The Pirates’ GM Ben Cherington emerged from his new office this week with the first batch of transactions since he took over in Pittsburgh. The Starling Marte trade to Arizona was the headline-grabbiest of the bunch, wherein Cherington added two high-ceiling, but far-away prospects to Pittsburgh system.
A flurry of low-key pickups followed for Cherington as the Pirates bought in bulk: Charlie Tilson, Andrew Susac, JT Riddle, Robbie Erlin and Derek Holland signed minor league deals this week. Cherington gives Erlin a decent shot of joining the bullpen, which is otherwise without a lefty except for rotation candidate Steven Brault, per The Athletic’s Rob Biertempfel.
Holland, too, could end up in the bullpen, but like Brault, he’ll be given a shot at the rotation. Holland’s glory days as a Texas Ranger are long in the rearview, but his 2018 with the Giants at least gives the perception of a raised ceiling for Holland after otherwise forgettable stints with each Chicago team. It was just two seasons ago that Holland put up 171 1/3 innings with an impressive 3.57 ERA/3.87 FIP across 36 games for the Giants.
Holland’s shoe game remained on-point in 2019, but he struggled on the hill, both for the Giants and then for the Cubs. He only got 7 turns through the rotation to start the season, but 26 earned runs in 34 1/3 innings earned a demotion to the bullpen, where he stayed until the deadline trade to the Cubs. The Cubs relied on him as a lefty reliever out of the pen, but he struggled there, too, marking a 10.50 ERA in September, contributing to the Cubs’ tailspin.
Still, he’ll come into camp representing a veteran floor for the Pittsburgh rotation as Brault and Mitch Keller try to earn their spot. If the young Pirate arms aren’t ready to take the ball every five days, Holland could find himself back in a big league rotation in 2020.
Bring in Walker. There’s literally no downside at all.
which walker? Neal is with the phillies now if that’s who you mean
What do you mean no downside at all?
We need a minimum salary in MLB. The Pirates fully intend on putting out a AAAA roster this season.
This won’t even be a good AAAA team. Our pitching is terrible. Only have two decent arms in the rotation. Bell, Newman, Frazier, Reynolds and maybe Moran are the only competent hitters we have.
and polanco if you can keep him healthy so 5 of the starting 8 are likely average or better. Moran probably best as a bench bat where he excels. Currently putting Eric at third is probably the best bet.. his bat isn’t as good but not the worst but over all should provide more value than Moran with his fence post defense.. Or if they find a better outfielder, put osuna at third who’s not as good as eric on the field but could be a 20hr guy given 600PAs
And pitching.. with a new staff and if stallings works out as catcher “should” be better. not the best in the league but better… but of course.. i dont think it could be much worse than ’19
Over all i think 2020 will be better that ’19. Not a playoff team as it stands.. probably not even .500… but better. as it stands i’d say 78 wins is the ceiling One more major injury sets them back pretty far though.
Can’t have a minimum without a cap.
And more revenue sharing
There basically is a cap, but teams can go above it for short periods of time.
I’m against floor because Pirates will sit at it
The Jolly Roger won’t be raised more than 60 times in 2020 and probably 2021 and 2022. When your best offseason move is Derek Holland, there is a problem. Cherrington loves the sub .225 hitter. I guess Melky is too good for the Pirates to sign.
Riddle’s contract was an MLB deal, no?
Stop using so many dang commas.
Okay Captain Grammerica
Did you really just knock the writer for using commas?
In my experience, too many commas is usually a good thing
They could have spent $40 million in free agency and still been the worst team in their division. Not the time for them to spend.
Bingo you got that right. For the complaining yinzers, why would they sign a top notch free agent when they are rebuilding. If so, they would of kept marte. So all you trolls should just be quiet and give the pirates time
not much a rebuild if you only trade away one player
Not a huge rush to trade many of those that they could. If they rush and take a deal now that is not offering much in return, nothing gained. I see deals made when Cherington gets offers that he considers very good. I see more moves in season or as injuries occur elsewhere in spring training and teams offer more than they are now.. I see Kela gone when reliever start to get hurt or are bad in the first half of the season.
That’s all they really could aside from archer or Polanco neither who anyone wants. The rays are laughing their ass off still
The Pirates have been rebuilding since the Barry Bonds days.
The Pirates went to the playoffs three straight years from 2013 to 2015.
Mendoza Line 215
During which time they won 280 games during the regular season.
Not many teams can match that win total.
Their problem in the two wild card games was that they faced the two best pitchers in baseball.
