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Sunday, December 4, 2022

First Pitch: With Nova Signed, Pirates Should Take it to the Next Level With Quintana

When I was in high school, and just learning how to drive, I always played a trick that allowed me to play my music louder in the car. My mom would tell me to turn the music down, and I would accidentally turn it up first, ever so briefly. I’d then turn it back down to about the same level it was at before, and it was hardly noticed.

Eventually my mom figured the trick out, so I adjusted, turning it down to a level slightly higher, then turning it down to the original level when she pointed out the slightly higher level wasn’t me turning it down.

There’s something about listening to the music louder for just a brief instance that makes the previous volume seem normal. You heard a higher extreme, and that allowed you to adjust to the previous level. That level is no longer as powerful as the new one that was briefly introduced.

Heading into the offseason, the hope was for the Pirates to add at least one starting pitcher to their rotation. They had a rotation of Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, and a lot of options in Triple-A, led by Tyler Glasnow, Drew Hutchison, Steven Brault, and Trevor Williams. Add a guy like Ivan Nova to the mix and you’ve got a pretty solid top three, with Chad Kuhl as a good back of the rotation option, and all of the other guys fighting for the final spot.

The Pirates did add Nova, making the move official this week. That gives a nice boost to the rotation, and if you could go back and relay this news to fans at the start of the offseason, it would be met with a lot of relief about where the rotation would be heading into the 2017 season.

Except, sometime last week, the volume was turned up briefly for all of us. The previous level, which was adding one starter like Nova, suddenly doesn’t seem so good anymore. The volume was turned up to Jose Quintana when rumors came out that the Pirates were trying to land him. Even after they signed Nova, the rumors remained that they were going for Quintana. And after you introduce that level, it’s hard to go back to the “Just Ivan Nova” volume and think it’s an extreme.

Nova is still a legitimately loud move. He adds a nice boost to the rotation. If Gerrit Cole can bounce back from his 2016 struggles, and if Jameson Taillon shows his debut was legit and maybe takes the next step, and if Nova can show his final two months weren’t much of a fluke, and if Kuhl can continue pitching like a back of the rotation starter in the majors, and if one of the other Triple-A options steps up, then the Pirates will have a very nice rotation. Those are a lot of “ifs”, but it’s not like each one is totally out of the question. Still, you’ve got a lot of “ifs”.

Jose Quintana doesn’t provide an “if”. Quintana would be a big boost to the rotation, removing one question mark from the mix. Right now, if Cole was the only one who didn’t bounce back, the Pirates still might have a good rotation led by Taillon and Nova. The same goes if Cole does well, but one of those two struggles. If you add Quintana to the mix, you’ve got your anchor at the top of the rotation, with a strong combo at the top if Cole does bounce back. Suddenly Taillon and Nova become your third and fourth most important pitchers, making their “ifs” a lot less of a question.

It’s hard staying at the Nova volume when you had a brief listen to the higher volume. The Nova volume is still a high level, but now that you know the Quintana level is possible, it’s kind of what you want. I guess I’m switching to my perspective in the car here, because I didn’t mind the louder volume, and kind of wanted to go up to that for good. Sure, there’s the potential for long-term damage to your hearing and/or the farm system. But it’s worth it for the potential for those October nights with a great song blaring loud, a new freedom to drive, and Jose Quintana on the mound pitching important games.

It’s great that the Pirates signed Nova, and if they stopped there, the rotation would be productive, and a big upgrade over last year. But they’ve got what it takes to land Jose Quintana, and that would take things to a much higher level. I say, turn up the volume.

**Pirates Officially Announce Ivan Nova Signing. I thought it was interesting that the Pirates held off announcing the corresponding move. It makes me think something else is in the works. I wouldn’t get my hopes up and assume it’s a big move, since it could just be a minor trade to clear a spot. Whatever the reason, I can’t recall too many situations like this where a move was made and the team stayed at 41 players on the 40-man roster for the rest of the day. We’ll probably see what will happen tomorrow.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Y2JGQ2

SIgning Tyson Ross is still a great move…..way cheaper than quintana

tjbst50

To me, it looks like the White Sox has a plethora of top end right hand pitching prospects. So I think they want our position players. Two of either Bell, Newman, or Meadows is probably what they want. Maybe thats why a third team is needed: so that we give Glasnow to the third team and then the thirda team trade a top end position player to the white Sox for us.

Douglas Byrd

What I like about the possibility of a Quintana trade is that it is a move for today and for the future. He’s under contract for 4 more years. That would give us 4 good (and I think 3 really good..sorry Nova) starters under contract for a minimum of 3 years. Add in Kuhl and we’re set with a solid set of possibilities in AAA and AA. Likewise, the 8 position players are quite solid right now if they stay healthy and play to potential. What we lose isn’t a ton even if Glasnow, Keller or Newman etc. do turn out great. And that possibility is a best a 50/50. Again, I would keep Bell out of this since there is such a need at 1B and no obvious replacement. IMO Bell may end up being the best hitter on the Pirates and that shouldn’t be overlooked.

rjgrinde

“…. a lot of options in Triple-A, led by Drew Hutchison, Steven Brault, and Trevor Williams.” I am still baffled by your use of Drew Hutchison as opposed to Tyler Glasnow…I understand that for a Quintana trade to happen Glasnow will be involved but that sentence was write after that long frame about you turning up the music in your car or something not, what it would take to land Quintana. Let’s face “the music” Quintana will NOT be in a Bucs uniform in 2017 and Glasnow has a better shot at making the rotation than Hutchison…I am truly sorry for my agitation but, you are just driving me crazy with this Hutchison being a legit option stuff. We know why Hutchison is here and it is not to pitch for our major league team. If he somehow ends up breaking his arm and can suddenly throw the ball 110 mph then maybe, but can we please stop throwing his name in the “mix for the rotation” conversation?

