Pedro Alvarez Rumors

Quick Hits: Nationals, Ichiro, Astros, Starling

On this date ten years ago, John Smoltz struck out four batters and picked up his first regular season save. Then, on this date in 2009, the Red Sox released Smoltz, who had an 8.33 ERA at the time. The potential Hall of Famer went on to provide seven solid starts for the Cardinals later that season and hasn't pitched in the Majors since. Here are today's links…

  • Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that GM Mike Rizzo did a "fantastic job" to sign Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin, Matt Purke and others on Monday night. Lerner believes the Nats now have one of the best farm systems in the game.
  • Just because the Yankees signed Derek Jeter to a $51MM deal last winter doesn’t mean the Mariners should extend Ichiro Suzuki, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. Arguing that Ichiro deserves Jeter-like treatment doesn’t make sense to Baker “for reasons that start on the field and end off of it.” The Mariners outfielder is under contract for $17MM in 2012.
  • Jim Bowden of ESPN.com identifies five players we shouldn't give up on, including Pedro Alvarez and Ian Stewart.
  • No one at the MLB owners meetings is questioning whether Jim Crane, the incoming Astros owner, is a viable candidate to take over the team, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
  • Top Royals pick Bubba Starling said at a press conference today that his offense could still improve because he played three sports in high school and hasn't had the chance to devote himself to hitting (Associated Press link via ESPN.com).

Pirates Notes: Payroll, Manager, Alvarez

Pirates president Frank Coonelly stopped by MLB.com today for his monthly chat with fans. With the Pirates' season over, the questions focused on the team's upcoming winter. Here are the highlights from the chat:

  • The Pirates' have the capacity to "meaningfully increase" their payroll for next season, after spending $44MM on their 2010 roster.
  • Coonelly shot down rumors suggesting that Andy Van Slyke has interviewed for the Pirates' managerial opening. The club has only interviewed Eric Wedge so far, and is still in the process of compiling a full list of candidates.
  • Coonelly didn't rule out some of Pittsburgh's coaches being retained by the new manager, but noted that the on-field staff has been given the freedom to explore other opportunities.
  • Despite Pedro Alvarez's occasional struggles at third base (he posted a -8.0 UZR/150 this season), the team has no plans to move him across the diamond to first base.
  • While Coonelly praised the organization's minor league starting pitching, he conceded that many of their young arms may not be ready to contribute at the major league level next year. As such, starting pitching will be targeted through free agency or trades.
  • The Pirates will use free agency to supplement their core talent; Coonelly says the team intends to "aggressively pursue" players who can fill needs.

Pedro Alvarez Called Up By Pirates

9:24pm: Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Alvarez has been officially called up.  The prospect got the news after Indianapolis' game on Tuesday night.  ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that Alvarez will be in the lineup against Chicago on Wednesday.

6:55pm: Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Pedro Alvarez, the No.2 overall pick in the 2008 Amateur Draft, could make his major league debut for Pittsburgh before the end of the week.  Langosch reports that Alvarez is in the lineup tonight for Triple-A Indianapolis, and could be called up as soon as Wednesday for that evening's White Sox/Pirates game.  One might think the Bucs might announce Alvarez's first game in advance to sell a few extra tickets either against the Sox or when the Indians come to town for a weekend series.

Alvarez will play every day at third base for the Pirates, thus making current baseman Andy LaRoche into a backup or utilityman; Langosch notes that LaRoche has already been taking grounders at second base in preparation for his new role.  With Neil Walker locked into the second base job, LaRoche (who was a well-regarded prospect him not too long ago) could be made available to a team looking for an infield backup.  The Bucs would certainly have an easier time moving LaRoche than they would dealing Akinori Iwamura's big contract.



When To Expect Top Prospects

From now on, teams that call prospects up to make their major league debuts no longer have to worry that those players will go to arbitration an extra time. It's now June and prospects that debut from this point on will not pick up more than 124 days of MLB service time this year. There's almost no chance that that would be enough for super two status after 2012. We all know when to expect Stephen Strasburg, but let's take a look around the majors and anticipate the arrivals of some more top prospects:

  • Mike Stanton – You thought Jose Bautista had a lot of homers? Stanton hit his 19th and 20th of the season tonight at AA in front of Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. The 20-year-old Stanton, ranked by Baseball America as the Marlins' best prospect this offseason, entered today's action with 39 walks and 50 strikeouts. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says it may not be long before Stanton is playing in the majors.
  • Carlos Santana – The 24-year-old catcher began the season as one of the best prospects in baseball and he has lived up to expectations so far in 2010. Santana has hit .315/.450/.565 at Triple A with ten homers and more strikeouts than walks. Lou Marson, who is actually younger than Santana, struggled early on for the Indians, but has impressed Indians manager Manny Acta lately. Still, Marson has a .216/.270/.276 line this season, so Santana appears to have more offensive potential.
  • Pedro Alvarez – The Pirates, who have scored the second-fewest runs in the National League, might be tempted by the .261/.349/.511 line Alvarez has posted in Triple A. No Pirate has a slugging percentage as high as the one Alvarez has posted in the minors and just Ryan Doumit and Andrew McCutchen have been getting on base as much. 

