Ken Rosenthal posted on The Athletic today that Josh Harrison has indicated that he would like to be traded if the Pittsburgh Pirates don’t plan on seriously contending during the 2018 or 2019 seasons. Harrison has a $10 M salary for 2018, plus club options for the next two seasons totaling $22 M.

The actual part of Harrison’s quote, which can be read in the article linked above, sounds like he understands the business part of the game and it’s by no means a demand to be traded. He was asked about his place with the team in response to the trades of Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen.

“If indeed the team does not expect to contend this year or next, perhaps it would be better for all involved, that I also am traded. I want what is best for the organization that gave me a chance to be a Big Leaguer.”

Harrison’s feelings on this likely won’t change the thinking of the Pirates. He has been rumored as a potential trade piece all off-season and most people thought that once Cole was dealt, then McCutchen and Harrison would be moved a short time later. There should be no shortage of takers in a trade for Harrison, though his remaining contract (which includes $1.5 M in buyouts if the options aren’t picked up), will likely limit the return.

Harrison put up his best career numbers in 2014 when he had an .837 OPS and finished ninth in the NL MVP voting. He followed that up with two down years in 2015-16, before rebounding in 2017 to post a .771 OPS and make his second All-Star team. His season ended in early September due to a fracture on his left hand after a hit-by-pitch.

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163 COMMENTS

  1. Harrison, 5 million of his 2018 salary, and will craig (future dh potential) to yanks for clint frazier

  2. Sarah Huckabee Sanders – ‘scuse me – Neal Huntington with a totally logical, not at all self-congratulatory take on his own performance:

    “If I had told you that we were gonna get 3 top 100 prospects for Gerrit Cole, most fans would probably like that…. That’s a killer trade. WE DID. We got three guys who have gone from having theoretical prospect value, to actual major league value. Joe Musgrove’s [last year as a prospect] in the summer of 2016, so not that long ago, he was in the 30’s for MLB.com. Colin Moran has been in the 70’s I think at his time, and Michael Feliz was a top 100 prospect. So, we acquired three top 100 prospects in the same deal”

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/audio/starkey-mueller/

    • I’m gonna say something that sounds crazy. I think we might have something with Feliz. And while I hated the bullpen going into last year I’m really liking what I see coming into this year.

      People talking about Feliz’s ERA- cmon! If I had the hypothetical choice of 2017 Tony Watson (not knowing how it would play out) vs 2018 Feliz give me Feliz everyday of the week.

      And I still like Edgar Santana. Not much of a fan of Never but I digress.

      I don’t like the thought of Musgrove not starter but IF he actually ends up as a dominant reliever.

      I know, I know the refrain will be you need a lead to close a game out. But the thing is- I think with small market teams they can really separate themselves with some bullpen WPA. That was a big weakness for this team last year.

      A dominant bullpen can take a true talent 80 win team to 85-87 wins.

      The only thing I’ll say is saying all this- I sort of wish we would have just held onto Cutch instead of taking the return we did. I would have paid him 14.5M and took the outlier chance on a 4-5 WAR year.

      • I wouldn’t say that’s crazy at all. It’s a bit of a shame it took using their best assets to do it, but the focus on bullpen arms seems to be a fairly clear response to doing far too little in the recent past in that regard.

        I’m a bit less optimistic about Feliz because I think he’s the type where his flaws are also his features. As a guy who deploys heavy usage of four-seamers at the top of the zone, his approach and repertoire both lead to the strikeouts we covet *and* the hard contact and homers we don’t. I don’t know that you get to keep the K’s if you put him on a Pirate Way diet of two-seamers low in the zone in an attempt to reduce the homers. Nice piece for a 6th or 7th inning role, but I don’t know that you ever get comfortable with the amount of baserunners and homers he gives up if he’s used heavily in leverage situations.

          • That’s what I’m saying; does a 96 MPH straight fastball miss as many bats if its low in the zone instead of at the letters?