After the 98 win season in 15 what did they do? What did Bob do? NOTHING. I get the point about the fact that spending 30-40 mil still may have them In last. However, there’s a problem. The time NEVER comes for this owner. He’s proven that, and he will continue to prove it.
yes, but they could at least sign a guy like Salazar or Walker in hopes that they rebound and they find a long term option in them.
There are/were a number of buy-low options they could sign that could either serve as bounce-back guys, or guys who could be flipped at the deadline.
They are signing guys that other teams wouldn’t even place on their AAA rosters.
They still can if they want to. Walker nor Salazar have signed anywhere yet.
but they have the payroll space to overpay for them, which isnt an issue for s team while they aee rebuilding unless its a long pact.
Right ,but your not going to be able sign one of them long term at their busted values .
so at best your looking at a sign and flip situation, and that’s if everything works out right.
Maybe you could overpay a little and get a highly valuable option year. But that’s risky.
I’d almost rather trade for a toxic contract ie will Meyers etc and be paid the prospect capital in advance. If they are able to build up value and then later be flipped it’s just gravy.
Where would Walker fit in at? 2B is filled with other options. 1B? Bell and Osuna fill that. It sounds like you just want to sign a name than worry about a position of need. Catcher, pitching, 3B, and OF depth is needed more than another middle infielder where the Pirates are the deepest at.
Taijuan not Neil….
They missed lots of opportunities during the wildcard years where even modest spending (done wisely) could have pushed this team over the hump. But I agree, now isn’t the time to spend. Too late.
So true. When small market teams have their window, they should spend. The Braves and twins see they are relevant and they are both really trying. I think it’s great for their canvases.
Yeah instead of trading prospects and some pieces of the future trying to get a dark horse
It’d be nice to at least try to be competitive while rebuilding, no? Being terrible isn’t a requirement of a rebuild.
Jason Castro, Todd Frazier and keeping Marte likely would have kept them in the running and likely would’ve cost around than 10m/year
That mentality is why Pirates went bankrupt in the 90s. Funny how people forget that both Pirates and Penguins nearly left town because of bankruptcies that happened in the 90s
The Pirates tried plugging holes with aging players and trading prospects to get many of them. Pirates fans always seem to forget Joggin George Hendricks, Operation Shutdown Derek Bell, Lance Parrish etc. never worked then and won,t work now.,
Right but let’s be honest major league baseball screwed the pirates. Forcing the city to sell the team and allowing Kevin mclatchy to be who owner who didn’t have any buisness owning a major league team..
Yet years later major league baseball floats the dodgers while looking for an owner. It’s total crap and big market bias. Like if they had floated the pirates and vetted the sale, years and years of misery could’ve been avoided.
The Nutting’s gained control through having stakes in mclatchys ownership group. The city and fans got completely screwed. Theirs been plenty of interest by owners with deeper pockets but Bob nutting refuses to sell while receiving mlb handouts and revenue sharing money.
Mendoza Line 215
gozurman-My favorite was Jeremy Burnitz who would not sign the year before but did do so when it was the only offer he had the next year.
The Pirates (a) don’t have a lot of money and (b) are a holy mess. It’s going to take some time. Can they do it quicker? Sure they can, but why should they?; they can sell the rebuild for a couple of more years. And in that time, Cherrington’s history seems to indicate he can substantially improve the farm. Can he be a real GM? TBD; a lot of his Red Sox decisions were made above his pay grade; there’s little congruency between the Sox universe and the Pirates’.
Bing Cherries is too ripe for this position.
Why have they not signed Taijuan Walker….
FFS, what is the downside and holy heck the upside is better than Holland
The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla
Because the player also has to agree to sign a deal. Would you sign with the Pirates?
I would if I wanted a decent chance at starting to rebuild value. He’s penciled in every five games with this rotation.
Its a good pitchers park. Great city and suburbs. I would play for the pirates. Would he rather sign a one year deal with Pittsburgh or go to a bandbox with the Yankees in the AL East!?
The Pirates are doing exactly what I think they should be doing. First, they traded Marte for two prospects with a high ceiling, and now they’ve been adding a handful of players on minor league or 1 year deals. It’s exactly was a rebuilding team should be doing. Personally, I would rather them go after guys with more potential such as Taijuan Walker, Danny Salazar, Pat Neshek, etc, and although they still can, I’m not mad at how the off season has went for Cherington.
