The Pirates just announced a series of roster moves that shake up the bullpen a bit. Tony Watson has been placed on the paternity list and Rob Scahill was recalled to replace him. Arquimedes Caminero was placed on the 15-day DL with a left quadriceps strain, and Kyle Lobstein was called up from Indianapolis.

The Watson move is obviously only a short-term deal, and I’m guessing that Scahill goes back down when Watson returns, since the Pirates grouped the moves in that order. Also, Lobstein gives them a second left-hander once again.

I think the biggest move here is Caminero going to the disabled list. His control has been horrible this year, and his strikeouts have been down. He’s had control problems in the past, but his 6.75 BB/9 this year is worse than any stage in his MLB career, and any stage in his minor league career. On the same note, he’s never had a strikeout rate this low. So it seems that something is up, going well beyond any normal struggles. You hope that the injury is the source of a problem, and not just an excuse to get him out of the bullpen. Either way, they’ll likely spend some time trying to get him right in Bradenton, with the hope that the 2015 version returns for the second half of the season.

I could see Lobstein being up for a few weeks until the Pirates bring up a starter from Indianapolis. At that point, my guess is that Jeff Locke would move to the bullpen, and Lobstein would go back down.

Also today, Altoona promoted Jhondaniel Medina to Indianapolis, according to Cory Giger. The Indianapolis bullpen just lost three guys in two days, so they needed a bit of help. Lobstein was supposed to be the starter tonight for Indianapolis. Kelvin Marte will take his spot in the rotation tonight. That should be an interesting game, since Indianapolis has lost three relievers in the last two days, plus Wilfredo Boscan last week. Even if Medina arrives today, they’ve got a reliever with 17 innings making a start, and a short bullpen. So tonight’s outing should be interesting, especially if you enjoy the possibility of a position player pitching.

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72 COMMENTS

  1. Those quad strains get you everytime! Too bad he should’ve had it back in spring training and not after he almost killed 2 people!

  2. With Watson now unavailable, the bullpen is now Melancon and Hughes and a AAA supporting cast – not good.

    • Feliz is pitching better than Melancon.

      And Hughes is a dumpster fire. He might be a hair better than Caminero right now, but you couldn’t live off the difference.

  3. why Lobstein and Scahill? Neither are major league quality pitchers – and we already added Schugel to that mix – which is quite weak now. Why not Kuhl?

  4. Way off topic but I just read that the Chubs offered the Angels a kings ransom for Mike Trout. They would have won the WS with him but the Angels turned them down.

  5. Caminero is what the doctor order, as he drilled 2 D-backs. Pay back is a bitch and I wonder if Tony Larussia will order anymore beanings ?? IMO that he order Cutch’s bean ball in Arizona and the Pirates as usual failed to retaliate. The one thing I liked about Lloyd McClendon was he went after Dave Duncan of the Cards and Lloyd would have put a hurting on him.

    • Not sure why you feel compelled to post this – let’s remember who started this crap – and it was not Arizona…

      Caminero had no clue where either of those balls was going and needs to find a different job – as Coach used to say “time for him to get on with his life’s work”

      • Well said…..Getting hit with a pitch is one thing, but hitting 2 players in the HEAD….totally inexcusable and AC needs to find another line of work….Those 2 players didn’t have but certainly could have had serious damage or injuries….

        • That not totally true, the second batter was hit in the shoulder and it glanced off the shoulder and hit his face. He was in the line up the next day.

  6. Nicasio’s innings will become a significant issue very soon so it seems most likely he will be the one going to the bullpen. Earlier this week, I believe Clint Hurdle indicated the 2015 innings are the key for determining how much someone can pitch this year and Nicasio is already getting close

  7. I am not a big Hurdle fan but this guy is now bringing a blowgun to a gun fight. Come on Neal is this the best you got?

    • So is that meaning you wanted to keep Cammy to throw at another guy?

      If ARI wants to go headhunting, let them. Win the game, laugh at how they overpaid for being an average team this year.

      • If I’m NH I’m texting Dave Stewart weekly to check in and see if he’s interested in any making any moves. Possibly more often than that.

        • Could work, though im skeptical that ARI will start selling off assets this early in the year after what was clearly an offseason designed to win.

          Arizona might wait until closer to mid year before clearly showing the fanbase its pushing for next year.

    • At this point, I still can’t believe that some people still hate on Hurdle, NH and Nutting. Wake up, this is 2016, not 2010. they’ve earned our trust.

