Insider Only Daily 5: Groundhog Day all over again for the Pirates


*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*

1. It is groundhog day for the Pirates all over again when it comes to Pedro Alvarez. Just like last year with Alvarez at third base, Clint Hurdle is now reaching the point where he doesn’t even want to put him out there and just like last year at the trade deadline, the Pirates are aggressively trying to find a taker.
Last summer one team kicked the tires on Alvarez, the Minnesota Twins. Maybe Alvarez’s father-in-law can talk Padres management into taking him.
“I think we’ll evaluate [Pedro] as we did last year,” Hurdle told reporters over the weekend. “I don’t know what is going to happen two weeks down the road. Could it be different? It could be. Could it be the same? It could be.”
For a guy who was the second overall pick, it’s amazing there’s still a crowd of support out there for Alvarez.
Alvarez’s career as a Pirate will go down as a bust. When you’re picked that high, that’s the way it goes, especially when drafting him was looked at by the media as a huge turning point for the organization. In fact I remember one reporter stating the Alvarez selection was more important than the Penguins drafting Sidney Crosby. The frustration with Alvarez shouldn’t be the disaster he is in the field, but that he’s never put it all together as a hitter to outweigh the liability he is in the field.
But, hey he has “rare power” as his supporters tout.

DHP_42592. If Jordy Mercer is out long-term, even in the 2-4 week range, the Josh Harrison injury now becomes a killer. The Pirates were in position to get by okay without Harrison until late August but now their depth is going to be severely tested. Harrison’s value to the team will be on display if Mercer is out for a while as fans will see how important Harrison’s versatility is to plug holes in multiple spots in the lineup.

3. Alen Hanson has been a prospect we’ve been hearing about for years. Perfect time for a callup? The Pirates are in a situation where Hanson’s clock shouldn’t have any impact on whether to call him up. If they feel he can help them try to win the division, then he should get consideration, but what’s problematic is Hanson’s defensive play at short is questionable at best and an on-base percentage below .340 may make the Pirates believe bringing him up for his bat won’t be worth it.

4. What the Penguins development camp this past week showed again I’m told is the Penguins have quite a bit of forward prospects who can go out and give them 7-10 minutes a game in a fourth line role but still lots of questions if they even have one forward this coming season or next who can go out and be an impact NHL player. They need a young player in that bottom-6 to emerge and move the needle, like what they got during the 2007-2008 season with Tyler Kennedy.

Bennett5. Beau Bennett’s one year, $800,000 contract signed last week has him taking a paycut from his entry level contract ($925,000) and his stock is so low from those in the organization that the Penguins planned to walk if he would have received an offer sheet as low as $1.2 million. They would have gladly taken a third round pick.

The Bennett camp I’m told informed the Penguins there was a team interested in signing Bennett but Pittsburgh never bought it.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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