I agree with you so far so good. Guys like Salazar and Walker are prob holding out hope for an offer,from a better team. Canr blame them. They could all still sign with a bottom feeder if nothing better comes along
There’s nothing that says a rebuilding team can’t sign a few higher-priced players who can potentially be flipped, or even remain on the team when the team becomes competitive again.
The Pirates are just being cheap and calling it a rebuild. But they certainly aren’t going to make any adjustments to ticket prices or concessions.
start a complete rebuild. trade every asset that can bring decent prospects.
I’m surprised Archer hasn’t been moved yet.
Cherington can’t be looking at him as a future contributor to a competitive Pirates team… so maybe just hoping for a bounce back to up his trade value?
That’s exactly it. Everyone in the FO is praying he gets off to a blistering start so they can cash him in for prospects. Archer is fully capable of doing so. Searage has to unlock that potential some how.
Aaahhh Searage can no longer be of service to Archer………was fired a while ago…….
Really good question about Archer. Maybe nobody wants the current version of what was once a promising arm. That Rays deal continues to mystify.
archer has no if not negative trade value. best to keep him until the deadline. See if the new staff can help him be a legit back to mid rotation guy. if so he has more value than he does now.
Riddle actually signed an MLB deal.
Andrew Susac. Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Was originally Posey’s backup in SF, then traded to MIL who didn’t seem particularly thrilled with him. I’m guessing he’s spent the last couple years in somebody’s minor league system.
This overt sign of tanking before even ST starts needs to be addressed by MLB.. If you don’t win 60 games you lose your 1st Round Draft pick.. If you don’t win 50 games you lose your 1st and 2nd round… That will stop the tanking.. I feel bad for Pirate fans.. There is no reason to go to a game other than see opposing teams..
Example of why that’s an awful idea: 2018 Baltimore Orioles.
They went in set to compete, and they lost a TON of games. You just can’t really say how a team is going to come together. So how do you distinguish who “tanked” from who just made bad baseball decisions?
I do think MLB should have a salary floor, with escalating penalties for teams that don’t meet it. I think that’d go a long way. I wouldn’t tie anything to a record, however.
Cherington has only been in the job, what , two months. He’s barely had time to even look with any depth into what the organization actually has as far as talent. I wonder how many of you that are so critical of him would hold up to that kind of scrutiny after two months in a new job. But then most of you are probably still living in mom’s basement and really haven’t had a real job!
Cherington should have signed Pablo Sandoval. Reunited and it feels so good.
Trade Archer as well……..get something back in return for Marte to give us some hope for the disappointed future that is coming….
I feel like the Riddle signing is a precursor to another deal. If Frazier is traded Riddle fills in as a super utility bench piece that is capable of playing CF and SS.
Still wishing for a Frazier for a Dustin Fowler deal. Fowler is the kind of guy the Pirates should go for, a former top prospect, still young but lost some luster and now looks like organizational depth for Oakland. I think he could be had for cheap and maybe a chance to unlock that 20/20 potential.
I think people would complain less if the Bucs replaced Marte with say JBJ. With Pedroia’s setbacks and the desire to unload Bradley’s contract, a deal that sends Frazier to Boston for JBJ and a couple prospects that fit into the Pirates top 10 like in the Marte trade sounds like a good deal.
Rebuild like Houston, not the Phillies.
Go get that 1st pick in the draft back-to-back-to-back.
Look at their history with no.1 picks the last 20 years before you get too excited. I don’t expect them all to go to the hall of fame but many were complete busts.
Mendoza Line 215
I think that Houston also got lucky with picks as many even first round picks never make it.The Astros did have a fine scouting and evaluation and teaching system though and that enabled them to develop many good ML players.
The Pirates are not the only organization that has not excelled at that phase which is most important for small market teams.
So with all the money being saved on Marte (about 10 million), where does it go? I mean, will it get reinvested into players or ceo/ownership/board member pockets?
Being reinvested. Read the article. They just signed all those guys and signed a few before the marte trade because they knew they were trading marte and could afford it. Instead of only one guy in marte you can now have 8 to 12 guys!
Archer might make a nice #4 or 5 for a contender right now. Polanco should still have some appeal. What’s next? Does anyone really feel the Pirates will contend in the next 10 years no matter how many ‘prospects’ they trade for? It’s like the Marlins in the east. Marlins and Pirates will never spend the dollars necessary to compete. They will always cry ‘small market’ and make excuses for not putting even a competitive team capable of winning 90 games on paper on the field.