      • I will respect them when they win something – so far we are in a 36 year losing streak – I don’t hate them – but they clearly want to win enough to get fans to attend – but not spend enough to truly compete – and I am talking about spending just a another $10-15M a year – not Cub/Yankee/Dodger spending. So far the fans have fallen for this – a lot of folks like you are willing to settle for a team that “competes” – I am hoping for a team that WINS.

        • You’ll respect them when they win something?

          From 2013-2015, they’ve won 280 games, which is the second most in MLB.

          They’ve had more sustained success in the past three years than any team other than St Louis. Just because they’ve lost in small sample sizes in the postseason doesn’t mean they “haven’t won anything”.

          • I think bruce means hoisting some hardware. moves for june after super 2. nicasio to pen,tallion to rotation. locke to pen ,glasnow to rotation. bull pen mark cl. watson setup, feliz 7th, hughes nicasio, locke, boscan. rotation 1- cole 2-frankie 3 tallion 4 glasnow 5 niece. also kuhl could be in the mix if a starter or bullpen arm fails.

            • Yes Andrew – the great thing about sports in general is that only one team goes home having not lost it’s last game – and that is what I want for the Pirates, Steelers and Pens. Anything less is not acceptable – and should not be be acceptable IMHO…

          • Where is the “second most wins in MLB flag” – I was at PNC a month ago and did not see it?

            You “Settlers” are pathetic IMHO!

            The SF Giants have THREE World Series flags in the past seven years – THREE…

            The Cards have won the NL Central almost every year since 2000!!!

            Winning isn’t everything – it is the only thing!

            • Why is the Cards winning the Central good, if they dont win the WS they are just losers. Unless you allow for deviation from your rule at times.

            • But the Giants don’t have SEVEN in seven years. They only have THREE. Which means FOUR times they didn’t win. So obviously they settle more often than not.

      • Whoa Paul D I did not say I hate Hurdle. I said ” I WAS NOT A BIG FAN”. Big difference in what was said and what you interpreted.

      • I felt that way after the 2013 season, but now the expectations are higher and the window is not forever open….in my opinion, the FO is largely the reason the Pirates did not win the division the last two seasons – and they have hurt this team again with a horrible off season – trying to patch a pitching staff on the cheap and refusing to bring up the young guys who could help this team now.

        • Get it all out of your system bro! June 10 isn’t coming fast enough for you! Enjoy these frustrating moments bc next year we won’t have any rotation problems!

          • I hear ya – and I agree…barring injuries, the rotation should be pretty strong for a while

  8. Haha, “left quadriceps strain”. A excellent injury choice. I would have maybe gone with “dislocated fastball”.

    • This is when the absence of Benedict is felt the most, he was the one that work with guys like Caminero during this fake assignments.

      • Actually, Scott Elarton did a lot of work last year, and is in that same role this year. Losing Benedict hurts, but they’ve still got a good pitching coach in that role.

        • Same good pitching coach that suggested Locke needed to rework his mechanics?

          Work Fast – Throw Strikes – Change Speeds…

          This is not brain surgery

          • If it’s that easy, every pitcher would be good.

            The pitching coach you’re referencing does much more than just tell pitchers to work fast, throw strikes, and change speeds. He also makes mechanical adjustments. Every pitching coach does that.

            • Is there any data out there on % of pitches thrown for strikes by team?

              My gut is the Pirates are not in the top third of MLB – but that could be just my stupidity showing…

  9. I honestly don’t think Locke will be the 1st starter to the pen….I believe it will be Nicasio as he could be a huge asset to the middle relief.

    • I think Nicasio will help, but look at the numbers:
      1. Juan Nicasio 3.87 xFIP
      2. Gerrit Cole 3.98
      3. Francisco Liriano 4.17
      4. Jon Niese 4.20
      5. Jeff Locke 4.82

      Even if you only look at this month’s results:
      1. Jon Niese 4.04
      2. Francisco Liriano 4.13
      3. Juan Nicasio 4.15
      4. Gerrit Cole 4.34
      5. Jeff Locke 4.79

      Nicasio would be good for the bullpen, but he’s been a better starter than Locke, so it doesn’t make sense to make the switch.

      • Counterpoint: If you look at his pitch count splits, it helps make the case Nicasio could really help the pen.

        Pitches 1-25: .211/.286/.368 line against him
        Pitches 26-50: .220/.304/.439 against him.
        Pitches 51-75: .326/.385/.543 line.

