Latest Pirates Buzz
The Pirates dropped three straight to the Cleveland Indians this weekend and the team’s achilles heel remains their inability to score runs.
The Pirates managed just 4 runs against Cleveland and in their last 11 games, are averaging just 2.2 runs a game and batting .167 with runners in scoring position.
Overall, the Pirates rank 26th in the Majors in runs.
A major concern from management has been the lack of power from two impact positions at first base and third base.
Lyle Overbay and Pedro Alvarez have combined for just 7 home runs this season and the Pirates don’t expect Alvarez back before the All-Star break.
The hope from management is that Alvarez returns with the kind of power he had last season when he hit 16 home runs in his final 78 games.
Patience though is weighing thin with veteran Lyle Overbay whose hitting .228 and his struggles has the Pirates scouring the market for a hitter. The chances though of adding an impact bat are slim at this stage and the best hope is making internal moves that hopefully pan out.
One option at the Pirates disposal is moving Garrett Jones to first base who GM Neal Huntington called a “viable option today.
Jones gives the Pirates a more power option with 7 home runs in 173 at-bats, compared to Overbay who has 5 home runs in 241 at-bats.
Moving Jones to first base full-time would give Xavier Paul more playing time in right field and also open the door for Alex Presley to get a shot with the Big club. Presley is hitting .333 with 8 home runs and 34 RBI’s for Triple-A Indianapolis.
What could still hold Presley from being called up in the coming weeks is the Matt Diaz factor. It is much easier ending the Lyle Overbay experiment due to the fact that he’s on a one year deal. Diaz is under contract through the 2012 season.
More Buzz: Huntington’s take on Trade Market, Presley, Josh Bell Negotiations; the Pirates showing interest in Scott Kazmir? Prospect updates on Lincoln, Morris
Huntington on current trade market
“At this point, it’s a significant sellers market, ” Huntington said today during his weekly media session. There’s not very many teams that are ready to make those type of moves because so many teams are around .500. Nobodys really run away with the division yet. It’s become even more of a challenge and as it starts getting into July, more teams become more available, more players become available. More teams have a more clear picture of where they are and the pendulum swings a little bit. We continue to see what’s out there, to see what might help us, what it’s going to cost us short and long term.”
On shaking up the Pirates struggling offense by a trade or callup:
“Our pitching has done well, our defense has done well and we’ve struggled to score runs, ” Huntington said. “You look at the internal options. Whether it’s on the existing major league club. Clint’s done a nice job of trying to find different lineups and different matches to get this club going. If you look at what we got in Triple-A, we’re always looking at external options out there.
It keeps coming back to logical and irrational. We don’t want to make emotional or irrational decisions that we regret later. But you want to help this club. They’re fighting, they’re competing, especially pitching and defense. They’re doing what they need to do, we just got to find a way to score more runs.”
“I think we wish everything was linear. And that we were always continuing to climb in a positive direction. But more often then not, you’re looking for the flow to be in a positive direction. We’ve seen some signs that we can do some things. We’ve seen some signs that guys are pulling out of it. We’ll continue to look. If there’s something in AAA that can help us and if so, how does that effect the major league club. Is there something outside and at what cost.”
Why Ciriaco over Presley?
“To leave him Clint Hurdle with one infield option, really handcuff’s him as a Manager, ” Huntington said. “If we take Pedro Ciriaco off this club and put Alex Presley on this club, he has one move he can make at second, short or third. If we have an injury, who’s going to go play third base? If he makes a move in the 5th, 6th inning and we have an injury, his hands are really tied. If we done six straight American League games, probably would have made the move, ” Huntington in regards to calling up Presley.”
“Ciriaco’s role right now is to pinch-run and to be an extra defender that allows Clint to make a move in the infield when he wants to pinch hit, or pinch-run, something defensively for Harrison or Wood or Cedeno.”
Huntington on Alex Presley
“He’s done everything we could have asked of him” Huntington said of Presley. “That’s where we want to be as an organization We want guys that are performing really well in Double-A, but there’s not a spot for them in Triple-A. Performing really well in A-ball, but there’s not a spot for them in Double-A. Performing really well in a Triple-A, but there’s not a spot for them in the big leagues. That means we’re getting closer to where we want to be as an organization.”
On Josh Bell Negotiations
“We remain optimistic, ” Huntington said on signing Gerrit Cole and second round pick Josh Bell.
Pirates have reached out to Kazmir’s agent
It doesn’t sound like anything’s going to happen in regards to a signing but the Pirates have reached out to the agent for lefty Scott Kazmir who was released by the Anaheim Angels.
McCutchen 0-for-13 in three game series vs Cleveland
After seeing his 15 game hitting streak end due to Major League Baseball over-ruling a double on 7/11, Andrew McCutchen’s batting average dropped 18 points in his last 3 games.
McCutchen went 0-for-13 in the Pirates three game set against the Indians and had 5 strikeouts.
McCutchen is hitting .276 on the season.
Prospect Bryan Morris moved to bullpen
Pitching prospect Bryan Morris has been moved to the bullpen permanently, according to the Altoona Mirror.
Morris, 24, is 1-3 with a 4.66 ERA in 5 starts this season for Double-A Altoona.
Morris is the latest player from the Jason Bay trade still in the organization.
Lincoln has 1.32 ERA in month of June
2006 1st round pick Brad Lincoln (6-6, 3.82 ERA) is having a strong month of June. Lincoln picked up his 6th win of the season on Sunday, allowing 9 hits and 1 earned run in 7 1/3 innings pitched. Lincoln struck out 7 and walked 1 in the win.
Lincoln is 2-1 this month with a 1.33 ERA and is 6-3 in his last 10 games. The former first round pick has allowed 2 runs or less in 8 of his last 9 starts.