It seemed like the Pirates spent most of the winter meetings stuck in limbo, waiting to see how the Andrew McCutchen situation would play out. According to reports, they thought they were close to a deal with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday. That all changed when the Nationals moved on to Adam Eaton on Wednesday. Following that trade, Neal Huntington said they were planning on keeping McCutchen, and wouldn’t be pursuing a trade, although he did leave the door open for other teams to make a deal if they met the Pirates’ price.

The reaction to the McCutchen talks was typical. There was the emotional side of the argument, wanting to keep McCutchen and not wanting to part with him for any return. There was the business side, looking at the logic of how dealing McCutchen could help the Pirates in the short-term and long-term. There were the usual claims of the Pirates trying to dump salary, which is ridiculous, because if that was their intent, McCutchen would be gone right now.

Throughout the entire process, the Pirates insisted that they weren’t shopping McCutchen, but instead listening to offers. They weren’t planning on moving McCutchen unless the right deal came along. And nothing has really shown that to be incorrect, whether it’s from the fact that they didn’t end up settling for a deal, to reports that have come out since the deal. For example, take this tweet from Buster Olney, getting feedback from rival executives.

The Pirates were looking for value. They couldn’t find it. And now we wait for their next move, which is figuring out how to contend in 2017 with McCutchen on the roster.

But while everyone was focusing on the McCutchen situation, there was another situation brewing on another part of the roster. The Pirates kept adding left-handed relievers, and in a market where relief pitching is extremely valuable, they have set themselves up well to deal from their depth, which could allow them to boost their MLB club.

It started at the end of last week, when they extended Wade LeBlanc on a pre-arb deal. This came despite the fact that they already had Tony Watson, Antonio Bastardo, and Felipe Rivero on the roster. There was no place to play LeBlanc, and yet they gave him $800,000 guaranteed. Granted, this amount could essentially buy another option for him, allowing the Pirates to outright him to Triple-A next year without another team claiming him, and without LeBlanc turning down the offer. So it didn’t necessarily mean they were preparing for a trade.

Then the Rule 5 draft came along, and the Pirates selected their first player in five years. The pick? Tyler Webb, a left-handed reliever who pitched the 2016 season in Triple-A. Under the terms of the Rule 5 draft, Webb has to be on the major league roster all season in 2017, or be offered back to the Yankees for half of the $100,000 that the Pirates paid to draft him. Granted, the Pirates could try to work out a deal, making sure they can keep Webb in Triple-A. But that’s not a guarantee.

You can make an argument that the Pirates could try to keep all four lefties after the LeBlanc move by just moving LeBlanc to the minors. But with the addition of Webb, they’d need four lefties in the MLB bullpen. I just don’t see that happening.

We’ve already heard rumors that teams are asking about Tony Watson, and that the Pirates are willing to eat some of Antonio Bastardo’s salary to move him. It seemed likely that they would make a trade from their bullpen at some point. Now, it feels like a guarantee, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they deal more than one reliever.

This is different than the McCutchen situation. There have been rumors that the Pirates have been looking at the free agent outfield market, but nothing serious, and it seemed that was only in the event of a McCutchen trade. In this case, they’ve actually added a player, and retained another. They’re being proactive here, and getting to the point where they’re going to have to make a move to fit everyone on the roster.

So now we wait for the other shoe to drop. We wait to see how they move on from the McCutchen talks, and how they plan to add to the team to make a run in 2017. And we wait for the other shoe to drop for the left-handed relief situation. Considering that the relief pitching market is a big seller’s market right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if those two things will be connected going forward.

**Rule 5 Draft: Pirates Draft LHP Tyler Webb, Eric Wood Doesn’t Get Drafted. Here is the write-up of the Rule 5 draft, with details on Webb, and all of the guys the Pirates lost in the Triple-A phase.

**Slow news day, so I spent the afternoon adding Webb to the 2017 Prospect Guide, and continuing to work on the book. It will be released in mid-January, and is coming along well. You can pre-order your copy here, with discounts for Annual and Top Prospect subscribers. You can also use that link to purchase gift subscriptions for friends and family, if you’d like to share the site and help the site out at the same time.

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98 COMMENTS

  1. I’m expecting more buzz about a ‘Meadows for Odorizzi’ deal coming soon. That is just my hunch. That is most likely what Tampa is asking for, but I’m not so sure the Pirates need to make this trade. I think keeping Meadows as the fourth OF is a better scenario. Trade Watson/Bastardo for a Buchholz type, and I’d like to see Trevor Williams make the rotation after how excellent he was in the second half last year.

