MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo recently just came out with his updated Top 50 prospects list. Mayo has moved Jameson Taillon up on that list. Before the season, Taillon was ranked #18 overall and #8 as far as pitchers go, now he finds himself #11 overall and the 4th ranked pitcher. Taillon has certainly not disappointed in his first pro ball season at Low A West Virginia as a 19 year old. So far, he has a 4.09 ERA, 60 K’s in 61.2 IP, an 8.8 K/9, just 10 BB’s, and a 1.20 WHIP.
Today marks the eighth year anniversary of arguably the worst trade in the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates when Aramis Ramirez along with Kenny Lofton were dealt to the Chicago Cubs for infielder Jose Hernandez, pitcher Matt Bruback, and infielder Bobby Hill (who was the player to be named later). Kevin McClatchy and Dave Littlefield were in the midst of making salary dumps. Four of the key names that were on the trade block for the Pirates were Brian Giles, Jason Kendall, Kris Benson, and Kenny Lofton. Giles was dealt to the San Diego Padres in August, Kendall wasn’t dealt, because teams didn’t want to take on that much remaining money on his contract, and Benson couldn’t be traded since he was placed on the DL two weeks before the trade deadline. Then came the shocker when they decided to make Aramis Ramirez somehow expendable by trading him to the Cubs along with Kenny Lofton. Some would argue that had it not been for Benson getting injured around the trade deadline, that the Ramirez deal would of never happened. In eight seasons with the Cubs now, Ramirez has compiled a .294 avg, .533 SLG, .888 OPS, 231 HR’s, 773 RBI’s, and a 2.5 WAR. On the Pirates side, Jose Hernandez spent the rest of that 2003 season with the Bucs with a .223 avg, .326 SLG, .608 OPS, 3 HR’s, 21 RBI’s and a WAR of zero. Bobby Hill played parts of two seasons with the Pirates with a .267 avg, .337 SLG, .689 OPS, 2 HR, 38 RBI’s, and a -1.0 WAR. Matt Bruback was a career minor leaguer who never even reached the big leagues. Since the trade, the Pirates have had eight different starting third baseman including Hernandez. The others being Chris Stynes, Ty Wigginton, Freddy Sanchez, Joe Randa, Jose Bautista, Andy LaRoche, and now Pedro Alvarez. Then you wonder why the Pirates were going absolutely nowhere under the McClatchy/Littlefield administration.
Here’s a look at each name that has been rumored for the Pirates to acquire.
Carlos Beltran – Perhaps the “sexiest” trade name that the Pirates have been linked to. Although Beltran is having a nice year, he’s nowhere near the same player he was a few years ago. Still the Mets are going to want a pretty significant return. In my opinion,it would be foolish to trade away a few of your better prospects, not just because he would only be around the last couple months, but also because he is a declining player.
Carlos Pena – I think there are too many factors to consider acquiring Pena. First, you would have to cut ties with Lyle Overbay and eat that $5 million, second, you would have to talk the Cubs into eating the majority of his $10 mil, and third of course, they are going to want something really good in return. Pena has been very miserable this season against LHP and has found himself not starting much against southpaws. So bringing in Pena to pretty much face primarily RHP, would defeat the whole purpose of having an everyday 1B.
Hunter Pence – I described Carlos Beltran as being the sexiest trade name, which would make Hunter Pence the best name that the Pirates are looking at. If Houston is going to trade Pence, it would have to be an offer that’s going to blow them out of the water. If the Bucs somehow were to land Pence, they would have him under team control until 2014.
Ryan Ludwick – In 2008, Ryan Ludwick bashed a career high 37 homeruns for St. Louis. Since then his homers, RBI’s, SLG, and OPS have all fallen off. Expectations, injuries, and playing at very pitcher friendly Petco Park seem to be factors. Still, Ludwick would provide the Pirates with more power production than what they’ve gotten with the Garrett Jones/Matt Diaz platoon.
Koji Uehara – The Pirates are in need of an 8th inning reliever and Koji Uehara would be someone to look at. He’s been pitching in that role in Baltimore, and it would be the same in Pittsburgh. On top of that, he has an ERA under 2 and a WHIP below 1 to this point.
Grant Balfour – You could make a case that Grant Balfour has been one of the best setup men in baseball the last few years. He’s always had an outstanding K/9 ratio for a reliever. He pitched on the 2008 and 2010 Tampa Bay Rays, so he knows what it’s like to be on a contending team.
Josh Willingham – Willingham has essentially put up the same type of numbers as Ryan Ludwick this season. I imagine whatever offer they make for Ludwick they might do with Willingham.
David DeJesus – Out of all the rumors that the Pirates have been linked with, David DeJesus would make the least amount of sense outside Carlos Beltran. The Pirates are seeking a right handed bat and for those of you who follow baseball very closely like i do know that DeJesus is a left handed bat. Not only that, but they already have the same kind of player in Alex Presley, with Presley being younger.
The Pirates are now expressing interest in Koji Uehara. The 36 year old Japanese reliever, has a 1.84 ERA in 40 appearances to this point with an 0.70 WHIP. Uehara this year is slated to make $3 million and can earn a $4 million dollar vesting option for next year if he makes 15 more appearances. Uehara would certainly fill the Pirates 8th inning setup role that’s been left absent by Evan Meek for most of this year.
Jordy Mercer – 0 for 5, RBI
Matt Hague – 2 for 4, double, RBI, run scored
Gorkys Hernandez – 1 for 4, stolen base, 2 runs scored
Rudy Owens – 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO (W)
Starling Marte – 0 for 4
Brock Holt – 0 for 4
Tony Sanchez – 0 for 2, 2 walks, run scored
Matt Curry – 1 for 3, double
Robbie Grossman – 2 for 4, walk, run scored
Jarek Cunningham – 2 for 5, RBI, run scored
Elevys Gonzalez – 2 for 4, 2 RBI’s
Adalberto Santos – 1 for 4, RBI triple, run scored
Brett Lorin – 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO (W)
Andrew Maggi – 0 for 4
Mel Rojas – 0 for 4
Rogelio Noris – 0 for 3
Samuel Gonzalez – 1 for 4
Taylor Lewis – 0 for 2, 2 walks, run scored
Matt Skriving – 2 for 3, 2 RBI’s
Zack Dodson – 3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO (ND)
Alen Hanson -1 for 3, 2 runs scored
Jorge Bishop – 0 for 4, RBI, walk, run scored
Yhonathan Barrios – 1 for 4, walk, run scored
Exicardo Cayonez – 0 for 2, 2 walks, run scored
Willy Garcia – 1 for 4, 2 RBI’s, 2 runs scored
The Pirates have signed their 3rd round selection Alex Dickerson. Although he played mostly the outfield at Indiana, the Pirates drafted him as a 1B, mainly due to his inabilities as a defensive OF.
Joe Beimel is planning to be activated for tomorrow when the Pirates begin a three game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Beimel had a 5.40 ERA before going on the disabled list May 28 with inflammation in his left elbow. Daniel Moskos is likely to be sent back down to AAA Indy for Beimel. Moskos has a 3.12 ERA in 22 apperances.
The Pirates have signed two of their high school arms today. RHP Colten Brewer who was a 4th round pick, and RHP Jason Creasy who was taken in the 8th round.