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Insider Only As questionable lineup moves continue, management has at least developed a plan beyond 2018

The Pittsburgh Pirates (57-54) enter a crucial game this afternoon against the St. Louis Cardinals (57-54) before they begin a nine game road trip (3 @ Rockies, 58-52), (4 @ Giants, 56-56), (2 @ Twins)

Losing this homestand and falling a game behind the Cardinals will leave a bitter taste after the momentum and buzz the Pirates built up with the Chris Archer trade.

PIRATES LINEUP FOR CARDINALS (1:35 P.M)
1. Dickerson, LF
2. Marte, CF
3. Polanco, RF
4. Cervelli, C
5. Moran, 3B
6. Frazier, 2B
7. Osuna, 1B
8. Mercer, SS
9. Williams, RHP


And the Pirates can’t start falling 6+ games out of the second wildcard spot. Entering today the Pirates are 4 games back of the Braves, yet, Clint Hurdle continues to make maddening lineup moves like last night with the bullpen and David Freese hitting .370 in his last 16 games not in the lineup today.

This is a game the Pirates need.


MANAGEMENT FINALLY HAS A PLAN IN PLACE

Even if the Pirates stumble during this upcoming road trip that make the playoffs pretty much an afterthought by mid-August, certainly possible if the Pirates endure a 3-6, 4-5 road trip, what the organization has finally done with their stunning deadline moves is develop a direction for the club moving forward.

“Chris Archer has been, and projects to be, an upper echelon major-league starting pitcher who we are thrilled to add to our organization to help us win games for the next three-plus years.”

That was the key quote from Huntington — “Three-plus years” of control –.

Pirate officials are giddy about a Mitch Keller-Chris Archer combination at the top of rotation in the not too distant future.

The Pirates are not going to be legitimate World Series Contenders this season or next but this team finally has a plan to be compedtitive with several impact players under control and help coming up in the system.

In the outfield Pittsburgh has Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte under team control through 2023 and 2021 respectively, if Pittsburgh picked up both team options.

Gregory Polanco, 26, Signed through 2021 (Team Options 22-23)
Starling Marte, 29, Signed through 2019 (Team Options 20-21)

Corey Dickerson hitting .317 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs this season is under team control for another season.

What made the Pirates willing to sacrifice Austin Meadows in the Archer trade was the outfield depth in the system.

Jason Martin, acquired in the Gerrit Cole is what the Pirates feel could be a perfect 4th caliber outfielder who can play all three positions. Martin is hitting a combined .305 with 12 home runs, 49 RBIs in AA/AAA this season.

The organization is very high on Bryan Reynolds, acquired in the Andrew McCutchen and he could be MLB ready by late 2019.

Trading Meadows might sting a lot in 2019 if Gregory Polanco reverts back to the Polanco of old but what the Pirates feel great about the Archer/Kela trades is that several of their high-end prospects are on a path where they should be able to help this group at the MLB level within two years.

Among them include SP Mitch Keller who projects to be a star, SS Kevin Newman, IF Ke’Bryan Hayes, among others.

Newman in fact is a key for next season. Jordy Mercer is a free agent and next season is time for the 25 year old Newman to see what you have.

While the Pirates still have a problem in the present of not rostering the ‘Best-25’ and putting their ‘best-9′ on the field as the Pirates playoffs’ have pretty begun this week, the team has at least taken steps of putting a plan in place.

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com