*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*
1. Marlon Byrd was 4-5 last night with a top Pirates scout in attendance and with the trade deadline two days away, re-acquiring Byrd could open up some enticing trade scenarios for the Pirates with one big reason being it could make Starling Marte a significant trade chip, notably in talks with the Tampa Bay Rays for pitching ace David Price. The Pirates are not all in on Price who might not get moved, but the Pirates continue to check in on the possibility.
2. The Pirates as they should be, are said to be against trading one of their top-3 prospects; P Tyler Glasnow, OF Austin Meadows, OF Josh Bell. However, they could still be an interesting trade partner for David Price without having to include any of the three; Here’s how the Pirates, Rays could match up very well with the Rays getting a mix of MLB players with control, and high upside prospects who are not far from the Majors, and the Pirates getting their coveted top of the rotation starter, while not moving one of their three premier prospects.
One thing that should be noted about the Rays is while they love prospects, they also like winning.
- Jameson Taillon – The Pirates No. 2 pitching prospect and one of baseball’s top-40 prospects. Coming off Tommy John Surgery, but pitchers have a strong track record of coming back just as good. A significant chip as the center piece of a deal for Price. Taillon could be ready to pitch in the Majors by late 2015 season and a full-time starter by 2016.
- Starling Marte – Marte could be very attractive to the Rays because he’d be under club control through the 2021 season with club options in 2020, 2021. For Pittsburgh, they could go with Byrd, who is an upgrade over Marte for this season and next, while Josh Bell a potential 25-30 home run player who hits for good average, could be ready for Majors as early as 2016.
- Pedro Alvarez – The Rays get a DH option in Alvarez who has two years left of control. Tampa Bay is 11th in the AL with just 82 home runs.
- Alen Hanson – A top 10 prospect in the Pirates system, was rated the Pirates No. 6 prospect by Baseball America after the 2013 season. A bit of a problem child, immature, but very high upside.
3. The Pirates going all in for Jon Lester is far too risky. Unlike Price who you could get two potential playoff runs out of or flip him at next year’s trade deadline, trading a Glasnow, Bell, Meadows or Taillon for Lester just doesn’t make sense for the Pirates long-term. If the Pirates were leading the division by six, seven games, then mortgaging the future for a rental in Lester would make sense, similar to the Brewers acquiring C.C Sabathia in 2008 that almost put them over the top in the NL, but that isn’t the case right now for the Pirates. Now if the the Pirates can sell the Red Sox on a packaged centered around Alen Hanson than that’s a different story.
4. Neal Huntington has a history of making deals with the New York Mets over the last year and Bartolo Colon is at least worth looking into, especially considering there is not a strong market for him, as Jon Heyman reported today. Colon, 41, 10-8, 3.88 ERA, 1.16 WHIP. Opponents are hitting .259 against Colon and he has 106 strikeouts/20 walks in 141.2 IP. The fatter he gets, the better gets. If you’re considering trading for a lesser pitcher right now in A.J. Burnett whose player option projects to be $12.75 million, than Colon who is due $11 million next season should also be in the discussion. Likely the Mets would pick up some of that tab.
5. Neil Walker is the 11th highest paid second baseman in baseball right now making $5.75 million. He will move into the top-10 after the season where Walker projects to make at least $8 million next season. It won’t be long before he joins the $10 million club among second baseman.
Top-5 Highest paid second basemen this season: Robinson Cano, $24 million, Ian Kinsler, $16 million, Chase Utley, $15 million, Dustin Pedroia, $12.625 million, Rickie Weeks, $12 million
Walker ranks 2nd among all second basemen in Home runs, 3rd in OPS, 4th (tied) in RBI’s, 5th in OBP.
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