I do. Both teams will contend in next 10 years. Might only be 1 to 3 of those years but 10 years is a long time. Bound to have a couple pitching prospects hit in that time frame. Small market teams contend all the time. Now only one has won the world series in last 28 years but contend is easy.
Pittsburgh really isn’t a small market. They just have an owner that operates it as such, which is sad. Cherington is a good GM though. I do think, in time, they’ll win.
Pittsburgh is a small market. Look up biggest tv markets. Also Cleveland is close and takes potential fans and Philadelphia is in same state. Not a great situation. Now st Louis is a small market in population and tv market but they don’t have a NFL team and even when they did baseball was still number one. Steelers will always be the team in Pittsburgh. Atlanta isn’t a huge market but they are the team of the South and have a huge fan base. Pittsburgh one of the 5 worst markets. That being said the owner could easily spend 100 million and he did almost 3 years but when winning and attendance is good they could easily spend 130.
Mendoza Line 215
Cherington has never proven that he is a good GM.
The Marte trade was absolutely terrible and did not need to be done at this time.
Marte value was high. Wasn’t getting higher. They received 2 high upside elite prospects. No they were not the infamous top 100 list prospects but that is because the guys who appear on that list are mostly top 15 draft picks from the previous draft and guys who have done something in the minors. Anybody who knows anything liked the haul but might question obtaining guys so far away but breaking news the pirates are far away. Done this year. Done next year unless Keller is a ace and their other guy comes back from Tommy John a ace and Williams becomes his 2018 version again.
Kela and Archer are gone too. Bell and Frazier will be too if the marketplace improves for their positions.
That’s crazy talk
Mendoza Line 215
Lovin-There is no good reason to trade Marte.Check out the top 100 lists from the last ten years.There is clearly less than a 50 % success rate in getting players anywhere close to as good as Marte.Many hardly crack the Majors.That means that minor leaguers on the top 100 list are generally crap shoots to turn into a viable ML player.
Trading Marte was for salary relief to a team that does not need it,to start tanking to fans who would not put up with it,or simply because Cherington is no good at trading like he was at signing free agents.
None of these reasons auger well for the Pirates.
These young players may have a high ceiling but why were they rated no higher in Arizona,let alone being rated highly amongst all teams.
The Diamondbacks are recipients of a fine player for next to nothing.
Any knowledgeable baseball fan knows that.
Agree I would have expected at least 1 MLB ready AAA prospect in return along with 1 prospect in the low minors.. Not 2 prospects who may never make it.
Mendoza Line 215
I would think that they could have at least got what you said.
Maybe we are over valuing him but I doubt it.
Keep in mind that the best deal could be no deal if the market is not strong enough.
I think NH got as much as he could for Cole two years ago but the knock on him could be that he should have waited until the next trade deadline.The Yankees were in love with Adams,Andujar,and Frazier and those three guys were knocking on the ML door and you see how they all have turned out.Cole would have brought them a WSC.
These two guys for Marte are pot luck dinners from cooks who may not be all that good at cooking.
I had hoped Cherington was better than that and I certainly hope that Nutting was not after him to cut payroll.
@mend no good reason to keep him. Pirates aren’t winning anytime soon. Cut salary, get a few prospects. It doesn’t matter if only 5% of good prospects hit, you gotta have them, it’s a numbers game. Who cares if pirates when 60 games or 85. They aren’t making playoffs. If I was a fan I would want to lose 4 more games without marte and get better draft picks. You have a thrifty owner or most say cheap but I would shed 20 million in a heartbeat when it doesn’t matter. They have a roster with nothing but 4 and 5 starters. A 31 year old outfielder is least of their worries.
Mendoza Line 215
Lovin-The Pirates have never tanked and in my opinion that is a good thing.Hopefully the %’s are higher for these two players but I agree with you that both or either are far from guarantees.
Us Pirate fans are tired of cutting salaries especially when it is for losing fine players like Marte.I have no problem trading him but make sure that you get a good return and wait until the trading deadline or next offseason if necessary.
They are in danger of losing even more fans if they start tanking and that could be very bad for the future of the franchise in Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately you are basically right in your assessment and the absolute range of possible wins.A change of a few places in drafting order basically means nothing unless you are consistently a very bad team like the Astros were or the Royals,Tigers,Orioles and Marlins have been recently.No decent Pirate fan wants to drop to that level as there is absolutely no guarantee of winning championships even if you are that bad.
You and I just have very different opinions on how they should proceed.
