Morning Report: Thoughts on the Liriano/Nova Deals

While I consider the Jon Niese trade to be a separate deal on it’s own, and one that I thought was good, I don’t consider the other two deals made on Monday to be separate. Neal Huntington even said afterwards that they brought in Nova to be a veteran in the rotation with Liriano leaving. I assumed as much once the Liriano deal was announced, so it’s hard for me to look at them as two different deals. One was made due to the other one leaving a hole. You can read much more, including quotes on the Liriano deal, in the First Pitch article from late last night.  I’m just giving some quick thoughts and a different angle, though I was writing this at the same time Tim Williams wrote his article, so there could be some repeated info/ideas.

Unless Ivan Nova gets the Pirates to the postseason, then it’s going to make the Francisco Liriano trade look even worse. I don’t think getting rid of Liriano was a bad move, but I think it would have been a lot better to get the worst prospect the Blue Jays have as a trade filler and throw in money to get rid of him. Toronto could have kept Drew Hutchison, while Pirates kept Harold Ramirez/Reese McGuire and still saved money. I don’t like when trades are called “dealing from strength/blocked players” to gloss over the fact you didn’t get good value for them. It is possible to deal from a strength AND get good value.

The reason I say that Nova would make it look worse is because he was only brought in to fill in for Liriano. So with him here, it’s less money saved and more prospects sent out. I won’t speculate on who the players to be named later could be, but you would hope they aren’t any legit prospects just for a Liriano-spot filler. That’s a spot that could have been taken by any Indianapolis starter. Unless Nova is a miracle worker, I look at it as Hutchison and cash for four prospects, and we know two of them are pretty good players.

Nova’s 11-12 starts he will make for the Pirates could have been made by an in-house option, so unless he pitches well and it ends in a playoff berth, they have no trade value to me. The could possibly happen, but the Pirates at 52-51 don’t feel like contenders to me. They aren’t far out of the wild card, though it’s not good when you have to pass multiple teams.

Because the cash part is something you can’t evaluate until you see if/how it’s spent, I can’t really even put a grade on the deal. Hutchison will likely be in the rotation for September and then three full seasons. They Pirates have liked him for awhile and there could be some fix they see with him that turns him into a valuable player. One note on him and it is based on the assumption (which I think is very safe) that he won’t be up until September due to his service time. I couldn’t imagine him coming up sometime in August for less than a month and the Pirates losing a year of control just for a couple starts. That would be insane to do. If they call him up before August 31st, they lose a year of service time.

With that in mind, he will need to do well, because we are talking about someone who is making $2.2M this season, and has three years of arbitration left. If the Pirates do get the most out of him, he won’t be cheap, and if looks like a #5 starter, then there will probably be multiple better options by 2018 with all of the prospects they have in the upper levels (for now).

I think it’s safe to say that the Pirates will need a lot to go right for fans to forget this trade and the prospects they gave up. That goes for the rest of this season and the off-season.

** Just some quick minor league playoff notes. Indianapolis is falling back in their league. Altoona is tied for first place, but they just lost the best defensive catcher in the league, the #2 hitter in their lineup and their best reliever. Morgantown has a long climb to first place, but that’s what they did last year and they ended up winning the league title. The GCL Pirates are in first place with a 15-18 record, and the DSL Pirates will probably be eliminated this week. Remember that the minor league season has just 35 days left, or less for some of these teams. I’ll start adding elimination numbers to the Playoff Push section soon and I’ll add the Pirates at the top of that section even sooner.

PLAYOFF PUSH

Indianapolis is in second place in their division, trailing by six games. They trail by 12.5 games for the lone wild card spot.

Altoona is tied for their division lead. 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 3.5 games.

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

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

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

The DSL Pirates trail their division by 18 games. They trail in the wild card by 17.5 games.

PIRATES GAME GRAPH

The Pirates were off on Monday.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates were off yesterday. They now take on the Braves for three games in Atlanta. Gerrit Cole starts tonight, fresh off of his first career complete game. He gave up one run on three hits, with no walks and six strikeouts in that game. In his previous start, Cole allowed one run over six innings. The Braves will counter with Mike Foltynewicz, who has a 4.30 ERA in 67 innings, with 58 strikeouts and a 1.30 WHIP. He faced the Pirates back in May and got knocked out after three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits.

In the minors, Frank Duncan gets the start tonight. He threw five shutout innings in his last outing, though he walked a career-high four batters and ran up his pitch count, which limited his innings. The GCL Pirates will go with second round pick Travis MacGregor. Over five starts, he has allowed two earned runs in 16.1 innings. Bristol will send Ike Schlabach to the mound. He has a .236 BAA, a 1.19 WHIP and a 1.47 GO/AO ratio. Bradenton has off today.

MLB: Pittsburgh (52-51) @ Braves (37-68) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (2.78 ERA, 23:73 BB/SO, 87.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (55-55) @ Columbus (61-49) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Frank Duncan (2.40 ERA, 14:55 BB/SO, 71.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (58-49) vs Richmond (45-61) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Cody Dickson (3.78 ERA, 70:69 BB/SO, 104.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (55-51) vs Ft Myers (54-53) 6:30 PM 8/3 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (53-53) @ Hagerstown (64-43) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (4.36 ERA, 13:61 BB/SO, 107.1 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (20-23) @ State College (29-14) 12:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Cam Vieaux (3.38 ERA, 15:23 BB/SO, 37.1 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (16-22) vs Johnson City (21-17) 7:00 PM (season preview)

GCL: Pirates (15-18) vs Tigers West (16-16) 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (17-31) vs Indians (22-26) 10:30 AM DH (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

Here is the last out of six scoreless innings from Trevor Williams on Sunday. This was clearly a big pitch in a big spot.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

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

Two former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus a big trade of note. On this date in 1985, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent outfielder George Hendrick, reliever Al Holland and starter John Candelaria to the California Angels for outfielder Mike Brown and pitchers Bob Kipper and Pat Clements. It was a deal involving three veterans and three young players coming back to Pittsburgh. The Pirates lost over 100 games in 1985, but five years later, they had put together a team that would win three straight NL East pennants.

The two players born on this date both played on pennant winners, occurring 89 years apart. Tim Wakefield pitched for the 1992-93 Pirates. He was an eighth round draft pick of Pittsburgh in 1988, but he was a position player back then. He was switched to the mound the next year and didn’t take long to make it to the majors. As a rookie, he went 8-1, 2.15 in 13 starts, then threw two complete game victories in the NLCS. After a very poor 1993 season, he was released and it ended up hurting the Pirates. He would win 186 games for the Red Sox over 17 seasons.

The other player was pitcher Bucky Veil, who got the nickname because he was a star pitcher at Bucknell. He was a rookie on the 1903 Pirates, going 5-3, 3.82 in 70.2 innings. During the first modern day World Series, he pitched the last seven innings of game two, allowing one run. The next year, he pitched just one game for the Pirates, which ended up being his last Major League game.

