Discussion in 'Pittsburgh Penguins' started by Winger for Hire, Nov 1, 2018.
Here's a quick 2018 roundup:
Rick Eckstein hired as Pirates hitting coach
Hard to really know much about any incoming coach. From what I have gathered it sounds like his focus is more with exit velocity than launch angle, and that's probably a good thing--we need to try to do things differently than the trends, even though we also need to try and keep up with some of the trends, too.
Yeah, from what I read Branson was anti fly ball so that could account for the power outages from Moran and Bell. Hopefully Eckstein will help those two tap into their game power more. Out of all the hitters currently on the roster, those two stand the most to gain from a new hitting coach/philosophy. The rest are pretty much (to steal a Tomlin-ism), are who they are. I don't see a new hitting coach dramatically changing guys like Frazier, Cervelli, Marte, Diaz very much.
Fangraphs put out their free agent list, which is a solid read: 2019 Top 50 Free Agents | FanGraphs Baseball
Honestly, there's not really a lot to hope for on the market. My guess is that the "interesting" dynamics of this offseason are going to be about internal decisions concerning young players, and perhaps a faint trade rumor or two. I'm sure we'll sign a SS, and Iglesias is a fine addition, but it doesn't move the needle one bit.
I'm not really sure what options would even move the needle. Outside of a total shocker like Donaldson on a prove it deal, a lot of the options would be moderate upgrades at best for significant prices, i.e., exactly the kinds of things we avoid. I don't really like what I'm about to say and do not even think we'll consider it, but I wonder if overpaying somewhat for Marwin Gonzalez might be a kind of bet-hedging upgrade? He'll likely hover more around 2 WAR than his 2017 season of 4 WAR, but that still gives us another solidly above average bat, and the position flexibility is a huge plus, because frankly, while we do need to begin making tough decisions about which young players to back as our biggest contributors, that's a little easier said than done. Gonzalez gives us depth and security and several different positions, which is exactly why teams who are more cavalier in spending will raise his price even more.
But of any of the feasible options, he seems like someone who at least adds one healthy bat, and allows for a situation in which guys like Moran, Kramer, Hayes, Newman, etc can force the issue but not be relied on entirely. He's also some insurance at 1B. 3 years, 36 million or something really shouldn't break the bank. I haven't really looked at payroll estimates with raises and so forth, but if you can add Iglesias and Gonzalez at a combined 18 million AAV, that doesn't even seem to be more than the money cleared in the absence of Harrison, Mercer, Freese? Adds two 2-2.5 WAR players if things shake out well for us, which again still doesn't hugely move the needle, but at least gives some stability and some depth.
Winning next year involves the pitching remaining what it mostly was, somebody out of Moran/Bell stepping up more, Polanco's health, and really getting the max out of Marte, IMO. Free agency options seem like they can simply be smart ways to pay a premium for the right supplementary parts.
Decent read on Eckstein
Rick Eckstein ready as Pirates hitting coach
With our pitching in place and the current " 3 year window" being out there after that Archer trade , youd think we would be able to attract some FAs. Even ones on a " prove it" type contract.
I think the organization might be looking more at some trades instead of finally deciding to wade into the FA waters.
It was discussed a little bit on the Pirates subreddit, but a name that a lot of people are throwing around that makes sense as a target is Asdrubal Cabrera. He's also a guy that has been thrown around as a potential fit by insiders, too. He'd be the starting SS at the beginning, and if one of the young guys develops into a regular, he'd be the utility guy in the infield. I'd be very happy with that being the move for them at SS, especially if they can get him for around $6-$8 million a year.
Another deal I've seen thrown out that I really like: something around Nova+ for Sonny Gray, with the Pirates eating some of Nova's contract.
There's your power hitting 3B to platoon with Moran, although Kang isn't good against LHP. I'm glad to see he's back. I think this means that the Pirates are not going to add another 3rd baseman, though. Moran and Kang is your platoon for next year.