            • I get what you’re saying but this might be a guy where adding a 2 seamer actually helps keep hitters off balance. I just think there is a lot to work with. People swing at his slider a lot and miss it a lot. That’s a rare combo.

    • Have to admit though. IF(and it’s a huge IF) Moran swing change is legitimate and carries over NH is going to be looking real good on this deal.

      • The Cole and Cutch deals are very, very different in my mind. I have no problem with moving Cole, particularly since they filled the hole at 3B. They should have kept Cutch for his last year and then gone through the same Kubuki dance that the Cards did with Pujols, or if they were out of it by mid season traded him at the deadline. Either approach would have been less of the PR disaster that they face today.

      • You know me and my fly balls, man! Moran’s swing change was all the even made him worthy of inclusion in this trade, and it absolutely makes him interesting again after he had essentially busted.

        I took a look at a few red flags this morning on BD:

        While Moran turned into an extreme fly ball hitter, the rate at which he converted those fly balls to home runs was rather unimpressive, ranking 35th among PCL hitters with at least 100 PA in HR/FB ratio at 18.2%. This isn’t a bad mark by any means, but given the league he was playing in it doesn’t necessarily scream that he has the kind of raw power that’ll translate to the big leagues. The ’stros have seen Derek Fisher, Tyler White, and AJ Reed struggle to make the PCL-MLB power jump recently and all three had higher HR/FB ratios.

        Also, Moran’s HR surge was exclusively to the pull side. As in, literally, not a single home run to the opposite field. He wasn’t an extreme puller in general, as he still hit plenty of fly balls and line drives the other way. Just none of them hard enough to go out. This again speaks to raw power, or lack there of, and gives opposing pitchers a pretty clear plan of attack when trying to avoid damage.

        Finally, Moran still struggled against lefties, posting a 203 point short-side split and just a .161 ISO against LHP.

    • I’m not going to listen. Did he he really use the phrase “killer trade”? That’s going out on a limb there Neal. But as I said in the post below if they actually turn out right on the Moran bet- it will look pretty damn good.

      If they don’t, well…

      I mean at least it gives some reason to tune as opposed to trying to milk out a year of Freese/Srod platoon.

  3. If they do trade J-Hay and his $10M contract, Cole’s $6.75, Cutch’s 12.5M… Plus the $50M every MLB team is getting.. If the front office is serious about a quick retool, wouldn’t you want them to use that money on a SP (Lance Lynn maybe)? They do that, then use Meadows and a couple young SP (not Keller) for Yelich. Now 2018 and especially 2019 with Keller in the rotation looks really really good. I don’t believe anything close to this would happen but it’s fun to think about.

  4. I wonder how much revenue this move will cost the Pirates? How long will it take to make up that revenue. I understand trading players and how the competitive window is only open so long, but you don’t trade a franchise icon for an a ball outfielder and a reliever with control issues. They should have allowed him to finish his contract and departed afterwards.

  5. I say blow it all up and make a major splash after the 2018 season during that free agency period. When is the last time people can say that the Pirates went out and made a major free agent signing. When I say that, I’m specifically referring to immediately after the announcement of the signing, without the guy playing a single inning for the Pirates. Probably the closest would be Russell Martin, though I don’t think at the time he was signed it was looked upon as a great move by the Pirates. At one time the Pirates had the highest paid player in Dave Parker. For whatever reason, the Pirates have avoided having the highest paid player or one of the highest paid players in baseball. So why not make a splash during the 2018-2019 free agent signing period, as that happens to look like it is going to be one of the better free agent classes in several years.

  6. I would like to get into Clint Hurdle’s head and learn his thoughts and emotions with this rebuild… sorry, retool.

  7. JHay just bought his ticket out of town. No way they should keep a veteran who is comfortable saying to the media he expects the team to suck for the next couple years. Those may not have been his exact words, but the message is plain as day if you read between the lines.

    Bye bye JHay. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.

