The Pittsburgh Pirates won again. The Cincy Reds won again. Ho-hum. Just another day in the National League Central. But one thing has changed with the arrival of the first day of August.
Baseball trades can still be made, it’s just a bit more complicated. As you know, players can still be moved – in fact, you might recall this deal we are about to share (If you hate bad memories, just skip ahead to the next paragraph). Neal Huntington and the Pittsburgh Pirates pulled off one of the most famous August trades in history. Remember back in August of 2008, when Jose Bautista was moved for Robinson Diaz?
Yeah, sorry about that flashback, but it’s important to remember that mega-deals still happen in baseball during the month of August. Even though a trade like Bautista for Diaz seems harmless at the time, it’s perhaps the best reminder to not sleep on August deals. There is absolutely no reason not to believe that the Pirates could add a key piece to the team this month.
There are some serious contracts out there right now, so we are damn certain that quite a few players are going to clear the waiver wire. The problem always is how the list works. No longer are the Pirates at the top of the waiver list; the PBC now finds itself near the bottom.
We will keep an eye out for some of the players that are the most popular, along with those that could be a solid fit for the Buccos. Our list starts where you thought it would: Shortstop.
The player’s name?
Jed Lowrie. A pretty damn good shortstop before he injured his leg in the middle of July.
Lowrie would fit the Pirates’ preferred model, as he won’t be a free agent until after the 2014 season and is making a low salary of about a million and a quarter this year. We would think an arbitration raise would still have the Astros shortstop be an affordable option.
It would blow our mind if the Astronauts would want to move him, but the team will probably even sell the train at Minute Maid before this season ends.
Lowrie is 28. He’s hitting line drives at a rate he hasn’t put up since he was a rookie in 2008. He’s reasonably priced, but his injury history would probably make the Bucs want to consider keeping Barmes around for infield depth and defense. On the other hand, the injuries would probably also help keep his arbitration price lower than one would expect.
Lowrie has walked 39 times in 285 at-bats.
It’s not a cut-and-dried move, because he always seems to be hurt… but for the money, Lowrie would be worth a waiver claim if for no other reason than to ease Clint Barmes and his un-freaking-imaginable six walks/65 strikeouts into a more utility role.
We think it would be yet another marginal improvement for the Pirates offense, but don’t underestimate it. Especially when you consider that, on many nights this season, the segment of the lineup consisting of Barajas, Barmes, and the pitcher’s spot has served primarily as three innings’ worth of outs.
We think it’s time for that to change. Maybe Michael McKenry can help. We know a shortstop like Jed Lowrie could help.
It’s hard to win games while in a pennant race with only six innings of offense, right?