Sep 14, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielderGregory Polanco
(25) reacts in the dugout against the Chicago Cubs during the eighth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
In trading Travis Snider to the Orioles, Pirates brass sent a clear message to Gregory Polanco. By removing all conceivable threats to his everyday playing time, management has designated year two of Polanco to be extremely important. Not only will the trade give Polanco a full spring training with a starter’s mindset, it will also make the Pirates singularly reliant on Polanco in right field. While Corey Hart and Andrew Lambo may have cameos, Clemente’s Wall will be patrolled by one man through the majority of 2015.
Anything less than 150 games by El Coffee could tell us many things: bad slumps, injuries, looking lost at the plate, fatigue from his first true full year – all of these can be in play, and all of them spell certain doom. Tentatively penciled into the number two slot in the order, an extended absence from Polanco could again send shock waves through the rest of the order, much like Harrison. It is paramount that Polanco ride the peaks for as long as he can, and get out of the valleys as quickly as possible. Doing so will ensure his steady presence in RF.
For our next crucial Pirate, we move from one corner to the other
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