Stanton, Santana and Alvarez have played well, but they aren't the only ones who could arrive in the majors before long. Desmond Jennings, Jeremy Hellickson, Aroldis Chapman and Brett Wallace could conceivably get the call within a few weeks.


Odds & Ends: Reds, Rookies, Pelfrey, Lima, Alvarez

Links for Sunday, as we await tonight's Subway series rubber match….


Odds & Ends: Alvarez, Strasburg, Church, Rays

Links for Saturday…


Odds & Ends: Crawford, Alvarez, Mauer, Aumont

Some links for your Friday…


Pirates Notes: Vazquez, Tabata, Alvarez

Let's check out some Pirates-related tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch..

  • With Ramon Vazquez on the trading block, Langosch stresses that any talk of him being Texas-bound is merely conjecture at this point.  Furthermore, if they do move him, they are unlikely to get much back and may have to eat some of his $2MM salary.  However, Pittsburgh might be willing to move the 33-year-old for next to nothing.
  • One reader asks if the Pirates are considering locking up their young prospects, like Milwaukee did with Ryan Braun or like Tampa Bay did with Evan Longoria.  Langosch says that the Pirates will wait until players like Jose Tabata, Brad Lincoln, and Pedro Alvarez establish themselves in the majors to open up discussions.
  • Speaking of Alvarez, Langosch expects the Pirates to hold off on bringing him up to the big leagues.  Pittsburgh delayed Andrew McCutchen's promotion last season in order to give him more seasoning in the minors and, in all likelihood, to extend his time under team control.

Odds & Ends: Braves, Orioles, Pirates

A few notes from around the majors…

  • Veteran Greg Norton tied a major league record in what may be his final season, says MLB.com's Mark Bowman
  • In another blog entry, Bowman said that though Martin Prado spent some time in the outfield while playing in his native Venezuela, Prado is not a candidate for Atlanta's right field job.
  • MASN's Steve Melewski reports that the Orioles have signed their first Guatemalan player, 17-year-old Manuel Hernandez
  • In a chat on MLB.com, Pirates president Frank Coonelly said that Andy LaRoche was "open" to the possibility of playing second base next season given some of Pittsburgh's minor-league options at third base (including top prospect Pedro Alvarez).
  • Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports on two changes to Kansas City's coaching staff in 2010.

Odds & Ends: Blue Jays, Towers, Pirates, Mets

Here are some links to kick off Sunday morning:

  • Some Blue Jays players approached CEO and President Paul Beeston with complaints about Cito Gaston, reports Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun“They raised the issues,” said Beeston. “They were listened to. They have not been addressed at this time. I had my ears open. I kept my mouth shut. I gave them some comments and that’s all I want to say about that.”
  • Jordan Bastian of MLB.com writes that newly appointed Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos was emotional in his introductory presser.  The article notes that the position of president and CEO will be filled soon, relieving the interim hire, Paul Beeston.  Beeston says that while the next president and CEO will have the authority to hire its own staff, he will recommend that Anthopoulos remain as GM.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that Kevin Towers didn't deserve to get fired considering all the obstacles he has had to work around in San Diego.
  • Towers conducted a farewell press conference in San Diego and Craig Elsten of 619sports.net posted some key sound bytes.  Towers insisted that the organization maintained a strong focus on scouting and player development under his watch.  He also said that he has been contacted by seven or eight other teams to work immediately, but wants to take some time off before jumping into another job.  The 47-year-old made it known that he wants the opportunity to be a GM again.  Also available are team owner and CEO Jeff Moorad's post-podium comments.
  • The Pirates have talked to Andy LaRoche about possibly moving from third base to second next year to make room for Pedro Alvarez, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The Pirates would like to call-up Alvarez by the middle of the 2010 season, but first he must improve his strength and conditioning.  The 22-year-old excelled after his mid-season promotion to AA, posting .333/.419/.590 with 13 HR in 60 games.
  • More from Kovacevic as he labels the Pirates' trade of Nate McLouth to the Braves to be the worst personnel move of the year.  Kovacevic says the deal hurt the players' trust in Pittsburgh management and was a poor public relations decision.
  • Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post tweets, "Jerry Manuel was in meetings all morning and said he expects an announcement tomorrow on changes and the team's offseason plans."
  • Jon Heyman reports via Twitter that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria refused to comment on a possible manager change.  Recent reports suggest that Fredi Gonzalez could be on the way out and Bobby Valentine could be on the way in.