PROSPECT WATCH

DAILY VIDEO RUNDOWN

PIRATES DISCUSSION

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BuccosFanStuckinMD

I have deliberately not commented yet on the trades the Pirates made this past Monday, as I was just in total disbelief and disappointment. Here are my random thoughts and observations on the Pirates moves:
(1) First, the Nova trade….wasn’t he traded for the dreaded PTBNL? Given NH’s recent track record in trades and overall personnel decisions, that is a frightening prospect. Given Nova’s career numbers, this should not be more than a C prospect at best – but, we’re dealing with the Pirates FO, so you can’t assume anything. I don’t expect much from Nova, but the Pirates will put him in the rotation and he will be there the balance of the season, even if his ERA hits 6.00….
(2) The Niese trade – I was all for trading or DFA’ing Niese – even if the Pirates got zero in return. He’s grossly overpaid for what he is – a marginal major league pitcher – and he is just occupying a roster spot and blocking a young pitcher in the process. Getting Bastardo back doesn’t excite me, he’s just okay. Too inconsistent, frequently lacks control, and has a penchant for the long ball. But, outside of Watson, he’s the best LH reliever we have or have had all this season. He’s the LH version of Caminero.
(3) The Liriano trade – where do I begin….this is, in terms of what we gave up and what we got in return, the worst Pirates trade since Aramis Ramirez was given away to the Cubs – for “payroll flexibility”. This trade smacks of the same deception. This trade tells you; (a) how bad the Lirano contract was/is and what little value he had on the trade market, as we had to give away two top 10 prospects to get a team to even take him and (b) what little regard the Blue Jays have for Hutchison – who is 3-4 years removed from being a prospect. He is now another Brad Lincoln.
(4) What are the chances of the Pirates fully investing the $17m in savings back into the MLB payroll? I say slim and none. To say that they will, is being incredibly naïve.
(5) I have lost all faith and confidence in NH as the Pirates GM. I have not been overly impressed with his recent drafts, his recent trades, his recent personnel decisions, his arrogance, and his overall reluctance to use the “best farm system” in MLB (well, it was before Monday – not now). My only hope is that some bigger market team thinks he’s a great GM, and lures him away – and we replace him with someone more shrewd in trades, more astute judging talent, and who will utilize home grown talent at the major league level. On Monday, NH weakened the major league team and the farm system – that is hard to do in just one day.
(6) Monday made the Pirates and NH the laughing stock of MLB.
(7) I have been a Pirates fan since 1970 – 46 years and counting. The last 3 years have been great, especially following the previous 20 years. But, Monday took a lot of my enthusiasm away….if the major league team was doing poorly, I could always watch the minor league teams and prospects and look to a more promising future – now, I can’t trust this FO team to manage the short-term or long-term effectively.
(8) McGuire and Ramirez may never become good major league players – there aren’t any guarantees – even with prospects on the “top 100” list. But, for NH to now try to justify the trade by saying these guys were blocked, etc. is insulting to any fan’s intelligence – it reminded me of the excuses used after the Aramis Ramirez trade and the drafting of Moskos over Wieters. I hope both of these kids make it – and make it big – to make NH look like even more of an idiot than he already is for even agreeing to the trade – and thinking it would be considered okay.
(9) After the Liriano trade, I don’t want to hear anyone else try to say the Pirates ownership is not cheap – they are and this trade offered further proof. They made a terrible decision in giving the money to a pitcher who has never had 2-3 consecutive years of good production – and instead of eating the mistake and sending Toronto money, they mortgaged the future. The Pirates fans need to send them a message by staying away in droves from now until the end of the season…

OTDLOT18

BFS, you said it, brother!!

Roberrto21

The “trade” (salary dump and giveaway of young talent) still stinks to high heaven, no matter how you slice it. Would they have offered the Rays Ramirez and Maguire for Matt Moore or Odorizzi – no they would not have. But now NH turns around and just hands them over. Did they not consider the optics of this, and how it would sit with loyal fans. This is right up there with dumping Aram and passing on Kershaw and Weiters. Maybe NH should give his job back to Littlefield. It is time for Nutting to be gone, now and forever, as “owner” of this team. Sell it to someone who cares about the community and who is committed to winning.

bucsws2014

I don’t think you can say they wouldn’t offer HRam or McGuire for Moore or Ordorizzi. I’d guess Neal probably did exactly that.

Problem was, TB wanted 2 of the top 5, not 2 of the bottom five. The fact that SF traded Matt Duffy for the mediocre Moore tells you how f’n crazy the pitching market is. Majority of Giants fans aren’t too happy about it.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

The Moore trade was an expensive trade, but Moore is not a mediocre pitcher. He is still only 27 and still trying to get back after major arm problems – he’s been lights out the past 4-5 starts in Tampa. Duffy was a surprise to be included in the deal, but the Giants want to win and aren’t afraid to compete with the Cubs – unlike the Pirates FO, who was waving the white flag before the regular season even began.

joe s

time to get behind Jhang. He can hit but not catch to well. I guess NH likes that better than catch well but not hit.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

No, you can’t say that – he renewed Stewart’s contract – while allowing Diaz to rot into a non-prospect.

joe s

Cashman raped every team he traded with this year so I bet the Pirates are going to pay through the nose for this rental. I think one will be either Heinz or Keller and the other either Polo or Barnes, with my bet being Polo. If you give up Ramirez and McGuire for a AAA pitcher you have to give up even more for a major league bust of a pitcher but have no fear the Pirate coaches will fix all that ails him so that they can let him walk next year to another team, with him throwing kisses to the Pirates for making him rich beyond his wildest dreams.

yutz03

Get out of here, no way it’s any of those guys. Yankees probably just happy not to have to pay him. I would guess 2 gulf coast league guys, no one on anyone’s radar.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

Who would have thought the Pirates would agree to the Liriano trade? Nothing could shock me anymore…this FO is clueless…

joe s

Hope you are right but look what they just did!

yutz03

That was motive for Toronto to eat all of Liriano’s salary. No reason to trade that much for Nova. (Actually no reason to trade for him at all) We probably have 6 prospects as good as him.

forkball

The reality is that our active roster is as good as it was yesterday. We owe this site and the knowledge that it has given us for our disappointment. If McGuire turns into Johnny Bench, we can be bitter forever.

NorCal Buc

Dilson Herrara just got traded by the Mets, as a prospect, to the Reds in the Jay Bruce deal. I also see that Vic Black is still at AAA, enduring a horrible season.

I remember the asylum was ‘a-tizzy’ when we sent these two to the Mets, in exchange for rent-a-player Marlon Byrd. Of course, Byrd hit that ‘ mythic homer’ off Cueto in the wild card game. Seems now like that tizzy was much ado about …

Well, here we are again, with consternations abounding due to the shipping of a couple more prospects, with some upside, them both.

I think I’ll take my chances on the $18,000,000 coming to this F/O, as part of this deal, and the trade of Niese.

Perhaps this F/O will follow their own successful history of past signings and trades, such as Harrahan, Grilli, Martin, Cervelli, Burnett, Liriano, Melancon, Joyce, Happ, Kang and Freese.

Ya think? I’m liking our chance with the ‘cool 18 mill’

michael t

I think you are not thinking clearly. We traded two prospects for Byrd in an attempt to improve the club and win. Marlon Byrd made us better and helped us win. This weekend we dumped salary and sold better prospects for cash.
Maybe Bob and Neal will ask for your help on how to spend the ” the cool 18 mill”

GreenWeenie

It’s not the fact that they traded prospects. It’s the return they got and the fact that they used prospects to dump salary. This FO has made the Pirates relevant. They also used the financial flexibility they got from the Morton and Walker trades to assemble the joke of a pitching staff that has since fallen apart. Pirate fans have a right to be concerned.

forkball

Jaso out, Bell in. Cutch leadoff for a week then 9th if he still can’t hit.

David Rosenberg

MLB network ranked the 26 prospects traded. Neither McGuire (11) nor Ramirez (13) were in the top 10.

TNBucs

Since posting in the comments for Tim’s column and before reading this column I read the prospect analysis over at Fangraphs. Longenhagen has Hearn, McGuire, and Ramirez all as 40 FV and adds some insights into why he doesn’t think McGuire will ever hit much. If he’s right, then I actually feel pretty good about the trade even though I really liked McGuire (and if Longenhagen has concerns about bat speed and swing path, major league scouts must too). I just hope they’re right about Hutchison because I think we do need help in the rotation for next year–can’t count too heavily on the young guys.

PieRat

Does NH know Nova means “it doesn’t go” in spanish?

bucsws2014

One of the ironies in all of this activity is that it appears that if Searage didn’t lift a finger or say a thing to work with Niese, Niese would’ve been more valuable to the Pirates. He was closer to a legit 4th starter without Searage than with Searage. I’m coming to the conclusion that all those HRs are due to Ray’s tinkering.