TheBoomer

Happy New Year Tim. I look forward to spending my lunch reading your captivating articles in 2017 and many more years to come!

freddylang

I hope this offseason goes to eleven.

joe s

Funny how Glasnow has become an expendable after thought, when at one time he was the best prospect in the organization. If the White Sox read this blog they would want Keller instead.

piraddict

Glasnow isn’t “expendable”, he is just fungible. And Q for the next four years starting now is what Glasnow may become in about two years after two years of putting up maybe 4.50 ERAs at the 5 spot as he learns how to pitch. And frankly the expected performance of Glasnow for the next two years could be provided by a number of other pitchers: Kingham, Duncan, Hutchison, Williams, Brault,, not to mention Eppler, Holmes, Waddell coming up after them.
While none of those pitchers has the upside of Glasnow they also can hold runners on better, have better control, have a better pitch mixture. Glasnow has great strengths but also great weaknesses. It’s like a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. Glasnow needs time to fix his weak links. Is it worth waiting if they can get Q today instead? Maybe not.

Bill Harvey

Ever single prospect is expendable in the right scenario. I do not feel that Glasnow is an afterthought, but I am at a point in my life where I am beginning to believe that the Pirates really don’t have much of a chance to win a World Series. That is why I wanted them to trade for Sale, and why I now want them to trade for Quintana. I want to see them win one, preferably more, but at least one. I don’t believe that that is going to be possible if they are spending the last 2 years that we have Cole, waiting for Glasnow to become a top of the rotation starter. So while I recognize that there is a better than average chance that Glasnow might become an ace with another team 3-5 years from now, I am willing to risk that for the opportunity to win a championship sometime in the next couple years.

GreenWeenie

He wouldn’t be an afterthought if he was willing to throw a changeup.

Bruce Humbert

he is willing – just not very able…

the change ups he has thrown have not been very effective.

GreenWeenie

Having your coaches order you to throw changeups does not demonstrate a willingness.

NMR

Blows my mind that people think this is just a given. That Glasnow willfully is refusing to throw a pitch that would benefit him.

I blame the narrative around how this issue has been presented more than anything.

NMR

This presumes that simply throwing the pitch will make it better.

Glasnow is being told to trust his stuff, compete, throw like a motherfucker, and oh yeah, also throw this pitch that you clearly know isn’t working. And that’s a matter of stubbornness?

I disagree.

I never pitched above high school ball but that was enough to know that the changeup is a fickle pitch. If you can’t find the grip, throwing it a million times won’t help. I’d like to see an effort to find an alternative or find a better grip before I place the full blame on Glasnow’s mentality.

NMR

Focusing solely on the pitches he throws in game action is looking at maybe a quarter of the throws he makes during a week, right? Pitchers typically use side sessions and outfield work to play with grips and get comfortable with new pitches. Is Glasnow also “refusing” to do that? Are the Pirates trying different changeup grips with him? Are they trying different pitches all together?

The harm in forcing a guy to throw a crappy changeup in game action can come from the pitcher trying other means of velo reduction, namely arm deceleration. Not only is this not going to generate the deception needed to make the pitch playable, it can also mess with timing of the delivery.

I don’t think this is nearly so cut and dried or dire as it’s presented, and I’ll also go back to the little part about the organization itself promoting him three times in the last two years despite this supposed insubordination.

Randy W

Damn you, you’re always one of the sharpest people on here and always leave me walking away thinking too much…

NMR

Confusion works as well as coercion. 😉

Just kidding.

Randy W

You’ve approached it from the right angle, as my low IQ attests!

NMR

Don’t sell yourself short, my friend!

Brian Z

I hear you, but in games that TG pitches, and you see him throw 2-4 changeups in the whole game, how could you not believe it is just not being willing to throw it? I don’t care if he gives up 4HR’s/game to start due to his ineffective pitch, the only way to get better is to practice with it in a game

NMR

“…the only way to get better is to practice with it in a game.”

I strongly disagree in this specific case.

I *do* see those 2-4 changeups he throws a game, and they’re exactly why I believe his resistance is far more than stubbornness.

See, those 2-4 changeups simply aren’t any good. Not in terms of movement or command or consistency, but in the most basic sense of the pitch, a change in velocity. An effective change first and foremost is about grip. The grip is what produces the velo differential, and if you don’t have a grip that accomplishes this you can throw the damn thing a million times and it isn’t getting any better.

If it was that Glasnow refused to try different grips, or refused to try *any* tertiary pitch, then I’d certainly be willing to make the jump in logic to pure stubbornness. But what has been presented as evidence to date has been a myopic focus on the changeup, and that pitch is simply one that Glasnow does not throw well. I’m not going to knock him, personally, for that any more than I’d knock Chad Kuhl for not being able to throw a quality curveball or Charlie Morton for never developing a changeup. Some pitches just don’t work for guys.

piraddict

Strongly agree! He needs another pitch. His fastball and curve ball are fine. What’s next to try? Split finger fastball? Screwball? More two seamers?

NMR

As a four-seam guy with a high-3/4 arm slot, a cutter is just begging to be added. He also has long fingers making the splitter an option that would also play off the arm slot, but that’s a tough pitch to teach.

4-seam / CB guys traditionally show less platoon tendencies than sinker/slider guys that drop down 3/4 or lower like Kuhl, so I don’t think Glasnow will have as much need for that third pitch.

