The Latest Pirates Buzz
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez drove in two runs yesterday for Triple-A Indianapolis and the Pirates feel he will be healthy enough to return to the team, following the All-Star break.
However, management is preaching patience when it comes to bringing Alvarez back up. The primary goal of the Pirates is getting Alvarez back to the point where he was in August and September of last year. Keeping him in the minors longer than expected is something Pirate officials are willing to do, if they don’t feel he’s ready to have an impact with his bat at the MLB level.
Manager Clint Hurdle said yesterday that getting the Alvarez we saw last September would dramatically change the look of the Pirates ball club.
“If you want to look at third base, it’d be nice to have the Pedro Alvarez that you saw last year in August and September back at third base,” manager Clint Hurdle said yesterday, via Tribune-Review. “That would make us a dramatically different ball club right away.”
*The Pirates are holding organizational meetings this week, laying out somewhat of a blueprint for possible trade deadline plans. At this point, the Pirates intend to be buyers from the standpoint that they are looking to add but still have their eye on the big picture of building a contender on a year to year basis.
The Pirates are said to be willing to move some of their mid-tier pitching prospects in the system for immediate help.
Asking prices remain extremely high for rental players at this point.
A big question mark is whether ownership is willing to take on salary, for example, such as Chicago’s Carlos Pena who has been linked to Pittsburgh and a player they have liked in the past.
Although the Pirates did not spend up to their budget this off-season, ownership went into the season with expectations that the team would be shedding the salaries of Ryan Doumit and Paul Maholm at somepoint this season.
*The Pirates are not expecting reliever Evan Meek to return until mid-August at the earliest. Pirate officials indicate he is around 4-6 weeks away and initial target dates of late July are said to be a bit optimistic.
With Meek having a minimal impact this season due to injuries, the contributions from Chris Resop and Jose Versas have been pivotal to the success of the bullpen behind closer Joel Hanrahan.
*It will be interesting to see what kind of impact lefty reliever Joe Beimel can have leading up to the trade deadline. He is set to return following the All-Star break.
If the Pirates still feel they are going to contend into August and September, this could still be an area (lefty reliever) they look to address.
With Beimel expected to be activated on July 15, options to be sent down include Daniel Moskos, Tony Watson or Chris Leroux. All three have options.
*Interesting decision coming up next week with Jose Tabata’s (quad) expected return from the 15-day DL. There is fear inside the organization that Xavier Paul would not clear waivers and all signs point to Alex Presley being sent back down, unless the Pirates intend to play him in a regular role at right field, which as of today is not believed to be the case.