Neal Huntington’s strategy

There’s not much going on today besides the roster moves mentioned below (as of right now, the Jason Grilli signing is official, Ciriaco and Josh Harrison are on their way to Triple-A, Evan Meek is headed to the 60-day DL, and there’s no official word on anything yet though it seems that at the very least, Ronny Cedeno will be back tomorrow and Steve Pearce could as well, which would probably send Chris Leroux to Triple-A), so I wanted to make a short observation post. 

So far, the hitters that the Pirates have appeared the most interested in are Josh Willingham and, from Buster Olney’s tweet today, David DeJesus. I don’t think that it’s an accident that they both play for the A’s. They’re both having bad years in Oakland, but the Coliseum is a notoriously difficult park to hit in because of it’s huge amounts of foul territory and it’s killed offensive numbers in the past. Which means that Huntington’s looking for guys that he feels are undervalued for one reason or another

I think that’s a pretty good sign that Huntington’s not planning on getting in on a bidding war for a player like Carlos Beltran or Hunter Pence. Remember that in terms of 2011, we’re only talking about 60 games. The difference between, say, the way Beltran is playing right now and the way DeJesus played with the Royals last year is maybe a win, but the difference in cost between the two might be significant. 

Remember that these moves don’t exist in a vacuum. If the Pirates acquire Beltran and have to give up Tabata, they probably don’t make any more moves and we’re left with Presley, McCutchen, and Beltran in the outfield and a Jones/Pearce platoon at first. Is that better or worse than a Presley/Tabata platoon in left (once Tabata’s healthy, of course, and I know Presley’s playing well enough to hold a position down on his own right now, but he’s got to come back to earth at least a little bit), McCutchen in center, DeJesus in right, and a Carlos Pena/Steve Pearce platoon at first?  

Obviously with ten days to go until the deadline, it’s impossible to say what Huntington’s really planning on doing. I don’t think he’ll get into a bidding war over a rental player, but that doesn’t keep him from finding creative ways to plug the team’s needs. It’s a bit of a risk to hope that guys like Willingham or DeJesus will blossom a bit away from Oakland, but it might be worth a shot.  

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.

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