That said, you have to side with Ray over the player and since the two were bickering, Niese had to go.

As far as the rest of this, if indeed Nova was part of a plan for a Liriano-less world, then it would follow that TO was already committing to Liriano before the Nova trade, then after the Bucs acquired Nova, at the 11th hours, TO pointed a gun at NH and say, “Not just the Ramirez, but the McGuire, too. Give it up or I walk.”

At which point NH should’ve walked. Liriano could’ve been put through revocable waivers today. Somebody would’ve claimed him given the insanity of the pitching market and current valuations for even marginal SP. He’s a guy who already has two “comeback player” awards. No reason he couldn’t go for three.

michael t

If I am reading the noise from Toronto correctly you have it right. Neal was taken to the cleaners by the Toronto GM.

Arik Florimonte

Re: Niese, that’s a hard case to make. Tim pointed out here in April about Niese HR problem, and HR are up league-wide. You can definitely make a case he didn’t improve Niese.

bucsws2014

See above response. 70% increase in HRs for Niese this year. That’s well above any league-wide increase.

RonHeb72

Niese has had HR problems his entire career. That did not just start when he came to Pittsburgh.

bucsws2014

Not like this year. Niese has never had a HR/9 >1.0 in his entire career. With the Bucs it was 1.7.

That’s a 70% increase. How you can casually ignore that is very puzzling.

RonHeb72

There is an increase in HR’s across all of MLB this year of 15 to 20% I would have to extrapolate the math on Niese’s number’s but he has always been a FB pitcher so no surprise his numbers are up even more. But Also they have progressed worse the last couple years as well. But if you look at the percentage of his hits that ended up being HR’s he was at 12.6% in 2012, only 6.3% in 2013, 8.8% in 2014, 10.4% in 2015, and then 15.9% this year. So yes 5% more of his hits are HR’s but with the league being up 15% that means only about 3% more in Pittsburgh, its not much more off his steady year by year increase that has been seen. His bigger issue is he is being hit more period.

Edward C

That is my question as well. Why not just put him through revocable waivers today. If someone claims him great. IF not you could still send prospects with him later to get rid of him.

David B

With all that needs to happen/not happen for this trade to work out, it seems like drawing at an inside straight. It certainly COULD hit, but the chances are pretty damn small.

Chris M

we can talk about numbers, trade value, etc. But at the end of the day these things are undebatable:
1. we talk about the high price and the potential of pitchers, but yet you dump a pitcher under a cost effective contract who has a history of bouncing back multiple times with at times ace production through his career and give away prospects in the process
2. years of control are important, but controlling a pitcher that couldn’t make the rotation or be considered as sanchez’s replacement in Toronto for multiple more years for two top prospects is maddening
3. did you see anyone offering us top prospects for locke or morton who have similar numbers and are controllable. No because controllable crap is still crap.
4. the insult of telling the passionate fans that this gives them financial flexibility by dumping a reasonable to the market contract and insinuate they will spend in FA which we all know based on their track record they won’t. then follow up by saying we won’t spend to spend though to cover their butt
5. our competition trades top prospects for impact players which we won’t do, but will trade them to dump money and get players that it everything goes right can be a marginal player.

It’s all very frustrating and insulting as a true fan. I know a bunch of season ticket holders and those I spoke to yesterday (over 15) have all stated they will not be re uping next year. I have always backed them believing in the things they do as baseball moves. I can no longer do so. They want to win, but only care to win enough that people keep going to the games. They don’t care about winning championships. It’s a shame and sorry for the long post.

OTDLOT18

well done, sir…..very succinct….

Bill C

Amen. hey Neal, pirate fans are practical. Before you trade away Meadows & Newman to unload Cervelli’s contract, give us a chance to do a Kickstarter campaign for Nutting and his golf club memberships – we get it, times are tough , but give us a chance

RonHeb72

OK come on now. I mean I am not happy with the trade but Reese and Ramirez were hardly Meadows and Newman.

OTDLOT18

here is something that has not been analyzed over the past 24 hours…Would NH have traded McGuire and Ramirez straight up for Hutchison?

michael t

of course not,,,that is why he and the opposing GM keep bringing up “financial flexibility” as a factor. The price of the salary assumption was the two top prospects.

ajax2448

Anyone happen to mention this FG article? I saw Ed tweeted it out.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/ranking-the-prospects-traded-at-the-deadline/

RonHeb72

Well that’s interesting. Not sure how to read into any of it. But thanks for passing it on.

Michael T

I understand the concept of shedding salary to “reallocate dollars to other aspects of need on the roster.” I get that we’re a pretty much a capped team in an uncapped league. I personally just don’t agree with that money being spent towards already underperforming players on this roster receiving raises, instead of actually making additions to the club.

OTDLOT18

I took a painstaking review of all of Neal Huntington’s drafts since 2008 (his first draft – 9 draft years ago) and compiled a list of WARs for each player equal to or over a .1 WAR (better than replacement) and noticed something interesting:

Reds 2008-present 39.4

Mike Leake (minors) 13
Yasmani Grandal (minors) 7.1
Billy Hamilton (minors) 5.9
Yonder Alonso (minors) 5.6
Tony Cingrani (minors) 3.1
*Brad Boxberger (minors) 2.1
Tyler Wilson (minors) 1.4
Tucker Barnhart (minors) 0.6
Dave Sappelt (minors) 0.2
Donnie Joseph (minors) 0.2
Robert Stephenson (minors) 0.1
Michael Lorenzen (minors) 0.1

Pirates 2008-present 43.1

Gerrit Cole (minors) 10.1
Jordy Mercer (minors) 6.4
Pedro Alvarez (minors) 5.2
Brock Holt (minors) 4.6
Jake Lamb (minors) 4.3
Justin Wilson (minors) 3.6
Matt den Dekker (minors) 1.8
Robbie Grossman (minors) 1.4
Trea Turner (minors) 1.4
Tanner Scheppers (minors) 1
Jameson Taillon (minors) 0.7
Adam Frazier (minors) 0.6
*Vic Black (minors) 0.5
Alex Dickerson (minors) 0.5
Tony Sanchez (minors) 0.4
Chad Kuhl (minors) 0.3
Josh Bell (minors) 0.2
Brandon Cumpton (minors) 0.1

Brewers 2008-present 51.9

Brett Lawrie (minors) 15.2
*Jake Odorizzi (minors) 7.2
Khris Davis (minors) 5.9
Scooter Gennett (minors) 5.7
Mike Fiers (minors) 5.2
Tyler Thornburg (minors) 2.8
Jimmy Nelson (minors) 2.3
Caleb Thielbar (minors) 2
Carlos Rodon (minors) 2
Mallex Smith (minors) 1.3
Taylor Jungmann (minors) 1.1
Logan Schafer (minors) 0.5
Jason Rogers (minors) 0.4
Lucas Luetge (minors) 0.1
Michael Reed (minors) 0.1
Jacob Barnes (minors) 0.1

Cubs 2008-present 63.3

Kris Bryant (minors) 11.2
Sonny Gray (minors) 10.3
Josh Harrison (minors) 9.6
DJ LeMahieu (minors) 8.5
Andrew Cashner (minors) 4.4
Jerad Eickhoff (minors) 4.4
Alex Wilson (minors) 3.1
*Ryan Flaherty (minors) 2
Justin Bour (minors) 1.7
Javier Baez (minors) 1.7
Tony Campana (minors) 1.4
Chris Rusin (minors) 1.3
Kyle Schwarber (minors) 1.1
Albert Almora (minors) 0.8
Tony Zych (minors) 0.5
Zack Godley (minors) 0.5
Jeff Beliveau (minors) 0.4
Eric Jokisch (minors) 0.2
Brett Jackson (minors) 0.1
Daniel Winkler (minors) 0.1

