With the Pirates riding a four-game winning streak and sitting just one-half game behind the NL Central-leading Reds, GM Neal Huntington met with reporters today including Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Sulia).
- The Pirates pushed their budget to the limit with the Spring Training acquisition of A.J. Burnett, but Huntington isn't concerned about adding payroll. "We've got some flexibility," Huntington said without elaborating. Biertempfel has received indications the front office has requested and received permission from owner Bob Nutting to increase payroll, if necessary, at the trade deadline.
- With the trade deadline a little over a week away, Huntington says reality is starting to hit some teams. "Teams are starting to reach out with two-way logic — still looking to add but reality is starting to set in they might need to sell. There are not more clear sellers, but (more) teams that are beginning to prepare if they decide to go in that direction."
- On trade talks, Huntington said he's "no busier than we've been the last couple last weeks of July."
- On trading the pick obtained in the new Competitive Balance Lottery, Huntington said, "It's another asset for us. We've got a certain value on it. If we get that value, it's no different than a prospect in our system who we've played a value on. We're not looking to move it. It will be interesting to see how industry values it."
They haven’t spent big bucks for awhile, and for the last two seasons ticket revenue has to be up, especially this year. I know they’ve spent money in the draft, but I would think it’s about time to increase the major club’s payroll.
McCutchen signed a nice sized extension and the pirates responsibility for Burnett goes to 8mil next year. Quite a few players such as Walker will get a nice sized offer or increase through arbitration. Yeah they are going to be spending quite a bit more than we are used to if they keep most of these people.
To me it would depend on the ticket sales and such. I’m guessing that is why Huntington was given a little more room.
If I remember right they also have 3 first round picks next year. Shopping one at the trade deadline or for cash maybe an option if they make any big moves.
McCutchen(500K), McDonald(500K), Alvarez(700K) and Walker(500K) are making about $2MM this year combined. Knowing the payroll is going to increase significantly on just those 4 players alone over the next few years, they need to be somewhat cautious on how much more payroll they add externally.
I think Huntington can actually take it easier this year than last w/ Marte, Clement, Navarro as position depth in AAA; and Owens, Locke, Wilson, VandenHurk as pitching depth. If he can swing a three team deal for Upton w/o giving up too much of that depth; it’s gravy. I don’t see much happening though, unless they deal from the bullpen depth to upgrade bench spots. It seems like NH really doesn’t want to touch the chemistry of this team – as he still seems to be coming to terms with them actually contending this year.
Chase Headley would be a nice fit at the right price
Since June 1st, Casey McGehee is hitting .277 with a .835 OPS and 8 HR. Pedro Alvarez is hitting .252 with a .898 OPS and 12 HR. Headley is hitting .279 with a .763 OPS and 4 HR.
I just don’t see how Headley would be an improvement over what the Pirates already have.
Headley, if acquired by Pittsburgh would play a corner outfield position as he did in 2010 occasionally for the friars. I hear however, that his corner outfield defense is not something to be desired. My gut instinct is that he would be put in RF at home while playing at PNC given the very very short RF and would most likely play LF on the road.
If Casey McGehee werent playing so well, I would say move Pedro to first and allow Garret Jones to play RF every day and place Headley at his natural third base, but I really like the McGehee/Jones first base platoon with Jones getting an occasional start in RF.
For my money, I would like to see either Emilio Bonafacio brought in to bat leadoff and play short, OR Denard Span brought in to play left field and bat leadoff. In theory, Id love to see both moves happen, but Id be happy with either (would prefer Bonafacio though, so that Barmes could be strictly a bench player and a late inning defensive replacement at either 2nd, short, or 3rd) Considering that Barmes excelled coming off the bench in Colorado for the better part of 2 seasons, I feel that is the best way to optimize his value without allowing his bat to kill you 3-5 times per evening.
I still believe a middle of the order bat is critical though. I feel that Willingham is NOT a fit here due to his lollypop arm. Meaning he would have to play LF…for those that know PNC, Josh does NOT have the range needed to play LF in this park. Headley is not a middle of the order guy, nor is Victorino. Quentin is off the table, Cuddeyer seemingly not availible. Justin Upton’s home and road splits indicate to me that his monster season of last year was a smoke and mirror show with a guy taking advantage of playing in an insanely hitter friendly park. He also is a guy that hits most of his home runs to dead left, or left center…which are the 2 largest parts of PNC’s outfield.
I do not have all of the answers yet as to who the optimal middle of the order bat would be (at least finding someone that meets the criteria and is actually available) but I think Ive identified who is NOT the right fit.
First this is first, look at Bonafacio, Span. Also try to give up a bag of ball to acquire Jason Giambi as a professional hitter that can be our primary late game pinch hitter…he is a guy that could RAKE in PNC. Also, stay on top of Shields and Garza…either would be a GREAT addition, (Especially Shields due to his incredible playoff numbers) Come on Buccos, make me proud, just dont make a stupid move for the sake of making a move. I would be very dissapointed to see Victorino in a Pirates jersey knowing we could have had Span or Bonafacio instead.
Nice analysis; though I’m almost 100% positive the Marlins will not be looking to trade Bonifacio.
i love the giambi idea
If the bucs have to move a few prospects to get Upton the pirates should pull the trigger on the deal he is not a rental ie Quentin Headley the bucs would have control of upton for a few years If we are not making a run at the playoffs next year or the year after flip upton and get back some comparable talent we will have to part with to get him.
I like Maholm and either Upton, Pence, Victorino, or Willingham for the Pirates.