      • That’s meaningless compared to a player saying it. Players dictate how well or poorly the team does, and he just told his teammates he thinks they suck.

        That’s how I read his message.

        • So when the GM, the boss of the organization, says “we think we’re going to suck” calling out every player, that’s okay. But when a player says “If my boss thinks we’re going to suck, I don’t really want to be here.” the player did something wrong.

          Wow!

              • First, it was an article about Harrison asking to be traded. Second, I have yet to read the full question and answer given by NH, which Harrison referenced in his statement. If you read the statement carefully it sounds to me like NH was commenting on attendance and specifically the drop in attendance experienced the last couple years. And how he expects fans to come back when Club competes for a playoff spot.

                Do you know where to find the entire question and answer JHay referenced? I’ve looked for it, but can’t find it.

      • Harrison could’ve just as easily had his agent call NH and requested a trade. Instead he purposely threw gasoline on the fire.

        I respect and appreciate him for his contributions to organization before yesterday. But this was a dick move any way you slice it!

  8. They should trade him. Then trade for Yelich at Realmuto. They had the farm system to do it. You could keep this line up for years. Plenty of money left they want to try and sign a veteran pitcher. If Polanco and Glasnow breakout, this team goes deep. Sorry it doesn’t fit the end of the world narrative.

    C: Realmuto
    1B: Bell
    2B: Moroff
    3B: Moran
    SS: Mercer
    LF: Yelich
    CF: Marte
    RF: Polanco/Luplow

    SP: Taillion
    SP: Nova
    SP: Kuhl
    SP: Williams
    SP: Glasnow

    Bullpen is set.

          • The question was of trade value…not whether it’d be wise to pull the trigger on the deal.

            That package is what is, reasonably, what it would take.

            Yelich is a 4.5 WAR guy making $55M over 5 year’s. That’s $147.5M in excess value.

            Realmuto is at 3.5 WAR/season for 3 years @ about $23M. Excess value = $71.5M.

            $228M excess in total.

            If Meadows and Keller are both 60s, that’s about $100M.

            Baz as a 55, Tucker and Hayes at 50s are worth about $60M.

            The deal is actually a little light as Glasnow far from makes up that difference.

        • Wow, that’s a lot – I wouldn’t make that trade, only because Yelich and Realmuto combined couldn’t make this team a contender and this deal would trade away so many prospect assets. But, I doubt if even the 4-5 guys you listed above would be an acceptable return for the Marlins – Keller is a stud, the rest are good prospects but not highly rated prospects….

    • Glasnow breaking out is not very likely. This team with the lineup you suggested will be headed deep all right, straight to last place! Who do you think the Pirates will trade for Yelich? That would take Keller or Meadows, not going to happen.

    • “If the Pirates make two trades and sign a pitcher that absolutely will not actually happen while simultaneously getting two unlikely breakouts they’ll be good. Suck it, haterz”

      #analysis

  9. I don’t think he actually said he thought it would be best. He stated it would be best if they don’t expext to compete by next year. Harrison is actually under control for 3 more years so he should have good value going forward.

  10. Josh. I respect you more than ever. I loved the enthusiasm you play with every inning. Put this leadership group behind you quickly and you will indeed be successful. If they don’t trade you it shows how inept they truly are and even they can’t take a third beating.
    To management: Trade Josh and let him go to a winning environment and not play for this low class regime. The Pittsburgh Pirates will rise again to the level of greatness soon as this no leadership team is dismantled. Let’s start tomorrow by seeing a resignation and admission of failure by NH and let the healing begin.

  11. Eduardo Nunez is hindering a potential JayHay deal. Nunez needs to go ahead and sign with someone already…

      • Maybe but getting a similar player at a similar price without giving up an asset seems like it would take precedence for most teams. Harrison is a better fielder though….

        • A few years back it would but now the Salary Tax that is hitting and effecting high spending teams has totally mucked up the FA market.