  2. Rivero has not had great stats in the minors or in the majors. He had a 4.74 ERA throughout his minor league carrier. I can’t see him closing. I would definitely like to see Watson back in the 8th and we find another closer.

  3. I don’t have the direct quote but I do remember NH saying years ago that the Pirates would never be able to compete for pitching in the free agent market. It was the reason he stockpiled so much pitching in the drafts.

    I have to give him credit for that insight because pitching costs on the free agent market are now outrageously high for all levels of talent out there. Tommy John set us back about two years as Taillon would have come up in 2014 and Kingham in 2015. With Cole and Kuhl mostly set, that would leave only 5th spot open for Glasnow, Brault, Williams, Holmes (who would have been ready withou the tj surgery), and the dread-Pirate Hutchison competing for. Any one missing out would be up against these lefties for any bullpen spots. (Hopfeully Brault would get it so we had 5 lefties in the pen – that should cover every Rizzo at bat.)

    • They have done a good job drafting, developing amateur talent as well as finding under recognized value at the ML level. Other teams have now figured out the methodology and are pursuing many of the same pitchers so we no longer have the luxury of more easily finding Diamonds in the rough like Liriano, Burnett, Happ, Volquez that were performing poorly but did well here. I think Neise was an experiment into a with fewer tools to see if there was a way to leverage it. I don’t think they give that methodology up over 1 bad experience. I believe that they think they are onto something that others havent recognized which is why the interest in Holland. They still need a solid Number 3 (as a minimum) for 2017. That isnt Holland. The injuries are going to happen, and it seems more frequently than in years past but I believe every organization is struggling with it. I am surprised with the advances in Sports Medicine that there arent more preventive solutions.

    • “With Cole and Kuhl mostly set, that would leave only 5th spot open”.

      I’m assuming you’re implying the 3rd and 4th spots are Taillon and Kingham cause those are the only other players you mentioned. The only 2 players I see set are Cole & Taillon. I think Kuhl has potentially earned a spot but Kingham won’t start the season in the MLB rotation. I hope GMNH acquires a pitcher or 2 between now and spring training but he doesn’t I would think one of those spots is Glasnow’s to lose.

      • You are assuming Cole does not head to Birmingham to meet Dr. Andrews AND last year was an aberration.

        Not sure either assumption is warranted until we see Cole make 4 or so Spring Training starts and perform way better than he did last year.

  4. NO! BUSTER IS WRONG! THEY NEED TO DUMP CUTCH TO DUMP HIS SALARY TO FIT MY NARRATIVE THAT NUTTING NEEDS MORE SKI LIFTS AT SEVEN SPRINGS!

  5. As for the LH reliever situation, I’d move Bastardo if that is possible – may have to give him away or pay part of his contract…

  6. The other teams were trying do whatever team tries to do in a trade – buy low and attempt to take advantage of the other team. To NH’s credit, he didn’t bite on low offers and stuck to his guns. In the end, the Nationals made a bad trade for Adam Eaton, and they will regret that deal. It was a huge overpay in my opinion.

    • I disagree, I do not believe that the Nats made a bad trade. They has Harper and Strasburg for 2 more years. They are trying to win the WS. They got 5 years of a player that was 6+ WAR last season and is 28 years old. The price was slightly more than the “reported” offer for 2 years of Cutch. They also kept the one minor leaguer that is the replacement for Harper. It did cost them a lot, but it wasn’t a bad trade, just a trade that a big market team can make when they are trying to win the World Series.

  7. It appears to me that the other GM’s may be thinking McCutchen’s best days are behind him or else they’d have offered more. The Pirates front office now knows what the rest of MLB thinks of his potential to bounce back. I’m still confused that the Nationals took Eaton and gave up what they did for him.

    • Agree Rob. If you give up what they did for Eaton, you should be at the least getting Robertson also in that deal.

  8. I look at the bullpen currently as:
    1. No closer
    2. 3-late inning guys (Watson, Nicasio, and Feliz)
    3. 2-MLB average veterans (Hughes and Bastardo)
    4. 3-wild cards (LeBlanc, Webb, and Schugel)
    5. Minor league options (transitioned starters and others)
    Even though I think he helped stabilize the pen last year, I would be ok trading Bastardo. But I think they should be more focused on either filling the missing closer or adding another late inning guy, than getting rid of guys in the last year of their contracts.