        If you plan on bringing up another SP relatively soon along with Taillon, Locke wont be long for the rotation anyway. But Nicasio is very good in the long man role.

        • True, but what would the splits be for Locke?

          Pitches 1-25: .333/.458/.410
          Pitches 26-50: .300/.352/.500
          Pitches 51-75: .214/.313/.429

          Nicasio is the better reliever because of the third time through the order. But he’s also a much better starter than Locke right now. The hope for Locke is that he’d be one of those guys who magically improves moving from starter to relief. Or they just have him throw 50 pitches in the bullpen before he’s ready to come into the game.

          • My hope would be Kuhl is up similarly to Taillon, pushing Locke to the pen.

            I dont need Locke to be magically better in the pen, just used really selectively in matchups. Nicasio is the primary long man, Locke as a general mop up duty mid reliever.

              • I think that’s where we are though, right? Kuhl and Taillon are clearly ready and just working and waiting. Taillon has his start skipped so he can get some rest and is seemingly in line with Jeff Locke in the rotation. After tonight Locke has, what, one more start? Maybe two.

          • just have Locke throw about 50 pitches in the pen before you bring him out for relief? 🙂

        • Nicasio the time first through the lineup vs. the second is the most striking.
          4.8 k/bb vs. .9 (29k vs 9 in same number of PAs)
          .227/.292/.409/.701 vs .310/.420/.534/.955

      • Liriano is the most concerning to me. Guys aren’t chasing his slider. He’s got to make an adjustment, but if the league actually has adjusted to him, that could be a tall task.

        Although, I read on Fangraphs today his fastball command has been pretty bad this year, and that might be why he’s not getting chases on his slider. Either way, he’s got to figure it out.

        • I think lost in all the rotation turnover talk is they need Liriano to pitch better, no question. The walks never bothered me as long as guys were still chasing the slider or just offspeed stuff in general. And so you could walk two in an inning and strikeout two and get out of the inning with minimal or no damage. Not really the case anymore or so it seems and like you said it’s probably because he can’t locate a fastball to begin with. You can look at Nicasio, Niese and Locke and the thought is “oh well it’s just temporary until June and then they’ll be replaced.” And even if all three go at various times and Taillon, Glasnow and Kuhl come up and pitch better, they’ll need Liriano. Anything is possible and while I do expect upgrades for those three I don’t expect the 2013 version of Gerrit Cole in any of those guys. Not just yet. If we’re lucky, maybe Taillon is that guy.

      • But Tim – I thought numbers really didn’t matter – and those of us ignoramus fans who look at the stats for the Fab Four at Indy are idiots because we just don’t get the nuances – we don’t talk to “scouts” and the players.

        Which is it – do numbers matter or is it the micro analysis of guys like Decker that give us the true story…

        • Neither option you just gave is preferable.

          Numbers + live reports is what you want. If you’re going entirely off one of them, and outright dismissing the other one, then you’re doing it wrong.

          Last week’s start with Glasnow was a perfect example. Every outlet that only looked at the stats (6 IP, 1 ER) said it was another sign he was ready. We were there, talked to scouts who didn’t like his changeup, and then Glasnow and Treanor both said post-game that he didn’t have good stuff.

          There have been other starts we’ve covered where he has good results and good stuff, and we point that out. This is what you want to see, when the numbers and live reports match.

          When they don’t match, that’s where you need to ask why there is a difference. In the above example, it’s because a guy with Glasnow’s stuff can post great overall results in Triple-A, even without a changeup and without his best fastball. That makes more sense than “Forget what Tim, and the scouts, and Treanor, and even what Glasnow thought. The stats are right.”

  10. It seems obvious that Nicosio has been their worst starter. I would send him and Niese to the bullpen before Locke at this point. In fact, They should send Nicosio to the pen now and let boscan bridge the gap to the Indy starters. Let Nicosio learn a third pitch in the offseason and try out for the rotation next year.

      • I’m on the fence. I think the obvious answer is who is struggling the most in early June and take them out of the rotation for Taillon. And other times I think the best approach is to just move Nicasio regardless to the pen because his stuff would translate better than Niese or Locke and so you’d upgrade two positions with one move. But if Niese or Locke completely fold in the next 2 weeks how can you not remove them? These things usually work themselves out.

  11. The Pirates should install a maternity ward in one of the luxury boxes so that they don’t have to lose important players every week.

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