Cardinals 2008-present 75.9

Matt Carpenter (minors) 17.6
*Lance Lynn (minors) 11.2
Shelby Miller (minors) 8.1
*Michael Wacha (minors) 6.1
Trevor Rosenthal (minors) 4.9
Joe Kelly (minors) 4.3
Matt Adams (minors) 4
Kevin Siegrist (minors) 3.9
Kolten Wong (minors) 3.7
*Stephen Piscotty (minors) 3.7
Seth Maness (minors) 2.1
Greg Garcia (minors) 2
Sam Freeman (minors) 1.2
Kyle Barraclough (minors) 0.9
Tim Cooney (minors) 0.8
Shane Peterson (minors) 0.6
Tyler Lyons (minors) 0.6
Brett Wallace (minors) 0.1
Marco Gonzales (minors) 0.1

As we could not ever possibly win a FA WAR with the likes of the cubs and cards because we will not spend the money, i found this information to be surprisingly disappointing…..the WAR values are listed besides the draft picks and the total WARs are listed besides each franchise at the top

We are actually the second worst in the NL Central at drafting WAR since 2008

ajax2448

Why do you have Sonny Gray on the Cubs? I get they drafted him out of HS but you can’t include him there he didn’t sign. They weren’t drafting the same player the A’s later drafted. As a matter of fact I think if you do a list like this you should only list signed players. There are a bunch of players for the Pirates you missed by the way. Phil Irwin, Chase d’Arnaud, Casey Sadler, etc. I didn’t even look into the other teams. Those are just off the top of my head.

OTDLOT18

thanks for your comment, ajax….what it is based upon is pure talent evaluation across the board…there are several names up there that did not sign with the original teams it just shows that the team had identified the player as being a real potential asset

ajax2448

And I understand that. My counter point to that is the Cubs thought Gray was good enough to be drafted but not worth the money he asked for. If you flash forward and say wow the Cubs identified that talent then yes they did. But if you flash forward I would say wow Sonny Gray was obviously worth more than what the Cubs must have offered him. I think because of the uncertainty this list paints an incomplete picture. I do, however commend you for the insane amount of work it must have taken to put this list together.

OTDLOT18

understood, ajax. Just know that most of these teams have a Sonny Gray type talent that they werent able to sign, however, did not produce like Gray…ex. a Mark Appel may make the bucco list one of these years…thanks!

PieRat

This trade makes me sick and takes me back to Littlefield days. This is even worse because they not only dumped salary, but they dumped good prospects. It may actually cost them more money in the long run. Instead of paying Reese the league minimum in 3 years they could end up paying 7- 10 million for just a replacement level catcher. The same could go for Ramirez even if he’s the 4th OF. It would cost at least 5 million for an extra outfielder. So, this seems it could even cost them more in the long run.

st1300b

Best statement yet” it is possible to deal from a strength and get value.”

NH is viewed as a fool in the industry. And clearly they treat him as such.

PieRat

NH is a marked man as a fool. For every Gm that makes even a decent trade with NH Ross Atkins will send them a smiley face.

RonHeb72

I can’t agree that he is viewed as a fool. Lets not forget that just 6 years ago we lost 100 games. He can’t be that much of a fool team has the second best record last year in all of baseball. I am not saying I like the trades but that is a little over the top.

st1300b

One could argue that the development team has been the primary reason for success not the GM.
You could argue Uncle Ray Searage and Jim Benedict have been more impactful than the GM. He sends in turds and they polish them.

PieRat

This is proof in baseball the same as life you can make 100 good decisions or do 100 good things, but a very bad decision can undo everything you have done. The first was signing Liriano to this contract.

RonHeb72

That’s not fair its always easy to play Monday morning QB. 3 straight season with low 3 ERA and only 32 years old to a 2 year deal. No one would have predicted Liriano would be this bad.

PieRat

It was a gamble and a stretch at best. They could have signed a FA for less with a better track record and for 1 year.

RonHeb72

WHO??? It wasn’t a gamble everyone was happy and excited the Pirates finally spent money. Liriano the last 3 seasons has been the Pirates best pitcher. He just fell apart this year.

cskomsky

With all due respect to people trying to make the Liriano trade seem somewhat balance, you can do all the sabermetrics and over analysis on Drew Hutchison, but there is no justification for trading a 21 year old AA catcher who is viewed as the best defensive catcher in all of the minors for a reclamation project. None. Let alone throwing in
another top ten prospect.

Now as far as “Financial Flexibility”. The pirates have all position players under control next year and top prospects to fill in in the next few years after who have a strong chance of making the line-up even better. They have 6 young pitchers Cole, Tailon, Glasnow, Kingham, Kuhl and Brault for a majority of the starting innings. With a few others like Holmes to fill in. They have bullpen arms for next year and guys under control for the next several years. So where do they need financial flexibility. They are not going to spend money, there is no real need for a splash next year, then Liriano’s contract comes off the book for 18 anyway.

Every part of the trade is bad. Its bad from a baseball standpoint, its bad from a PR standpoint. It’s a deal to try and maximize profits. With so many guys making below arbitration expecting to contribute I can’t see the payroll being higher in the next few years. The payroll was ranked 21st this year, which I believe was the highest ranking for pirates in a long time. Expect that to go back to the bottom five, more firework nights and the BN partnership to be even more profitable.

RonHeb72

Well, the one spot which we may see in the offseason where the financial flexibility may come into play is they Pirates may try and sign Cole to a 4 or 5 year deal. He will see a significant bump this year but they may be able to get him cheaper in year 1 or 2 of FA by giving him 5, 7, and 9 in his Arb years. I am not trying to speculate on numbers but obviously they have the room to make that deal happen now.

Bobby L

I don’t know if signing a pitcher to a long term deal is a good idea. But Cole would be a good one to target. Of course, Borass will stop any idea like that, even if Cole wanted to stay. IMO, he’ll head back to California and take his chances at the millions the Dodgers or Angels will throw at his feet.

Edward C

So moving on to the next disaster how do we know when players are put on revocable waivers? I would hope some of my least favorites are already out there.

RonHeb72

Who are you thinking Jaso…..

Edward C

Probably first on my list. The top two of my candidates went away yesterday. I would actually have Locke further down since I see him as useful out of the pen. I understand that some clubs put almost the entire roster on waivers since they can be revoked. I know it would be unpopular but If I were GM, I would put Cutch on waivers and it depends on what was offered in return as to whether I would let him go.

RonHeb72

Well Jaso I would for sure. I think any further than that you wait two more weeks to see if we have literally any shot at the WC. Then Joyce. I actually think they may try again to bring S. Rod back next year or Freese as a defensive sub for Bell at 1B. This is of course if they don’t have to bring back Freese to replace Kang.

leefoo

John…you summed up EXACTLY how I feel.

I almost cancelled my Root subscription last night, and it still might go. I have NO desire to watch the Bucs, and I never thought I’d say that ever.

In NH I no longer trust!

Bill W

Do not fall in love with prospects they will break your heart just like Peggy Sue did to you in grade school. Now you like cats and are a vegan.

Bill W

Suck it up Yinzer!!!!!

RonHeb72

While I share you frustration at the moment. I cant let one bad day (and I am sure plenty will say there has never been a good day) ruin the fact he was the GM that was here and ended the 20 years of frustration. Ill give this a chance to see how it plays out. I am not happy about it though either Foo. But maybe he will look like a genius this time next year. Liriano may not recover, McGuire may not develop and The Hutch kid may be a star. Doesn’t mean I am happy today.

OTDLOT18

a starting pitcher, a starter, they can have a bad game, even a bad season….a GM is quite another story….a GM having a bad day can affect the franchise for MANY MANY years

RonHeb72

True, but its also true we wont know how these trades will work out today. It will take a few days or perhaps a year to see how this trade and or trades will work out. I don’t want to wait that long, but it is possible that 2 years from now we look back and say wow that was a great deal. I am not saying I believe that but it is possible.