    • I definitely agree they need to find a hard throwing righty (who very well may profile as a closer although I think Rivero will get a look at that role). But I think they need a Feliz sort(and I’d like them to aim slightly higher) who can be relied upon in 8th inning if he he’s not closing. I don’t like Nicasio as a closer given his massive splits.

      The problem is this will cost money- at a bare minimum I’d say 3M and could easily be 6M or more to find right guy and the Pirates have no money if they actually address the giant sized hole in the rotation.

      So once again, IF we sign a starting pitcher for more than 8M a year I think it’s all but a given that one of Jhay, Watson or bastardo is moved. Bastardo is obvious choice but I’m not sure how easy he will be to move.

      • I had a hope (completely unrealistic as it turns out) that we would be able to bring Melancon back at $10 million. I thought that would settle everyone else in the pen down. If he’s worth $16 million, I’m not sure what we can get for $5 million

  9. Nicosia was signed with this scenario in mind. Watson is as good as gone, Nic will close and Hughes will come back as mister ground ball. I also think this is the year they start converting some SP prospects to relief. Brault will keep starting as depth or trade bait due to that left arm of his but Trevor Williams or Kingham could be ready for a MLB role right now as could several other arms. Think we will trade for a Buchholz type vet for the rotation but at least one slot is being held for the kids to fight over. NOT BEING CHEAP but you’ve got to play the kids sometime:

    -Cole
    -Taillon
    -Kuhl
    -Buchholz type
    -Glasnow/Brault/Williams/Kingham

  10. Tim – with all due respect – the Pirates were trying to dump salary – with the caveat that they were trying to do it without the backlash that resulted from the Liriano trade. They would have loved to have traded McCutchen for prospects and then pocket that the $14MM in “financial flexibility”. This franchise is losing creditability by the minute and the fan base and is finally realizing that this owner/management team will never do what is necessary to put the team over the top. Nutting please sell the team and pocket your hundreds of millions in profit.

    • Again, like Tim said if they were trying to dump salary he would have been traded for almost nothing just to rid of the money. The deal with Washington was to be getting Giolito (the #1 pitching prospect in baseball) back in the deal. That sure as hell isnt dumping salary. If anything NH is going to regret not acting more swiftly or pushing the Nationals hand to get the deal done.

      • In my mind, “dumping salary” means its the primary motivating factor in the transaction. It means that the return in players is not close to equal. That the quid pro quo is shifting the salary burden primarily. The Pirates dump salary — Liriano is most recent proof positive of that fact. The Pirates don’t have a monopoly on this among teams but to me, it seems that shifting salary burden is a very common, important component of their decisions on players. They are seeking to move Harrison to dump salary. Same with Bastardo. So the notion that dumping salary is a significant motivator in the Pirates’ thoughts about McCutcheon is not without some merit. I believe that the Pirates will get more desperate to move him as time passes and they are spending w/o getting from him what they think is adequate value. In their heart of hearts, I would bet they wish they took whatever deal was on the table from the Nats (assuming there was a deal) and are having regret right now.

    • If you would have stated that the Pirates are more focused on maintaining their $100 million budget than winning, that would be a reasonable argument. (Although I’m sure NH would argue he is trying to do both.)

      But this concept that management is trying to dump salary and screw the fans over (like a scene from Major League) is a bit paranoid.

      • They aren’t trying to screw the fan over. But it’s not an improbable result if your payroll is capped near 100M or 105M in 2017. Payrolls continue to escalate. NH does the best he can but it is damn hard as your players get older and more expensive and the best you can is generally 25th on MLB payrolls. (Keep in mind that a few of the teams bringing up the bottom are teams in rebuild mode who aren’t even trying to field a competitive roster)

        • Do you really think the Pirates payroll hasnt also continued to escalate at about the same % as the mean of MLB teams over the last 5 years?

          • one it hasn’t and two they started well behind to begin with so that statement if true would still have them well behind

            • It’s as if we’re fans of two totally different teams. I see a team who’s Owner rescued an historically bad franchise by hiring a stellar management team, investing capital in Pirate City and a state of the art baseball academy in the DR, spending large amounts of money in the draft before MLB changed the rules, to create an organization that is considered one of the best in all of baseball. And all you see is a cheap owner who has the audacity to expect to make a profit in his business.