Randy W

Tim, I trust your knowledge on the subject, so if management wants him to throw it, then he should be throwing it. Whether he ever develops it well enough to be a viable pitch in MLB is a bridge they’ll cross when they get there. It does appear to be one of the major hurdles holding him back. NMR, I agree that he just doesn’t throw it well, but if him throwing it often is a mandate of the club, then he needs to throw 20 bad changeups a game. That said, I’m hopeful his side sessions consist of him focussing on that pitch, because I agree 100% that “in a game” isn’t the only way to learn. And if he never gets a good feel for it, it may end up being the difference between him being a starter or a reliever. I really pull for this guy, because when you think of what this guy will be if he achieves his full potential…

NMR

“…but if him throwing it often is a *mandate* of the club, then he needs to throw 20 bad changeups a game.”

Promoting him through the three highest levels of the sport in two years is a hell of a way to enforce a “mandate”.

My greater point is not to be as fatalistic about this myopic focus on the changeup in the first place. Sort starters by pitch type and you’ll quickly find there are many, many guys who get it done by other means. Not just two pitch starters like AJ Burnett and Tyson Ross, but guys who turn to the slider, cutter, splitter for that third look. Waino, Bumgarner, Arrietta, Kluber. Really, really good pitchers!

Brian Z

I see your point, I think we all agree he needs to develop a 3rd pitch, whatever it may be. I know the pirates focus on the changeup but I wonder if a slider would benefit him more. Bottom line, he needs more than 2 pitches.

Those pitchers you mentioned all throw 5 or 6 pitch types and although they only throw the changeup ~6% of the time, its still a lot more than TG did in his short time up.

TG has 3 pitches and the change was used 2.5%. Taillon and Kuhl have 4 pitches and used the change ~10%. I’m starting to convince myself that TG is a bullpen guy (but he’s young so can still be what we hope). Good stuff NMR

Randy W

It seemed to me this season he’s either unwilling to throw it, or somewhere in management there’s a disconnect as to what and how he needs to develop? I seem to remember thinking during the season that management needs to mandate he throw it more. But truly, who knows what goes on behind the scenes? Guess it’s really speculation to say he’s “unwilling to throw it” , because none of us knows the truth behind it.

Thomas H

I don’t know that Quintana is “the guy” but I do believe that the Pirates are no better than a .500 team with it’s current roster. Adding Nova is a good first step but that’s all it is. If the Pirates are done adding talent they’ll go nowhere this year.

piraddict

I don’t agree with the no more than .500 prognosis. Their improved starting pitching will enable them to contend, even without Quintana.

Thomas H

Where is the “improvement?”

I get that Cole was injured last year. But the fact remains that every single pitcher currently on the Pirates roster played for last year’s team which finished below .500. In fact none of the pitchers currently in the starting rotation had more than 12 wins last year.

piraddict

#!: Cole 2017 > Cole 2016 (hope he returns to 2015 form)
#2 : Nova (2016 ERA= 3.06) > Liriano (2016=5.46)
#3 : Taillon (2016 ERA=3.38) > Niese (2016 ERA=4.91)
#4 : Kuhl (2016 ERA=4.20 > Nicasio (2016 ERA = 4.50)
#5 : Glasnow (2016 ERA=4.24) > Locke (2016 ERA=5.44)
If each of the individual parts is an improvement from one year to the next how is it mysterious to say that the 2017 staff, even without Q, is better than what the 2016 staff produced?

Thomas H

Except Nova’s ERA for all of last year was actually 4.20 not 3.08. He pitched well for a few months as a Pirate, no doubt. He’s a lifetime 4.30 pitcher and you’re nuts if you think it’s likely he’s going to have a sub 4.0 era in 2017. Glassnow barely pitched in the majors last year. He might be a 4.20 pitcher next year but I highly doubt it. Frankly I doubt he’s in the bigs at the beginning of the year. Kuhl is a gutty pitcher but he isn’t special.

In all, those are mighty optimistic projections for pitchers who have really proven nothing. I am sold on Tallion and Cole. That’s it. Every other pitcher on the staff would be a solid 5. Nova a 4.

piraddict

You are not giving enough credit to the impact that the change in venue had on Nova’s performance. Consider A J Burnett. His numbers with the Yankees were crummy, with the Bucs much better. Why, PNC is a larger park, so fewer HR. The NL has no DH, which probably subtracts about 0.5 runs from the ERA. The AL East has a lot of good offensive clubs, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore that are built to jack the ball out of their small ballparks. So there are a number of good reasons to expect Nova to be in the 3s for ERA. My guess is 3.5 in 2017.

The point is each pitching rank will be stronger in 2017 then they were in 2016, if only because they stunk so badly in 2016. Given decent pitching the offense will be good enough to average significantly more than 4 runs per game, which will be enough to be well above .500.

Thomas H

Team ERA last year was 4.21, 18th in the majors. Runs scored per game was 4.5, 13th in the majors. That was good enough for a losing record. I’d say they need more than 2 starters to have ERAs below 4.00 to get far above .500. Nova, at least historically isn’t that guy.

Personnel wise they have added Hudson to the staff. That’s it. Nova isn’t an addition because he pitched for them last year. Offensively they’ve lost Rodriguez and Joyce and added no one. We are basically looking at the same team as last year. Now the hope is that a few players bounce back from bad years and that others improve upon their level of performance, but this is the same team that posted a sub-.500 record in 2016.

The way I see it their pitching staff this year is about the same as last. Ditto the bullpen and every day line up. Bench is weaker. So I see a .500 team. If you see something else, you’re basically chalking their record up to bad luck. I see it as well earned. Obviously there are other moves to be made but we are talking about their current roster.