  12. It cracks me up that NH continues to insult fans’ intelligence by insisting this is NOT a rebuild….he has little credibility after the Liriano and Nicasio debacles, but this may remove all doubt.

    If they are going to do this right, they need to clean the roster of the mediocre and overpaid veterans who just take valuable ABs and IPs from young players who need to play to be evaluated. Guys like SRod, Hudson, Nova, Cervelli, Freese all need to go…the return will likely be in coins, but at least you free up roster spots.

    • It’s NOT a rebuild. The word “rebuild” implies that the plan is to be good at some point in the future. They don’t plan on ever being good. Just profitable.

    • I love to hear people realize the truth. Many that comment believe NH is a baseball god. I’m surprised I haven’t heard yet we just need to trust the front office.

    • I honestly wish is was a REAL rebuild MD and not a lame attempt to rebuild and retool at the same time. A real rebuild would have seen us get lower level higher ceiling prospects for Cole instead of lower ceiling major league ready guys. In a REAL rebuild we would have traded Rivera for more lower level guys and not signed him. A real rebuild would see us move Mercer, Nova- anyone making any real money.

      • You are EXACTLY right – they should have pursued A level prospects with high upsides, instead of guys who may be role players at best in the foreseeable future. At least there would be some hope that the younger, high upside prospects could become difference makers and future stars. The only player they got, who even remotely fits that description, is Reynolds – and he turns 23 soon.

  13. Can’t blame him – Pirates have limited future with current ownership and management. They won’t spend what is necessary to maintain a winning organization and they are grossly incompetent.

  14. Does it really matter who plays where next year? Many will be fillers holding he positions temporarily on a team going nowhere.

  15. I thought he was professional in his response and not “demanding” anything, which is what I’ve seen some attribute his quote to. You said it well that he understands the business and probably just sees that writing on the wall.

  16. Harrison had a really good 2014, got a nice contract out of it, and then has been pretty mediocre since then. His power plummeted in 15 and 16, and it returned last year. I like him, I think he has value on a good team, but I’m fine seeing what Moroff, Frazier, Kramer, Newman can do with his time, I think all of those guys have the potential for more upside at this point. They won’t all get there, and maybe none do, but we need to see.

    So, lets get Harrison to a contender, get a lower level prospect or two with some promise (no need for another Major League ready reliever)

    • Do not forget that thumb injury in 2015. I remember an interview early last season in which JHay attributed his power returning to healthy hands. I do not believe you will see another 2014, but more 2017 seasons are doable. And that’s very valuable when you add in his base running and defense.

  17. I think the problem becomes the narrative that we have heard too often that they do not want a player to take up a disproportionate amount of the salary cap, well self-induced salary cap. I believe that this basically resets the clock to inch back over 100 million until the next tear down no matter how many years that is from now. One of the problems I see and don’t understand is why Nutting does not disclose how bad the debt really was when they took over. I think as private as he wants to be, it is a way to show how there has, fingers crossed, been head way in getting that debt paid down while trying to field a competitive major league baseball team. I know that last part can be debated. And if it’s not, then we definitely do have to question where the organization is becoming stronger at from the financial side of things

    • Do some reading back from 2003. The team was insolvent and ordered by MLB to cut expenses. (payroll). They also were cash strapped in terms of covering expenses. Nutting stepped in and loaned the team $ to remain afloat. It was all very public. By all accounts (Forbes annual review) the team is in much better shape in terms of debt, but, I dont see him taking on more to operate. Revenue will be down for 2017 due to the lower attendance. A new TV package is due to be negotiated soon. With all sports organizations suffering lower viewership and the reduction in national broadcasts the $ on the next contract may very well be less. I would not expect any higher payroll anytime soon.

    • This organization is doing very well. They’ve increased the value of the franchise since Nutting took over. They were ranked around 30th and as of 2017, moved up to 17nth. The number one goal for these wealthy owners is to raise the value of the franchise. The Pittsburgh Pirates are an investment to this ownership group. Eventually they will sell it for a very large profit.

