While looking through Wednesday’s minor league schedule on Tuesday afternoon, I noticed that Luis Escobar was starting tonight for Morgantown and the game will be broadcast on MiLB.tv. I planned on watching that game because Escobar is an intriguing prospect, with a fastball that hits 95 MPH and a curve that can look plus at times. We ranked him 37th in our mid-season top 50 prospects update, though that would now be 36th with the addition of Taylor Hearn and subtractions of Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez.

I’ll have to watch that game on replay though, because I will be doing the recap for the Indianapolis game and newly-acquired Drew Hutchison will be making his debut with the Pirates. You’ll still get an Escobar recap , as Tim Williams will be covering the game live.

Hutchison has been pitching this season in the International League, so Columbus is a familiar foe. He faced them two starts in a row at the end of May. In the first game, he allowed four runs on three hits and five walks in 5.2 innings, while pitching in Columbus. Five days later in Buffalo, he threw 7.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits and one walk. He struck out nine batters in that game. Those five walks in the first game are his season high, while the nine strikeouts in the second game is tied for his second highest total this year. Hutchison struck out ten batters on June 18th.

In his three July starts, he had one bad outing, one average and one strong outing. His last game was six days ago and he allowed three runs over six innings. Five days before that, he allowed one run over six frames. The pitch counts were fairly high in each game, with 108 and 103 pitches. So he should be ready to go full tilt this game, although I’d expect him to be limited to around 95 pitches. The Blue Jays let him cross the century mark eight times in 18 Triple-A starts this season, compared to six times total for Steven Brault, Trevor Williams, Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon and Chad Kuhl in 68 games.

Hutchison will be the center of attention tonight, at least on my computer. Unfortunately, Columbus isn’t very good about listing pitch speeds, occasionally mentioning it during their broadcasts. I’ll still try to get a good read on him and include my thoughts in the Prospect Watch. He will likely have six Triple-A starts before we see him with the Pirates. I’m sure at least a couple will be in Indianapolis, so we will have some good looks at him before he debuts in Pittsburgh.

** I learned something interesting while talking to a couple of GCL players yesterday. We have mentioned countless times how Pirates stress fastball command for their young pitchers, and we have talked to the new high school pitchers multiple times each. They always point out that they are going fastball heavy, occasionally mixing in their off-speed pitches.

Both players I talked to about yesterday’s game mentioned how many off-speed pitches they saw on Tuesday against the Tigers. One player said he saw 20 pitches total and only four were fastballs. The other told me that all six pitches in his last at-bat were off-speed pitches. Neither one of those things would happen with a pitcher from the Pirates on the mound. In fact, those 16 off-speed pitches one batter saw are probably more than most GCL Pirates throw in their entire start. Just an interesting difference between the two systems. The Tigers are notorious for rushing pitchers through their system, so it might not be a surprise that they don’t take the step-by-step approach that the Pirates use.

PLAYOFF PUSH

Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by five games. They trail by 11.5 games for the lone wild card spot.

Altoona leads their division by a 1/2 game. The top two teams in the division go to the playoffs, with the first place team getting the home field advantage in the first round.

Bradenton won the first half title. They have home field advantage in the playoffs.

West Virginia is in sixth place in their division, trailing first by four games.

Morgantown is in third place in their division, trailing first place by ten games. They are seven games back for the lone wild card spot.

Bristol is in fourth place, trailing by six games. The top two teams in each division go to the playoffs.

The GCL Pirates lead their division by two games. This is the only league where you have to win your division to make the playoffs.

The DSL Pirates trail their division by 16.5 games. They trail in the wild card by 16 games.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH


Source: FanGraphs

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates won 5-3 over the Braves on Tuesday night. They now send Jeff Locke to the mound for his first start since July 20th, and just his second start since July 6th. In his last start, which was against the Brewers, Locke got knocked out of the game after three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and five walks. The Braves will go with Rob Whalen, who is making his Major League debut. He is 22 years old and has made just three starts in Triple-A.

In the minors, 11th round draft pick Max Kranick will get the start for the GCL Pirates. He will be followed by Domingo Robles in a piggyback role, as both pitchers have been starting this season. Kranick has a 3.97 ERA in 11.1 innings over four starts. Bradenton has yet to name a starter, and we are still waiting to hear when Nick Kingham will make his next start. Those two things could be connected. I’ve got an update on Kingham, saving it for tomorrow. Bristol has off today.

MLB: Pittsburgh (53-51) @ Braves (37-69) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (5.43 ERA, 37:60 BB/SO, 106.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (56-55) @ Columbus (61-50) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Drew Hutchison (NR)

AA: Altoona (59-49) vs Richmond (45-62) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (4.33 ERA, 45:62 BB/SO, 81.0 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (55-51) vs Ft Myers (54-53) 6:30 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (53-54) @ Hagerstown (65-43) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Logan Sendelbach (3.49 ERA, 28:73 BB/SO, 105.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (20-24) vs Mahoning Valley (19-24) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Luis Escobar (3.16 ERA, 17:24 BB/SO, 31.1 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (16-23) @ Greeneville (22-18) 7:00 PM 8/4 (season preview)

GCL: Pirates (16-18) vs Blue Jays (27-6) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (19-31) vs Rangers1 (35-14) 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is a strikeout from 15th round pick Danny Beddes, who is having a strong start to his career for Morgantown. The video includes the entire at-bat, so you get a good look at him.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

8/3: Chris Harvey promoted to Indianapolis. Trey Haley sent to Altoona.