Thomas H

I tend to agree that they aren’t good enough to win the division, let alone the WS by adding Quintana alone. Truthfully I think it would depend greatly on who they need to trade to get Quintana and what other player additions or losses there may be. However many people here have called last year’s team a “playoff contender.” Given the second wildcard I think the term “playoff contender” is a nebulous term that arguably includes many .500 teams including the Pirates.

jimmyz

C’mon Neal, let’s turn our amplifiers up to 11!

dr dng

Should we be losing sleep that Cole reports to
spring training and we find out that he is not
healthy?

Tim B

we need to realize that we are the Pittsburgh Pirates, we cannot compete with the Yankees for trades, they simply can go out and buy free agents or buy International player to rebuild their team.

Why not keep Glasnow and our other near ready assets such as Meadows, Newman, Bell and others, Glasnow is simply one of the best young hurlers that baseball has seen in the minors, he has a 1.09 WHIP at almost 500 innings and yes he is only 23. His minor league stats are as good as they come, with only Jose Fernandez and Chris Sale (only a few minor league games) coming close.

Below in the next message is some minor and major league stats on current Bucos prospects and some other young “established”players to compare to…
Glasnow’s walks/9 IP in the minors and very near Quintana’s

As you can view in the image in the below message, Glasnow can be dominant and the door (rotation spot) has just opened for him. We need to be patient and let Ray Searage (pitch doctor) work some magic. If Glasnow becomes a Chris Sale or Jose Fernandez type we will all be upset if he is traded along with 2 or 3 other premium “future” Bucos.

Tim B

see if this works? Double click on the image below to view a little more clear.
comment image

Zack Nagel

Glasnow had one of the most dominating AAA seasons in recent history. He was 4.6 years younger than the average age. He has dynamic stuff and looks like he should be able to fill out a good bit more. He’s an incredible asset.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

Quintana has been a very good pitcher for the CWS for 3-4 years – but nothing is a given and anytime a pitcher switches leagues there is a risk that performance doesn’t carryover. It should, especially moving to the DH-less NL, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Nova signed a pretty team friendly deal – he provides some insurance and depth, but then again there are no guarantees he pitches in 2017, like he did for 2 months in 2016. What if he reverts back to his pre-Pirates form?

In my opinion, barring unforeseen injuries, I don’t see the Pirates as being a Quintana away from overtaking the Cubs. Stranger things have happened and the Cubs could lose some of their drive and underachieve this year. But, if the Pirates end up trading Cutch and Watson in the process or to offset salaries that they’ve taken on. Infield defense is still sub-par, and bullpen is an unknown commodity. To trade Cutch, Watson, and/or 2-3 top prospects for Quintana, in my opinion, would be a mistake. They may be better overall, but enough to overtake Chicago?

Randy W

I guess the question right now is: Are we in better position to win right now with Quintana or in a few years hoping Glasnow, Meadows, Bell and Newman and the young staff fulfill their promise? Being a GM sounds like a crappy job!

BuccosFanStuckinMD

Unless they address in the infield defense, get a catcher who can actually throw out base stealers, and find a dependable closer, Quintana will not move the needle far enough in my opinion.

Randy W

You may be right. I think Quintana is a relatively safe bet to perform well here, but is he enough to make us contenders? If not, you don’t deal, of course. With him in the rotation, the staff looks to be really good. And I do know that if you want a real shot at winning it all, you need three really good arms in the rotation. I’d feel really good about it if we got him and found a way financially to keep Cutch’s bat in the lineup for 2017, which in the event of a trade may be unlikely. That offense with that rotation? I like it. Question marks on the closer for sure. Does Hudson become the steal of the offseason? Did I mention GM sounds like a crappy job?

piraddict

re: ” I think Quintana is a relatively safe bet to perform well here, but is he enough to make us contenders?” Yes. The Bucs biggest deficit last year was starting pitching. If Liriano, Cole, Niese had pitched to expectations the Pirates would have contended for a WC slot. A rotation of Cole (bounced back), Quintana, Taillon, Nova, (5) will enable the Bucs to contend for a WC.

NMR

I’d argue that rotation, along with keeping Cutch, would put them within reach of the Cubs, let alone the Wild Card.

Couple injuries away from a toss-up for the Division.

piraddict

The Cubs would have to step back a little, but that is certainly possible.

Randy W

I second that.

NMR

Maybe even more importantly, I think Q gives them a rotation that could legitimately contend for a WS even if it’s through the Wild Card. And no, I don’t mean “contend” in the way that some people believe the playoffs are nothing but luck and any team that gets in has as much as of winning as the best. I mean in the way that going three-deep with 4-WAR or better starters can overcome a very real overall talent gap.

This game inherently comes down to the most difficult skill in all of sport; hitting a round ball with a round bat, straight. Good pitching will beat good hitting, and a team with good pitching will always be dangerous.

Randy W

Absolutely! And as we mentioned earlier, if we could keep the offense intact (Cutch included) there’s no reason why they can’t win it. The team would be formidable.

Randy W

Reading this site everyday, I get attached to all these prospects; but rationally, come on, they’re just prospects. Their future impact in the bigs is unknown. These guys were drafted and developed to help the organization, and they can, by bringing us a legitimate top of the rotation starter with a proven MLB track record. I’m okay with whatever it takes to get Quintana.

chethejet

we are not seeing the spending this off season. Many big bats on the sidelines and teams value pitching over high strike out homer bats. Adding a LH arm with 200 innings per certainly is a positive. But the question is, does this make the Bucs a contender for a division title. Not really with the Cubs. Does it make them a WC team? Cubs, Cards, Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Nats, look to be in a better position. So trading Cutch, adding prospects and send some combination to the Sox will make them better. To me they are marginal with keeping Cutch if he rebounds. With questions on Bell, Kang, closer, and Cole not sure the time to do this is now. But the trade deadline is the bucs are in it, that may be the way to go.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

“Heading into the offseason, the hope was for the Pirates to add at least one starting pitcher to their rotation. They had a rotation of Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, and a lot of options in Triple-A, led by Drew Hutchison, Steven Brault, and Trevor Williams.”