      • Not so sure about that with the Pirates. The Nutting family doesnt seem to sell assets. Fmom Wikipedia “Ogden Newspapers Inc. is a Wheeling, West Virginia based publisher of daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, telephone directories, and shoppers guides. The company was founded by H.C. Ogden in 1890, and continues to be run by his descendants, the Nutting family, owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates.[2][3] It has operations in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia, serving mostly small markets.[4]”

      • I don’t disagree that Forbes publication made that assumption, however….we truly and they truly have no clue. Pure speculation.

        Also Nutting has been on record that this is something he wants to pass down to his family, so I don’t think he’s looking to sell it.

        • Jmo, if he’s not selling and wishes to pass it down to his family, he’s going to want to give them something of worth.

  18. we like to talk about salary cap but this ownership is and has always been against it. We would have to increase our salaries at least 50% this year and would have had to add to our salary the last 5 years. The Pirates have and will continue to oppose the cap and we are not the only team right now that feels that way

  19. Might it be possible that we could move Cervelli
    at the deadline to a contending team with an
    injured catcher?

    Ooops, I should add, if he’s healthy.

  20. Yanks want Harrison. The Pirates could use Clint Frazier in LF. What do you add to Harrison to get Frazier from the Yanks? Taylor Hearn? Kevin Newman?

  21. Well…Harrison loses his dance partner, so this was expected. Harrison could still fetch a similar return at the trade deadline. His versatility and his 2 option years will keep his value pretty decent. So, with Harrison, I’d wait for the right deal.

    I felt that Cole and McCutchen could have seen their value crater in the first half of the season. Cutch, by simply starting the same way he starts most seasons, and Cole, by having the dreaded TJ injury that most pitchers that throw 100 in college and the pros eventually require.

    I completely disagree with dumping Cervelli. The return will be nothing, and they aren’t in a salary crunch at all. A veteran catcher will help mold Diaz, and help with our young pitchers.

    • Counterpoint: Sonny Gray.

      Cole arguably didn’t fetch a single prospect with the upside of any one of the three that the A’s got for Sonny Gray, a pitcher without the demonstrated peak Cole has shown who was coming off a far worse season than Cole had in 2017.

      A couple good months of baseball is all it took to turn his value around completely.

      A club like the Astros isn’t trading for a playoff starter like Cole so he can eat innings in May. He’s there to take the ball as many times as he can in the post season. I don’t see any evidence that pitcher value decreases within the season based on a couple months less of team control.

      • This is true – good points. It was definitely a safer bet trading now, but agree he could’ve gained tremendous value.

      • I think it’s the high-risk nature of pitchers as assets. Cole is healthy now, and there’s reason now for optimism he’ll turn it around. If he does stay healthy this season and turn it around, then his value would have increased. But the risk with a pitcher is high he either gets hurt or continues to struggle with what he struggles with, and in that case, his value would have plummeted.

        Which choice is right is up for debate, but I think the Pirates elected the safer route of dealing him now at known value.

    • Its not about a salary crunch its about value and they will give Cervelli away or even pay for someone to take him away at this point. I just hope its not some of our better prosects

  22. i hope to god Jhay is traded for his sake…this team looks simply abysmal on paper…just an fyi, there are these same koolaid drinkers that were on the giants/phillies/tigers message boards leading into the 2017 season….

  23. Must complete the dismantling:

    Trade Harrison
    Trade Cervelli this will cost monies or prospect to do
    Trade Nova

    Sign Lynn
    Sign Jay

    Trade with ATL to get Catcher

  24. I’ve always thought of Harrison as a “first off the bench” player on a good team. People will be outraged when they trade him because of his personality and his greatest ability – rundowns. I’d rather move on to someone who may be able to provide more pop with the bat since it’s a power league now.

