Pittsburgh Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen has a strained oblique and will likely head to the disabled list. There is potential that he could avoid a trip to the disabled list depending on how he feels Tuesday and if Hurdle is willing to play down an outfielder for a bit.
If McCutchen heads to the disabled list, what should the Pirates do to fill his void?
Presuming that Starling Marte proves healthy, expect Marte to play center field with Josh Harrison taking over in Left Field. Count me as someone that wants to see Harrison stick at third base, thus leaving a void at left field. Pedro Alvarez is not performing well enough at the plate to make up for his 24 errors at third base. To put that into perspective, Alvarez has nine more errors than he has home runs. And I am still at a loss for what Jayson Nix provides to this team that Michael Martinez does not.
That being stated, who can pay left field?
How about Jose Tabata? Tabata has been warming up in AAA albeit is still batting .229 during his minor league stint. Let’s not forget the real reason that Tabata was sent to AAA, it was not for his performance at the plate, it was for his poor attitude. He has been described as many as being a cancer in the locker room and it was believed that he would be a bad influence on Gregory Polanco.
If Tabata was considered to be a bad influence then, what makes anyone think that he would be a positive one now? Tabata is not the right type of change to bring about to a locker room amidst a pennant race.
Andrew Lambo is another possible name that has been mentioned. He is batting .329 in AAA and seems to be ready. Lambo exhibited great power last year with 32 combined home runs in AAA and AA. It does appear to be his turn to test out the major leagues. If Huntington is going to promote from within, it is unlikely that Jaff Decker would get another opportunity and Mel Rojas Jr. is not yet ready.
Travis Snider could see increased playing time with McCutchen injured. In his 31 at bats since the all-star break, Snider is batting .290 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.
If I were Neal Huntington, I would, if neccesary, place McCutchen on the DL and call up Lambo. Lambo and Snider could both play left field. It is not worth acquiring someone on the waiver wire until the extent of McCutchen’s injury is known. I do still expect that if the Pirates are still in contention come late August that Huntington will acquire someone on the waiver wire to boost the team into the postseason.
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