8/3: Elvis Escobar promoted to Altoona. Justin Maffei assigned to Bradenton.

8/3: Erik Lunde assigned to Bradenton. Jose Regalado activated from disabled list.

8/2: Wilfredo Boscan placed on disabled list.

8/2: Tomas Morales assigned to Altoona. Chris Diaz activated from temporary inactive list.

8/1: Pirates trade Francisco Liriano, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez for Drew Hutchison.

8/1: Pirates acquire Ivan Nova from New York Yankees for players to be named later.

8/1: Pirates trade Jon Niese to New York Mets for Antonio Bastardo and cash.

8/1: Blake Cederlind placed on disabled list. Evan Piechota assigned to Bristol.

8/1: Edgar Santana promoted to Indianapolis.

7/31: Pirates recall Max Moroff. Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis.

7/31: Erik Lunde assigned to GCL Pirates.

7/30: Pirates trade Mark Melancon to Washington Nationals for Taylor Hearn and Felipe Rivero.

7/29: Pirates recall Steven Brault. A.J. Schugel optioned to Indianapolis.

7/29: Austin Meadows assigned to Morgantown on rehab

7/29: Jin-De Jhang sent to Altoona. Tomas Morales assigned to Bradenton.

7/28: Frank Duncan activated from disabled list.

7/26: Eric Fryer reinstated from paternity list. Elias Diaz optioned to Indianapolis.

7/25: Ke’Bryan Hayes placed on the disabled list.

7/24: Tyler Glasnow placed on disabled list. A.J. Schugel recalled.

7/23: Tyler Glasnow recalled. A.J. Schugel optioned to Indianapolis.

7/23: Eric Fryer placed on paternity list. Elias Diaz recalled.

7/22: Erik Kratz clears waivers. Elects free agency.

7/21: Chris Diaz placed on temporary inactive list.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Five former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a managerial change of note. The players start with shortstop Kevin Elster, who signed as a free agent in 1997, but broke his wrist in mid-May and missed the rest of the season. Mackey Sasser, catcher for Pirates in 1987 and in 1995. The Pirates acquired him at the 1987 trading deadline for Don Robinson, then flipped him to the Mets the next spring for Randy Milligan. He didn’t last long as a free agent signing in 1995, getting released in May.

Sid Bream, played first base for the Pirates from 1985 until 1990 and then I’m not sure what happened to him, probably something I’m just trying to forget.

Jim Gott, relief pitcher from 1987-89 and then again in 1995. Teammates with Sasser during both stops with the team. He had 34 saves for the 1988 team.

Gus Getz, third baseman for the 1918 Pirates. Had a forgettable time in Pittsburgh, but his career had two things that were noteworthy. He had 1,172 plate appearances in the majors and walked just 24 times. He also hit two homers as a pro and connected on them just eight days apart during a seven-year career.

On an off-day in 1957, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a 36-67 record and decided to make a change, firing manager Bobby Bragan and hiring Danny Murtaugh to be the interim manager. Murtaugh led the team to a winning record(26-25) the rest of the way and three seasons later, he skippered them to their third championship in franchise history. He would win 1,115 games as the manager of the Pirates and brought home another title in 1971, while also making the playoffs three other times.

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164 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Neal – genius move keeping Locke in the rotation, 5 ERs in 5 innings to the worst team in the NL and maybe the worst hitting team in all of baseball….good job, your performance this year just keeps getting worse by the day….terrible off-season, followed by total mis-management of the pitching staff, and moronic trades to boot – it just keeps getting better and better….

  2. Hutchison – 4 ERs in less than 6 innings, with 4 walks…compared to Glasnow’s AAA starts, those are Niese/Locke kind of numbers….

    • Aren’t you glad we gave up 2 top 10’s for this reclamation that we could have claimed on waivers? Way to make us better neil

  3. I haven’t seen tonight’s lineup, but read elsewhere that McCutcheon would be sitting several games.
    That same snippet said he wasn’t happy and maybe I read there too that he wasn’t happy in a Pirates uniform. There have been reports of his tirades in the dugout here and there.
    You folks can set me right if I’m wrong about any of this….or if anyone can confirm that’s okay too.

    • Cutch has been benched by Hurdle for the entire series in Atlanta. He is “unplugging” him. He will start Friday night at home. His replacement Joyce just bashed a 3-run homer.
      There is a full interview with McCutchen out there. Certainly not his idea. Clint’s move entirely.

      • Not sure. I’ve read so much from so many places. Best guess is BD. Did not see it in the Cutch benching thread, although it may also be there.

        • Found a report that Starkey was SPECULATING on the radio Yesterday that Cutch was benched for questioning management about the deadline deals. That could be your basis, local reporter speculates…

          • So, Cutch was sat down for expressing the same sentiment that the rest of the civilized world thought of Neal’s trades?

          • Thank you. Didn’t mean for anyone to have to dig, but you may have solved the origin. Btw, I read his article later and thought he did a pretty good job.