  25. Sorry if this dismantling continues to take place where the team salary continues to fall. MLB should look at least to a basement cap. And this is the year every team gets a one time lump sum. Where are the Pirates going to use that money?
    Where are the Pirates going next? Trade a couple minor league pitchers for an outfielder? Sign a free agent? Some sign of encouragement. I love the Pirates just not the owner.

    • Nutting & Co will certainly have to update their narratives, that’s for sure.

      The club is financially healthy, they’ve paid down debt, built their facilities, and have had all means of amateur talent acquisition capped. They’re literally out of all the areas they previously claimed to be dumping profits..

      Is Nutting still not taking a salary ( wink wink)?

      • I wonder if he is still the 6th richest owner in all of sports world wide or has he move up? he is a fantastic business man but that sure doesn’t help the team I have rooted for my entire life.

    • Signing anyone by using the lump sum money would be the highest form of financial irresponsibility. You invest that in something much more durable. It is treated a Capital asset, not an operating fund.

      • I was not suggesting using the whole lump sum on one player. But now you have the money that was saved with Cole and Cutch. Plus that lump sum. There should be some reinvestment.

      • Ha!

        This isn’t a manufacturing company or real estate holding.

        Major League Baseball is a professional services industry. Players *are* capital assets!

        How many damn score boards and batting cages can you build with $50m anyways?

  26. Josh Harrison isn’t an idiot, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

    He just saw the club’s two best players traded, understands the talent left behind, listened to the comments from Owner, President, and General Manager, and *still* took it upon himself to write to a national outlet saying he thinks it would be best if he were traded.

    For those struggling mightily to read between the lines, Josh Harrison wants to be traded.

    • Absolutely. He understands this ownership is only about economics, and to them, winning is nice if it happens. He sees Cutch and Cole suddenly on teams with legit chances at pennants if not better. He would be foolish not want that himself. He’s given his best for this team, hopefully they’ll send him somewhere with a chance to win, although my guess it will be to the Mets, which for him, will be more or less a “lateral move” since they probably won’t get out if their division.
      As for us, there’s not much in the Mets system that would benefit us. If Texas gets back into play for JHay it might benefit both sides.

      • He literally pulled the “it’s what’s best for you, baby” move and people are still trying to pretend he doesn’t want out.

        I’m guessing those guys had at least one girlfriend who broke up with them two weeks before they realized it in high school. 😉

      • Do not worry just because the Mets don’t have anyone we want doesn’t mean we will not take any of there stiffs.

      • Giants won 64 games last year. They added two aging franchise players. Is this going to make them jump 30 wins to 94? To even have a chance to win it that Divison with the Dodgers, Rockies and DBacks? I wouldn’t hold your breathe.

        • Not necessarily but getting bumgarner back for the year and corrections to career norms for smarzja and cueto as well as melancon will

        • Bumgarner missed most of last year – if Cutch and Longoria can perform at close to their 2017 levels, they will be vastly improved….30 wins better? I don’t know – they are in a very tough division. But, they are at least TRYING TO WIN!

    • You’d have to be a moron not to see he wants to be dealt. My problem is he just cut his already modest trade value substantially. Every GM in MLB now knows the Pirates can’t have him and his cancerous attitude report for ST.

      Total dick move by him.

      • I know we have very different views on labor, but this was about the cuddliest, softest way of stating the obvious that one could choose.

        • Agreed he could’ve used harsher language in his demand to be traded. Still sounds a bit like a petulant child who threatens to take his ball and go home when things don’t meet his expectations to me though.

          • *His* expectations, or those promised to him when Huntington convinced him to sign an extension?

            This has to be a two-way street. If he signed up for a rebuild, then shame on him. But if he gave up a chance at the free market based on a pitch that included building a World Series contender, how do you blame him now that Huntington reneged?

            • I don’t blame him for wanting to be traded. I blame him for going to media and putting the Pirates organization between a rock and a hard place.

