Morning Report: The Pirates Made the Right Moves at the Trade Deadline

The Pirates made the right moves at the trade deadline.

This wasn’t a team that had much of a chance at making the playoffs before any trades were made. They went on an impressive run prior to the deadline, going 15-4 in the games leading up to July 31st. That still only put them three games above .500, and with low odds of making it to the Wild Card game.

They have since taken a dip in the standings, going 7-10 since the trades, and dropping back to .500, with less than a 3% average chance of making the post-season.

But the trades to bring in Chris Archer and Keone Kela, while sending out a lot of young talent in the process, were the right moves.

Those were the right moves because they were made with more of an impact in 2019, 2020, and 2021 than the final two months in 2018. If the Pirates managed to do anything this year, it would be impressive and unexpected, and the Archer/Kela additions had the chance to provide a boost. But as I said before the deadline, the Pirates didn’t need to go all-in for this year, although it did make sense for them to get guys who could help beyond 2018.

On the flip side of those moves, the Pirates didn’t really give up anyone who they will miss in the short-term or long-term. They traded Tyler Glasnow and Taylor Hearn from their short-term pitching depth, but it’s going to be difficult to crack the rotation in Pittsburgh with Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Mitch Keller, Joe Musgrove, and the numerous options for the fifth starter spot lined up over the next several years.

They traded Austin Meadows, and that creates a hole in the outfield after 2019, but that can be filled by either extending Corey Dickerson, signing a free agent, or if one of Bryan Reynolds, Jordan Luplow, or Jason Martin work out as starting options.

They traded Shane Baz, but it would be at least 2021 or 2022 until he arrived in the majors, and those are both very optimistic timelines based on his current command issues. They have other projectable starters in the lower levels, and could see one or two of them emerge as options before that point.

They traded Sherten Apostel, whose value is strongest if he can stick at third base. But they have two better third base prospects ahead of him in Oneil Cruz and Ke’Bryan Hayes.

The Pirates traded from areas of depth in order to get some help for the next few seasons. They’ve basically started their offseason early, and that was a good approach. The approach can’t end here though. As I’ve pointed out, they could have a lot of money to spend this offseason, allowing for an additional boost to the team, while not really losing much from the core of the current group.

Until the offseason comes around, the Pirates need to be focusing on getting ready for 2019 and improving their chances in the future. That means figuring out how to get the best out of Archer and Taillon at the top of the rotation, and figuring out where they can upgrade internally, so that they have a better idea of what they need to add this offseason.

PLAYOFF PUSH

The Pirates are in fourth place in their division, trailing by nine games with 37 games left on the schedule. They trail the second wild card team by six games.

Indianapolis is in first place with a one game lead and 14 games left in their schedule.

Altoona is in second place and trails by 1.5 games with 16 games left in their schedule. They lead the race for the second playoff spot by 4.5 games.

Bradenton is in sixth place and trails by 14 games with 14 games left in their schedule.

West Virginia is in fourth place and trails by 11 games with 16 games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team in the overall standings by 2.5 games and could make the playoffs if Lakewood wins the second half title and the Power finishes second.

Morgantown is in sixth place and they trail by 11 games with 15 games left in their schedule.

Bristol is in third place and trails by four games with ten games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team, which also gets a playoff spot, by 1.5 games.

The GCL Pirates have been eliminated from the playoff race.

The DSL Pirates1 have been eliminated from the playoff race.

The DSL Pirates2 have been eliminated from the playoff race.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 2-1 over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates will now take on the Atlanta Braves for three games at PNC Park. Chris Archer will get the start today, coming off of his outing on August 15th when he gave up four runs over five innings against the Minnesota Twins. The Braves will counter with right-hander Kevin Gausman, who has a 4.22 ERA in 143 innings, with 116 strikeouts and a 1.34 WHIP. He has allowed three earned runs over 14 innings in his last two starts combined.

The minor league schedule includes James Marvel making his third start for Altoona. He just entered our top 50 prospects list after Sherten Apostel was traded to the Texas Rangers. Marvel has allowed three runs in 13.2 innings with the Curve. West Virginia’s Max Kranick has picked up at least six strikeouts in six of his last nine starts, while also walking a total of four batters in his last eight starts combined. Indianapolis and Bradenton are both off today. This is the final week for the GCL Pirates and both DSL clubs. They wrap up their schedules on Saturday.

