The Pirates have fallen to earth since a solid start and now sit a game below .500 (35-36), but general manager Neal Huntington told reporters before Sunday’s loss to the Reds that he still has a buyer’s mindset as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. “We’ve had more conversations about adding players at this point in time than we’ve had about subtracting players,” Huntington said (via Adam Berry of MLB.com), adding that “our intent is to continue to give this club every chance in the world to show us that we can continue to do the things that we did the first six weeks, eight weeks to put ourselves nine games over and that we can dig out of this hole that we’ve dug ourselves over this tough stretch of 30 days.” The Pirates are sitting in fourth place in a tough NL Central, seven games behind first-place Milwaukee, but they’re only 3 1/2 out of a wild-card spot. With several playoff-contending teams on their schedule in the next several weeks, the Bucs will have an opportunity to make up ground on their competitors and end up as buyers. But if the Pirates drop out of the hunt pre-deadline, they could ultimately market some of their shorter-term players, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported this week.
More from Pittsburgh…
- Right-hander Trevor Williams has scuffled of late, as he recorded a 5.51 ERA in May and then allowed seven earned runs in six innings in his only June start thus far. Nevertheless, there aren’t any plans to pull him from Pittsburgh’s rotation and replace him with impressive rookie Nick Kingham, who’s currently in the minors, Huntington said (via Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). “Our focus with Trevor right now is to get that secondary stuff back to being effective, to get the four- and the two-seam fastball command back to being effective, and [we] believe that we’re going to be able to do that and work from there,” stated Huntington, who noted it’s unfortunate for Kingham that “we’ve got six guys that we believe can help us win major league games as starting pitchers right now.” In Huntington’s estimation, that group includes the 26-year-old Williams, who, to his credit, has been a respectable starter since debuting in 2016. Williams has combined for 216 innings of 4.15 ERA ball and posted 6.6 K/9 against 2.95 BB/9 in 40 starts.
- The Pirates are considering promoting middle infield prospects Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer, but call-ups don’t seem imminent, Brink suggests. Starting middle infielders Josh Harrison (second base) and Jordy Mercer (shortstop) have been reasonably effective, and Huntington expressed confidence in reserve Sean Rodriguez, even though he has hit just .159/.286/299 in 126 plate appearances. Playing time would be hard to come by for the prospects, then, and the Pirates don’t want to promote them unless they’re going to see regular action. Both Newman, MLB.com’s seventh-ranked Pirates prospect, and Kramer (No. 8) have logged above-average production at the Triple-A level this season. Neither Newman nor Kramer is on the Bucs’ already full 40-man roster, though, which stands as another roadblock in the way of the “Seinfeld” tandem.
- More from Brink, who writes that Huntington took some of the blame Sunday for the woes of Pittsburgh’s bullpen. “The general manager didn’t give the manager a legitimate eighth-inning guy or seventh-inning guy, speaking in conventional terms,” said Huntington, whose team entered Sunday tied for 25th in the majors in bullpen ERA (4.56). As Brink points out, the Pirates’ season-opening plan to have Michael Feliz and George Kontos set up closer Felipe Vazquez didn’t work. Feliz, whom the Bucs acquired over the winter from Houston as part of the teams’ Gerrit Cole trade, has registered a 6.18 ERA over 27 2/3 innings. And Kontos managed a subpar 5.03 mark in 19 2/3 frames before the Pirates released him last month.
sell now. trade Cervelli, harrison, nova, mercer, dickerson. get what you can. build around meadows, musgrove, moran, bell, diaz and taillon.
No,no,no, I really hope your not a pirate fan like I am because O ye of little faith “quick trade him while we can without thinking to anybody who will take him!” That philosophy is what lead Aramis Ramirez to be in a Cubs/brewers uniform for so long.
why not? None of those guys he mentioned aren’t part of the future, nor should they be.
*are part of the future
I live in a town halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and have noticed that Pittsburgh fans generally have very little understanding of the economics of MLB.
It’s a hockey town first, Stillers town second, and Buccos town a distant 3rd. It’s a pretty fair weather town that has been spoiled with championships. When the Pirates lost for 20 straight years a good number of their fans jumped ship to the Giants, Braves, or Red Sox. About five years ago they all came back.
It’s pretty obvious to people outside of Pittsburgh that the Pirates are going to sell off anyone on the last year of their contract if they are say 6 games or so out of the WC race come July 30th.
Their best course of action at that point is to bring up Kramer and Newman and get them developed at the major league level so they can regroup for next year and the future. Harrison has no future there and Mercer could get a decent contract on the open market where big market teams with payrolls 3x as big can bid against you.
Are you nuts getting rid of Harrison and Dickerson.We just acquired Dickerson, and J-Hay who happens to be in the top two as the best players on the Pirates should go nowhere.If you are going to build,then build around these two guys,not dump them
They’ll try to trade all of those you mentioned except maybe Dickerson.
Newman & Kramer have so many possible Seinfeld-related promotions ahead of them.
You’re not back on that Michigan bottle deposit scheme again are you?
Neil, if you think Sean is adding value, you are crazier than Trump.
Agree. Great on the field and in the clubhouse but once he steps into the batters box…..ugh!
Oh, NH, same old lying story every year.
Huntington hurdle and nutting are a three ring circus they must go and take stupidco Rodriguez with them
They need to trade starling marte.. keep Dickerson meadows and Polanco in the outfield trade Mercer and trade Harrison
The Brewers will take Harrison
I don’t think Harrison moves the needle enough. Brewers are gonna need at least one impactful starter, Taillon enough?
Mendoza Line 215
The Pirates are wayyyyy too loyal to their players.There is no urgency to win.David Freese put it best at Spring training.
I like all of their players and the ones who are playing poorly have generally been good players in the past.Is it beneath their dignity to send the younger ones to AAA to work their troubles out?Josh Bell is in this category if he does not turn it around soon.Jose Osuna deserves a full time chance to see what he can do.
This also refers to Polanco,Feliz and Williams.SRod has been a fine player but he is done.I have said many times on these posts that they have some good young players who deserve a chance.NH is dreaming if he thinks that they can compete this year.
It is too easy to get complacent under Hurdle and the policy of this team.Competition never hurt anyone.Polanco got way too much money way too soon.What do they expect?
Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again with the same negative result.The Pirates are not smart enough to figure it out.
Pittsburgh’s like San Francisco they don’t switch there team up but I agree about polanco too much money hasn’t put those numbers up for that paycheck