              He just as easily could’ve said to NH, “It’s readily apparent the team is retooling with a new core group of players, and I would welcome a trade so as to not get in the way of who is to replace my spot on the roster.”

              It’s a personal preference. Cutch leaves with class. Cole takes his parting shot, and JHay bites the hand that feeds him. Tells me what kind of men they are.

              • You are over the top on this Scott. JHay seems like a decent guy. Was he responding to a question from the press? What’s he supposed to say, “I sure hope they don’t trade me, as I doubt that I could make the team anywhere else.”? Him saying that if it’s good for the team that started his career that he be traded then he’ll be happy to go doesn’t make him an ogre.

                • JHay wasn’t responding to the press, he had Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic publish a statement.

                  Biting the hand that feeds him is too kind. More like lobbing a Molotov cocktail into NH’s office at PNC Park.

      • Not really. Just because a players asks to be traded does not mean the Bucs must oblige. JHay’s request got me wondering: What kind of value does he hold and what could we expect in return?

  27. If Harrison gets his wish, the 2019 lineup looks something like

    LF Meadows… CF Marte… RF Polanco… 3b Moran… SS WHO KNOWS… 2b Moroff/WhoKnows… 1b Bell… C Cervelli

    The pitching staff is going to be solid and weird.

    The point i’m getting to… that team’s payroll is something like $35 million, and it doesnt look like a bad start, to me.

    Filling the few holes and getting the payroll back up to… say…. even just 80 million…. they could be quite good as soon as 2019.

    divide 45 million among a good shortstop, Yasmani Grandal to be the C for the following 3-4 years, and maybe something else? That’s a *good* team.

    Get it back to 100 million, and we’re really talkin turkey

    • I don’t think they will open the season with Meadows in Pittsburgh. Between years of control and Super Two, I do not think we will see him until June. More likely to see Luplow or a Luplow/Frazier platoon as the third outfielder, unless they spend the money to bring in a veteran.

    • The 2019 club has $39m committed in guaranteed contracts alone, plus about another $10m in projected arb and $13m in league-min costs to fill out the roster.

      That’s still something like $40m to play with, but they’ll have significant costs still on the books if they can’t dump Cervelli and Nova, particularly.

      • The future payroll tracker has a “29” as the 2019 commitment. But youre totally right. that has to be a typo haha. That’s what i was basing things on.

        ( https://www.piratesprospects.com/futurepayroll )

        That said, their only Arb players are Kontos and Feliz. (which was shocking)

        I bet they let Kontos walk and Feliz wont be expensive at all.

        I think they can just keep Cervelli and Nova around for 2019. God knows they have the money. If they can pawn them off, then even better. that’s more FA/ Trade fun they can have.

        I’m 150% comfortable with a Cervelli Grandal platoon, if that’s what things come to.

        Regardless, i’m shocked that more people aren’t optimistic about the team they could put on the field in 2019. And you of all people seem to be one of the only people that agree with me haha.

        • No worries!

          https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PIT/pittsburgh-pirates-salaries-and-contracts.shtml

          My optimism has admittedly taken quite a hit over the last few days, and I’m making more of a hypothetical argument for 2019 than a prediction. While they’ll have plenty of payroll to spare, I’m not close to convinced that Huntington will go to the *length* of contract needed to get any actual high-end FA.

          Regardless, I’ve long been resigned to arguing hypotheticals as a Pirate fan so here we are!

          • lol ya. and a 60 million dollar spending spree certainly isn’t something we see in MLB often, let alone with *the Pirates* haha.

            I could see a 3-4 year deal to a Grandal. Maybe the other gaps get filled via trades for guys with 1-3 years left on their deals.

            • Has anyone truly really frontloaded a contract to make it easier to trade a player or use the resources later when its really needed? For instance…..sign a high end FA……5 years 90 million. Doesn’t matter who……give him 40 million the first year to spend our cash, which leaves 50 million over 4 years left…….a lot of flexibility right? I’m sure there is a reason NOT to do this, probably player insurance…..but anyways.

