Pittsburgh Pirates’ early needs moving towards trade deadline

3 of 5

Apr 26, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher

Antonio Bastardo

(59) throws during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Bullpen help

Again, a team can never have enough pitching. Pitching carries teams more often than great hitting does (see: 2014 San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals). The back-end of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pen is a strength for the team in Tony Watson and Mark Melancon, each of whom has turned around his early season woes tremendously. But who hands the ball off to those two?

Jared Hughes is a good middle relief option. He has a 3.25 ERA this season, which isn’t bad, and his 2.89 FIP suggests he may be under-performing so far. Vance Worley is a good long relief option and should be kept in the pen in case Jeff Locke continues to falter. Worley has only given up one run (albeit a costly one) since being moved to a relief role. Arquimedes Caminero has been a solid addition to the pen, and his velocity, coupled with his 0.99 WHIP and 2.50 FIP, suggest his performance so far is for real.

More from Pirates News

Outside of those three, the bullpen becomes iffy. Rob Scahill has performed well overall this season (to the tune of a 1.50 ERA), but his 1.42 WHIP and the occasional rough outing doesn’t inspire confidence in his long-term success this season. Antonio Bastardo has been awful, but he doesn’t have any options left and his past success with the Phillies may give him a bit of a longer leash with the team.

An upgrade over Bastardo should be a top priority for the Pirates at the deadline. John Holdzkom could be the answer, but he hasn’t logged much game action in Triple-A due to shoulder fatigue and time on the disabled list. Another arm covers the potential regression from Scahill and could replace Bastardo in the pen.

Next: Some help for the Big Bull