Pirates Recall A.J. Schugel; Option Elias Diaz to Indianapolis

The Pittsburgh Pirates have recalled right-handed reliever A.J. Schugel for the weekend series with the Chicago Cubs. To make room on the active roster, catcher Elias Diaz was optioned to Indianapolis.

With the Pirates about to go into the All-Star break, they were likely going to go back to just two catchers on the active roster. Schugel gives them bullpen help for the weekend series. He was up briefly earlier in the year, but did not get into any games before returning to Indianapolis. Since that demotion back on June 14th, Schugel has made five appearances with Indianapolis, giving up three runs over 6.2 innings, while striking out seven batters. On the season, he has a 4.17 ERA in 36.2 innings over 26 appearances, with 36 strikeouts, a .268 BAA and a 1.36 WHIP.

Diaz hit .266/.306/.380 in 30 games for the Pirates.

  • Why not just option Kuhl to call up Schugel? Worst case he stays down 10 days and comes back after the weekend.

  • So the Buccos lose to the Cubbies today. Sign us up for another top 15 pick in next year’s amateur draft. Hey, Neal, let’s start dealin’. Cutch will bring a nice haul. Same with Cole…and oh yeah, J-hay. Let’s do this!

  • Terry Fahrney
    July 7, 2017 8:18 pm

    All Star break in 2 days. They sent Diaz down so he could play during the break. Got an extra reliever in case he’s needed over the weekend.

  • Well where are the defenders of Bastardo again today?
    Sometimes a child could make these moves and only a GM with $ constipation doesn’t.

  • Wouldn’t want Diaz taking swings away from Stewart.

  • Diaz should be the starting catcher now!

  • And the offense offends again.

  • I think if Schugel pitches well, Bastardo goes.

  • Darkstone42
    July 7, 2017 4:18 pm

    Feel bad for Williams today. Pitched well, but the defense really let him down, and for a while, he covered for them. If Harrison fields that one-hopper right at him off Bryant’s bat, he even gets out of the fourth without a run. But that one wasn’t called an error, so all three runs are earned.

    • Victimized by poor defense. Actually pitched very well all things considered.

      But Bastardo continues his masterful work today. He has to be cut!!! $6MM be damned.

      NH has to get off his tail and make some changes.

      • Yep. There’s no chc he restores any value between now and 7/31. Make the move after the AS break. Cut him. Next guy up. Brault to rotation. Williams or someone else to pen.

  • I don’t like sending him down either…but this could merely be Stew’s last audition for a small trade over the 4 day window.

    • Darkstone42
      July 7, 2017 4:34 pm

      It’s either that, or they’re hoping they can sneak him through waivers if they try it during the break or just out of it, considering Cervelli’s injury history.

      • Is there really *that* much difference between Chris Stewart and Jacob Stallings? If so, what?

        • Stallings is younger, has options and hits better.
          OTOH, Stewart calls the best games of any of the four catchers who’ve seen the majors this season.

        • And this is what drives me nuts. DFA Stewart and have your two best catchers on the roster. Not rocket science. No one thinks Stewart is better than Cervelli or Diaz. Cervelli gets hurt (and he will) then you bring up Stallings to back up Diaz. Are we keeping Stewart on the roster because we’re worried about our fourth catcher? The drop off from Diaz to Stewart is much bigger than the drop off from Stewart to Stallings.

          • Cole does. I don’t think the pitchers like throwing to Diaz. Nova seemed off in the Tampa game.

      • Good point. I don’t think he makes it through bc of how cheap the contract is. But I agree it’s an avenue they may be looking at

    • Eric Marshall
      July 7, 2017 4:35 pm

      we should be trying to win or trade assets. Stewy isn’t an asset and could be backup to Diaz. Either scenario shouldn’t see Diaz going down.

      • I’d disagree that Stew isn’t an asset. Teams need catchers like people need water and oxygen. I’m not saying he’s good…but I’m also saying there’s probably 150 catchers that see time in MLB each yr and the majority are ones people groan about.

    • This also gives Diaz a week of starting.

  • justinblain1996
    July 7, 2017 4:06 pm

    Calling up young players that are use to playing everyday in the minors and only playing them sparingly is a hard adjustment to the players. Moroff has been struggling due to inconsistent playing time. Diaz could also benefit from the extra playing time in Triple A, if Hurdle still wants to keep giving Cervelli and Stewart the bulk of the time. Same could be said for Moroff, sending him down for the time being to get more consistent at bats might be good for him too.

    • Agree completely about Moroff.

    • So the thing about bench players is that they’re not starters.

      Without a slew of injuries and trades, Max Moroff isn’t going to get consistent, extended big league starts. At some point, it’s up to him to make a career for himself as a utility guy without Hurdle giving him a scholarship.

      While the inconsistent playing time probably didn’t help, it sure as heck looks like his notorious passivity is dooming him more than anything. When you swing at less than 60% of pitches in the zone and find yourself behind 0-2 in ~20% of your at-bats, Major Leaguers will eat you alive.

  • Another mind boggling move. Take a productive player and send him down to keep nonproductive ines on the roster in a critical series.
    While taking playing time from a red hot stallings too.
    This year is being dumped clearly and although I don’t disagree at this point that it’s over it may not have been with some better roster and lineup management.

  • I hate that they sent Diaz down. The reward he gets for playing well. Are they trying to demotivate him?