  4. If the pirates can get Hutchison slider back to where it once was I think he might be able to be a 2-2.5 war pitcher in nl

    • Key word is if. I think most people are “ok” with the project, just most are not happy about the price. BUT if he turns around its not as bad. Its over done finished no going back so all we can do is hope for the best no matter what. Can still be unhappy about it until it works out, or remain unhappy when it doesn’t. Time will tell.

      • thank you Ron. States my position exactly. We can’t give away guys who have had big league success like Locke but give up two top ten prospects for a guy we are hoping we fix. one doesn’t go with the other is the issue.

    • And improving his changeup command and usage would push that up to around 3. I think his fastball velocity is down post-surgery, too, but the Pirates seem to be good at making sure guys don’t lose their zip when they get TJ. Of course, it could be too late for Hutchison, but that could make him even better.

      But I agree, the key right now is the slider.

    • Exactly. There is upside here that most are determined to ignore in the interests of bit ching about payroll.

  5. Nothing but the usual anger, frustration, and one dimensional thinking on this trade with you guys. Guess I will have to be the one to counterpoint your opinions with my extensive thoughts.

    Point one-Liriano had to go. He was not listening to the coaches on basic stuff, was legit maybe the worst starter in the National League, and was the Bucs highest paid player.

    Point two-The Pirates have lusted after Hutchinson for several years, have tried to trade for him in past years. They think they can fix him. They think he matches the type of rebound candidate which Searage Excells with. Regression to the mean alone would make him a reasonable starter, as his peripherals are solid. Have you all forgot about Happ, Volquez, Burnett? Does nobody remember how you were so do down on the Happ trade exactly one year ago? Hutchinson has value for the Bucs.

    Point three-Ramirez was not a top prospect. As much as I like the batting average, the speed, power, arm were not there. Fangraphs has him rated as a future fringe 4th outfielder, and Pirate Prospects had recently dropped him down to 12th because of the season he is having. That sexy batting average kept him on the prospects lists, but he was likely another Tabata in the making. Dime-a-dozen player, and I got no problem with moving him.

    Point four-losing McGuire sucks. Sucks because outside of Diaz, he was our only legit catching prospect. His strengths on defense were legit, just as the weak bat was probably legit. The reality is that we were all dreaming on what would happen if he started hitting. A league average hitter with his defensive tools at C is exciting to think about. But it likely wasn’t happening. He was dropping down prospect lists, and most talent evaluaters did not think he was a starting catcher. I over-valued him because of what he could be, not because of what he was likely to be. McGuire was the loss in this trade, but not likely to haunt us or our PBC.

    Personally, I got no problem with trading Ramirez to move Liriano’s bad arm, bad attitude, and bad contract. Good ridence.

    McGuire still stings because his bat may still have some upside. Because he was a 1st rounder, and we forget that less than a third of those ever become good players.

    And it stings because we don’t know this Hutchinson guy, and he got demoted, and it’s easy to look askance at him.

    What I don’t get is all you money money people going nuts all over the Internet. Of course the Bucs are cheap Of course they dumped Liriano. Of course they have to play Moneyball. Have you people forgot about 20 straight seasons as the laughing-stock of MLB?

    So we basically traded Tabata to move Liriano, and Stewert to get Hutchinson is MY spin, or really counter-spin to all of you guys. Because I liked McGuire, I do feel like they better be right though.

    It’s not all about the money people. It’s about finding an edge, exploiting inificiencies in markets, scouting, drafting, and developing. IMO, this move was just as much about that stuff, as it was about the reasonable move to dump that salary.

    • OK I will admit. I didn’t read you whole post. I am sorry (ill try and read it later). But just a comment on the first sentence. I think its more frustration for the season. As good as this offense appeared at one point and the Pitching wasn’t there to match. You might be making very valid points but I saw that and well some I agree are that way. I think the rest its just frustration with where we are. Regardless of the Cubs success this year and whether we should have been leading the division we should have been better then we are right now that part sucks.

    • McGuire looks to me like his ceiling is 2015 Cevelli with a better arm, and that’s an excellent ballplayer. I also think his offensive skill set will be subject to the same inconsistency as Cervelli’s since neither has power, and relying on a high batting average (even with good BB%) while not being an especially fast player and without great batted ball authority isn’t always a safe bet. We see that right now with Jaso.

      If McGuire turns into a Jaso-like bat with Cervelli-like blocking and receiving but a better arm, he’s a really good starting catcher who will make a few All-Star games. That seems like a reasonable expectation. A 2015 Cervelli annually with McGuire’s defensive ability will make him a perennial All Star and 5+ WAR player, but I think that’s his best case scenario.

      The nice thing about McGuire is his floor is likely a solid backup catcher. It’s tough to lose a catcher from your system who pairs that kind of floor with that kind of upside. But given the uncertainty surrounded his bat (yes, even despite his age), I can see why he doesn’t carry the value on the trade market we here in the Comments Section think he should have.

      EDIT: I forgot to mention, the other thing which likely holds down McGuire’s value is the fact that he is so far away with the bat, and catchers are subject to a lot of potential injuries. That increases his risk as a prospect, because if he gets concussion problems or a couple knee injuries that move him from behind the plate, his bat won’t carry him to the Majors.

