As you know, we spend the offseason looking for answers for the The Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s kept us busy for years now. Looking ahead to this offseason, we think the Pirates have the opportunity to add some much needed talent. We start focusing on potential trade partners in this series.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have two talented center fielders on their roster in Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. The team also has two players in Garrett Jones and Joel Hanrahan who may have performed so well, that Bob Nutting is no longer able to afford such luxuries.
Andrew McCutchen isn’t going anywhere, so if the Bucs have any doubts about Starling Marte, Neal Huntington should be making a call. Marte looks to get the nod in left field for the Bucs, but the kid has every defensive skill on the planet to be an excellent center fielder. Marte made his Dominican Winter League debut yesterday and it was impressive going four-for-five with three runs and three RBI.
The team we think that could match up potentially would be the Washington Nationals who want to move Bryce Harper out of center. Maybe the Nats would be interested in such a young talent like Marte?
It seems unlikely with Brian Goodwin on the horizon, or because of the fact the Nats are the anti-Pirates and could easily stroke a check to Adam LaRoche and free agent center fielder Michael Bourn to solve their offseason challenges.
Should the Nats sign LaRoche and Bourn, they have the ability to move a couple of players that are interesting to us. The first is Michael Morse, a free agent after next season. The Beast.
He should be back to full health and could provide an offensive exclamation point in one of the corners while sharing some time at first. Of course one would have to think he would be a big defensive liability in left field especially at PNC Park.
The dramatic dropoff in production from Garrett Jones when he faces left handers, combined with his escalating salary, could make the move interesting if you consider Morse hit lefties and right handers equally well. Or perhaps the Nats would be willing to move Tyler Moore ?
If you’re unfamilar with Moore, he was struggling in the low minors and then flicked a switch. In 2010 and 2011 combined, Moore hit 62 bombs which tied him for the most among all minor league players. The Nats seem to love the guy, they drafted him a few times and never gave up when he struggled early.
Moore was always a first baseman, but the Nats slid him to left in order to get more plate appearances. A weakness for Moore at PNC Park might be the fact he is a natural pull hitter, but the power is there, evidenced by his ten bombs in just 156 at-bats for the Nats this year.
“He’s going to be a solid player for a long time,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “I told him earlier in the year he’s not a bench guy. He’s not a platoon guy. He’s an everyday player at some point, whether it’s for us or somebody else. We’re really happy to have him now. I hope he sticks around. That guy’s solid.”
So if LaRoche stays, Moore is likely to be a bench guy, which would make the Pirates crazy for not taking a look at how they could acquire him.
But back to the 31-year old Morse who finished with a .291/.321/.470 with 18 bombs in limited action. Morse missed the first 50 games with a lat muscle strain and alsom went through more injuries with his wrist and hand that drained his power. In 2011, he hit 31 bombs.
In the regular
postseason against the Cards, he hit an imaginary grand slam. Remember this awesomeness?
Perhaps the combination of his age, pending free agency and the injuries could mean the Bucs could add a proven hitter in Morse without giving up much. Shit, maybe Alex Presley could land the Buccos Morse? Damn, I only wish–Neal Huntington tricked the Nats once into thinking Nyjer Morgan was the answer to their center field woes way back when in the deal that brought Lastings Milledge and this nonsense
along with Joel Hanrahan and what great fun the Hanranator has been to watch.
If you’re interested in learning about the Nats best young position player, it’s probably Brian Goodwin. He projects as a centerfielder with his speed and throwing arm.
We saw him once at Class A Hagerstown where in 216 at-bats he hit .324/.438/.542 with nine bombs and 15 stolen bases. The Nats had him skip high-A ball and moved him to AA Harrisburg. It didn’t go as well.
Goodwin struggled and in 166 at-bats, he hit just .223/.306/.373. The 34th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Goodwin is now playing in the Arizona Fall League where he is dominating.
The Nats best pitching prospect is right hander 23rd pick from the 2011 draft, Alex Meyer. He’s 6’9″ and can throw 97 mph with a powerful slider. We don’s see the Nats moving him.
Anthony Rendon, and who doesn’t know about him as a loyal Pirates fan, is ranked the top prospect in the Nats system, Meyer is second. Goodwin third.
Sort of sucks to see the Nats with so much damn talent still in their system after making a trade for Gio Gonzalez doesn’t it? But if the Bucs are serious about adding talent, and possibly on the cheap, a quick look to their neighbors in DC could provide them with a monster.