Author Topic: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook  (Read 997 times)

Pirates LW

  • Larry Waters
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Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« on: 20 Dec 2014 11:00:04 AM »
Hello Sports Fans

After today's trade to acquire Jeff Samardzija + Mike Moustakis, the 2015 Pirates look a lot different compared to the close of the 2014 campaign.

A potential Opening Day Lineup:

CF - Jon Jay
2B - Brett Lawrie
RF - Huner Pence
1B - Brandon Belt
C - Jonathon Lucroy
3B - Mike Moustakas
LF - Dayan Viciedo
SS - Didi Gregorious

Except for SS, every position has a name who was not on the 2014 roster.

On the bench we find:
Nick Franklin
Drew Stubbs
Andrew Susac
Stefan Romero
Hunter Morris
Josh Willingham

Stubbs and Josh are new, the others are holdovers.

The Starting Rotation figures to be:
1. Corey Kluber
2. Jeff Samardzija
3. Homer Bailey
4. Zach McAllister
5. Jesse Hahn or Josh Tomlin or Vidal Nuno

The bullpen features (for now):
Nick Vincent
Seth Maness
Scott Atchinson
Todd Redmond
Kevin Siegrist

To make over the roster we gave up two #1 picks, Manny Machado, Scott Kazmir, Henderson Alvarez, Travis Wood, five relief pitchers, other picks + other young talent. Some of whom I'm sure we will someday regret trading. We'll see how this all works out over the next few seasons.

I would not say with certainty the Pirates are 100% finished upgrading the roster; but we are much happier where we are today compared to 10 weeks ago.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all in DMBO Land.

« Last Edit: 20 Dec 2014 11:10:16 AM by Pirates LW »
Larry Waters
Assistant General Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates


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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #1 on: 20 Dec 2014 11:18:18 AM »
Wow!  The Shark trade was fantastic, the Pirates look like a great team that isn't just a one-year mirage, and Cardinals fans are deeply troubled by these developments.

(I'll be happy if you keep Viciedo's 80-something OPS+ and wretched defense on the active roster, though.)

Pirates LW

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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #2 on: 20 Dec 2014 3:31:52 PM »
Quote
(I'll be happy if you keep Viciedo's 80-something OPS+ and wretched defense on the active roster, though.)

Now Jonathon, we do appreciate you commenting on every move the Pirates make; but methinks there was a bit of hyperbole in the above comment.

Let me cite the facts about Viciedo and his 2015 ZIPS.

His actual OPS+ is 99; it is not "80-something"
His defense in RF is rated at -5 runs. IDK, maybe it's just me, but I prefer to save "wretched" for a guy who is far worse than borderline between AV & FR.

Just for the record, Dayan's 2014 ratings were:
1B: AV94
3B: FR122 - he wont be playing 3B this year- his 2015 3B rating is a non-factor
LF:  FR127
RF:  AV118
With a Throwing arm rating of EX

Now that the data is public, the readers have a better idea regarding Viciedo's actual value for the upcoming season.

Thanks for reading.
Ho Ho Ho


Larry Waters
Assistant General Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates


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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #3 on: 20 Dec 2014 3:52:50 PM »
Good points, all.  My memory is an unreliable narrator, unfortunately!

(Vicideo's OPS+ with the Mariners is 89, which is still closer to 90 than what "80-something" makes one typically imagine.  And of course he isn't yet on the Mariners and could still get a better projection if traded elsewhere.)

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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #4 on: 11 Feb 2015 7:31:28 PM »
A review of the Pirates offseason with absolutely no stats or mention of Zips or WAR or any of that stuff.

With the acquisition of A.J. Pierzynski, the Pirates complete their Tier 2 shopping.  In an effort to move the win total into the mid-80s and possibly complete for a playoff spot the front office decided to overhaul the roster. In past years the pitching was roughly average while the offense was offensive. Now, three months after the Skype Summit between the UK and Connecticut the only two hitters who survived the purge who figure to be on the 25 man roster are Didi Gregorious and Nick Franklin.

What allowed this transformation was the decision to make available:
•   Our 2015 1-4 pick
•   Our 2016 1st round pick
•   Manny Machado or Byron Buxton – but not both
•   Scott Kazmir
•   And many others

Step 1 was sending the 1-4 2015 pick to the Reds. This swap improved the offense at 1B (Belt over Ike Davis) RF (Pence over Andre Ethier) and in the rotation as Homer Bailey figures to be better than Travis Wood.  We felt those three immediate improvements were well worth the 1-4 pick in the draft.

Next Dayan Viciedo was acquired for a draft pick.  When the deal was announced it seemed Dayan would be Pittsburgh’s primary LFer because after all, at that moment, there was no other quality LFer on the roster. Comments were made that Dayan was not a great choice for a fulltime LFer. We knew that. A 150+ game OF job was never part of the plan for Dayan.  Viciedo slots nicely into a platoon role with Belt at 1B and to be the #4/#5 OFer.

