My 2 Cents – Liriano, Alvarez, Trades, Free Agents, More…


Good morning everyone and these are my 2 cents.


The Pirates have re-signed Frankie to a 3 year deal for $39M and I couldn’t be happier.  I’ve discussed this with a good friend of mine that the Pirates really should re-sign this guy for 3 years and that’s exactly what they did.  This signing will allow the Pirates to maintain a veteran presence in the rotation along with AJ Burnett for 2015.  Having a veteran presence is fantastic for the young guys like Gerrit Cole and soon Jameson Taillon, Nick Kingham, Tyler Glasnow and Adrian Sampson.  There was word Neal Huntington may go after Edison Volquez as well but mixed reports suggest the Pirates will now focus on the bullpen for the remainder of the Winter Meetings.


There has been some talk the Pirates could be looking at moving 1B/3B Pedro Alvarez and so far, not a lot of success in teams interested in him.  They would definitely be selling low at this point and would be better off to hold on to him and either have him catch fire and raise his value greatly for the 2016 season or hopefully Josh Bell may be ready to take over the position on a full-time basis after this upcoming season.  I would also suggest the team gives Andrew Lambo another look at 1B as well during Spring Training and may the best man win out.


Huntington has gone on record as saying that the job in RF is Polanco’s to keep.  This is great news as I was a bit worried they would do a share time in RF between the 2 lefties which creates a strange lefty/lefty platoon so I don’t think that will happen.  Snider can play both LF and RF which gives him value as a 4th outfielder type with power off the bench.  Hopefully Polanco will get more comfortable with an entire Spring Training under his belt as the starter and along with Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen, forms the best outfield in all of baseball.


A lot of people were saddened by the loss of Russell Martin who ultimately signed a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays but I’m happy that most people seemed smart enough to know the Pirates were not going to $82M for Martin.  The Pirates instead made a trade for Francisco Cervelli from the Yankees who is stuck behind Brian McCann and will now be the starter for 2015.  There is a ton of upside to Cervelli, he only needs to realize the opportunity and seize it at this point.  Cervelli has been a .278 lifetime hitter in the big leagues so far but not a ton of at bats but last season in limited play, he hit over .300.  He is not a power guy by any stretch but with a higher average, he should fit nicely into having RBI chances aplenty.


The Pirates will probably look to improve the lineup but not until the trade deadline.  What that will do is, allow the team to see what it has in a few guys who they need to see what they have.  Alvarez at 1B, Lambo at 1B or off the bench, Harrison at 3B, Polanco in RF, Snider in RF/Bench, Worley/Locke/Taillon/Kingham for the Rotation.  Holdzkom/Lindblom/Cumpton for the bullpen.  Not all of these guys are going to work out, if they did, pencil in the Bucs for the World Series next October right now.  Unfortunately, we all know that players can have terrible years, injuries or continued trends downwards that prevent teams from sticking together all year long.  I would suspect this is the majority of the team we will see and besides an additional lefty needed for the bullpen, the Pirates should stand pat unless they identify someone who can surely be an upgrade at any position.


As it stands as of today, the Pirates should go in with the following lineup on a daily basis.

3B Josh Harrison

RF Gregory Polanco

CF Andrew McCutchen

2B Neil Walker

LF Starling Marte

1B Pedro Alvarez

C Francisco Cervelli

SS Jordy Mercer


RHP Gerrit Cole

LHP Francisco Liriano

RHP AJ Burnett

LHP Jeff Locke

RHP Vance Worley


RHP Mark Melancon

LHP Tony Watson

RHP John Holdzkom

RHP Josh Lindblom

RHP Brandon Cumpton

RHP Jared Hughes



LH Andrew Lambo

LH Travis Snider

RH Sean Rodriguez

RH Tony Sanchez

RH Chris Stewart