Pirates Recall Max Moroff, Option Steven Brault

The Pittsburgh Pirates have recalled infielder Max Moroff and optioned Steven Brault to Indianapolis. Moroff is only hitting .229, but he leads the International League with 65 walks, and he has 27 extra-base hits, which gives him a .728 OPS. Defensively, he is capable of starting at shortstop, third base and second base.

Brian Peloza did a feature on Moroff last week, in which Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor believed Moroff was ready for the majors if the Pirates should need him. His patience at the plate has led to a high walk total, but it has also led to a low batting average and high strikeouts. Moroff will sometimes take too many pitches, to the point it hurts him. It’s something he didn’t do as often last year when he put up a .783 OPS last year in Altoona. He has stretches this season where he was able to draw walks and still be aggressive in the strike zone, but it hasn’t happened enough. He provides solid defense around the infield, and has above average speed and the ability to hit for extra bases.

Brault just made his second Major League start on Friday against the Brewers and allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over seven innings. He gave up one run over four innings in his debut 24 days earlier.

  • Did the Pirates receive world series tickets to sell yet??? Max Moroff by the numbers: BA .229 W/ 7Hrs. and 41 RBIs, 11 ERRORS [see Josh Bell], OPS .728, OBP .360, and SLG.368. With these numbers is Moroff going to kick Mercer to the curb tonight??? Yo Tim, this was posted an hour ago and now it is at the bottom on the comments, You running your own version of Pravada??? Gotch comrade !!!

  • Are they printing world series tickets for the Pirates yet???? Max Moroff to the Pirates:, his #s are .229 W/ 7 hrs., 41 RBIs, 11 errors, .728 OPS, .360 OBP, and .368 Slg. Is he going to kick Mercer to the curb??? Neal Huntington is having illusions of grandur.

  • Like the player. I figure this is only for a game or so until Voglesong is brought up.
    The curious thing is that they could have don’t the same thing with Bell, Hanson
    or Rogers.

  • I’m thinking of joining the camp of “NH is a great transitional GM, but not the guy to get to the top.”

    And I’m thinking it’s time to consider firing Clint. This series simply amplified the poor decisions in lineup construction, with the first two games underscoring poor bullpen management, particularly Saturday. If Clint is unwilling to bench non-producing stars, he has no business in the dugout.

    • Does Clint have a choice in sitting McCutcheon or Jaso? Probably a puppet from NH and BK

  • Another sweep by the lowly Brewers.. time to sell

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 31, 2016 3:28 pm

    Time to bench or let go of Jaso….he’s worthless. Broxton killing the Pirates this series….good for him. Nice trade there Neal….

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 31, 2016 3:17 pm

    Terrible display of defense in first inning by Pirates…looked like little league. Terrible throw by Fryer and lackadaisical backup by McCutchen. Embarrassing.

    • How many are fed up with Cutch’s golden boy approach lately? His butt fits the bench, just like any prospect’s.

      • Cutch should sit; liability in the field, strikeouts are mounting; and has an elitist attitude. Absolutely no leadership or discipline on this team…

  • Is Alen Hanson still with the organization? Will Josh Bell stiil be here at 4:10 pm tomorrow?

  • Are we going to witness three steps backwards to make one step forward?

  • crap, david freese is being shipped out…wtf???!! 84 wins my @55, welcome back to a new sub .500 string….

  • Why not Bell? Bizarre. The Pirates are a mess right now.

  • maybe kang retired and moved back to korea?

  • freese to mets for prospects.

  • And the controlled experiment that is the 2016 Pirates continues. Play all the rookies for 2-4 days or one turn through the rotation. If you think this is a precursor to another move, you’re probably going to be disappointed. The point of this season has ALWAYS been to get the rookies’ feet wet for 2017 and beyond, while nominally contending. And if Cutch, Harrison and Frankie were even league average, it would be working.

    Ladies and gentlemen, your 84 win Pittsburgh Pirates.

    • I agree with your overall assessment, but I would not discount this being trade related. Moroff is, in my opinion, a curious case for promotion and, with the current roster, he’s really not going to have an opportunity.