OTDLOT18

Ron, we only have to wait until the end of the year to see if these trades made us better or worse….if we finish under .500, the trades were a bust – pure and simple…..

IC Bob

Kind of like theGrossman for Rodrguez deal with Houston and the the Dickerson for Dacker deal with San Diego and well you get the point.

leefoo

It will just take longer for me to heal (if every), because I REALLY trusted that we’d never see another selloff like the ARam/Bobby Hill fiasco. And we did. That is what hurts now.

michael t

Much worse is the fact that it was not a result of a default under loan covenants,,,yesterday’s salary dump and prospect sale was done by choice.

RonHeb72

I understand trust me. Just don’t bail on me. We have Altoona Curve games to go too this month.

BallHeadWonder

Come on Lee!!!! These are the tough decisions this organization has to make buddy!! We have to trust Neal…he talked about remaining competitive this season and I feel he did that!!

leefoo

If we have to make these types of deals, we will never be competitive unless we get lucky (like I am starting to think we did last year).

There is little joy in Blogville this morn….Might Neal has struck out.

BallHeadWonder

Hahaha….98 wins is hardly luck my friend!! But we got rid of 2 pieces of the team that were clearly hurting us!! And added 2 pieces possibly 3 that could help us!! You have to admit that!!

leefoo

I had no problems with our trades until the Liriano deal. To give up two promising prospects in a salary dump (and spare me the Hutchison is a potential rotation option rhetoric) puts us back to 2003 when we dumped another Ramirez on the Cubbies.

Surely we could’ve done better in trading those two.

RonHeb72

I think even if we received in addition to the Hutch Kid a Low Cellar High Ceiling Low-A prospect I would have felt better. I just don’t feel like we got much.

BallHeadWonder

We both know Ramirez wasn’t going to play in Pittsburgh!! Now Reese, with the Catcher situation we had this season, that was the money piece we had to give up get Liriano outta here. That was a tough pill to swallow!! If we lose out on Reese, we lose out!! But THIS YEAR, we still have a solid shot!! And Neal had to do what he had to do!!

OTDLOT18

BHW, i can see the decriminalization of weed within the city limits is being put to good use with you, my brother…..but, for you to say we still have a solid shot THIS YEAR is comic relief…

BallHeadWonder

Hahaha…I love you OTD!! I am serious buddy!! Besides Melancon leaving, Frankie and Niese had to go!! That makes us better before a pitch was thrown last nite!! Tony is 1 for 1 so let’s put that in our pocket, I’m sure you are seeing Rivero work!! That dude is a stud!! Once we get through the Locke/Vogelsong last college try against the worst team in the league show, we will be good to go!! I am praying we get one of these 2 games against Atlanta!! Plus we are 1, One, Uno game back with 2 games in hand from the Wild Card!! Crazy right!!

Plus, I support the weed movement, but I don’t smoke it!!

OTDLOT18

i support the movement in action 😉

OTDLOT18

guess losing 2 out of 3 handily to the worst team in all of MLB (and the worst offense) still has you smiling? You are a better fan than I, clearly.

BallHeadWonder

Before all the trades went down I clearly said we were a .500 team!! That still has not changed, sadly enough, we still have a chance to make the playoffs!! I will agree with you that this last series looked like they have thrown in the towel. But we must remain hopeful. And yes, still smiling after the sweep we will get this weekend!!

OTDLOT18

hope you are right, BHW – not a huge fan of the reds

RonHeb72

That’s kind of rude man. Everyone is entitled to their opinion no reason to go over the top. But in his defense I don’t see how any of these moves make our chances worse this year. We have just as good a shot as we did prior too. Which I didn’t feel was very good.

OTDLOT18

have they made our chances better this year? if you recall, prior to the actual deadline, when asked, NH always said he was looking to improve the team for the stretch run…did he accomplish that stated goal?

Brian Z

he did make the team better for this year…simple addition by subtraction as we don’t have to throw out Liriano or Niese anymore. That said, boy it seems we could have gotten more for the two kids

OTDLOT18

agreed about the two kids part – we will have to wait and see about the other part – team was +.500 before the trade deadline, now teetering at .500

RonHeb72

Honestly I think they are better albeit marginal and not enough to make a difference but they are not worse.

OTDLOT18

Ron, what is soo aggravating is one or two more ramirez type prospects could land you an ondrizzi or maybe even an archer if you throw them liriano and cash….

RonHeb72

Honestly I am still with Foo here. Up until I saw the Reese addition I was actually not that bent out of shape over the Frakie deal but…..

deacs

“I don’t like when trades are called “dealing from strength/blocked players” to gloss over the fact you didn’t get good value for them. It is possible to deal from a strength AND get good value.”
Exactly. 100 times exactly.

dr dng

John, please check on Tim to be sure he is ok.
I am sure the McGuire trade put him over the top.

For all we know, he may have run out of craft beers
last night and was drinking Bud Lite.

Josh G

I’m not spending another dollar at PNC park this year as I’m increasing my paycheck flexibility.

OTDLOT18

priceless, josh!

Edward C

Since I live over 3 hrs away from PNC we only make it to a few games a year. I doubt I will be motivated to make the trip the rest of the year unless they really bring up the kids to get experience and roll the dice with the young talent. I have no interest in making the trip to watch Jaso ground out and Rodriguez ground into a DP and also see Cutch strike out 5 times because they don’t have the guts to move him down in the order. I also may turn the remote over to the girls in the house to watch whatever chick flick is on the tube rather than watch the Pirates on Root. If I have enough company in this it will affect attendance and the renewal dollars when the TV contract expires.

OTDLOT18

That is the thing, Ed….IF they would bench/release Jaso once and for all, bring up bell, glasnow (when off DL), kuhl and brault, move cutch down in the order, send kang to AAA and finish the season that way, at least there might be something to get behind….a cole, nova, brault, glasnow, kuhl rotation would at least give the young guys some good experience at the ML level and playing bell so that he can acclimate

Drock17

I don’t mind getting young, controlled, starting pitching. But Hutchinson has never had an ERA below 4.48. He went 13-5 in 2015, but with a 5.57 ERA! To give up Liriano (who I think could have a bounce back year in 17′), our best catching prospect and a solid outfield prospect seems like we got fleeced on this deal. On the brighter side, maybe Ray can make Hutch much better and this won’t seem so one-sided.

Brian Z

what information leads you to think Liriano would have a bounce back year other than the thought of he just can’t REALLY be this bad this quick? I think MLB figured out that if you just don’t swing, then you’ll get on base, he’ll run his pitch count up and you get to the bullpen in the 5th.

Eric Marshall

Or maybe you look at the past several years and realize he has a strong potential to get better. Maybe the pitch framing wasn’t as good this year. Maybe the team felt let down by having Locke, Vogelsong and Nicasio in the starting line up. How come we can’t get a decent prospect for our 5 ERA types but we can give up several to get another team’s high ERA guys. What did we get back for Melancon… the Nat’s 27th ranked prospect… i know same story… NH really liked him. Just friggin crazy. I am happy the Steelers are back. Bucco’s are out the rest of year for me unfortunately.

Drock17

Well said!

Brian Z

past results does not mean much in terms of future performance. Liriano is done, washed up, never to be good again. It was a miracle he turned his career around when he came to Pittsburgh the first time, to do it twice in a career is highly unlikely.
And the Pirates got Rivero for MM…I think that deal is going to work out in Pittsburgh’s favor from this point on. Does it make the team a little weaker today, probably, but I don’t think by as much as people fear.

Drock17

His last few starts have been decent. We thought he was washed up when he first came to Pitt too…remember? I am not upset about the other deals. Just this one. It’s one thing to trade Liriano for Hutch, another to give them 2 prospects on top of that…one being catching, which is a commodity.