              • Fact is that nutting makes them work with an arm tied behind their back. If they are not perfect or every reclam. project does not work they lose. Now they won’t even pay for the new reclam. guys i.e. Cashner and Eddie. It isn’t bout being a fan it’s bout being naive when similar markets spend a minimum of 10 plus mil more then us and you think success is sustainable long term. Look at the stats of payrolls of teams that won a World Series all in top half that year. Our owner in general is a businessman and a very wealthy one, not a baseball fan. Numbers say he can spend more and still make money. He only cares to win enough to keep people going, not to win championships. I’m a huge fan but I’m also not blind to what reality is.

          • Actually it hasn’t. But let’s not be bothered with the facts. 78 wins is “competitive.” In Neil I trust.

      • Call me a nutty Capitalist, but I find no fault in a business owner(s) operating a for profit business to make a profit. I know a crazy concept, right?

        For the one billionth time, it is possible to be profitable and compete for championships without keeping up with the Jones on payroll. The Royals and Indians are just the latest proof of the validity of this statement!

        • The royals and Indians still spend 20 million more than us so that’s a poor example. 20 million last year fixes the rotation and we r a playoff team

          • Cole and Liriano pitching anywhere close to how they did in ’15 also fixes our rotation. Last season was less about not properly fixing the back end of the rotation, and more about 3 best players on team not playing up to par.

    • Over what top? What is the magic dollar amount required to win? And if they wanted to dump his salary – it would’ve been done. This idea that some evil mr burns type character is trying rob Pittsburgh of money is just absurd and out of the movies. Don’t listen to the professional wrestler level commentary around western PA and enjoy the team for what it truly is- – a perennial contender with an Uber smart management team in a small market with limited revenue and profit margin.

      • I think it is more to the point that we are even exploring a trade of our face of the franchise/MVP… on the heals of giving away Liriano boot strapped with 2 top 10 prospects for financial flexibility. 16, 17 and 18 were supposed to be “compete for a WS” not try and strengthen the minors and add more pitching because we CANNOT spend more than 100M. I personally am happy Cutch is sticking around. Make one more go of it this year and if it doesn’t pan out trade him and Cole mid season or next winter.

        • Cutch sticking around is not going to make a damn bit of difference if the starting pitching is not significantly upgraded.

        • They didn’t give away the Liriano of 2015, they gave away a negative WAR SP and his nearly 15% of total team payroll budget salary. They got Hutchison back for McGuire and Ramirez. The results of this portion of the trade are yet to be determined.

      • You are right. There’s is no “magic” dollar amount that puts a team in a position to win. That said, no team has won the World Series in the last 30 years without ranking 16th or higher in the league in payroll. Not one team. If you think that’s a coincidence, you are brain-dead.

        The Pirates, since Nutting has owned the team, has never ranked higher than 22nd. Not one time. By most media accounts, the Pirates rank about 17th in revenues. If you want to cite Cleveland as an example of a small market doing it right, that’s fine. However, remember that they lost the WS. Realize also that they still spent $15 million more than Pirates did last year. $15 million would be more than 10% of the Pirates payroll every year that Nutting has been here. And $15 million, probably would’ve got you a good pitcher like Happ last year.

        In my opinion the Pirates are not competing because they have a stupid self-imposed cap on payroll. It’s a fairly obvious conclusion. They could afford to spend more but they don’t. If you want to be blind to that fact, go ahead and keep your head in the sand.

        • In 2015, there were 3 teams in the bottom third of team payroll in the postseason. In 2016, one of the teams in the bottom third of team payroll came within one game of winning WS, without having 2 of their top 3 SP’s in the postseason. You can spout off statistics from days gone by, but in today’s MLB, several teams, in luring the Pirates have shown it is very possible to win without keeping up with the Jones’ in payroll spending.

          • Facts are facts pal. Do I think it’s possible to win a World Series in the bottom third of payroll? Sure it is. It’s super unlikely though. That’s why it’s only been done once in the last 30 years I think it’s a lot more possible to be if you’re in the middle third. It’s unquestionably easier if you were in the top third. History, by the way, bears that out.

            And say what you want about days gone by but those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. And if you think it’s easier in 2017 for some reason, cite the reason. If anything I think it’s harder to compete now in major-league baseball than it has ever been.

            • Baseball more than at any point in last 30 years has become a young man’s game. PED testing has made it so. And with how MLB economics work, young players aren’t compensated like seasoned vets. Hence, more teams with lower payrolls have been competitive since testing was instituted.