      • Agreed. If Frazier can’t generate playing time, there’s not much reason to think Moroff will get a fair shake. Not that he’s had an outstanding season at AAA.

        • Yeah, he’d be buried behind both Frazier and S-Rod…as a reserve…not be mention Harrison. The Pirates have done it before though…with Hanson, Bell, and Rogers…so, it could be they’re just calling him up to get his opinion of how comfortable the bench is.

          Speaking of Rogers…he’s sort of become the lost man…outside of Bell, I’d have to say he is the most deserving of a promotion. He’s, quietly, put up a respectable season at AAA and would be an adequate reserve if the Pirates were looking for a bench piece.

  • No need for Brault in the short term so sending him down an easy call. Who were they going to call up? Can’t think of any pitcher on the 40 man who is eligible. With Vogelsong pitching in Atlanta, whoever it was called up would head right back down (Moroff) when Vogey activated.

    • Regarding a recall, It does put Brault on the shelf for a couple of weeks, sans injury on the 25 man, however.

  • To brighten everyone’s day…upcoming Braves series shows Locke and Vogelsong toeing the rubber.

  • Someone has to be getting traded. On the surface this is a totally unnecessary move. I wonder who is getting jettisoned now.

    • Anyone but Frazier.

      • I hope not

        • Honestly it depends to me on the value Frazier has relative to the league. I honestly think his value is at it’s peak. If the Rays ask for him in a trade for one of their starters I don’t see that as a non-starter.

  • I don’t understand this, unless JHay is getting dealt. It makes no sense.

    • Somebody (JHay, Serpico, Frazier) is getting dealt. Put it on the board! Yes!

      • Of the 3 I hope it’s Serpico. He can become a free agent at the end of the year. I really like JHay and Frazier.

        • Hes on a 1 year deal! Unless they are trading w a good team, it’s not him.

      • I remember the movie on Serpico who infiltrated the Mafia and brought down one of the familes in NY. He would be kinda of old for baseball.

      • or not….Bringing up Max was just a way to p*ss more of the fanbase off (could have brought up Bell or Hanson but no….. a .229 hitter got the call)

    • Harrison was my first guess, but rburgh mentioning S-Rod makes sense, too.

      • Don’t know who, if anybody. But Harrison would be a longshot unless the plan is to platoon Frazier/Moroff. Harrison would also free up some salary, both for ’16 and beyond. Hopefully, an adequate SP is on the board.

        • Salary relief would be enough of a reason. I like Harrison, but would be hard-pressed to say the Pirates are getting much value from him after this season when his min/max cost will be 2/20 – 4/40. It was an understandable extension when signed, but it’s becoming obvious that 2014 was more of an aberration than a sign of things to come.

          Some team might be willing to take that contract, but I can’t see the Pirates getting much in return…maybe a Moroff type guy at the AA level or a lower-level arm or two with the upside of reliever(s).

          • The Pirates don’t typically trade everyday established players. But, there are teams which need IF help. The deadline is close to 24 hrs away. Package JHay with a prospect and there might be a decent return.

            • I agree.

              I was actually going to write something about: “if he is traded, I could see him going with H-Ram or Brault to net something promising…”

              But I’m long-winded enough as it is 🙂

          • Bucs owe Harrison $18 mil for ’17-’18, and buyouts for the next two years totalling $1.5 mill. That’s about 2.5 WAR over those two years, or 1.25 WAR for each.

            ZIPS and Streamer both figure he’ll end up at 1.2 fWAR this year. He was 1.3 fWAR last year. B-R likes him a little more, having him at 0.9 bWAR this year already, so that would suggest a 1.6-ish finish.

            It’s not a horrible contract. If Josh doesn’t get any better, it’s about a wash. There are worse 2b contracts out there.

            The Yankees might want him next year. They have plenty of prospects to flip.