    • When he got regular playing time, he not only hit well (very well for a catcher) but threw out some base stealers. Just reward???

    • Kwilson1977
      July 8, 2017 10:51 pm

      Define playing well? What is the era when he catches? He will be fine but if cervelli goes down it would be him and stallings

  • The roster decisions and the use of those players makes you wonder who this management wants to win. Wow it is really disconcerting to watch this occur.

    • Eric Marshall
      July 7, 2017 2:18 pm

      Stewart deserves no spot on this team currently. Plain and simple. Hopefully they cut their losses after the All Star game.

      • .201/.288/.274 since he BABIP-lucked his way into an age-33 season two-year extension. Since nooooobody could’ve ever expected that to turn out poorly.

        • Reading some of the other blogs, there seems to me to be more dissention with Hunt than seasons past. It’a highly improbable that he gets fired but is he earning his keep? I know BD had a huge thread about Pirate GMs recently, but there was way more negativity toward NH than I’ve seen. Some decisions of the past 2 seasons are highly questionable.

          • When you’re the GM of this franchise, any amount of losing will get people expecting the worst.

            That being said, BD is probably the as good as you’re going to get in terms of Pirate fan commentary and folks who are generally in favor of the job Huntington has done overall are rightfully seeing major cracks in the foundation that NH doesn’t seem willing to accept.

            There’s no plan in place right now other than to field .500 ballclubs and hope they luck into 88-90 wins.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    July 7, 2017 2:06 pm

    Yeah no need to go into important Cubs series with your best catcher….keep Stewart and his .200 average and noodle arm…..Pirates decision making is atrocious

    • Now might be the time for me to cause a huge uprising from those who might break out their pitchforks over what I have to offer(?) as to the catching situation.
      If possible, trade Cervelli. His injury history doesn’t appear to offer much in the way of his catching future. He has an expensive contract ( for the Pirates) and his offense provides little. Is there a team willing to take him w/o demanding too much in the way of prospects?

      • BuccosFanStuckinMD
        July 7, 2017 7:05 pm

        The Pirates FO is the laughingstock of MLB…who would send down Diaz and keep Stewart – going into a 3 game against the Cubs? Who would make such a moronic decision?

        Keeping Bastardo, instead of releasing him in April, and then bringing him back again sure looks like another genius move for NH. Glad he hung on to him.

        • Kwilson1977
          July 8, 2017 10:49 pm

          The previous post answered this. This is stewarts last year. Per above cervelli gets hurt a lot. Dfa Stewart and catcher gets thin real quick. Remember last year? Also , Diaz d has not helped

          • Stop making sense.Bucco Fan has a comprehension problem. He can’t seem to comprehend he isn’t correct very often.

  • The elephants in the room continue to be Bastardo and Moroff. The $ix million reasons for Bastardo still being around are…….?
    Effectively with Moroff and Stewart still rostered the bench is Freese & Osuna.

    • John Dreker
      July 7, 2017 1:46 pm

      The problem is that Moroff was easily their best hitter at Indianapolis. Calling young players up and benching them immediately, isn’t exactly the best route to get production. Not sure what the thinking is by bringing up a hot hitter then not using him. You might not expect them to hit .095 like Moroff, but you shouldn’t expect production either. Less reps vs better pitching isn’t a winning formula.

      So if your best hitter isn’t doing well, is the second best going to do something great when he bats five times a week?

      At this point, they have three days until the AS break, so I’m sure the current roster isn’t the same as what is planned after the break with four days off next week

      • It comes down to who writes out the lineup
        Look at Clints use of Diaz over the last 2 weeks I like Stewart but it’s time to give Diaz regular at bats I think the young pitchers work better with him as well

        • No reason what so ever to send Diaz down. He was very good, very solid & not only deserved to stay with the big club but deserved to be playing even more in my mind.
          Play the BEST 25 guys & try to win games! Damn it, I am sick to death of this kind of crap from the Pirates!
          What are we doing???

      • I agree with what you say, basically. But, if you’re going with Hurdle’s “invisible” bench player theory, why waste Moroff when all you’re looking for is a warm body?

        Now, how about giving us the inside on what is planned after the AS break. (Is there a Gift oncoming)?

        • In the MI, Gift should be there – Moroff is not a SS, and Frazier is not a 2B. DFA Moroff, & Gosselin. Promote Kevin Newman to AAA, promote Eric Wood to replace Moroff-keep JHay at 2B, Wood at 3B, and


          • Kwilson1977
            July 8, 2017 10:46 pm

            Long time fan and reader of this site. I don’t understand this post. Why would you dfa moroff?

      • They have been using him slightly more recently and he has looked a little better. I wish they’d just play him more to see what they’ve got in him, especially with Harrison not hitting at all for the last couple weeks.

        In fact, why not just play him the whole Cubs series and give Harrison an extended break?

      • If I understand John’s comment correctly, either: (1) The roster is being mismanaged or, (2) The available roster resources are being mis-utilized. Whatever can’t go on will stop, eventually.

      • If max moroff is your best hitter at Indianapolis that’s a problem. Wrc plus was great at Indy but too many holes in his swing and overmatched at MLB level. Not a true talent .100 hitter but even with more reps highly doubt he can put up 600 ops at MLB level

  • Is he one of the first arms to go via a minor trade in a few weeks?