      Of course, to me that means he should have been more valuable to the Pirates to keep than to trade, which introduces a new question on the decision making process, so take it as you will.

      • Fangraphs recently downgraded McGuire to a 40 fv on their prospect lists because he dose’nt barrel up the ball and they don’t think he will hit enough to start.

      • Agree with you here. McGuire was still very young for AA but with outstanding major league ready defense and arm. In fact some of the guys who write for this site said he has a cannon from his knees.
        There is outright joy in Toronto over getting McGuire, but not as loud as the outrage in Pittsburgh over losing him.
        His name did not surface until well after the deadline. We know the deal closed at 3:59. Highlights your point about the decision making process.

    • “Point one-Liriano had to go. He was not listening to the coaches on basic stuff, was legit maybe the worst starter in the National League, and was the Bucs highest paid player.”

      I’ve seen this posted several times about Liriano and Niese, but have never read or heard anything from a valid source that said this was happening. Can someone post a link to something? The key word being “valid”…

      The problem with your thinking is that Hutchison isn’t WORTH McGuire. He’s 26, is making $2.2 million, pitching in AAA, and would probably have been DFA’d this winter, or at the very least been available at much lower cost than sending McGuire because Tronoto certainly didn’t want to go to arbitration with him.

      If the Pirates had sent Liriano, Ramirez, and $5 million to Toronto for Hutchison, you wouldn’t be seeing nearly so much angst on here.

      The other problem is they aren’t going to drop $39 – $48 million on a 3 year contract or any free agent pitcher this winter. NH has already said the FA market is weak this winter, so even the mediocre guys will probably be commanding that kind of cash.

      So that leaves what we see from the Bucs every winter. A couple of 1 year, $4 – $6 million deals for reclamation projects, or a couple of B prospects for a lesser reclamation project (like AJ Burnett) that has a couple years of control, with plenty of cash coming back to the Bucs to help cover his salary.

      • Niese said it in the post game interview after his last start. I can’t find a clip but I watched it live. Liriano I can’t say I ever heard anything about.

      • It was reported in national media a while back that Searage stormed out of a bullpen session with Liriano because he won’t listen. Can’t remember the reporter. Try Googling it.

        • And it’s your OPINION that Hutchinson isn’t worth a catching prospect not expected to be good enough to start. We all know the Bucs use different valuations than many for players. Sometimes their right, sometimes their wrong.

          Maybe they gave up on McGuire’s bat too. But you are speaking in absolutes, just like many did when they hated the Happ trade last year before he turned into the 2nd coming…

          Just illustrating a different perspective.

    • Really? Point 1… never heard of Liriano fighting our staff. That was what i heard on Niese and why he had to go and go soon. Liriano was always open and loved his time in Pittsburgh. He said it through interpreter numerous times.

      Point 2 – It doesn’t matter if we saw value or not. If you love an old Porche that needs a ton of work but you can see what it will be with your capable and dedicated hands… do you pay as if it were new? 100% NO and making an argument to do so is crazy.

      Point 3 – The same but opposite of number 2. MLB and Scouting Centers rate the Pirates system high and have Harold and Reese as valuable chips. That doesn’t mean we should given them away because we think a little less of them.

      Hutchison is the dime a dozen player who has tools but hasn’t been able to develop them or crack a bad MLB rotation. Can we fix him… maybe but i believe the Jury is still out given i don’t believe Searage has fixed anyone/anything since Benedict left town… in fact things have progressively gotten worse… Locke, Liriano, Cole etc. I guess you could call out Happ.

      • You nailed it Eric. It’s about value If you like Hutchison that much, trade for Hutchison at the trade value. In this trade, he was a bi-product of dumping another bad contract decision of signing Liriano. I wish NH would just own the mistake, call it like it is, and fix it. We can handle the truth.

        • Who determine trade value? At a deadline with crazy prices for pitchers…

          Oh that’s right – you guys determine prices – and a good defensive catcher that doesn’t hit, and that a publication like Fangraphs has graded a 40, a replacement level player – is a monster overpay. Oh my!

      • Local reporter John Perotto reported it and it was picked up by national media Mr. Nowitall. And action speak louder than words.

        Do you mean the MLB.Com site that today rated us as the 4th best Farm system after dealing McGuire & Ramirez, and commented that their leaving didn’t have much of an impact on this deep system?

        It’s been reported through multiple sources the Pirates have been after Hutchinson for a long time. I trust our scouts and management a hell of a lot more than you to determine traDE value.

        • No way the trade works in our favor. NH has made many good moves, this was not one of them. Convince yourself what you need to, I’ve got some land to sell you in the everglades

  6. What a joke. Huntingtons justification for the Liriano trade is that they felt that Hutchison was a guy that could go out and improve their rotation, that he and Cole would be a great one-two combo. SO WHY IS HE IN AAA THEN? Why couldn’t the media call him on this lie? Supposedly the goal is still to compete for this year. The fact that we’re going to end up keeping him down because of service time justifies nearly every critique about this team being cheap. It’s sickening. As fans, they want us to invest into their product, but then they behave in a manner that is the complete opposite to the things they say.

    • NOT THAT I AGREE WITH NH!!!! But he is in AAA so they can try and work with him to correct what they see is wrong. Easier to do in AAA then Pittsburgh especially if the Pirates really are still trying to compete this year. SO can’t call him out on what he said that is logical, just not sure I buy it either.