              • i dunno. but if what you’re getting at is giving Manny Machado a 10 year 400 million dollar deal with 70 million paid in year 1, then i’m totally with you 🙂

              • Cards did that with Jhonny Peralta and it worked out well, at least by intent, but it was only front loaded by $5m or so. I think it went something like $15m -$12m-$10m-$10m.

                Teams don’t do this, in general, because of the time value of money and the expectation for more revenue down the road. Except in very specific circumstances, you probably don’t have the *current* payroll space to front load a contract that severely.

              • This happens in the NFL to manipulate the cap. But obviously we’re not comparing apples to apples with that and in many ways the NFL has a much more complicated payroll structure. My question is along what you’re thinking. If you have 30 mil or so left in the current year payroll budget, why not front load it to some players leaving more flexibility in future years.

                • I’m just saying….if ownership says you have 100 to spend and you can’t roll it over, you have to spend it…….so get a good player long term and don’t hurt your payroll in future years when you need it for other players. Give someone 35 million year 1 and like 12 million years 2-4. You don’t mess up your payroll and you aren’t spending money that you are going to miss…..you can still get someone good for 4 years 71 million right?

            • Deal lengths for the pirates should be understood to mean the term less one or two years which Is Win management gets it’s itchy trigger finger going to trade a player before they can get nothing for them.

          • I am guessing they will add a free agent or two and try to win in 2019 because the TV contract is up. Make themselves look a little more attractive?

    • Seems like SS/middle infield and catcher are the biggest areas of uncertainty and lack of pipeline. Not that I’m giving up on Diaz/Tucker/Newman/Moroff/etc…, but it they can find a stud SS or C that would make me happy.

      • Yeah i’d make Yasmani Grandal my #1 priority because of the lack of C prospects.

        as far as SS, someone like Didi Gregorious will be in his last year with the yankees, and Torres will surely be ready to take the SS reins. Maybe a moderately expensive one year solution like that would be perfect in bridging the gap to Tucker.

        I’m not a Diaz guy. i’m not a Newman guy. I *am* a Moroff guy.

      • i just put him there because he’s under contract.

        like i said, i’d like them to throw money at a catcher like Yasmani Grandal to become the starter.

        • I’d much rather see us keep harrison and trade cervelli- having someone that plays that hard with a smile is someone the younger players can learn from. I don’t really want them learning anything from Cervelli.

    • Cervelli better be working only in a limited role to help young pitchers in 2019, or we have issues that need to be addressed at catcher. Hopefully Diaz is at the very least a solid fielder and worth starting.

    • On paper that doesn’t look too bad, but a few players need to step up in quality. Essentially we need at least 2 guys in the everyday lineup to be legitimate all-stars, whether that is Bell, Marte, Polanco, meadows there is certainly some promise for that to happen

      I also look at some of the ZIPs projections of Trevor Williams, Kuhl and taillon and think they are all being undersold, I would not be surprised if all three perform better this coming year than last year.

    • Jay I like your optimism however but the Pirates will NEVER spend big in FA. There is a good chance we are under 60 million in 2019 and 2020. The Bucs will then spend 75-85 mil.in 2021 and tell us how they are really pouring money into the team. I am going to try to enjoy this team even though ownership trys to make it hard for me.

      • I actually am optimistic that they will retool, conserve cost, then go back up to 100-125mm.
        The Astros dropped to sub 70mm in 2015, and jumped to 117+ for this year. Same as Indians- they dropped to 80ish in 2015 while they retooled.
        The Bucs jumped to 100 when they had a shot. I believe, from
        History, they will
        Again.

    • The only way this team is getting back to $100 mil in salary is there’s more than two million in attendance. That’s how Nutting works, only spending OTHER people’s money. Besides, by then, $100 mil will still probably only be good enough for the 29th highest payroll in baseball.

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