RonHeb72

We didn’t get just the 27th ranked prospect we also ended up with Felipe Rivero too.

Y2JGQ2

“I don’t like when trades are called “dealing from strength/blocked players” to gloss over the fact you didn’t get good value for them. It is possible to deal from a strength AND get good value.” —- The fact that this happens in real life, is why teams have to pay attention when they are accumulating too many prospects at one position. You can’t necessarily swap them for a position of need at the same level of talent/value later on.

RobForsyth

The initial reports contradicted each other about McGuire. I was hoping against hope he wasn’t included. However, now that it’s confirmed I have great difficulty seeing the trade as anything other than a salary dump. It was essentially a three for one deal. Yes, I know McGuire wasn’t hitting well, but I’ve read about a thousand times that the last thing that develops for a young catcher coming up is the hitting tool.

rburgh

Ivan Nova has been a guy that a lot of teams have had interest in over the years. That gives me faint hope. But really, when you have a guy in your rotation who has a good outing 1/3 of the time or less, he might as well be cheap. I’m more than a little concerned that the price for getting Liriano out of town was Ramirez AND McGuire for Hutchison.

But we might as well consider the rest of the season as auditions for young pitching, and rejoice that there will be budget room over the winter.

escilade18

I can already see the financial flexibility going toward the larger salary Cole earns in arbitration. Honesty with creating $33 million by dumping Melancon, Neise and Liriano I will be upset by anything short of a Greinke type signing

IC Bob

Gee I am sure glad we don’t have to release Cole since his salary is going to be so large. If Nutting doesn’t want to play in this sandbox he needs to get the heck out.

OTDLOT18

Exactly, IC….this is what MLB is, if you dont like it, GET THE FUCK OUT Nutjob and take Loria with you!!

OTDLOT18

If you do a side by side of Nova and Liriano’s last 10 starts…eerily similar with a nod actually going to Liriano…scary thing is we still dont know who is going to the yankees to complete the nova deal

Edward C

After the Frankie Deal it is scary what NH gave up.

OTDLOT18

Scary indeed….when you think about it, we traded our #2 , #3 starters (as the roster was constructed by NH) and our closer for Ivan Nova and Felipe Riverio

RonHeb72

WHAT??? That makes no sense.

OTDLOT18

Ron,
Neal had Liriano as our #2 starter at the beginning of the year
Niese as our #3 starter at the beginning of the year
Melancon as our closer at the beginning of the year

What doesnt make sense?

RonHeb72

Honestly if Nova was under contract through next year I actually might have been more accepting.

PikeBishop65

Maybe I was like a lot of other fans as the news of the deals came in I was pretty positive, but two words soured me on the whole thing: Reese McGuire. A top ten prospect, whom it seemed we were always told, was too valuable even to be traded in a blockbuster deal for a Chris Archer or Chris Sale, but was included with another top ten prospect in a straight up salary dump for a lottery ticket Major League starter.
(Update: I did not know Hutchison until I read the comment below, so I feel a little bit better about the trade. Still utterly detest the thought of losing McGuire though.)

Moose71950

Wait, how could learning more about Hutchison possibly make you feel better about the trade?

leefoo

Agree…Hutchison is org depth….nothing more.

OTDLOT18

Lee, i think Hutch is going to be more than org depth, just maybe not even liriano type numbers – that is what is frustrating and did any of you look at his windup mechanics? TJ #2 is heading this kids way…..

michael t

Your second sentence says it all.

Edward C

I was going to post but you already hit the nail on the head.

michael t

John
Very interesting hypothesis you advance…what would it have cost us to dump Liriano to Toronto if they kept Hutchison and we kept our two top 10 prospects.
I suspect the deal might never happen, because my read is Neal was forced to include McGuire. The deal was only finalized at the last minute.
Could the Pirates have DFA’d Liriano and kept the prospects?

Moose71950

I don’t see how they would force McGuire and Ramirez into a deal. It’s not like either of them are making any money. And if they were what it took to bring the Jays to the table, then why wouldn’t the Pirates just move him through the waiver trade deadline for a PTBNL. There wasn’t any urgency here unless ownership created it. Because after hearing our GM chastise his fans not 2 days ago about how valuable prospects are and how he’s helped this team by not trading our prospects in rash deadline deals, the Liriano trade is an insult to this fanbase. We didn’t even get a major league player for two top ten prospects. I can only imagine who’s leaving in the Nova deal.

RonHeb72

They were trying to free us roster space too. Needed flexibility in the 25 man. Not saying I agree with the trade exactly just saying that is also why they rushed it.

Moose71950

What flexibility could they possibly need? And wouldn’t sending down Max Moroff create that same room? Idk maybe DFA Jeff Locke or better yet, don’t trade for Ivan Nova.

OTDLOT18

dfa locke/jaso/vogelsong…dont trade for nova – BOOM 4 spots

leefoo

I thought our young pitchers acquitted themselves well.

rareglass

And everyone is forgetting Nick Kingman. Ramirez was never going to play for Pittsburgh, and McGuire was struggling with his hitting, although he was quite young for AA.

RonHeb72

They did, we just needed room for them so we could stop playing musical chairs.

RonHeb72

If you want another starter then you move Liriano to the bullpen so now you have like 20 relievers. We already had a crowded bullpen needed the space.

leefoo

Frankie takes Niese’s place. Problem solved?

RonHeb72

But Bastardo took Frankies spot.( I mean Niese’s Spot)

michael t

Pirate ownership did force this deal….the only way to get Liriano off the books was to sell 2 top prospects to the Jays for their assumption of the cash obligation to Liriano. That and they are excited at the chance Martin can help Liriano.
Let’s not forget that on July 21st Liriano struck out 13 batters with 0 walks and went 6 and 2/3s. He can still do it.
Disgraceful trade and so is every attempt to justify it.

BallHeadWonder

Mike, I agree with you!! But, for every 13 strikeout performance you will have to run him out there 4-5 times and coming down the stretch with 12 starts left, we may get that 2 or 3 more times?? Did they beg Toronto to take him??? Absolutely and Toronto may have won this trade, but we are better off with Frankie gone!! Let’s see what Nova can do and hopefully they will let the Babies play!!

Moose71950

Except that’s wrong. Teams dump salary every single year without having to give up top prospects in the process. There were other ways, there had to be. If the cost for one more month of Liriano is so unacceptable that the team needs to sell the farm to get him off the books ASAP, then why even own a baseball team.

michael t

Agreed…there were other ways that would not have resulted in costing us McGuire and causing such outrage among the fan base and ridicule of the baseball community.

leefoo

I 100% agree with your last sentence.

piraddict

I don’t agree with that last sentence at all. The Pirates are still trying to make the 2016 playoffs and Nova instead of Liriano definitely gives them a better chance of doing that. Every game counts from here on out, and Liriano starts were almost guaranteed losses. Addition by subtraction.

moose71950

I don’t care how many times NH says it, this FO isn’t actively trying to compete for the 2016 postseason. These aren’t the moves of a team trying to compete. Nova hasn’t really proven himself capable of pitching any better than Liriano at all. He owns an ERA around 5, a FIP over 5, and terrible strikeout numbers. His upside is worse than Liriano’s and it’s not even close.

rich

John … Minor point/question: Baseball Reference has Drew at 3.128 days. I believe that a year is calculated at 172 (and playoffs are not counted). Since the season ends on Oct 2, he should be able to come up on Aug 21 right?

rich

I’m curious because I think that is the day that Vogelsong or Locke get cut

RonHeb72

Just a curious question why would they get cut on the 21st?

rich

I’m thinking that they go with Cole, Nova, Taillon, Vogelsong, and Locke for now.
Then on Aug 21, they bring up Hutch and cut Vogelsong or Locke.
(I could also see them releasing one of those guys earlier if they don’t show results and replacing them with one of the rookies – just not Hutch until Aug 21.)