Mend I understand your view point. Pirates havnt tanked yet. Now if they would of traded Bell Frazier that would be tanking. They would be wise to trade them but the 2b dh/1b market isn’t there so a trade would only be to tank. Usually the very top pick pans out or has good odds to but the 4th pick vs having 8th pick is a crap shoot. But the higher your draft pick the better chance you have at getting a player you like. Last draft I really liked the outfielder the giants drafted or the pirates probably would of liked to if had the 2nd catcher drafted. So by trading someone like marte you not only pick up prospects in the trade but you probably lose 5 more games or whatever and it puts you into position to land a better player not that that player is going to pan out or that a player taken 12 spots later might be a hall of famer, you just slightly increase your odds or at worse have more selection.
I get that you don’t want to lose 100 games. But marte is just 1 guy. So you lose 89 games instead of 85. And I for sure wouldn’t want a top 100 prospect back. No team is parting with a legit top 100 guy for him. They might be on some websites top 100 but not theirs. Like Bryan Hayes. He has been as high as top 20 been in top 100 awhile. Great glove and they always say that bat is coming. Well I don’t see the bat coming. It could. I don’t watch him every day or work with him. He could hit 30 hrs every year and be a all time great. I just want to know what makes them know the bat is coming? Not in my top 100. Neither is Keller, I like him but see him as a #3 guy. But after seeing Cole Morton Glasnow with this new staff he could be elite. I know nothing of the pirates system now haha. Turns out they had numerous stars and just couldn’t develop them to their max potential. Taylor Trammel was in top 30, now not even top 50, next year might not be top 100. Just my opinion. I value upside. I want a star, not just a major leaguer. Maybe Padres can make him awesome I just never seen that much to make me say thst is a top 50 guy. And those guys could make it and be stars. Just at least 100 guys I like better. A top 500 guy is still a great prospect. I can see both guys in the marte trade making top 100 in next year or 2 and would rather have them than Trammel but every fan would been pumped to get a so called elite top 30 top 50 top 100 whatever guy when they should be thinking ok what is wrong with this guy? Professional evaluators can’t accurately predict prospects and I sure am not one. Especially with the pirates. I thought meadows was no way a C.F. and would hit 280 to 300 with 20 hr power. Solid but you can find those guys. Never seen him as the next cutch. Goes to Rays and is a stud. I can say I was wrong but would rather just say the pirates are inept. He never showed that power at any point in the minors. I liked glasnow, he always had great stuff, just needed control. I have a good friend who is a die hard pirates fan. He loved the archer trade. I told him I hated it. Just would hate giving up anything of value for archer. But I told him Glasnow could be great, elite stuff. But pirates gave up on him and he wasn’t happening in Pittsburgh. And what I thought of Meadows. Well I was wrong on Meadows. Half wrong. He isn’t going to play a good c.f.. Of course that was before the news that baz was included. I thought Huntington was a good gm until the archer trade. Usually felt he won his trades, and signed good free agents.
Last thing. Pirates owner is a idiot. He had 2 or 3 years at like 99 something million payroll. Just had to spend a little more and the company line could have been ” hey, we had a payroll over 100 million for past 3 years or 3 years in a row etc etc. It’s like how they trick the weak minded at stores 99.99 sounds cheaper than a 100 bucks. I will read your reply if you reply. If not good talk. Sorry for your loss of Marte.
Mendoza Line 215
Lovin-Thank you for the reply.
NH within the last seven years made almost all good trades but he clearly over rated Archer.He was the one pitcher that NH thought that he needed to get over the top and contend.I agree with what you said on Glasgow as he clearly was the high ceiling kind of guy that you like.Meadows came on like ganagbusters with the Pirates but cooled and did the same thing with the Rays.I think that NH saw him as a Mark Kotsay type of player which you are correct rate as good but not great.Time will tell.NH got fleeced including Baz even if the first returns were not all that great with his control problems.
I agree with you on Nutting as he was the one who gave four year contracts to two guys who had below mediocre seasons the previous two years.
I think that you are just more of a risk taker than I am and that adds to the difference on our takes.
You seem to have at least some grasp of the Pirates which most knowledgeable Pirate fans do but is relatively rare in those who do not follow this particular team.
Yeah I can talk about any team. I usually chime in on anything remotely important just so I can brag to friends saying I told you so or they can trash me if I was wrong. Good chat though, catch you again on the Kela and archer trade comment section.
Mendoza Line 215
Take care Lovinmlb.
Mentioning Marlins not spending makes your comment irrelevant. Marlins spent quite a bit this offseaskn