Latest Pirates Buzz

Insider Only Buyer or Seller & What to do with Josh Bell


Buyer or Seller

How about them Pirates?

They sure fooled me. How about you? Did you see winning five out of seven against the Cardinals and Cubs coming?

That’s what they did before the All Star break and now they’re within striking distance of first place in the Central Division, seven and a half games back.

Striking distance is nice but if that’s the best you can say going into the second half of the season, chances are pretty good that you’re not going to win the division.

That’s based on lots of history, not just opinion.

It’s a long season and the Pirates will cool off again just as the Cubs will get hot again. The 9-19 record the Pirates put up in June will probably end up defining the season and right now the only realistic hope is a wild card.

The last 10 days may have made the Pirates a buyer at the trading deadline instead of a seller, but that’s not always good news.

What do you do at the trading deadline if/when your only realistic hope is a one game playoff? Do you trade some of your future to increase your chances of getting that one game shot?

And, because of Major League Baseball’s stupid economic disparity, wild card contenders with much more money to spend like the Dodgers, Mets, Nationals and Cardinals are more likely to add difference makers at the deadline.

The Pirates are much better off than most people thought they would be a month ago but they’re a long, long way from anything better than the dreaded one game playoff.

Neal Huntington and Clint Hurdle were right to point out that fans and media should calm down about Josh Bell, who had two hits in his first two Major League at bats including a pinch hit grand slam.

They reminded everybody about Gregory Polanco, who looked like a Hall of Famer his first two weeks in the big leagues and then became a .240 hitter for a season and a half.

But isn’t it also possible that Polanco was going to hit .245 for 200 games or so no matter when he showed up?

There’s no guarantee that, if Polanco had not been brought up in 2014 and had waited until the start of the 2015 season instead, he would be the player he is now.

Maybe he needed to learn how to hit big league pitching by hitting against big league pitching.

The same could be true of Bell.

Based on stats, Bell is ready for the Major Leagues. He’s a lifetime .305 hitter in the minor leagues and has been tearing up AAA – .324, 13 HRs, 53 RBI and a .407 on base percentage at Indianapolis.

And he turns 24 in a month. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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