RonHeb72

Rich I will spin it for you a different way. IF the Pirates are in contention for the Wild Card come Aug 21st then Vogey must be pitching pretty well so no way you would want to make a change. As far as Locke who is still under team control for 2 more years if you are going to cut him (DFA) then there is no point in waiting until Aug 21st you would do it tomorrow to make room for Vogey. He needs added back on the roster when he comes off the 60 day DL. Also with that point it would not make sense to remove someone tomorrow if you are going to cut him on the 21st. So they will just wait until the 31st to bring him up.

IC Bob

Look at that rotation, there is no way we are competing for a WC in 2 weeks. Locke, Vogelsong and Nova have not pitched well in three years. Normal teams would have traded Locke by now but he must still have those pictures on NH

RonHeb72

Who are we trading Locke too. Let me know the long list of teams that are lining up for him. Vogey was pitching well prior to getting hurt, and has pitched well on his rehab so far so lets see what happens And I don’t believe Locke will be in the rotation. Nova is still pitching better this year than Liriano, Locke, and Niese so still an improvement over what we had and he was also in hitter friendly Yankees stadium. Not saying we are going to win the WC or even get there. I didn’t think we were before. But actually the pitching staff will be stronger down the stretch than it was, or it would have been with it being full of rookies. That being said since I don’t believe they would have done it anyway. The experience would have been good for them to get.

IC Bob

Nova is having his best season in the last three with a 4.91 ERA. No matter what metric you use you would not want Nova starting on your team. I would take anyone of the Pirates AAA guys over him. I am really concerned with who we traded to get him. The buesty of Nova if by chance he were to pitch well down the stretch we get him a nice deal with another team (Like Volquez and Happ) if he stinks we have chance to resign him and he can take over for Locke and Vogelsong as the biggest wastes of money on the team.

piraddict

AJ’s stats with the Yankees were worse than Nova’s and he worked out.

rich

Locke may temporarily be our only option as Glasnow and Kuhl are coming off minor injuries and Brault has to wait a little longer to be recalled. We could call up Williams but would need to free up another 40-man spot for him

RonHeb72

Locke is NEVER an option at this point…. 🙂 We now have Cole, Nova, JT, and Vogey come wed. So only need one more starter. Kuhl will be ready and available for his next start, and Brault and Boscan are both options as well so Locke would not be needed in the rotation.

RonHeb72

It honestly would not make any sense just wait the 10 days and you can add without cutting anyone.

rich

You are probably right there. It probably depends on how badly Locke and/or Vogie are pitching and how close we are to a Wild Card

RonHeb72

Another Note John. I completely agree that the Niese trade was good. I think he may have been a distraction personally. Dealing Liriano not all bad but what we gave up to deal him left me ???? The Nova deal at this point I get seeing Liriano traded based on my question below. But You are right unless he turns it around and at least does his part to get us to the post season (I would say if we don’t make it due to other reasons its still good).

Moose71950

The Neise trade was comical. We just turned Neil Walkers return from a potentially solid back end of the rotation starter at the time of the deal to a struggling middle reliever. And the best part is, we already had Bastardo on our roster. I also vaguely remember Huntington telling us explicitly that Antonio was out of their price range and that they wished him the best. So what happened? It’s not like his contract went away. Bastardo wasn’t even performing to the level of that new contract that we supposedly couldn’t afford. So essentially, we let him walk to get paid more money than we wanted to pay just to bring him back with his overvalued contract after he started to suck. Is everything Neal Huntington says a lie or has Dave Littlefield been hired back as GM?

RonHeb72

Your point is mostly true. The Pirates couldn’t afford his contact with the Lirano contract and what they were paying Niese. They actually save money this year bringing him back. Next year they will have more money to play with too since they wont have the 13 million for Frankie.

OTDLOT18

Ron, if this team says they can afford a $10m top of the line closer, how in hell can they afford a $7m average middle reliever?

Moose71950

This is what I mean when i say the Neise trade made no sense, especially when considering the logic behind their other moves

OTDLOT18

agreed.

RonHeb72

Because they aren’t paying 7 million for Bastardo.

OTDLOT18

there is a max set through the CBA of what is allowed to be exchanged cash wise without commish approval (i believe it to be around $5m) – bastardo is owed around $3m this year and another $6.5 next year – so i guess theoretically we are paying nothing less than $5m or more for him – however, this could be more not less….

IC Bob

If Bastardo is worthless we now have his 6.5 million dollar contract on the books next year. Are we going to trade Meadows away to get rid of him next year? Why not just release Niese. I think we compounded this bad deal by making yet another bad deal and then another bad deal. We w il not know how bad the deal for Nova is until we catch wind of who we traded but I get the feeling the same three people who liked the Lirano trade will like what we gave up for Nova

RonHeb72

Well first off I don’t think Bastardo is worthless. He is a reliever where as Niese is not. So we traded away a starter who wasn’t starting who was not happy who was a potential problem to get a potential reliever who may help us even next year. Yes the contract is there next year but we can also DFA him next year if he does not do well and we are only losing whatever is left of the 6.5. I think it would be better to look at that one as making the best of a bad situation.

Chuck C

Mets are putting Niese in the pen.

RonHeb72

His unhappiness was less being in the Pen as it was being unhappy with the changes the coaches were trying to get him to make. He voiced that in an interview after his last start.

IC Bob

6.5 million to this ownership is a lot. Bastardo has done nothing to suggest he will help. Heck Niece has pitched better as a reliever then Bastardo has. People are speculating that Niece was a bad influence in the clubhouse but there has been nothing to suggest that to be true. Bastardo was a very average pitcher when we had him so lets not make him out to be something that will help this team. Even NH suggested as much when they chose not to offer a contract last year.

RonHeb72

Bastardo had a 2.98 ERA with us last year and became a go to guy out of the Pen. He was above average, average relievers do not get 12 million in a contract. Plus we wont be paying 6.5 million for him next year. The Mets are paying part of that contract. Also Niese has been vocal complaining about how the Pirates wanted him to adjust him pitching and He was refusing to make the adjustments the coaches were trying to get him to make. Not sure how you can compare Niese as a reliever to Bastardo.

Moose71950

Yes but if the goal was just to save money why even trade for a major league player? These aren’t the decisions of a team trying to win this season. Bringin back Bastardo was completely pointless. Why not just save the money we’re now paying him and use that to help facilitate whatever plan necessitated these stupid decisions in the first place

RonHeb72

Because the Mets would not have taken it unless you take a player already on the 40 and 25 man roster or they had to make a roster change too. I actually don’t mind that trade and do not have a problem with Bastardo. If he turns it around great for us. If not less money we lose in a DFA situation and also better change another teams makes the claim and takes him off our hands too.

Moose71950

Is it really that hard to take someone off your 40 man? Teams do it all the time

RonHeb72

Not when you don’t have someone you want to get rid of. We have to remove someone off of ours to make room for Vogey. I have looked at it 5 times and still am not sure who I would remove. Good chance whoever we do will be claimed so you lose another player in the process. Perhaps they are not willing to lose any of their prospects.

Moose71950

Except they were willing to lose those prospects, that’s why they’re gone. Your point can’t be right. Only someone with no baseball knowledge whatsoever would look at the upside of Ramirez, McGuire, Hutchison, Liriano, and Vogelsong and pick Hutchison and Vogelsong to keep on the team. It defies logic because we have cheap arms with actual upside ready to go Brault Kuhl, Glasnow, even Trevor Williams. What fear could there possibly be of letting guys like Vogelsong and Locke walk, especially if we’ve come to the salary dump portion to the season. If we need a spot, there are other ways to do that as well. Maybe, and I know this might sound crazy, send Max Moroff down to AAA if we’re so hurt for roster spots

OTDLOT18

because the morons that run this pathetic franchise feel like they have to squeeze every penny out of every acquisition every fucking time…im sorry, i love kang, but the moment that story hit, he shoulda been sent down to AAA as it is a distraction – many teams would have released him immediately….but the bucs cant have a $4m player in AAA burning their ever precious “controlability”….