              Did the Cubs and Royals win the WS primarily because they brought in high priced talent, or was it because they drafted (or traded for) and developed young studs? For every Lester and Lackey who were high priced success stories, there are also Heyward and Montero’s who didn’t come close to providing a decent return on investment.

              For me the clear answer is the Cubs and Royals put together a strong core of young pre-FA talent and they rode those guys to WS titles. Why can’t Pirates do the same thing?

              • The cubs payroll last year was $177 million. That’s $72 million more than the Pirates spent. The Royals won the year before and spend $132 million. If you’re counting, that means they spent roughly $30 million more than the Pirates spent the same year.

                Yeah, I completely see how those examples prove your point.

                No team has won the World Series spending less than $100 million in 13 years. That’s a fact. No team has won the World Series in the last 13 years without spending the league average or more. That’s another fact. Do you want to say that the Pirates can do something that hasn’t been done in more than a decade because they are smarter than other teams? Where is the evidence of that?

                Last year they dumped two young players in order to the payroll cost down. And, this year they are scrambling for starting pitchers which, they can’t afford without dumping payroll. You can’t build a young core of players if you do idiotic things like that. You just can’t.

                Like I said before, if you want to make excuses for them go right ahead but you’re burying your head in the sand.

    • I don’t necessarily think they were trying to outright dump salary but I definitely don’t think this was a binary situation of just exploring value. I’m not worried about Cutch being dealt in a Liriano style trade but I do think NH is motivated to clear that salary off the books while wanting value in return.

      NH said Freese signing last March put them overbudget at 102M. This team is probably at 86M. If they add someone like Nova they are probably at 98 or most likely 100M right there(I don’t think they add Nova). And I doubt this budget is even the same as last year after attendance drop. This team still needs a #3 pitcher and at least one hard throwing righty out of bullpen. Not to mention small parts like 4th outfielder. The money simply is not there to address all those needs with a 100M budget.

      So I don’t think for a second NH wouldn’t have loved to clear 14M if “right” offer came along. It didn’t- so I’m sure he will be looking to get rid of Watson, Jhay or Bastardo now.

  11. What trade value would Felipe Rivero have right now? One would think with the years of control and how he performed with us that he would be worth a haul in this market.

    • This is what the pirates are after, not looking to give away. Although I see your point – he could possibly bring back a massive haul. 4 months ago he was equal to 30 melancon innings. The reliever market is insane.

  12. Not a fan of Watson in the Closer’s role, at all. I think he is all but gone this winter and the Pirates find a seasoned veteran to take on this role until one of those two AAA Closer types are ready for prime time.

    • Watson was very effective in the late innings when he was throwing 94/95 and sometimes hitting 96. That’s when his average velocity was 94.3. In 2016 that fell to 93.2, and when he was inserted as the Closer late in 2016, he was throwing 92/93 without much movement at all on the ball.

      Rivero averaged 95.8 on his 4-seam FB. He used to throw a 2-seam at 92.9, but has almost dropped throwing that. Instead he went more to an offspeed slider in 2016 (15%) and Change-up (21%) to go with the 4-seam (61%). He has the arm, but his Command needs to improve – problem is, Watson has Command problems also.

  13. Another Repost ALERT!!!!

    And what if this happens (sorry to just use traditional stats):

    1. Marte CF .280/.340/.450 45 SB
    2. Polanco LF (L) .280/.350/.440 30 SB
    3. Cutch RF .300/.400/.500
    4. Kang 3B .280/.350/.480
    5. Bell 1B (S) .270/.360/.450
    6. Jay Hay All-Day 2B .265/.325/.400 25 SB
    7. Vita Bella C .275/.360/.400
    8. Mercer SS .260/.320/.400

    1. Freese 1B/3B .265/.345/.440
    2. Jaso 1B (L) .270/.365/.400
    3. Frazier UTL (L) .250/.340/.375 15 SB
    4. Hanson UTL (S) .250/.300/.380 25 SB
    5. Stewy C .240/.300/.325

    1. Cole 200 IP 200/60 K/BB 3.00 ERA
    2. Taillon 180 IP 180/45 K/BB 3.00 ERA
    3. IVAN 195 IP 175/50 K/BB 3.50 ERA
    4. Kuhl 165 IP 140/50 K/BB 3.70 ERA
    5. Hutchison 160 IP 140/50 K/BB 4.30 ERA