            • I agree…it is a not a bad contract…but it’s probably not in the Pirates’ best interests to be committing ~8% of the payroll to one player in for fair market value production. If he were 2-2.5 WAR player…all day long it’s a good deal…then, of course, you’d have to wonder how tradeable he’d have to be to be producing so much and for so cheaply 🙂

            • If this were any other team, I think you could make that case, bucsws2014. But the Pirates under Neal Huntington try to never pay market rate for wins. Every free agent signed or extension negotiated presumes a discount relative to the market – whether it’s in the form of seeing value where the market doesn’t (Martin, Volquez, Liriano’s first contract), taking advantage of a limited market (Jaso, Freese) or getting the rare hometown discount (Liriano’s extension, Burnett’s final deal).

              I did a back of the envelope calculation back in March and found on average the free agents the Pirates were signing were at a 30% discount relative to the market. Makes sense, since the team will never be in a position to compete with the large or even mid-payroll teams for market rate talent.

              So if the current $/WAR is $8M, NH is probably going to be disappointed if he ends up paying much more than $5.5 or so per win. In Harrison’s case it’s not a huge difference – 3+ WAR over the next 2 years will break even. But he’s not exactly hitting that mark now.

          • Why would the Bucs need salary relief we are one of the lowest payroll teams in the league. If Bob can’t afford to be in the game then get out.

            • Because, with Harrison’s level of play over the last two seasons, keeping him at the coming rates makes little sense.

              My very rough calculations have the payroll at $75M next season without Harrison.

              That might not sound like much…but that’s without an established closer and assuming the rotation (after Cole) and bench are filled out with guys making the league minimum.

              If the Pirates want to add a couple of established arms and legitimate bench pieces…meh, you’re easily in the $100M ballpark.

              And, FWIW, I’ll make the fearless prediction now…if the Pirates finish the season as they’re playing now…I’m going to guess they will add one big name.

        • are you a stockholder in Nutting Industries or something? This $100m payroll thing is not going to fly long-term – not sustainable….$150m floor in the central alone

          • I agree payroll should have been higher heading into the season. Jettisoning some salaries which are high for the Pirates, can and should, improve providing better players.

            Good line about Nutting Ind.

            • thxs btw…thats all im saying Bobby, you can do both…you can play in the FA pool a bit and still grow a nice farm system….great thing about FAs is if you have a bad year, you can usually jettison them off for very decent prospects

              • Yeah, I think we agree, just didn’t get right around to it.

                There is also a post about Freese that I’d like to comment on. I like Kang and there is nothing that is as uplifting as the Korean guys going off when Kang homers. It’s been a while since that happened. He has options and it might be in everyone’s interest to send him to AAA for a spell.

                Freese should be in the lineup daily and hopefully he will get a new contract with the PBC. He should be at 1B. Jaso to the bench. Frazier and Harrison at 2nd and 3rd.

                MLB will make an example of Kang unless there are frivilous charges.

                • wow…you are extremely right on all statements…i love kang, but he is a distraction and we dont have room on this roster for someone who doesnt have his head straight right now….

    • piraterican21
      July 31, 2016 12:31 pm

      What did NH five fingers said to Alen Hanson’s face? SLAP! How the f do you call him over Hanson….. Unless a trade?!?!?

      • He has been the whipping boy for years – I hope it is he who is getting traded as part of a larger trade. I think he can help a team. Moroff and Frazier are decent, but they do not have defense or the ability to steal bases that Hanson brings. Hanson has 30 SB/9 CS; Frazier has 17 SB/15 CS; Moroff has 8 SB; 5 CS.

        Our #1 SP Prospect Taillon does well, our #3 SP Prospect Kuhl does well, and our #4 SP Prospect Brault does well and WE SUPPOSEDLY NEED ANOTHER SP we want to get in trade????? That is hard to believe.

        • If we trade for a starter w control, Liriano is gone this offseason.

          • If a stable innings eater is brought aboard, I agree whole heartedly. If if control is only for next season.

    • chuck conner
      July 31, 2016 7:38 pm

      Just may be hurt. He got bowled over by Rodgers…..I mean Braxton at first base.