Link: No. 23 is missing

One of the first questions that I often get about WHYGAVS is “Where did the name Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke? come from?” When I’m in a particularly eloquent mood, I tend to answer that the name just kind of popped into my head when I decided to start a Pirate blog, and that I liked it because of the way that it (to me, at least) perfectly evokes the idea that nothing can ever be quite like watching sports and having a favorite player when you’re five or six or seven or eight years old. I don’t know if that’s exactly what I was thinking when I decided to become a 20-year old baseball blogger, but that’s certainly what it all means to me now that I’m ten years older.

In that vein, Ted Anthony wrote this wonderful story at Medium about his eight-year old son, his son’s love of Travis Snider, and the heartbreak that comes from a trade that looks minor to pretty much everybody else. It’s easy to evaluate a trade from a financial ledger or a sabermetric spreadsheet, but it’s much tougher to think about it as someone’s favorite player being sent away or as someone’s connection to home being severed just a little bit more. In the end, though, are any of us baseball fans without our own personal Travis Sniders? Anyway, go read the whole piece.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Travis Snider #23 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning of their game on September 20, 2014 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Brewers defeated the Pirates 1-0.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

Pirates send Travis Snider to the Orioles for Stephen Tarpley

The Pirates and Orioles agreed on a trade to send Travis Snider to Baltimore tonight in exchange for minor league lefty Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named later. On its face, this seems like a bit of a strange move for a contender to make: even if you assume that Gregory Polanco was […]

Pirates, Orioles discussing Travis Snider trade

Nothing is done yet, but from Dan Connolly at the Baltimore Sun:

The Orioles have rekindled their trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire outfielder Travis Snider and are discussing a deal that would send one or two minor leaguers to Pittsburgh, according to industry sources.

[…]

Neither minor leaguer being discussed is thought to be on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, but at least one — and possibly both — is a pitcher.

Connolly is tweeting updates (including a name: Steven Brault), so you should follow him for the latest news. I don’t really want to spend a ton of time speculating beyond noting that while Snider was a very useful player down the stretch last year, the Pirates have some redundancy in the left-handed corner outfielder department with Gregory Polanco and Andrew Lambo. If there is a trade, I’d rather hold off on judgment until we’re sure who’s in it.

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 29:  Josh Harrison #5 of the Pittsburgh Pirates scores on a RBI double in the first inning against the New York Mets during the game at PNC Park on June 29, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Josh Harrison < 500

Josh Harrison is why we watch sports. In June of 2013, I saw him playing in a Triple-A game in Durham. He played well enough that I came back from the game thinking to myself, “Yeah, I think he’s probably ready to take Brandon Inge’s spot as a utility player.” In early July of 2014, […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 31:  Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after hitting a walk off solo home run in the tenth inning against the Chicago Cubs during Opening Day at PNC Park March 31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Neil Walker < 500

Neil Walker is a perfect storm. He, perhaps first and foremost, a wonderful story. He was drafted out of high school by his hometown team as a catcher in 2004, but he wasn’t all that well suited to the position and injuries eventually forced him to third base. In 2007, he moved to third base. […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 18:  Pedro Alvarez #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates plays first base in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during the game at PNC Park on August 18, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Pedro Alvarez < 500

This is an unpopular opinion, but I think there’s a decent chance that Pedro Alvarez will be the exact first baseman the Pirates need him to be in 2015. This is buried well underneath the throwing problems, the position change, the power outage, and the foot injury, but in 2014, Pedro Alvarez finally did the […]

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13:  Francisco Cervelli #29 of the New York Yankees sits on the field after injuring himself running to first base against the Boston Red Sox  at Yankee Stadium on April 13, 2014 in the Bronx Borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Francisco Cervelli < 500

The problem with the question, “How do you replace Russell Martin?” is that it’s a trick question. If we define “Russell Martin” as a very strong defensive catcher with an emphasis on pitch-framing that has decent on-base abilities (at least as it comes to walk-percentage) and decent pop for the position, well, I think the Pirates […]

Fangraphs on Jung-ho Kang’s defense and the Pirates’ defensive strategies

The key passage from Miles Wray’s article:

But I’d like to propose that, at least when it comes to fielding, Kang and the Pirates are a wonderful fit for one another, defensively speaking.

I say this because Neal Huntington and his analytics team have been pulling off a wonderful trick for the last three years: in each season, the Pirates have put together an above-average defensive BABIP despite having a roster full of mostly-below-average defensive players.

I’d recommend checking the whole thing out because there are a lot of interesting thoughts, but yeah, I think that that’s the value of the Pirates’ shifting: hiding sub-par defenders that can hit (Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez in 2012 and 2013) inside of a functional defense that’s good at turning balls in play into outs. In that regard, the Pirates taking a risk on Kang makes a ton of sense, because they might be able to hide him at a premium defensive position better than other teams.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 21:  Vance Worley #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during the game at PNC Park on September 21, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Vance Worley < 500

Honestly, Vance Worley is one of the pitchers that I found the most interesting as last year wore on, and he’s probably going to get the shortest post in this whole series. The reason is that Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs more or less did my work for me here, with his post from late last […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 10:  Charlie Morton #50 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes the mound against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of their game on August 10, 2014 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   The Padres defeated the Pirates 8-2.  (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

Charlie Morton < 500

I have probably written more words about Charlie Morton than any other Pirate pitcher of the last five years, and so I’m a little embarrassed to say that it’s probably easy enough to preview Morton’s 2015 season thusly: if he’s healthy, he’ll be fine, but it’s always hard to say if Charlie Morton will be […]

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 03:  Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game One of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 3, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

AJ Burnett < 500

If you eliminate all of the drama surrounding AJ Burnett’s departure from the Pirates last winter, we’re left with a few important facts. AJ Burnett is 38 years old, coming off of a relatively bad season in which he pitched with a sports hernia and saw his strikeouts go down with his velocity while his […]

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox during inter-league play at PNC Park on September 17, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Francisco Liriano <500

This shouldn’t be surprising, but I’m not a big fan of anecdotal analysis like, “Francisco Liriano is only good every other year.” It works nice as a descriptive device, but it doesn’t give us much actual understanding about Francisco Liriano. In Liriano’s case, the pattern doesn’t even hold true: Liriano was excellent in 2006, decent in 2008, […]

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