Then a short time later a one-for one deal with the Phillies did truly return a starting OFer. Jon Jay was swapped for Henderson Alvarez. In our mind, Jay replaced Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley Jr. may blossom one day; right now Jay is better. Henderson Alvarez may have a long and successful career ( a very positive article comparing Henderson to King Felix is now on Fangraphs); but we needed a starting CFer more than we needed Henderson and his super impressive groundball rate.

Next we dealt away four RPs merely to clear salary room. We suspect we did not get full value for these four pitchers. Getting cap room was the goal – pure and simple.

Then the big deal with the Brewers happened. Uber prospect Manny Machado was sent to Milwaukee along with Scott Kazmir in exchange for Matt Lucroy and Brett Lawrie. Comments on the TA board focused on the loss of Machado and how Lawrie was nowhere the 3Bman Machado is now, or will be in the future. Very likely that is true. However it’s also irrelevant because the plan was not to use Lawrie at 3B. From the outset of negotiations, Lawrie was pursued to takeover 2B from Tommy LaStella. The trade with Milwaukee improved our offense at Catcher and 2B. Getting plus offense at catcher is hard to find. Getting it at under $3.0 mil is even harder. Before Lucroy entered our horizon we had every intention of pursuing McCann or Wieters in T2, but when Lucroy became available (Thanks Darren and thanks to Mike Zunino) we decided to take the plunge. Adding Kazmir to the deal helped because losing his $10mil salary allowed us to pursue other plans. Yes we downgraded at 3B by trading Manny M. Maybe we eventually woo the day we sent Manny to a division rival; but we wanted to win sooner rather than later.  Right now, for 2015, Manny is an above average 3Bman, but making this deal gave us one of the best catchers in the game at an affordable price and improved our 2B bat. We’d look to find a decent 3Bman to replace Manny and Scott Kazmir, while a nice #2/#3, we felt was not unique. Once Machado was dealt, we decided it was highly, highly unlikely Buxton would also depart. We received a couple of inquiries regarding Buxton’s availability, moving him was not discussed.

Next we traded our 2016 1st round pick (plus players and prospects) to acquire Jeff Samardzjia and Mike Moustakis.  We prefer Moustakis’ LH power bat to a RH power bat because while PNC Park suppresses LH power it absolutely crushes RH power.  Samardzjia takes over as the #2 guy in the rotation for the departed Scott Kazmir behind Cy Young Award Winner Corey Kluber.

In Tier 2 our primary goal was pitching improvement. We took relatively inexpensive flyers on Tsuyoshi Wada and/or Jesse Chavez to be better than Zach McAllister or Josh Tomlin. James Russell gave us a second southpaw out of the pen.

The most recent trade landed the Pirates a bona fide closer. Sergio Romo was acquired from the downsizing Yankees to fill the show-up-in-the-last-inning-to-collect-the-saves role. Going to the Yanks is chug-a-lug Dan Vogelbach plus a swap of draft picks.  We do wish Dan the best with the Yankees, but bullpen improvement became a priority.

The last position void was LF. On the roster we see Will Venable, Stefan Romero and Josh Willingham as LF stop gap candidates. None of those options makes us do cartwheels. Therefore, barring further developments, the #1 prospect in baseball will make his DMBO debut this season. Byron Buxton will be promoted to take over CF; Jon Jay slides to LF.

While we are done with Tier 2 we are not done considering trading. Any ideas are welcomed.

If you made it this far through this way-too-long post you have a very good idea who is the Pirates 2015 plans. Therefore I will dispense with the traditional listing of players by position.

Thanks for reading. Happy Baseball.
Larry Waters
Assistant General Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates


Avoiding disasters with occasional brilliance

Cardinals

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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #5 on: 11 Feb 2015 9:09:56 PM »
Quote
Therefore, barring further developments, the #1 prospect in baseball will make his DMBO debut this season. Byron Buxton will be promoted to take over CF; Jon Jay slides to LF.

Now -that- was (for me) an unexpected twist that, in retrospect, makes perfect sense.  I wonder why I didn't notice this option before!  With the eyeball test that looks like a mid-80-win team to me, and the depth is far stronger than most of the other wildcard contenders.  I still love Machado more for this team, but I can empathize with the park factors (since Busch is a lot like PNC and I'm always, always hunting for left-handed hitting).

The NL Central is going to be really difficult this year.

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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #6 on: 11 Feb 2015 10:46:20 PM »
Don't have to worry bout Reds though

:)
Michael Phillips
GM, Cincinnati Reds

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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #7 on: 11 Feb 2015 10:52:26 PM »
Don't have to worry bout Reds though

:)

That's the only easy pit stop, though!  Even the Brewers look like they could finish above .500, and they're probably the fourth-best team in the division.

Geez.  Thanks, Pittsburgh, for making life harder than it has to be.

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Re: Pirates 2015 Team Outlook
« Reply #8 on: 12 Feb 2015 2:23:10 AM »
There was a time a few years ago when the NL Central was the beast of the league. We want to others to fear this division once again!
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