Seriously, you list Hutchison, but ignore Glasnow? Not to mention Frank Duncan, who pitched much better in 2016 than Hutchison. What are you going to do and say when Hutchison gets shelled in Pittsburgh (since NH will likely make sure he gets there, regardless of ST performance – to try to justify the trade – ala Jason Rogers) and is in Indy with a 4.00+ ERA in 2017?

This is getting silly….I know you are down on Glasnow, after his TWO starts in the majors last year (yet dominated AAA), but what has Hutchison done to deserve this recognition – other than being traded to the Pirates in that absurd deal last Summer?

NMR

Seemed rather obvious to me that this was your intent, FWIW.

Randy W

I agree there’s reason to be skeptical of Hutchison, but he is a viable reclamation guy because at one time he was regarded as a future MLB pitcher; this tells me there’s some talent in there somewhere. He is a candidate to be one of the rotation guys. Glasnow is still an option I’d say, but he’s got a little bit of a climb ahead of him. Kuhl, Williams and Brault are all ahead of him on the depth chart due to their polish. Glasnow may have “dominated” AAA in ERA, but his walk rate and failure to develop a changeup are the main reasons he’s still there. Also, he needs to work on holding baserunners. Those traits lead to disaster in the bigs. I know it’s a small sample size, but he looked out of his depth in his time up. He’s still a great prospect, but he has to show some serious improvement in order to get into the mix in 2017.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

Compare Glasnow’s numbers across the board in 2016 in AAA with those of Hutchison – who was the much more dominant pitcher, despite the walks? I agree, Glasnow needs to harness his control and be more efficient, but there is no comparison between the two in stuff or performance at the same level. It is absurd how this site, and some posters, have gotten down on Glasnow…it is ridiculous.

If Hutchison legitimately wins a rotation spot in ST, I will be shocked – and if he is successful as a starting pitcher in Pittsburgh in 2017, you can all remind me of my error.

Randy W

Glasnow definitely has more talent, for sure. But you know numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Glasnow is definitely not ready for the bigs, and Hutchison is much closer to being there right now. I’m absolutely not down on Glasnow; I’ve been watching this game long enough to know that his current flaws can totally be fixed. I still believe he’ll be an excellent MLB starter, but maybe not for another two years.

Brian Z

has anyone seen the 12up.com article, think it was posted on Dec 23rd. It rumored a 3 team trade was being worked with the Bucs, CWS and Yankees. Essentially it was Cutch to the yanks for a couple top prospects, then those prospects plus Glasnow to CWS for Quintana. So from a Pirate point of view, it would be Cutch and Glasnow for Quintana.

piraddict

That would be the right give/get mix for the Bucs. Hope it works out, but the chances must be small.

Brian Z

yea, I was thinking that same thing…I kept coming here waiting for PP to write something on it…the lack of PP mentioning it made me not believe it. That said, I wouldn’t hate that deal if possible.

Randy W

I wouldn’t either. The rumor came from an unreliable source, but I have to say piraddict has something there in pointing out that the Yanks are capable of pullingnsome head scratchers. Still, can’t get past the questionable source for this one.

piraddict

Except for reading Pirates Prospects on the Internet, right?

piraddict

Depending on what prospects the Yankees put forward it is hard to see what is ridiculous about the rumor (allowing it could be totally false).

Randy W

It’s hard to imagine the Yankees want Cutch, that’s what’s ridiculous. This rumor smells like an outright prank.

Brian Z

that was the part I was having problems with Randy…Don’t see the Yanks really wanting Cutch

piraddict

Easy to imagine for me. Cutch has “star” value, which is more marketable and easier to monetize in NYC than it is in Pittsburgh. The Yankees have the money to sign Cutch long term if they want to and he bounces back, the Pirates do not. Getting Cutch now so both parties can try each other out makes the same sort of sense that the Bucs getting I. Nova for two months prior to the recent long term (3 year) signing. The Yankees have a DH position that Cutch could excel at as his defense declines. The Yankees have a history of valuing stars over prospects, primarily I suppose due to the immediate impact on attendance and tv ratings, and the need to “win now” along with the ability to pay for it. The Yankees inhabit a different world than the Pirates do, and it isn’t sound thinking to expect that they compute trade values the same way that the smaller market MLB teams do. Surely evaluating trades only on equivalent WAR, as seems to be the way trades are thought of by the chattering classes obsessed with the modern approach to baseball statistics, isn’t the only way rich teams like the Yankees think about such matters.

Randy W

You make a valid case, sir.

Mojogrant

They signed a $26 Million free agent and are treating it like it is a “huge” move. Fact is, most teams pay that for back up outfielders. It is a minor signing to anyone else. Let me know when they sign someone for $100 Million and I may get excited.

Brian Z

might as well start rooting for the Cubs b/c $100MM is never going to happen in the Pittsburgh market.

NMR

Fun analogy. Hell, you could expand that to the great context of the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last four years. I’m managing my own expectations, turning down the volume from 2015, and going back to enjoying the tunes from before that.

jaybell

Tim – you are kind of disregarding your own perspective that you’ve reiterated time and time again over the past couple years, which is trading for veterans also come with inherent risks. You can’t say Quintana doesn’t come with “ifs”… He does. He could get hurt. He could fall back in performance. And simply saying the Pirates SHOULD trade for him doesn’t take into account the cost of doing so. The fact that we’ve seen multiple trade rumors about this without an actual trade should tell you the Sox are charging a price the Pirates don’t want to pay. Which I have to believe starts with Meadows.

