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Saturday morning ruminations

Before anything else, my sincere thanks to both readers of the blog for emailing their thoughts on the clearly-thought provoking post on how to get an ace for the Pirate staff. As a blogger, it’s awesome to hear from your readers, and those being the first ones I have received will certainly be cherished, even if both didn’t see eye-to-eye with me. Also, if you are reading this blog, and have suggestions on anything, topics to cover on a semi-regular basis, or specific topics you’d like to know more about, do let me know. I’ll be glad to oblige if I can!

So, the Pirates are going to go out of their way to get Ryan Doumit playing time. Presumably they’ve had teams interested before when they made their ill-advised move-Ryan-to-1B gambit which backfired spectacularly. And I can only guess this latest effort is meant to see if they can boost his trade value. More on the other potential trade chips after the jump

Apparently, the Red Sox have signed Carlos Delgado. They could do with a lefty 1B, and Garrett Jones should certainly be on the market. The trouble, however, is that the Red Sox are a smart enough organization to not overpay for a 1B like Jones. So don’t have any hopes of a Dotel like steal. This also is the primary reason I’d look for players farther away from the majors with high ceilings if I trade with the BoSox.

The Cardinals are interested in Andy LaRoche. This is interesting for 2 reasons: one, I expect the FO will want a king’s ransom for Andy, even though his stock is at an all-time low as they should, especially when dealing within the division, and with a player who, as late as March 2010, was considered a huge-breakout candidate. The other aspect to this story makes it a little tricky. LaRoche’s star has dimmed, and clearly he doesn’t have a shot at the Pirate infield assuming everyone stays healthy. His status, however, has not dipped so far that he d be able to make it through waivers ala Moss. So, leaving him on the bench to get 1AB every 3 games is equivalent to killing of whatever hopes he has of making it in the big leagues. Now, the FO will be well-aware that the difference between Andy playing and warming the bench is just 1 injury, something that is all too common at the major league level, and for that reason, I suspect we’ll hold on to him for another year at the very least. But, it’s an interesting situation, with no clear solution.

How about that start by James McDonald? Mowed the Rockies down for 6 innings. We’ll find out over the next couple of months whether that was an adrenaline charged debut, or whether it heralds bigger things to come.

For the rest of the rotation, though, things remain as fluid as ever. Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln have found no rhythm whatsoever in Indy, Maholm remains steady, Ohlendorf and Duke have been hanging in there. The 2011 rotation will likely be some combination of these guys- McDonald, Maholm, Ohlendorf with 2 others. I m not entirely certain the Pirates will hang on to Zach Duke, but at this point, I’d recommend they do as opposed to non-tendering him. If they can trade him, of course, all is good! Karstens has managed to be steady, but I like him far far more in the DJ Carrasco role of going 2-3 innings at a time. Something tells me we could see the addition of a FA starter next year- if anyone was wondering, yes, I do think the guys in Altoona, esp Owens and Wilson, should move up to Indy for a start or two, and then start 2011 there, and spend the whole season in Indy. There are lessons to be learnt in every level of minor league ball, and if we make a mistake in guessing how long it will take them to learn those, let’s err on the safe side, and give them more than they need rather than less. Bring them up in June 2012, or May, but don’t bring them up too soon.

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