RonHeb72

So Kang is guilty without even having the investigation done. I agree there may be a distraction with it. But I don’t agree many teams would have released him. I would say no team would have released him until the investigation is completed.

OTDLOT18

may not release him, but, he should absolutely be sent down to AAA…the same peeps that are calling for Cutch’s head are looking the other way while Kang hits 100 points lower than Cutch since June (2 months hitting .150)

OTDLOT18

Ron, i dont want to release him, but, he cannot be on the big club – it really is a shame because i think the whole thing is fishy (especially with a chicago flavor to this) – betcha, miraculously, the DA decides not to press charges at the end of the season – by that time, damage is done…he needs to be in AAA to clear his head as well – he is hitting like a buck fifty since this was reported….

RonHeb72

OK, I was defending the Niese Trade not the Frankie trade. I have not even been able to digest the Frankie trade yet. I need more time.

Moose71950

You can throw Bastardo and Neise in my list too if it helps. The logic behind both trades is the same. It’s nonexistent with the goal of saving as much money as possible without having to publicly announce that you’re giving up on 2016. Gotta make sure a few of the truly deluded can still quote a few of his comments as a reason to still buy tickets. I truly hope the fans boycott at this point

RonHeb72

I cant agree with that. Personally I think there was problems with Niese being in Pittsburgh. He was not happy I actually like that trade.

Moose71950

I mightve liked the Neise trade too if it wasnt so counterintuitive to nearly every other move they made. Coupled with these other decisions though, it doesn’t really make any sense and is also a bad deal imo.

RonHeb72

While I agree its counterintuitive (big word) to the other trades. I actually don’t see a way the deal is bad other then we unfortunately had to make it.

leefoo

They were obviously willing to lose Ramirez and McGuire.

Only this time we lost Harold over ARam.

RonHeb72

That was in the Frankie trade not the Niese trade though. 🙂

leefoo

Like I said above….I was fine until the Frankie trade.

RonHeb72

Foo so was I. I saw the trade right before I played softball. I went 0-3 I think I am blaming my poor performance on the Pirates FO.

emjayinTN

Ron: I think the Pirates see Hutchison as the possible #2 for 2017. He and Cole will both be 26; Cole has 88 MLB Starts and a 46-26 record, Hutch has 73 Starts and a 30-21 record. They have the experience and will be helped by #2 a, Jameson Taillon who may finish 2016 with 20 MLB Starts. The Bucs will have a set Rotation for at least 3 years 2017 thru 2019 at a very reasonable cost.

If Hutch pitches well it is an excellent trade; if he does not, NH got de-pantsed. I like that he took the aggressive approach, and hope that he does so with bringing up kids from AAA..

BuccosFanStuckinMD

The Pirates can’t be serious – Hutchison a #2 ? We’ll be lucky if he’s still in the organization in 2 years, based on his developmet (or lack thereof) in Toronto and his numbers in the majors….he’s nothing special. Think Brad Lincoln….

Moose71950

Pitching record is the worst possible tool to measure pitching performance and not even the Pirates would be stupid enough to judge a trade target because his offense carried him nine more times than not. Every other stat says that Hutchison isnt that good. But you are right, the only way this deal doesn’t look awful is if Hutchison magically figures out how to pitch like a number 2 starter on a WS caliber team

michael t

The Toronto fan base is asking what does Pittsburgh see in Hutchison that we didn’t see for the last four years, and they are actually worried that the league may review this it is so one sided.

RonHeb72

I don’t see what they would review. Even if you claim its a direct Salary Dump etc… The Pirates have not been doing that the last few years so it doesn’t violate whatever clause there is I don’t remember that Miami was guilty of a couple years ago. I don’t remember the rule but I know what is being referenced. Not saying I don’t agree at this point it sure does look one sided.

OTDLOT18

They are reviewing it because the amount of money that changed hands (or did not in this case) falls outside of the CBA…whoa…this may be reversed…..how weird would that be with Liriano pitching in atlanta 😛

RonHeb72

It wont be reversed.

OTDLOT18

I believe you are right….wishful thinking i guess…

RonHeb72

I understand that. But I personally would have preferred us to get an inning eater vet who could help mentor the staff. Not another young prospect pitcher with an upside. I don’t know we shall see.

emjayinTN

I forgot to mention earlier that Liriano’s totally less than average outing Sunday cost us the 2nd PTBNL. I see it as a now type of move as opposed to a 3 year from now wait to see if Ramirez and McGuire pan out.

I liked them both, but watching Bell, Hanson, and Rogers wasting away in AAA because we have the “bridge club” of 30 somethings occupying positions in the Pirate lineup is much more frustrating to me. I’ll bet there were a lot of offers put forth to NH for Freese, Jaso, Joyce, and Rodriguez – maybe that is too sarcastic?

RonHeb72

Well, 3 things. One Rogers did not impress me when he was up so I don’t care what he is doing in AAA. He was up and was unimpressive. Ramirez was going to get traded at some point to avoid losing him. He was not part of the plan we have a crowded outfield right now. Third Hanson is not having a good season so not sure why you would want him up. Where does he play. who’s playing time does he take He isn’t taking J’Hays. SIde note too. Freese is more valuable to us pending the Kang investigation I would go as far as saying Pirates may even look to bring him back.

emjayinTN

Freese has had an excellent year but he is 33 looking for a 2 or 3 year contract through FA after 2016. Jaso will turn 33 shortly and was good in Apr and May, terrible in Jun and Jul. Hanson is having an excellent year on defense and even though he only hit .263 last year and .254 currently, he has 65 SB over 2015 and 2016 with 30 Walks this year.

Jhay was better as the utility player and could jump into 3B/2B/SS very easily. His problem is the cost of his contract which will be $7.5 mil in 2017 and $10 mil in 2018 – 30+ second basemen do not get paid those dollars by the Pirates (NW). He too was very good in Apr and May but terrible at the plate in Jun and Jul.

Listening to MLB Radio this morning they were talking about the excitement brought by youth in the Yankees, Phillies, and Milwaukee lineups. Just too enthusiastic to even know they are not supposed to have a chance to win, and the fans are responding.

Mike U

I think that is what makes this whole thing so hard to swallow. If they were just selling off pieces to get in a better position for next year then that’s one thing. Even selling off two top ten prospects for “financial flexibility “, while incredibly frustrating and suspect, makes sense. But we’re also trying to contend with an uninspiring addition like Ivan Nova? We got incrementally better (mostly addition by subtraction) this year and markedly worse in future years. And I get pitching is a game of attrition, and considering for a moment that Hutchinson really does have reasonable upside, but another reason to hold back the talented AAA guys…

RonHeb72

John, I asked in the other thread but you may not have seen it. Looking past this year and yes things could happen in the offseason. Of course assuming Nova doesn’t pitch like and Ace and we somehow get him to come back at a reasonable price he is gone………
Now the question. Historically has there ever been a rotation to reach the WS where no starter had more then 3 years experience because that will pretty much be where we are at to start the season next year at this point.

TNBucs

Cole (and Locke if you want to count him) will have had 3+ years of experience by the start of next season. I agree with you point, though. And it actually helps explain why they’re adding Hutchison even if some of us might want to pencil in Cole, Taillon, Glasnow, Brault, and Kuhl for next year.

Mike U

I was about to say the mets from las year but I forgot about colon and his 45 years of service…but I can’t think of any off hand even though I would’ve be all that surprised considering how relatively short lived a pitchers career often is

RonHeb72

Well don’t forget Niese was a part of that Rotation made I think 29 starts last year for the Mets so between his 5 and Colon’s 45 that made a good balance for the rookies.

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