Stay away from Gray. I don't think they need to be bringing in any projects like him with the current makeup of the rotation. Nova is currently sitting as your 4/5 guy, which is perfectly fine. He's a league average pitcher who gets hit hard now and again, but also spins a gem almost as often and the rest of the time is just plain average. Gray's risk is just too high for the team, IMO. If Gray doesn't get fixed, he's almost a guaranteed dumpster fire. The devil you know and all that. And I'm certainly not willing to give up Nova+ to get a project back that has a better than 50% chance of being Nova. Nova for Gray straight-up, I wouldn't like it but I wouldn't complain about it.
I don't think they need to concentrate too much on pitching this offseason. Just some depth arms and really focus on the offense. Asdrubal wouldn't be a bad fit, but I really don't see them looking into FA for a starting SS. Overall he would bring some power, but the underlying numbers slot him somewhere around David Freese's numbers from last year (.332 wOBA for AC vs .335 for DF). I just can't see the Pirates looking at those numbers and handing out a FA contract for that. I just keep getting the feeling the Pirates won't hand out a FA contract to someone else the cost-benefit analysis swings wildly in their favor.
Kang needs to really over-perform to carry that platoon and I'm less than optimistic about that.
I'm sort of indifferent to negative about Kang, given all the bull****, but a flyer is a flyer and it's probably the right baseball move.
I agree about Cabrera - he could be another option, especially since he can become a utility player. I do like the idea of getting Iglesias' elite defense. We need offense, surely, but I think having a guy like Iglesias is especially important for when pitchers like Musgrove, Williams, Nova are on the mound. I'd be less concerned about it if I had any confidence in the defense of Newman.
Cabrera could still make some sense even with Iglesias, although I guess that's partly what I was thinking with Gonzalez, who will undoubtedly cost much more than Cabrera. Cabrera's offense might actually be better than Gonzalez, though.
This is a relatively low bar that I think we'll still manage to miss, but I'd be pretty happy this offseason if we can bring in two offensive players who should be good for 2-2.5 WAR. That's not necessarily the best catch all metric in our case, but getting two more solid bats into the lineup/bench should help firm up some consistency issues, with the rest coming down to how good the pitching can be, and how good the current core in general can be. The window is most definitely closing, and so it makes sense to be cavalier with whatever money there is. Hopefully moving on from various contracts has put us in a position to do that, since I'm not sure we really have what it takes to make any kind of splash via trade. Hayes is close enough to MLB that he should probably be untouchable.
Nova+$ for Gray does make some sense I think, but given the option I'd rather use whatever $ we have to sink into the offense and keep Nova. He's a known commodity here. Gray definitely has more upshot, and also could be a nice rental player to move in order to get some depth back if things don't work out amazingly with the playoff race and/or if Keller starts forcing the issue around that time. I'd suspect the Yankees will just dump him, but Nova's solid resume and history with the team might be the kind of trade option that very few teams can offer. Part of me wonders if there would be any way to turn it into a slightly bigger trade and get some offensive help in return, but it gets tricky to match players in that case.
Wanted Cabrera at the deadline. OPS of .817 with 18 HRs with the Mets before going to the Phils. Didnt do as well there but whole team fell apart.
Id take him. We dont know what we are going to get from Kang. Cabrera with 24 and 23 HRs the last two seasons. Thats always welcomed in Pitts infield
Will Jung Ho Kang be Enough to Jump-start the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Lineup?
This piece ballparks the amount of money to spend around 12mil, which is probably a good estimate for really setting out hopes at a mediocre level. Unless Iglesias gets surprisingly little money, that seems like just maybe enough to get him and somebody like Cabrera, if we totally cheap out on a reliever. I am probably a bit unique in this regard but I do think Iglesias is the highest priority - we can't go into the season with Newman as the everyday SS.
Within a couple hours I had a friend suggest trading for Tulo and then trading for Segura, Paxton, and Felix Hernandez.
Don't forget about Cano! Too bad we didn't retain J-Hay, that would have been a good chip to use there. Or S-Rod.