    1. Watson (L) 65 IP 65/20 K/BB 2.50 ERA 40 S
    2. Riverio (L) 65 IP 75/35 K/BB 3.00 ERA
    3. Nicasio 75 IP 85/30 K/IP 3.50 ERA
    4. Schugal 70 IP 60/30 K/BB 3.50 ERA
    5. Bastardo (L) 55 IP 55/30 K/BB 4.20 ERA
    6. Hughes 60 IP 30/25 K/BB 3.85 ERA
    7. LeBlanc (L) 60 IP 50/25 K/BB 4.25 ERA

  14. Repost ALERT!!!!

    LLOYD would like to say that NH was right to be looking for a big haul from the Nats now that we see what was given up for Eaton. They just chose the better option at this time. Us as fans were hoping that our beloved Buccos would trade Cutch for his non-2016 value but many others don’t think he will see those lofty standards again. For a second, LLOYD had a little fun and assumed that Cutch regains form and IVAN is signed for 3-$36MM. This puts payroll at approximately $100MM for the coming season with nothing else done. No doubt there will be other moves but LLOYD thinks that this could still be a good team:

    1. Marte CF
    2. Polanco LF (L)
    3. Cutch RF
    4. Kang 3B
    5. Bell 1B (S)
    6. Jay Hay All-Day 2B
    7. Vita Bella C
    8. Mercer SS

    1. Freese 1B/3B
    2. Jaso 1B (L)
    3. Frazier UTL (L)
    4. Hanson UTL (S)
    5. Stewy C

    1. Cole
    2. Tallion
    3. IVAN
    4. Kuhl
    5. Hutchison

    1. Watson (L)
    2. Riverio (L)
    3. Nicasio
    4. Schugal
    5. Bastardo (L)
    6. Hughes
    7. LeBlanc (L)

    **Remember Glasnow, Kingham and a host of others are reinforcements for the rotation.

    **LLOYD isn’t worried about 4 lefty’s in the pen as the top three are real good vs righty’s. And LeBlanc isn’t terrible but with him probably being used in long relief, he will generally be used fairly early in games and after righty starter which has two-fold benefits

    **Hutch’s upside as a #5 starter has to be greater than Locke’s and honestly, its possible thus dude may end up in the rotation for a few years

    LLOYD

    • I have a feeling Cutch will be in LF because he never had the arm for RF. Marte and Polanco can help out with some of the ground to cover in the outfield by moving over a few paces each as they both can cover a huge amount of real estate . Cutch’s arm best suited for LF. IMHO…

      • Range charts show that Cutch is very poor going to his left, so RF is where he could do the least damage. In a normal LF, however, I’d agree with you.

        • That would require execution of fundamental baseball. Do you really expect to see that out of a major league player in this day and age?

      • Yes, it is, but not in PNC Park. If he remains a Pirate and they move him, it will have to be to right field, just because PNC Park is too spacious in left field for his arm and supposed diminishing speed and range.

  15. They have to keep their minds open and look for value and opportunities to be competitive long term. They may face looking into trading Cole next off-season, hopefully for huge return.

  16. Tim, In your opinion would it make sense to deal Watson and rely on Rivero as your closer?
    Even though Watson had a rough time in the closer role after the Melancon trade it seems like it would be an uphill struggle to throw Rivero into that role until he becomes more established.
    I know your feelings on putting the best reliever in when he is needed, but I know that Hurdle doesn’t agree with that assessment and he would pigeon hole Rivero into the closer role and I’m not sure if he has enough confidence to be able to perform that role day after day.

    • Can’t wait to compare the WPA of someone like Rivero after a year closing or high leverage to Melancon. Yeah, Tim loves the story of how Melancon was not highly thought of when the Hanrahan trade went through and that Rivero will be a repeat when we look back in a few years. I’m just not seeing it. Rivero is extremely talented but I fear he won’t be nearly as consistent as MM and will fall behind in count much more than MM and wont be able to induce the same soft contact. Yes he will get K’s and look great often but I fear there will be too many meltdowns mixed in where walks or missing his spot in the hitters zone leads to leads being lost in late innings.

      Things have changed a lot since December 2012 where a guy like Melancon could be picked up because many GMs didn’t appreciate the disparity between his ERA and DIPs. Those inefficiencies do not exist to nearly the same degree which is just one more reason why that window is rapidly closing.

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