PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a single in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Andrew McCutchen < 500

In Charlie Wilmoth’s Dry Land (a great read to prep yourself for spring training if you didn’t read it last year!), he’s got an interview with former Indianapolis Indians’ play-by-play guy Scott McCauley where Scott talks about how Pirate fans would obsess over minor league players in a way that sort of befuddled every other minor league broadcaster that he’d ever […]

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 10: Left fielder Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on September 10, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 6-3 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Starling Marte < 500

Besides Gerrit Cole, the two players that will have the most bearing on whether the 2015 Pirates are a good team or a great team are most likely their corner outfielders. Just like you can track the club’s mad dash in August and September to the NL’s second wild card with Gerrit Cole’s return from the disabled […]

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 06:  Steve Lombardozzi #12 of the Baltimore Orioles bats during the ninth inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 6, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Orioles defeated the Tigers 3-1.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Pirates acquire Steve Lombardozzi, Arquimedes Caminero

Spring training is quickly approaching with the Super Bowl behind us, but the Pirates are not done making minor roster moves to get ready for the coming season. Last night they picked up Steve Lombardozzi from the Orioles for cash in move unrelated to the Travis Snider trade, and today

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 12:  Jordy Mercer #10 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a RBI single in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers during inter-league play at PNC Park on August 12, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Jordy Mercer < 500

I’m not sure any player validates the whole Neal Huntington front office approach quite as much as Jordy Mercer. That seems like a crazy place to start, so bear with me. Mercer was a third-round pick in 2008, drafted one round after Chase d’Arnaud (correction: Mercer was drafted one round before d’Arnaud, but I’ll hold to […]

Pirates quest for three straight playoff seasons starts in two months

The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to be on the rise after back-to-back playoff appearances in 2013 and 2014. The Pirates finished second in the National League Central Division and claimed a Wild Card spot, before losing to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants, ending their postseason. But positivity is in the air, as the […]

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 […]

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