OK, I need to get some other opinions on this conversation I've been having with a friend. This trade he's championing just sounds awful for the Pirates; financially and baseball wise. It nets them a good SS (but still no power), depletes their rotation depth for minimal-ish upgrade, and skims the higher end of their prospect pool pretty well, not even looking into how it would hamstring them financially. Here it is-
Trevor Williams (pre-arb)
James Paxton (2nd arb; projected around $8m)
Jean Seagura ($14.8m until 2022; $17m team option in '23)
Felix Hernandez ($27.8m; '20 team option for $1m if injury conditions are met)
I just don't see trading Williams and Nova for Paxton. I feel it's a neutral move, a slight down grade since Paxton is going to be 31 and a lot closer to FA than Williams. As much as I talk down Williams' floor, he still turned in a great season (better than Paxton), is ~4 years younger, just getting into his prime. Paxton isn't exactly a picture of consistency or health, so I don't feel like that's a guy you sell the farm for. Seagura gives you a good top of the order bat and above average base stealer, but the glove is meh and the power is still missing. Felix's arm is dead, struggles to hit 90 with his heater and his offspeed stuff doesn't play as well without the heavy fastball.
Felix Herneandez kills that deal immediately, I don't care about any of the other pieces. Having a guy making $28 million when he's a negative WAR player is an instant deal killer for me, regardless of what else they're getting in the trade.
Setting aside the financial nightmare, I think you are basically right. Paxton is intriguing, and Segura is solid enough, but it takes a sledge hammer to our depth for relatively minimal upside. King Felix is middle relief, maybe gets a boost in the NL, but I can't imagine anybody will take him on.
Hayes needs to basically be untouchable, since he along with Keller at least give us some hopes of keeping our window of mediocrity extended indefinitely into the future. Reynolds and Newman might be depth pieces, maybe more, and I think the intuition to protect Williams is also right. Right now, we have strong depth at pitching, and in a sense, I don't see much of a reason to tinker. Kingham and Brault are fine as #6 and #7 depth guys, and Keller should be able to start forcing the issue partway into the season. "Worst" case scenario there and we can try to flip Nova at the deadline, but regardless of how that happens, Keller is basically primed to step in and take over once Nova's contract is up.
Williams isn't exactly the most showstopping player on paper, but it seems like a decent bet that his floor is a pretty consummate backend rotation piece. There's just no reason to give that up in what might be a lateral move. Paxton definitely has a lot of upside, but we need to focus all of our energy on offense. That's what sucks, since it seems pretty difficult to identify reasonable upgrades via trade or free agency, and most of the options seem to not move the needle enough, anyways. It's a backhanded compliment, but Huntington has truly done a great job of locking us into being a solid, .500 team.
There are definitely some things we should be trying to do this offseason, but the more I think on it as we really get underway, it seems like basically the most likely huge improvement would come because of something unexpected, like Hayes cracking in next year, or Tucker, etc. Or Archer turning into a full-fledged ace and having a nasty 1-2 combo at SP.
I would also like to point out that the guy who thinks this is an amazing trade thinks it'd be a good idea to trade for Tulo and shouldn't be a problem to get the Jays to eat $25/$30m on the remaining $38m on his contract.
Lets just say I rarely see eye-to-eye with this guy on baseball matters.
It doesn't seem too unfair to say that these would be a stretch on PS4.
Newest blogger target FA comes from Rum Bunter, advocating for Jon Jay.
Meh, competent 4th OF. Defense is wasted in RF at PNC. Bat is nothing to write home about, at all. If he was a 2nd or 3rd signing/addition, sure, but I don't think it's quite needed unless they have absoultly no faith in the other OFers that could break camp.
Yeah, I am hoping that we pay more attention to the infield, and just have Frazier fill in for Polanco. Reyes has obvious sample size limitations, but I don't really see the point of paying anything whatsoever for mediocre OF depth with him, and potentially Martin or Reynolds as options for those spots next year, not to mention Luplow.
That's why I like Gonzalez the most, even though his defense seems somewhat suspect. But we're basically priced out of his market already.
Separate names with a comma.