      • But that’s what I mean, if hes a man they’ve targeted because of how great he supposedly is, a man worth two good prospects, a man that NH said would help them compete now, he shouldn’t be in the minor leagues at all. NH made it sound like he’s ready to go. So why isn’t he up with the team? It’s BS. I’m tired of hearing BS. They’re pissing on our heads and telling us its raining

      • Do you really believe that for a second? Why are people trying to justify this move? OJ was innocent because the bloody glove didn’t fit? Really?

        • Did you read my post at all??????? I don’t have to believe anything it is exactly what they are doing. Trying to “fix” him at AAA.

          • Then back to the other’s comments, why did we give 2 top prospects if he needs fixed? So instead of trying to justify the mistake, admit it was a dump and stop trying to explain all the peripherals. The rest is noise.

        • hey man “If the glove don’t fit you must acquit”
          None of my gloves slip on either if I’m wearing a latex glove like Juice did. Or if I soak them in blood and let them dry.
          Look Don…this a was baseball trade. We dealt from a position of strength(at 3:59pm). Neal said we traded McGuire and Ramirez for a guy who has pitched 200 innings in the majors!
          You can’t be on this site without being attacked unless you believe in NEAL.

    • Hutchison is in AAA because thy need to save about 30 days of major league service time to gain one more year of control.

    • Didn’t he say “next year” in there, too? I thought that’s what I read. They seem him as a nice complement to Cole next year. Which means this year they want to work him into the organizational pitching philosophy and make whatever mechanical adjustments at AAA. You know, like what the Blue Jays should have done with him instead of calling him up after 30 innings in AA.

  7. BY THE WAY JOHN!!!!! You have to mention Sid Bream while we are playing the Braves!!!!! He is from Carlisle, where I currently live. Met him he is a nice guy actually.

    • Have heard the same from others about Sid. And some of those folks were Pittsburgers.
      I always liked Sid up until that fatal unbelievable moment. But, he was a good Pirate.

  8. The Liriano trade is very difficult to digest, of course time will tell… In my little mind, to make sense of it… I have to break it down into two pieces…

    1) Liriano from the Pirates to the Blue Jays for (at this point for 14 million dollars savings for the pirates)… I just assume 4 million for 2016 Liriano, 13 for 2017 Liriano, and .75 for this year Hutchinson and 2.5 for 2017 Hutchinson… in the ballpark… if we don’t like him, Hutchinson, after that he is gone, if we like him enough to bring him back in 2018, nice win, right??? leaving out, of course if Liriano wakes the echoes, but this is my post 🙂 🙂 🙂

    2) Hutchinson for two prospects…. Well, it gets difficult here, per TimW article yesterday, but for me this guy has a better chance to be a MLB starting pitcher than, perhaps, the other two have for being serviceable in MLB…. but that is just me… and of course, I get the premium for starting young arms, hence my post…

    I get that others will see this as nuts, but that is just my view, who knows who will be right….

    Tedwins 🙂

    • bummer, was hoping to get a response :)… after midnight in Singapore, bore you guys more tomorrow with my ‘takes’ 🙂

    • So we deal a struggling proven two for a broken potential 4/5 and throw in 2 top 10 prospects and wink wink it isn’t a salary dump?

    • You are struggling to justify because it’s just a horrible move with no reason other than a dump, plain and simple.

    • “in my little mind”, a phrase I used to laugh at my mom about. But she would use it referencing others. Ha Ha.

      My hope is Hutch gets all of Sept to show his stuff. Right now, this looks like a reach to me, but I’ll cross my fingers.

  9. The next Pirates trade will be McCutchen, Meadows, and Glasnow for Mike Pelfrey….just to dump Cutch’s salary of course….

  10. The Pirates would have been better served if they had dumped Locke and Niese, and kept Liriano – just not pitch him every 4th or 5th day – with hope he would get straightened out in the off season and for 2017. That would have been better than sacrificing two of your best prospects, just to dump salary…

  11. MLB radio talking about Larry Doughty making several blunders with the waiver wire, allowing Moises Alou to be claimed and also picking up a rule 5 player who he didn’t realize was owed an extra 3 mill. At least we know NH is competent GM constrained by ownership and not mental malfeasance.
    One half full of looking at the Liraiano and Niese transactions is that we just unloaded our two worst pitchers, addition by subtraction. Locke is an enigma, at times this year our best pitcher and other times the worst pitcher in the majors, has to be some consistency.

    • Not even close. Liriano was our day 1 starter and while he didn’t perform great this year, he has shown that #1/#2 potential. Locke hasn’t looked better than a #4 at any point this year. Liriano looked and played like one of the best #2’s last year and has been somewhat consistent the past three years. Let’s not even mention Vogelsong being in the lineup. NH screwed the pooch here plain and simple. Cheap #2 or #3 next year if Liriano could have turned the corner a bit… instead he paid two top prospects for the Jays to take him. I hope he turns it around with martin and shows what a fool NH is.

      • Yeah I am not against what your saying. The only one caveat is, your turn around with Martin. If its really Martin that helps him turn around then not much good he would have done for us. I would still be OK we let him go but we didn’t get much back is my problem.