It would be a mistake for NH to trade the farm for Quintana. As tempting as it is, that is just not the strategy a small market team can afford to take. We can’t get caught up in the enthusiasm of making one decent free agent signing and then hope NH abandons the strategy that got us here to “go all in”. We were a sub .500 team last year that also traded one of the best closers in the game. We are not two players away from a championship. Stay the course and allow our significant high upside depth at AAA to come up and augment the numerous young cost controlled players we already have.

thecrow124

I think you are kind of smooshing together Tim’s stances on things. I don’t recall him saying not to trade prospects to acquire major league players, to the contrary, he has been all for it in the right instances. Trading 6 years of Meadows for 4 years of Quintana, while hard to stomach, could possibly be the right move. The one thing Tim has not advocated for is trading top prospects for rentals of players to make a 1 year run. It is a much different case if you are gaining 4 years of control of a pitcher that is a proven commodity.
To look at it a different way, as we sit today, when Cole gets hurt, we are looking at Taillon being our #1 starter, which is ok, but not ideal. He currently profiles better as a #2 or #3 . If you add Quintana, then Taillon is still only looked at as a #2 .
That being said, I don’t believe any team is going to sell off their farm system to acquire Quintana. As for who the White Sox might be looking to acquire, IMO, they aren’t in a position to be to picky, they still need to take the best offer they receive. I like to believe that the Pirates have enough depth in the minors to be able to absorb the loss of either Glasnow or Meadows.

jaybell

I wasn’t suggesting Tim is against the practice of trading prospects for veterans. Only that he’s been consistent in his philosophy that you can’t just assume established players will continue to produce at historic levels, so there are risks associated with veterans just like there are risks associated with prospects not working out. The part of the article where he says there are no “ifs” about Quintana seems to contradict that philosophy.

On your second point, the White Sox absolutely are in a position to be picky on trading Quintana. He is young and signed for a very affordable contract. They have absolutely no pressing need to trade him, unless they are get a package of prospects they can’t refuse. I would put both the Eaton and Sale trade in that category. If I’m Hahn I’m considering whether Quintana could be the ace of my young staff for the next 4 years. The only reason I trade him is if I get some of the very best prospects in baseball that are also close to the majors. That’s what they got for Sale and Eaton who arguably had less trade value.

leefoo

Jaybell….I ‘get’ your point of view, but that farm could become a dust bowl. Glasnow’s arm could fall off or he could become Bobby Witt, Pt2. Keller could falter as he goes higher. Meadows could stay injury prone. And on and on….

There are “ifs” in any trade.

I just want us to go for it for once, instead of constantly bringing in over the hill vets or reclamation projects and hoping.

jaybell

You are right they could all bust. And they won’t all reach their upside. But that’s true about all prospects. for a small market team, I would only consider trading a package of Top 100 prospects if I felt getting that one player would really put us over the top. Kind of like the position Epstein was in last year. He had a really awesome core (Rizzo, Bryant, Arrieta, Lester, Russell, Hendricks) and decided to add really high upside players (Zobrist, Heyward, Lackey, Chapman) to put them over the top. Adding Q maybe gets us competitive with the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Mets, etc, but it’s hard to say adding that one player to a sub .500 teams puts us over the top. Tempting, but not the right time for this team based on where it is.

RobForsyth

The Sun-Times has an article out there about Quintana this morning and they include the Braves in the discussion about him. They don’t mention specific prospects that the teams involved may be offering, but the article makes it clear that the Sox are going to look for the best deal they can get. The article includes a revised list of their top ten prospects and six of them are new.

leefoo

the Sox are going to look for the best deal they can get.

Shocking!!!!! 🙂

leefoo

Dear NH,

Please make the Quintana trade. Start with Glasnow and add what is necessary. For every Addison Russell that makes it, there is a Matt Laporta who bombs.

I would LOVE to have 4 years of JQ. He is Liriano with control.

Michael Sanders

Out of all the major league pitchers, we only hear of Quintana as a possible trade candidate. Does a similar player exist who you might not need to compete for?

thecrow124

Short answer is no. If there is a player that is available, there is competition for that player. If only 1 team is asking, the team that owns that players rights will look to bring in other teams to drive the price up.

Zack Nagel

Of the teams in rebuild mode: Athletics, Braves, Brewers, Padres, Rays, Reds (maybe DBacks, Angels, Royals) really only give you the Rays starters, Sonny Gray, Teheran, maybe a Dbacks starter, and the Dodgers are rumored to be looking to move Kazmir and/or McCarthy

wtm1613

I like Robby Ray from the DBacks — most likely cheaper (acquisition wise) than Quintana too

thecrow124

The Braves seem to be adding not subtracting, so Teheran is out. Tampa has Cobb and Archer, but don’t seem to be “looking for the best deal”‘ they will only move them if they are blow away by a deal. The D-Backs are a mystery, they got a new GM, but as of yet, they don’t seem to be inclined to move any of their valuable pieces. I would guess that Quintana is the most available pitcher in trades right now, but unfortunately, it appears as though Chicago plans to hold him and work to bring in teams to drive up the price, which is what they should do.

