To make a trade, or to not make a trade? That is the question.
Obviously, most fans will say the Pirates need to make a trade. There are quite a few holes in this club that could definitely use improving. However, making a trade isn’t as easy as saying, “Let’s go get this guy.” It takes two to tango. And at this time of the year, teams that are shopping players around have a lot of dance suitors.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that the Pirates should not trade any of their top level prospects (Taillon, Allie, Marte, etc.) for anyone. Remember, winning in 2011 isn’t the goal. Winning every year is the goal. There are many reasons why the Rays are still playing meaningful baseball 3 years after bursting onto the scene in 2008. One of those reasons is they have not sacrificed players who can help them down the road for short-term Major League help.
So if the Pirates are unwilling to move top level prospects, as they should be, what can be done to make a move. If you’ve been following Twitter today, you have witnessed some intense debates about what can or can not be done. Some believe the Pirates front office needs to join the team’s fans by shelling out cash for the players they need. This is a good thing, if it is possible. Let’s look at some possible big time trade candidates, though.
The Mets have made it known that they are willing to eat salary when it comes to Carlos Beltran, who is owed about $6 million the remainder of the season. Beltran is the hottest commodity on the market right now and just about every team that is a contender has inquired on him. If other teams are willing to deal top prospects for 2 months of Beltran, and the Mets are looking for just that instead of salary relief, the Bucs can’t compete with the other clubs.
When it comes to Hunter Pence, he would probably demand more of a haul than Beltran in that he is still under team control until 2013. Houston simply won’t take money for Pence because they don’t need money for Pence. They need players, and they will be good ones. So the question is, do you trade someone like Jose Tabata, who would HAVE to be included in a deal that would bring back Pence? One could argue (I won’t) that trading Tabata for 2 years and 2 months of Pence may actually be worth it. If Pence is acquired, that will be over $20 sunk into one player over the next 2 years where Tabata over those 2 years would cost less than $1 million over that timespan. Is it really worth $19 million+ for the Pirates to have Pence for 2 years than Tabata for those same 2 years? That’s $19 million that can go towards other things that would provide more value (like extending ‘Cutch for example). Pence is out of the question.
We could go on and on with these examples. But the truth is that if the Pirates are going to be able to offer salary relief and C to D level prospects for players, the return will not be enormous. That doesn’t mean, though, that upgrades can not be made. Someone like Carlos Pena, who is also owed a significant amount of money over the rest of the season is the type of player the Bucs will have a chance at getting. However, don’t expect anything like that to happen until July 31st as the Cubs will attempt to gauge the market interest and maximize his value.
Final: Cardinals 6, Pirates 4
WP: Chris Carpenter (6-7)
LP: Paul Maholm (6-10)
SV: Fernando Salas (18)
The Pirates spotted Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals 4 runs. When that happens, it makes things tough. The Bucs made a push, but fell short to drop the first game of what is, to date, the biggest series ever at PNC Park.
The Cardinals scored their 4 runs in the 1st inning thanks to a 2-run homer by Albert Pujols and another 2-run homer by David Freese.
The Bucs would cut the lead to 4-2 in the 2nd inning when Ronny Cedeno would single in Garrett Jones in his first AB since coming off the DL. Cedeno would then score on a 2-out RBI single by Paul Maholm. However, the inning would be cut short as McKenry was tagged out after being caught in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd after Cedeno scored.
Carpenter, though, would return the favor to Maholm and deliver an RBI single in the 3rd inning to give the Cards a 5-2 lead.
The Pirates roared back in the 6th inning when Garrett Jones hit a 2-run single following an Andrew McCutchen single and a Lyle Overbay double. Jones, however, was thrown out trying to stretch his single to a double and became the 2nd Pirate to be thrown out on the base paths, which would prove costly.
The Cardinals would add an insurance run in the 8th inning with a solo homer by Yadier Molina against Chris Resop. Jason Grilli also pitched a scoreless 9th inning in his debut as a Pirate.
Kevin Correia takes the hill tomorrow against Jaime Garcia as the Pirates look to even up the series in front of what will be another sell-out crowd.
That guy sounds pretty excited.
What makes Grilli cool is: (A) We found about about his signing from the above tweet…at 1 AM this morning, (B) he has the coolest Twitter name of anyone on the Pirates, and (C) he is having a pretty impressive season at AAA.
Grilli, 34, has a 1.94 ERA in 32 2/3 innings for AAA-Lehigh Valley (PHI). He has struck out 43 and walked 12. He played for Clint Hurdle in 2008 as a member of the Rockies, so Clint may have had something to do with this signing. In that year, Grilli posted a 2.93 ERA over 61 1/3 innings for Colorado. He’s played for 5 different teams over 8 Major League seasons and was the 4th overall pick in the 1997 Draft.
Grilli’s Minor League deal with the Phillies stated that a team could offer him a Major League deal and the Phillies would have to either match it, or release Grilli so he could sign with that club. That is what happened in here, so the Pirates are giving up nothing for him.
A move will have to be made to make room for Grilli on both the 25 and 40-man rosters. All signs seem to point to the Bucs optioning Chris Leroux and moving Evan Meek from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, but nothing is official yet.
Rob Biertempfel tweets that the Pirates will option seldom-used infielder Pedro Ciriaco to AAA-Indianapolis. This probably is just to open the doorway and make room for SS Ronny Cedeno to come off the disabled list in time for this weekend’s series against the Cardinals. Nothing has been made official yet about the corresponding, move, though.
Ciriaco played in just 7 games for the Pirates and accumulated just 6 at bats, in which he got no hits. I have no idea why he stayed on the roster as long as he did and to be honest, didn’t even realize he was still on the team until someone mentioned him during the Astros series.