MLB: Pittsburgh (63-62) vs Braves (68-55) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Chris Archer (5.65 ERA, 16:6 SO/BB, 14.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (68-58) vs Columbus (67-59) 7:05 PM 8/21 (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (6.06 ERA, 43:16 SO/BB, 35.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (67-55) @ Binghamton (60-65) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: James Marvel (1.98 ERA, 10:3 SO/BB, 13.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (53-65) vs Charlotte (67-55) 6:30 PM 8/21 (season preview)
Probable starter: Domingo Robles (7.84 ERA, 7:4 SO/BB, 10.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (62-57) vs Charleston (57-65) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Max Kranick (4.30 ERA, 69:17 SO/BB, 69.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (24-37) vs Batavia (27-33) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

Rookie: Bristol (28-30) vs Pulaski (29-29) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)

GCL: Pirates (23-23) vs Phillies West 12:00 PM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates1 (29-36) vs Indians/Brewers 10:30 AM (season preview)

DSL: Pirates2 (25-40) vs Royals2 10:30 AM (season preview)

HIGHLIGHTS

From Morgantown, Jhoan Herrera gets hit thanks to some poor communication on defense.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

8/19: Bligh Madris activated from Bradenton disabled list. Justin Harrer returned to GCL Pirates

8/18: Stephen Alemais activated from the disabled list. Logan Ratledge placed on Altoona disabled list.

8/18: Manny Bejerano promoted to Morgantown.

8/18: Pat Dorrian promoted  to Bristol.

8/17: Pirates sign Carlos Canache.

8/17: Sherten Apostel sent to Texas Rangers as the PTBNL in the Keone Kela trade.

8/16: Pirates recall Kevin Newman and Jordan Luplow. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.

8/16: Jordy Mercer placed on disabled list.

8/16: Casey Sadler designated for assignment.

8/16: Brad Case promoted to Bristol.

8/15: Travis Swaggerty, Luke Mangieri and Connor Kaiser promoted to West Virginia.

8/15: Dylan Busby activated from West Virginia disabled list. Oneil Cruz placed on disabled list.

8/15: Montana DuRapau placed on disabled list.

8/15: Nick Burdi assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/14: Pirates sign Johan Montero.

8/14: West Virginia assigns Ben Bengtson, Fabricio Macias and Kyle Watson to Morgantown.

8/14: Bligh Madris placed on disabled list. Justin Harrer promoted to Bradenton.

8/14: Shane Baz traded as the player to be named later to the Rays.

8/13: AJ Schugel assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

8/13: Jackson Williams activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

8/12: Miami Marlins acquire Christopher Bostick for cash.

8/12: Pirates recall Jacob Stallings. Option Jordan Luplow.

8/12: Stephen Alemais placed on the DL. Jin-De Jhang added to Altoona roster.

8/11: Pirates recall Michael Feliz and Buddy Boshers. Clay Holmes and Casey Sadler optioned to Indianapolis.

8/11: Jin-De Jhang placed on temporary inactive list.

8/10: Pirates recall Clay Holmes. Option Dovydas Neverauskas to Indianapolis.

8/10: Afredo Reyes assigned to Altoona. Dylan Busby assigned to Bristol.

THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY

Four former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus two trades of note. We start with the trades and the first happened in 1913, involving two key members from the 1909 club. The Pirates traded away third baseman Bobby Byrne and pitcher Howie Camnitz for third baseman Cozy Dolan and cash. Before 1913, Camnitz had a 110-67 record for the Pirates, but he was 6-17 at the time of the trade. Byrne was covered yesterday, when he was acquired almost exactly four years before he was traded away. This deal was more of a financial deal for the Pirates, who got rid of two higher salaries and got money back. Dolan hit .203 in 35 games for the Pirates, then was traded away over the off-season.

On this date in 1981, the Pirates and Expos swapped first basemen, with John Milner going to Montreal and Willie Montanez coming back to Pittsburgh. The Pirates ended up getting Milner back in 1982, which was after they released Montanez, and Milner was released by Montreal.

Former players born on this date include:

Al Lopez, Hall of Fame manager, who was also an All-Star catcher. He played seven seasons in Pittsburgh from 1940 until 1946, making the All-Star team in 1941. Lopez is better known for his managerial career, but his 52.2% caught stealing rate behind the plate is the fourth best all-time. His 1,918 games caught stood as a record for over 40 years.

Matt Hague, The Hit Collector collected 16 hits for the 2012 Pirates and none for the 2014 squad.

Bull Smith, outfielder for the 1904 Pirates. Played 13 late season games as a rookie for the Pirates during that 1904 season, then played just two more Major League games in his career, one in 1906 and another five years later.

Robert Gibson, pitcher for the 1890 Alleghenys. He was 0-3, 17.25 in three starts for the team. In one game, he couldn’t finish the outing even with the Alleghenys putting 17 runs on the board for him. They ended up losing 23-17 that day.

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