          • That I don’t know about. There is definitely something to the John Lester with David Ross combo. Catchers can have an affect. But I don’t know that its a guarantee or anything. But my point is more to Erics point if it truly is Martin who does help him turn around that wouldn’t have helped us anyway, cause Martin is not in Pittsburgh.

    • I disagree – the Liriano trade was right up there with the decision to draft Moskos over Wieters and the Aramis Ramirez trade – just terrible judgment all around….if we’re lucky, a team like the Angels will offer NH their GM job and he leaves….

          • Well the way the argument was presented it appears as if those are also NH’s fault. I don’t think that was the intent just the way it looks.

            • Understood but this is much worse. Everyone has praised Neil and talked about how shrewd and smart he has been. Now he will be compared with the total incompetent gm’s around the league and history. No trust once completely broken.

              • I don’t know I don’t like the trade and will struggle with it but John did bring up some good points below about how quickly the kid was rushed to the bigs. Maybe they do see something we don’t. I wont say trust is completely broken but I do feel betrayed.

                • That again is irrevent and what I mean by the pp team going to all lengths to try and make this look even close to a defensible trade. If he viewed as a quad a pitcher who is broken who in their right mind gives up a single top 30 prospect for that? We can’t get takers for Locke and Vogel song and yet we give up big value for something perceived less.

                  • Well no one would take Vogey while on the 60 Day (not sure you even can trade him) but he still might be dealt in the waiver wire trades if he backs up his rehab numbers.

              • Amen. He broke the trust. Any good may get flushed because it’s a horrible move and he lied about the reasons he made it.

      • 100% agreed. Actually worse. We had the catcher in waiting with big investment already made and gave him away for someone who couldn’t crack a bad mlb rotation.

    • You make good points. I do want to mention that it was not Alou, but Julio Peguero and Wes Chamberlain who were were placed on waivers and claimed by the Phillies. Alou was traded to the Expos.

      Doughty added one more player (Tony Longmire) to the “trade” to the Phillies, and the Pirates aquired Carmelo Martinez for the three players.

      Doughty really looked bad on that one!

  12. The fastball thing is really interesting. I still remember watching Bobby Bradley pitch in low A. He threw a ton of curves. At that level, the hitters had no chance of hitting the pitch — he fanned something like a dozen in six innings — but I don’t think Bradley was learning anything. I’m surprised a team would be doing that in rookie ball. It’s like doing lefty/righty switches in the minors. It may help get guys out, but it’s not developing the player.

    • Poor Bobby alas another great prospect who flamed. Prospects fail but a lot is riding on Hutchison and Hearn.

  13. It is going to be hard to root for Hutchinson since he will always be linked to the BS salary dump that brought him to the Buccos. I know this is not rationale, and perhaps my feelings will change after some time has passed, but for now even seeing his name got my blood boiling. In addition, I hope PP will not be wasting too much ink on him anyhow since he is not a prospect, more like a veteran reclamation project.

    • I don’t know. I mean I look at it this way. If Frankie never gets back on track honestly it will look smart. But if he recovers and gets back to where he was next year then I agree with you. All that of course is if Hutch doesn’t become Arrieta 2.0 which I doubt. If that happens regardless I think I would forget the salary dump. I am not saying I think Hutch will be Jake Arrieta just saying remember he sucked and I mean sucked the 3 years in Baltimore 4.66, 5.05, and 6.20 before a combined 7.20 in 2013. Then of course we all know what has happened since. Not saying I expect that but…. I think that would make us forget the trade.

      • Arrieta always had more than Hutch. Hutch has a awkward and somewhat broken delivery, already had TJ and sits less than 93 with his FB. Arrieta was always higher, less broken and had great secondary pitches… key was he wasn’t allowed to throw one of them. Right now we have a rotation with an Ace who can’t consistently get past 5 innings, a rookie as a 2 and three 5 or out of baseball types after that. No wonder the heart and fire on this team has been missing.

        • OH Just be sure to realize. I was in no way saying he was Jake 2.0 that’s more a pipe dream. Just saying if that does happen I think we all can agree No one will care we dealt 2 prospects and dumped Liriano’s salary for that.

          • i hear ya. i would agree. i just believe there is a stronger probability that all three of the following occur… Frankie turns it around with Martin and shows the 13M was cheap in this market, Reese makes the bigs and is a solid starter just not all star caliber and Ramirez plays a solid 4th outfielder in the majors. Any of the three is better than the return we will get with Hutch yet Niel loves him and really really wanted him so he had to overpay because everyone else wanted him as well. 🙂
            This doesn’t even get to Reese and Harold being controlled for forever, cheap and young. Hutch has service time already, costs 2.2M already and will only get more expensive.

            One other thought… good article on Bucs Dugout. Even if Neil thought he was going to be Arrieta part 2 doesn’t mean you pay like he is that already. You pay what the market perceives him as which is a AAAA pitcher. Certainly not someone to bank on or pay 1 top 10 prospect for.

        • Hutchison is Brad Lincoln 2.0…..similar initial prospect status, similar fall from grace…Hutchison will be out of the Pirates organization in less than 2 years….