Zack Nagel

Duffy is another option, but not sure what the price would be for 1 year of control.

beaverjp

I picture KC pretending until the trade deadline

beaverjp

Jimmy Nelson

Todd Shevchik

I also like Jimmy Nelson and think the Bucs like Trevor Cahill and can sign him for reasonable money and plug him in as number 4 starter.

beaverjp

Worst case scenario a solid reliever

Zack Nagel

If they cannot swing a trade, I still think Brett Anderson could be a low cost signing with bounce back potential for the back of the rotation (and a lefty).

clemo83

I’d be excited to get Quintana for four years, no question about it. But it does make me queasy to think about what we’d have to give up, especially considering that the White Sox have been fleecing everyone else and Quintana is perceived to have near or the same value as Chris Sale. I know Quintana has an extra year, and even with his affordable contract it’s hard to buy that his value is equal to Sale’s. It feels it should be a little more like Melancon value (Quitana) vs. Aroldis Chapman (Sale) value, since Quintana has been very effective but Sale has the more dominant stuff. Anyway, I think we absolutely need a lefty starter. Just for comparison sake, who are the best available lefties beside Quitana (who would cost less less in prospects)?

Bobby L

Nova is a “loud move”. I like the way you put it.

BuccosFanStuckinMD

That is only recognized as a “loud move” on this site…..although I am in favor of re-signing him for the amount he got, what does that say about how he is viewed by the rest of the league? I don’t recall reading any articles anywhere indicating he was getting much attention or offers elsewhere, even in this pitching starved league. He is what he is – if he pitches like he did the final 2 months of 2016, he will be a very solid #3 . If he pitches like he did the rest of his career, he will be out of the rotation by the all-star break.

beaverjp

I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear the Quintana rumors and how encouraged I am to still see them in the discussion. On the other hand I am for them holding the line with a very good but not ridiculous package. What Tampa has asked for marginally above average starters is insane they deserve to watch other teams swing deals in front of their eyes. As much of a letdown its been I’m glad the FO is working at pirate speed especially when their realistic give up package has a good chance to be the best out there (especially after seeing how putred Toronto’s system was the other day).

Zack Nagel

Speaking of Tampa… the starter I’d like them to target would be Alex Cobb. Value should be down coming off an injury and with (I think) only one year remaining before free agency.

beaverjp

And in theory…A deal for him should be a fraction of what is being offered to the sox

ajax2448

Problem there is the Rays probably won’t want to trade him with his value down. They have 3 other pitchers they would probably want to move before him.

Blaine Huff

I prefer the Pirates move away from Quintana and make some bold and splashy moves in other ways.

Here’s a crazy thought…pull off the Cutch deal, pad the farm system. Move Watson, as well, for solid prospects. Use the savings in one of two ways…

Either bolster the team by going in on a buy-low bridge to Meadows like Rasmus or Morrison and spend the rest on either Tyson Ross or Jason Hammel…or: do something totally insane. Joey Bats has expressed that he’s open to a one-year deal. Slap him in right, send Polanco to left and Marte to center.

If the Pirates do trade for Quintana, Glasnow must be the centerpiece…not Meadows or Bell. Of course I want that because I’m down on Glasnow…as are the Pirates…and most of the folks here.

There’s no reason to think the White Sox won’t be down on him as well and demand one of the others…after all, it’s not secret TG had some serious issues last season.

As well, Newman’s going to hit and Mercer will need to be replaced…he should be kept. So, for the longterm health of the club, he should be untouchable.

Glasnow, Brault, Tucker, and Hayes. That’s it, nothing more. If the Sox ask for that and a free beer at the park, walk away.

Y2JGQ2

There are plenty of shortstop prospects around baseball that are far better than Newman- I have no idea why we are acting like he’s a future multi all-star……I’m not even sure if he’d break the top ten

Blaine Huff

An all-star? No, probably not. but he’s got a great eye for the strike zone and a strong hit tool. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a .280 BA and a BB:K of around 1. If he has power equivalent to Mercer, those two things, alone, put his OPS about 50 points higher than Jordy’s.

Not at all-star, but stability in a position where it’s rare. It’s a nice box to be able to check when building a strong team.

I mean, we can always live with a defensive whiz like Barmes and his sub .600 OPS, but I prefer a guy 150 points higher.

Y2JGQ2

My point is everyone talks about how non-tradable he is………he isn’t that special, deal him. Tucker could still be just as good.

OTDLOT18

pad the farm system? really? are we fucking back to padding the farm system? I swear to god i know where most of the bucco payroll budget goes to the ‘troll division’ – there is NO way that season ticket holding fans would continue to support this bullshit…Open your books, Nutjob! Tell me, troll, would you still feel the same way if you found out that Nutjob’s profit was in the $75m range?

Also, it amazes me your insight, Tim. Your radio analogy is actually EXACTLY what the bucco ownership practices with the fan base (i realize that was not your aim).

The pirates will continue to make make moves to just be ‘good enough’ to compete, however, will not make the moves needed for a world championship roster. However, in the NL central with 2 teams always building championship level rosters (cubs/cardinals), bucs will always be an injury away from a losing season and will never touch a championship. With the Brewers and Reds beginning to exit their rebuilding phases, look for the bucs to lavish another 20 year stretch of sub .500 baseball….

Blaine Huff

You know…padding the system doesn’t mean rebuilding.

It has been rumored that a solid stock of prospects has value at trade deadlines.

Randy W

Amen.

Randy W

It’s unfair to insinuate that Nutting is lining his pockets. He is not required to open up the books, just like every other MLB team. There’s info out there that leads to the conclusion that Nutting absolutely is not raking in obscene money. Remember the audited finances that were leaked years ago, I think around 2010? They showed Nutting took no salary two years in a row, instead only money due to him from a loan he gave to the team years earlier. That doesn’t sound like something a man who only cares about making money would do. The report also showed the Bucs turning a rather modest profit those years. Then there was the former minority owner that had some criticism toward Nutting, but he did state that he isn’t taking cash from the organization and that he is indeed funnelling profits back into the team. Add in that the Bucs payroll lines up with other teams with similar markets, and there is no reason to question his integrity.

leowalter

This is your brain on drugs….

monkshot

Solid post, really good points.

