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Olney: Bucs evaluating Josh Willingham

Published on July 17, 2011 by in Rumors

ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted this morning that the Pirates are looking at Oakland A’s LF Josh Willingham as a possible trade target. We have been hearing a bunch of rumors of the Pirates looking for a veteran OF bat and Willingham now marks the first name we are hearing.

Willingham is in the midst of his worst season as a Major Leaguer and is set to become a free agent at the end of the year. His season line currently stands at .247/.322/.439 with 12 homers. That is a far cry from his career line of .263/.362/.471 as his OBP in particular is way down this year.

His defense in LF has been poor with a -16.3 UZR/150 so far this season. He did play in RF in 2009 where he posted a much better, but still poor  -7.3 UZR/150. I would assume that is where he would play if he were on the Pirates, especially due to the vastness that is the left field of PNC Park.

There are a few ways to look at Willingham’s season. One is that he is not the hitter he was in the past. The other is to look at his numbers from this year and to look at his numbers throughout his career and imagine that he would have some progression in the 2nd half of the year due to law of averages.

My take on this is that with Jose Tabata coming back and with Alex Presley already in the organization and playing at a high level (so far), I would rather have Presley in RF instead of Willingham. Willingham will cost the Pirates over $2 million for the remainder of the season and is currently considered a Type B free agent, so the Pirates would get some sort of compensation in next year’s draft if they were to offer him arbitration at the end of the year. However, offering Willingham arbitration may be a bit dicey due to the fact he would get a raise over his current $6 million salary. So, most likely, he would just become a FA at the end of the year.

Now, I wouldn’t be upset with acquiring Willingham as he really wouldn’t cost much in the terms of prospects. However, if the Bucs are looking to add a bat, and are serious about it, I would like it to be someone who is an obvious and significant upgrade over what they currently have.

 
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Bucs unable to hold on against ‘Stros

Published on July 17, 2011 by in Game Recaps

Final: Astros 6, Pirates 4

WP: Sergio Escalona (2-1)
LP: Jose Veras (2-3)
SV: Mark Melancon (7)

The Bucs fell back 3-0 to the Astros thanks to some early opportunities that were missed out on by the Pirates’ offense in the early innings. Those missed opportunities would ultimately come back to haunt them.

However, thanks to the long ball, the Pirates eventually found themselves ahead after solo homers by Neil Walker, Lyle Overbay, and Brandon Wood. Walker would also add an RBI single to give the Pirates the lead in the 6th.

The Pirates left 10 men on base, 5 of which came in the first 2 innings.

Paul Maholm wasn’t too sharp as he gave up 3 runs over 5 innings and, even more worse than that, failed to get down 2 sacrifice bunt attempts in his 3 at bats.

After 2 clean innings by Daniel McCutchen and Chris Resop, Jose Veras would give up 3 runs (2 earned) in the 8th inning thanks to a lead off walk and some miscues in the field.

Both St. Louis and Milwaukee won so the Pirates are back in 3rd place and are a game back of the Cardinals. Sunday’s game is a big one as we simply can’t afford to lose a series against a team like the Astros. Kevin Correia takes the hill against Wandy Rodriguez at 2:05 ET.

 
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Game 92: Pittsburgh Pirates vs Houston Astros Live Blog

Published on July 16, 2011 by in Live Blogs

 
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Pirates’ injury updates; Jose Tabata suffers setback

Published on July 16, 2011 by in Injuries

Just catching up on a few of the Pirates’ injuries:

- Jose Tabata suffered a setback Thursday night while on a rehab assignment with the Bradenton Marauders. He felt tightness while running the bases and was pulled from the game. He did not play yesterday and is out indefinitely as of right now. Clint Hurdle says he will be re-evaluated today, but all early signs are showing he didn’t re-injure it.

- Steve Pearce has now played in 2 games for AAA-Indianapolis and is 3 for 10 with 2 homers. He should be back very soon.

- Pedro Alvarez is still “regaining his form” for Indianapolis. In 9 games with them, he is hitting .233/.368/.300 in 30 AB. He needs to get going as his presence in the lineup could be a huge lift.

- Ronny Cedeno will report to Indianapolis on Sunday to start a rehab assignment after being placed on the disabled list due to a concussion. Expect him back within the week if everything goes well.

- Evan Meek began throwing in Bradenton on Wednesday.

 
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Jeff Karstens’ gem propels Bucs into 1st place

Published on July 15, 2011 by in Game Recaps

Final: Pirates 4, Astros

WP: Jeff Karstens (8-4)
LP: Brett Myers (3-10)

I didn’t see any of this game, but by looking at the box score, it is safe to say that Jeff Karstens flat out dominated. He pitched a complete game, 5-hit, shutout while throwing just 83 pitches. He lowered his ERA on the season to a ridiculous 2.34 ERA. Wow.

The Pirates kicked off the scoring in the 1st inning when Presley was moved around the bases following a lead off single and eventually scored on an RBI single by Neil Walker.

Andrew McCutchen then provided 2 more runs on a triple that scored both Alex Presley and Chase d’Arnaud.

The Bucs would add another run in the 8th inning when Xavier Paul scored on an error by 2B Jeff Keppinger.

Both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers lost tonight, also, thus putting the Bucs a 1/2 game up on the Brewers and tied with the Cardinals for 1st place. However, the Pirates’ winning percentage is 6 ten hundredths of a percentage point ahead of the Cards. So, your Buccos are in 1st place!

Paul Maholm takes the hill for the Pirates tomorrow against Bud Norris at 7:05 ET.

 

 
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Game 91: Pittsburgh Pirates vs Houston Astros Live Blog

Published on July 15, 2011 by in Live Blogs

 
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