      • Huntingdon failed on this one. If he thought the value given was equal to the value received, then he is incompetent. If he made the move as a salary dump, then lied about his reasoning, he is dishonest. If he was instructed by his boss to make the move, then tried to justify it, then he has no balls or integrity. The only way he saves face is if Hutchinson IS Arietta 2.

  14. So, a nearly 26 year old AAA pitcher is now our primary focus? Wow, the times have changed….

      • FYI there was a mixture of Sarcasm and Hope in my reply. I am not sure the percentage of each, but they are both there.

      • I’m still a little shocked by the deal but after all the successes of fixing pitchers in the past, you’d think this crowd would give the Pirates the benefit of the doubt on Hutchison. Can we just see how this plays out before spewing vitriol everywhere?

    • Like I said in the post just above and not saying I believe this to be the case but who knows maybe we will all be shocked and he will be Jake Arrieta 2.0. I am not holding my breath though.

      • I think Jake is a huge stretch. But honestly, and without trying to sound like an apologist for this fiasco, Hutchison does seem to have upside. He does at least have a plus pitch. It doesn’t take a supreme optimist to think that he could be a controllable #4 starter. Which is basically what Matt Moore is. And TB wanted two of our top 5 prospects for that mediocrity.

        Perhaps this is trying to make lemonade out of past-expiration-date lemons, but there are some mitigating factors. 1) TO thought highly enough of DH to have paid him 5th round money in the 15th round. 2) TO likely messed up DH’s development by bringing him up to MLB after only 30-so innings in AA. 3) AL East in a hitter’s park.

        Besides, after busting on Niese, Vogey (not really his fault), Masterson and every reliever not named Feliz, plus having previous projects go bad, you gotta think Bucs and Searage are due to turn around somebody, right?

        • I agree its a stretch. That literally is the only positive spin I could put on it. I thought about it during the uninspiring first 5 innings of the Pirates game last night (after listening to Teke justify and make a positive out of Locke’s return to the rotation….load of crap…) so it was a good 2 hours.

      • He doesn’t have to be Jake Arrieta 2.0 to justify the trade. The trade looks pretty decent if Hutchison is a 2-3 WAR pitcher each of the next three years, a true middle of the rotation arm, and the money saved from Liriano is allocated effectively. McGuire has a very good chance to end up being the best player in the deal, but he’s not due up until Cole and Cutch walk, and I don’t think it’s a horrible bet to expect Cutch to recover next year. Basically, if the Pirates are right about Hutch, they traded value they wouldn’t see for some years for value they can get right now to complement very good players while they’re here. If they consider this to be a World Series core, the deal makes sense.

        But all of this requires their scouts to be right about Hutchison, on which point we have some waiting to do. And the deal is clearly terrible if he doesn’t work out.

        They also have a few years to back fill the system to replace McGuire, through either the draft or trades. Let’s see how they handle that, as well.

    • No, learning about a new pitcher is a focus for today. As I mentioned for Escobar, Tim Williams will be there and I’ll be watching later, so technically he is getting more focus. Sean McCool will be covering Waddell and talking to him and/or Justin Meccage afterwards, so I’d count that as more focus as well. Of the three options on MiLB/tv, Hutchison is actually getting the least amount of focus today

      • I am sure his analysis will be bending over backwards to find the positive to keep a shine on NH’s greatness. The headline for the article is centered around a non prospect who should be pitching in the majors if he was any good.

        • You are correct – Toronto had pretty much given up on Hutchison as he was no longer a prospect or part of their long-term future. I had actually completely forgot about him, until this trade was announced.

        • Yes, the same person who pointed out how horrible the Liriano deal is now and how much worse it could look by the end of the year, is trying to keep everything positive. How soon people forget…literally 24 hours is how soon. I think the comments today are proving why Hutchison should be a focus. A lot of misconceptions about him, including the fact he can’t pitch in the majors now. Both Tim and I pointed out yesterday the great reason he shouldn’t be in the majors now and they should (and will) wait until after August 30th to call him up.

          • John – the artile yesterday took painstaking strides to show how this deal made sense. Cursory coverage of how it could blow up. It will blow up.

            • Ehh, give them a break on that Eric. I don’t think they really liked the trade they just tried to point out the logic and take the most positive spin approach with it. I don’t mind positive news articles too much negative elsewhere.

              • I would prefer they state it as it is. All positive is no better than all negative. I was fine with Melancon and Niese trades. Hutch no way and skeptic on Nova given we don’t know what we gave up for a 5 Era rental which we have plenty already.

          • I’m not guaranteeing hutch works out but how many people took time to watch some of his 2014-15 starts. You can see the stuff. Doesn’t mean he will be great pitcher but I remain hopeful we get something from him.

            A 3.8 fip in al east is actually pretty good in my view

        • I agree Eric. An incompetent trade, followed by bold face lies to the faithful, is only made worse by reaching far to explain the dirty deeds. “I would prefer you just said thank you, and move on. Otherwise, take a weapon and stand a post”.

      • John, you are doing fine. To be honest I will be interested to read if you see what the FO sees in Hutch.

