought he was seeking a better opportunity.

    • If Cutch misses extended time they are screwed. This team doesn’t have a legit 4 hitter, and no one to replace Cutch in the 3-hole.

  • What are the chances Mrylin Bryd (sp) comes back to PGH on 1 year deal. I would also bring back Travis Synder. Both of these players wouldn’t break the bank in terms of length or size of the deal. And would be good bats off the bench. If something happens like it did 2 years ago when Marte and Cutch both spent time on the DL need options. Plus Hurdle likes to give guys days off. I would feel a lot more comfortable w Bryd or Synder in the OF then Rodriguez. Especially if Kang doesn’t come back till May

  • Nate McLouth is still on the market. He didn’t play at all last year, he could be brought in on a minor league deal and NRI to see if he’s got anything left.

  • I am probably in the minority here, but what about Travis Snider? He is a left-handed bat, who also will not embarrass you in the field. He can probably be had on a minor league deal and has had success as a pinch hitter.

    • Yes because PBC loves Travis so you may not be too far off.

    • I’m thinking the same thing. Good PH, left handed, decent in the field. I wouldn’t even mind seeing him on a major league deal if not too insane a price tag.

  • Simple bring back everyone’s favorite Tabata.

  • I know he’s not on the 40-man roster, but if they’re looking for a defense first guy who doesn’t add much with the bat similar to Decker, would Mel Rojas Jr. be a good option?

  • I’d feel more comfortable if they brought in a 4th OF, someone who could start for a month if someone got hurt without being an embarrassment. Bonus if they are left-handed, since the Bucs only have two and they both start.

    Will Venable is no great shakes, but is about average against RHP and about average defense. David Murphy is similar. Better than ending up with Michael Martinez or Brent Morel. Even on a healthy team, the 4th OF can easily get 300 PA.

    Of course, they’d probably have to cut Morse loose to make room. It’s hard to imagine they’d do that. Maybe there’s still a trade to be had for Morse.

    • Both good options, and I like them because they’re LH. For RH, Franklin Gutierrez and maybe Ryan Rayburn too. Victorino got anything left?

  • Dream Outfield copyright aside, this is where I get a little agitated with the supposed health of the system. After 8 years of drafting there should be something there. Harrison, Sean Hurdle, Jaff, Broxton, Travis Smizik…again, all from outside the organization.

    • in fairness they do have josh bell… Who was converted because of the above mentioned copyright.

      • Does he still gets reps in the outfield and could he be a viable option?

        • Not sure – saw someone else asked the question… My point was- we did draft well for outfield. The issue is we don’t have places for top prospects so we move them. It’s more that the outfield is too good, than the other positions are that bad.

          • Haha. Remember this comment when SRod is playing RF against LHs.

          • I understood what you were saying and I agree, but I kinda went on a tangent and i’m curious whether or not Bell could make the team not as a first baseman but instead as a 4th OFer. If Morse/Rodgers/Jaso is playing well at 1st and Bell is also ready maybe Bell could come up as a bench player in the outfield and could get some time in the majors.

      • Sure…but that doesn’t fill the gaping hole if somebody goes down and previous posts have said he has bulked up to be a permanent 1B and never was a great outfielder.

      • So development one guy who might have been an outfielder is good? We should have better depth.

        • We had depth- we jetisonned it. Decker, Hernandez and Broxton, and Lambo were ALL viable 4th outfielders. Now we have none. We chose this fate, so be it. If having no depth at outfielder is our plan like having no 3rd starter is a plan- we will crash and burn……….and before any of you fans respond to my post talking about how cynical i am being and how great we are going to be- save it, i’m just venting I don’t think we will suck……I am smart enough to know our plan was to create roster flexibility by removing outfielders without any remaining options and replace it with guys who do have options similar to relief pitching.

    • There have been things there. Very few teams are just outright prepared to deal with an injury to a key player for any significant period of time. This is why you buy depth options year to year; there won’t always be an ideal prospect, and you don’t want to overcommit to marginal talent.

      • John Mozeliak disagrees.

        • Yeah, Moz really scored when he drafted and developed Matt Holiday, Jason Heyward, and Randal Grichuk…

          • Speaking of Grichuk, how surprised are you at STL (to this point) seemingly being okay with him as a starting OF option?

            Terrific season last year, but seems rather unlikely to throw out that production year to year. Seemed odd STL passed on numerous options to upgrade the OF.

            • Frankly, I still don’t trust that’s how they’ll end the season…which I suppose says what I think of their decision thus far to at least *sound* like they’re OK with this option.

              I mean, that’s no worse than what the Pirates are doing at a number of positions, to be fair. Grichuk and Pham were worth almost 5 wins as rookies in less than 500 AB *combined*…you gotta give that a chance to play somewhere. Just questionable use of *where* to play them IMO.

              • Last part is where im at. I fully expected them to sign an OF, have Grichuk be 1 OFer and have solid depth with Piscotty (assuming Adams starts at 1B). As it is, i think that OF has boom and bust written all over it. Maybe Holliday stays healthy and Grichuk is a 120 wRC+ player, or Grichuk mirrors more of his AA and AAA production and Holliday still cant stay healthy.

                I keep waiting the news STL upgraded the OF, odd they havent yet.

            • I am not so sure they passed Luke as were bypassed. And don’t rule out them signing one of the guys still out there.

          • Gimme a break. They’ve blown the doors off the Pirates developing late round players.

            • Absolutely, but if you truly want to make a point, pick your spots. Otherwise, you’re in DK mode going scattershot on anything that moves.

          • And to acquire those players they moved other assets.

            But DIS ISSA PROSPECTZ SITE!!!

    • There’s plenty of meat to gnaw on in the drafting narrative, but this is complaint is highly contrived even by Kovacevic standards.

    • It takes awhile to build depth at every position. Especially after making some mistakes early on. Bulding depth is a game with the game. Rule 5 draft, 40 man rosters, etc… are all aimed at limiting depth.

      • And let’s not forget the obvious…the Pirates *absolutely* do not have an outfield depth issue.

        This is just silly.