Stephen Brooks

Bautista comes with draft pick compensation, and with the Pirates picking #12 , that would be an expensive pick to part with.

Blaine Huff

Really?

#12 first round picks 2013-2004;

D. J. Peterson
Gavin Cecchini
Taylor Jungmann
Yasmani Grandal
Aaron Crow
Jemile Weeks
Matt Dominquez
Kasey Kiker
Jay Bruce
Jared Weaver

Started with 2013 just to ensure the guy had a reasonable shot to get to the majors by now.

Stephen Brooks

Sure, it’s a mixed bag. But you would certainly take Cecchini’s next 6 years over one year of Bautista (at something like 2.5 WAR); Jungmann is a Jeff Locke season away from matching it with 3 years to go; and Grandal, Bruce and Weaver far surpassed it in their first 6 years. So in the long run, you’d be better off with the pick 50% of the time, with an expected value of 4-5 WAR during years of team control.

It’s really Bautista specifically, not the idea of losing the pick, that I am uncomfortable with – aging RF with poor defense, lost 100 points of OPS last season, moving to a less homer-friendly park (and division), and to the non-DH league to boot.

Blaine Huff

That’s true about the points with Bautista’s decline…how much is attributed to age? How much to injury? I don’t know…but, no, he’s not going to get any better in the long run.

But, if the team is going to go all in and take a shot at it this year, a masher like Bats wouldn’t break my heart. He’s off the books in a year…the would either take the chance and win with him or they’d lose with him…but the only thing the risk cost was a draft pick that was a 50/50 chance to be a contributor at the ML level. And, really, having him would free up Cutch for prospects…and, even in his apparent decline, the return for Cutch should more than make up for the loss of a #12 .

But, in all honesty, the Bautista comment was just an outside-the-box idea…I’m not married to it. I’d rather the team shy away from Quintana, hold the prospects, trade Cutch and Watson for the best haul possible, use the savings to snag someone like Hammel, and sign a bounceback candidate to be a bridge to Meadows.

NMR

Lest we forget the most disputed #14 overall pick in Pirate history. 😉

Blaine Huff

Hahaha…

I was high on him before, I still am…eventually he’ll hit a double!

emjayinTN

That’s called a career-ending decision for a GM.

NMR

It would be awfully funny in a historical context to see *that* Bautista transaction get the guy fired who traded him for the great Robinson Diaz in the first place.

ajax2448

I wasn’t that upset with that trade at the time. It isn’t like he went to Toronto and was a masher right away.

Corey Freeman

Agree we can’t trade Meadows, Bell or Newman. But the package you listed won’t get the job done. Craig instead of Brault and maybe even add Hanson.

rjgrinde

Glasnow, Newman and Meadows feels like the asking price. Take Meadows out of there and insert anyone else besides Bell or Keller and you got yourself a deal my friend

freddylang

I think they can trade Bell, maybe Newman. But if Newman is an average fielding MLB SS that can hit .280+ every year then I think that is a guy you have to keep. I love Bell but with the current OF and Bell’s fielding I think Bell may never be an ideal NL player.

Blaine Huff

From what I’ve read, the CWS are looking for ML ready players. Brault is. Glasnow may be.

I wouldn’t do Craig and Hayes in a trade, one has to stay; otherwise…that assumes two things: Kang will escape both his legal hurdles and/or Frazier is for real.

FWIW, I think Craig has the potential to be a masher…and I don’t think he has a home with the Pirates. He’ll end up at 1B and that should be manned by Bell for the next six seasons…however, this isn’t the deal where he leaves. If it’s Craig or Hayes, I think trade Craig. Hayes is the better longterm option, but Craig gets to the show faster.

emjayinTN

I agree we should tone down the offering simply because we cannot win a bidding war with the Yankees. If the Pirates could have closed the deal fast, they could have gotten it done. Right now it looks like the CWS are conducting an auction.

Travis P

I think they were always conducting an auction… A deal wasn’t going to get done with any team quickly unless they overpaid greatly to make the Sox pull the trigger.

Ben E

Because you were a jerk, Tim, about the radio you must endure the Liriano trade topic. Anyway, I saw the Yankees were in on Quintana and they have good pieces to trade. What this could mean for the cost of your idea of turning up the volume is disconcerting.
Here’s a link: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/12/yankees-white-sox-discussing-david-robertson-as-part-of-quintana-talks.html

If NH drains the prospect pool for anyone not named Bryce Harper he should be made to sit in a conference room by himself and think about what he did. No computers!

Do the Yanks need Cutch?

emjayinTN

They do and he could very easily become a 30-35 HR guy playing in Yankee Stadium for 81 games. However, the Yankees will want to slip Clint Frazier into the OF in 2017.

They need a lot of help in their Rotation much more than they need a position player. I think Sabathia made the Vesting Option so 2017 will be the last year for he and his $25 mil salary. Their SP’s from 2016 – Tanaka, Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Eovaldi, and Severino and a Top 30 loaded with position starters. Quintana fits perfectly, but I doubt they will offer Frazier or Torres in the deal. They will give up Jorge Mateo (SS), Justus Sheffield (LHSP), and Aaron Judge (OF) – that’s their No. 3, 4, and 6 prospects. If the CWS have been watching, they should ask for at least one of the kids the Yankees paid $30 mil to get in the 2014 International Draft – Dermis Garcia comes to mind.

leowalter

The White Sox are going to want an MLB ready starter, preferably an OF with some power and a starter either ready or a step away, If they trade Q to NYY for anything less than Sanchez, Torres or Frazier included, they will negate the brilliant fleecing of the Nats.

thecrow124

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the Sox did not fleece the Nats.

Chris Thomas

Great article. I agree completely.

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