        • I think people look at his MLB stats and don’t realize what they are seeing. He was called up at age 21 with six games in AA and no AAA. He was injured in 2013. He’s the same age as Gerrit Cole, yet has more service time in the majors than him. He was clearly rushed to the majors. That isn’t his fault. Assuming he was with the Pirates all of this time (and he still got injured in 2013), he wouldn’t have seen the majors until mid-2014 at the earliest, and likely not until last year. That’s an incredibly different career path

          • OH yeah, I mean I agree like I said I have hope. If it does happen it will be great. Still not a great deal though. But might not end up as bad as we think right now.

            • I think it’s a horrible deal and puts pressure on Hutchison because all he sees is who he was traded for and those are some big names

              • I like this comment John. No mixing of this or that to either validate or invalidate the trade. Just a straight forward opinion.

              • Exactly, he will be forever linked to an infamous trade. His new GM put an anvil on his back by saying how bad we pined for him and said the two top prospects were the baseball trade for him.

          • FYI John, Still not giving you a pass for mentioning Sid Bream WHILE we are playing the Braves……. 🙂

          • Actually not to mention he was brought up in hitter friendly parks in the AL East. I see your point John. We shall see what happens.

          • Probably would have never seen the majors based on his results. I would have been OK if they they traded a to[ ten prospect straight up for him. Heck I would have been OK if they included Locke or Nicasio, however this is a guy who was going to be release since Toronto had no intentions of paying a minor league pitcher close to 3 million in arbitration so all the Bucs really had to do to get him was wait 60 days. This was a salary dump plane and simple.What it showed a lot of us who have thought things were looking up is we are not going to compete unless we can do this with a bottom 15% salary structure. ITt depressing because as I get older I see no hoe of another WS and thats kind of sad.

  15. Honestly I think I am more upset to see Jeff Locke back in the rotation than any of the trade stuff I saw. Only thought I have is (and I don’t think its a good one) they are going to let him try one more time. If he does well against a poor lineup then great we saved a start from one of the kids. If he does badly great then he can be DFA’d tomorrow to make room for Vogey. But I am sure that is not the rationale.

    • With the addition of two LH relievers, there’s not really a role for him in the pen. Unlikely there was much/any action on Locke this past week, or at least no offer that Neal would entertain.

      So my thinking is this – Neal is rolling the dice here.I think with the high cost of even mediocre pitching assets (and lack of decent FA pitching options), Neal is going to try to maximize Locke’s value any way he can. A good start and he can put Locke on the waiver wire and maybe get a bite, work out a deal and move on. A bad start and Neal really hasn’t lost anything.

      • I think you may be on to something. iirc, trades can be made until 08/31 if the player passes thru waivers. Could be the thinking on Vogelsong also, if the rest of the season craters. If they stay within a couple of games of a wild-card slot and the management wants to rely on veteranosity (as I’m sure they would in that situation) they can just let L & V ride till the end of the season.

      • I have a feeling that, if Locke could’ve been traded, he would’ve been gone by now.

        Heck, we had to give away two top prospects just to get Toronto to take Frankie.

        It might take Meadows to get some team to take Locke.

        (btw, my cynicism meter is WAY up this morn)

    • I also wonder if his leash is almost non existent. Sooner or later he has to run out of chances,

      I would think he’ll be put on waivers soon, to see if there are is any action on him (if they haven’t done so already).

      • and this is on a team NH continue’s to tell his fans and media is contending for the playoffs. Locke and Vogey at this point wouldn’t be starting on the Brewers.

    • The fact that Locke and Vogelsong, but especially Locke, is still on the Pirates roster and in the rotation just tells you all you need to know about this FO……..how does that benefit the Pirates short-term or long-term?

      • Vogey deserves a shot. He was pitching well before he was hurt. Actually even in the MLB rulebook Pirates have to rehab him and get him back on track while under contract and cannot end the contract on injury basis mid season that is what the 60 day DL is for. And he is pitching pretty well in his rehab starts. But I agree with you on Locke. As far as long term I have said it a few times and if you watched the game even last night Vogey was talking to TG. His benefit is as a mentor. Which would be good for the young pitchers.

        • I don’t agree with the “he was pitching well before he was hurt” narrative. Vogelsong was only making his second start of the season when he was injured. His first start had been in April against the Tigers, and looks good statistically. But he only went 5 innings and was removed before his third time through the lineup (and from what I observed that was a really great idea). The rest of the time he was in low leverage long relief outings. So here we are on August 3 and we’re starting a guy who (a) is 37 years old and is clearly not part of the Pirates future, and (b) has only one 5 inning outing all season long. It’s hard for me to believe that even if Vogelsong has one or two decent starts he would have any realistic trade value as a rental. So what is the point of starting him instead of Brault (or Kuhl) ? I am baffled and befuddled by the way the Pirates are refusing to let the young guys play.

          • OK First Vogey is 39. So if you want to make a point have details correct. And he has pitched over 5 while on his rehab starts. But why am I not surprised that you don’t agree with me. You never agree with me. The point in starting him over Brault and Kuhl, Kuhl just started Monday first start after injury so is not ready to start Thursday and Brault was just sent down and therefor not eligible to be recalled yet.

      • and the guy they removed… Liriano… has more upside than Locke or Vogey combined just probably needed a 15 day DL stint. Instead we get told we really, really, super like this guy who has proven to be a failure so much that we have to include 2 top 10 prospects…and it’s definitely not a salary dump.

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