It’s Pittsburgh Pirate mailbag time once again here at Rum Bunter
As always, thank you to everyone who submitted questions this week and participated. Now, let’s dive in!
It will be an interesting week for the Pirates. This team is 46-55 and going nowhere. So, trading the free agents to be seems like a no brainer. It’s not a guarantee that all of them will be moved, but the Pirates will do all they can to trade Corey Dickerson, Francisco Liriano, Jordan Lyles, and Melky Cabrera before next Wednesday’s trade deadline.
The big question is will the team look to move either of their two biggest trade chips – reliever Felipe Vazquez and center fielder Starling Marte. At this point, I’m starting to believe that Vazquez will be moved while Marte remains with the Pirates.
Vazquez could net the Pirates a hefty return. Odds are, he would land the Pirates 3 or 4 high end prospects/young MLB ready talent. If the Pirates are able to land this type of return for Vazquez they can not say no. While it would create a hole at the back of the bullpen, it could fill multiple other holes on the roster and improve the overall quality of the roster.
If I were in Neal Huntington’s shoes, barring a turn around in the final two months of the season, Chris Archer’s option would not be picked up. The $8.25M he is owed in 2020 is not a lot of money by baseball standards, but Archer has been terrible this season.
The veteran righty owns a 5.40 ERA and a 5.66 FIP, both of which are career worsts. He has also allowed a National League leading 24 home runs. In no world do those results garner earning $8M+ dollars and being guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation.
Now, as for what the Pirates will do, they will likely pick up Archer’s option. Especially with Jameson Taillon‘s future look uncertain. Hopefully, Archer can turn things around and at least become a league average pitcher again. Because, odds are, he will be here in 2020.
The frustration with Clint Hurdle is understandable. Few people have been more critical of him than myself. Yesterday, Joe wrote about why it’s time for the Pirates to move on from Hurdle. In the opinions of many his tenure has run its course in Pittsburgh.
Barring some sort of crazy turnaround 2019 will be the Pirates third losing season in four years. Typically, this will lead to managerial changes. That said, I am not sure there is a scenario where Hurdle is fired. At least, a scenario where the team announces that Hurdle has been relieved of his duties.
Now, I would not rule out a scenario where Hurdle announces that 2019 will be his final season. Even if it’s more of a mutual parting than he stepping away from the game. His comments after Tuesday night’s loss certainly sounded like a manager that has checked out.
This is something that could really benefit the Pirates long term. Ke’Bryan Hayes is still the long term answer at third base, and the sooner he gets his feet wet at the MLB level the better.
The problem is he is struggling at the Triple-A level. Entering play on Wednesday Hayes was slashing .258/.336/.415 for the Indianapolis Indians. His wRC+ is just 91 and his extra base hit rate is just 9.5%.
Hayes is already a Gold Glove caliber third baseman and his good patience at the plate, owning a 9.2% walk rate. That said, he needs to show more power. He flashed his power at the Double-A level last season, but that has not alternated to Triple-A.
While, yes, it would be great to get Hayes to the MLB level ASAP, until his offense improves at Triple-A promoting him makes little sense. With him struggling offensively at Triple-A, promoting Hayes to the MLB level would be doing him a disservice.
That will do it for this week. As always, if you ever have a question for the mailbag look for our Tweet each week asking for questions. Also, do not be afraid to ever ask a question on Twitter or Facebook.