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  1. #1
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    Spring Training Discussion

    At the conclusion of every baseball season there are four words fans across the nation began anticipating. It is a signal that the cold days are about over and that the magic of baseball is on its way back into our lives. To someone who doesn't understand the game these four words can be heard and quickly forgot but for those of us who have a passion for the sport there is little better. Just spoke the words seems both musical and magical. And although its mainly a formality as most arrive early the official date still has a certain aura. It is with much joy and a sense of true honor I write these words on this forum commemorating the start of the season following the end of such a gruesome streak. With those memories now in the distance and brighter days ahead we can truly enjoy these wonderful words. So let's get this discussion started the only way possible ...

    PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT

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  2. #2
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    Its that time of year!!

  3. #3
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    I'm thankful the AJ distraction is over before everyone reports. The three things I'm most interested in (as well as everyone else I'm sure) are:

    - the rotation
    - 1B
    - RF

    It'll be nice to hopefully have some clarity relatively soon
    Let's Go Pens! - 16 Games Left

  4. #4
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    Those three are the most obvious areas. If Wandy is truly healthy the rotation would seem likely to be something like Liriano-Cole-Morton-Rodriguez-Volquez. As for RF I have to think that is Tabata's job to lose but can Snider, Decker, Lambo or even Dickerson earn some playing time. First base is pretty much a mess right now. Still think there is a good chance they bring somebody in.

    As for smaller questions that interest me. How will the bullpen shake out? Right now there are 8 front runners and only 7 spots. How will the shortstop position be split will Mercer be the regular starter or are we still going to see a heavy dose of Barmes. Also I'm curious to see what comes of Harrison. Is he used as something as a platoon mate for Walker and/or Alvarez?

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  5. #5
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    The Pirates have signed Yao-Hsun Yang and invited him to Spring Training. He is a 31 year old left handed pitcher from Taiwan. It seems highly unlikely he will actually make the team but I'd imagine he'll get sent to AA or AAA to begin the year.

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  6. #6
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    Spring Training Discussion

    I liked what I saw from Harrison in the time he played. I'd like to see him get more ABs
    NL HR Leader & NL MVP

  7. #7
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    You know there is one pitcher left who the Pirates have been connected to this offseason who has the talent to be a huge game changer. Yes he has major health questions and at 35 he might just not have it anymore but there is a big amount of upside.

    The player I am talking about is Johan Santana. The Pirates were linked to him earlier in the offseason and reports are he is getting ready to throw a bullpen session for teams and that he could sign a minor league deal soon. He'd be an interesting low cost gamble to take and maybe his old replacement in waiting could convince him to come aboard.

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  8. #8
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    I've always been a fan of Santana. When he and Liriano were in Minnesota together, that was a filthy #1 2 punch. Obviously no one would be expecting him to return to his former self, but if he could even resemble it, that would be a big addition to the rotation and help lessen the sting of losing AJ. I'd be all for that
    Let's Go Pens! - 16 Games Left

  9. #9
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    I've heard no rumors surrounding this but there is one move out there that just seems to make sense for the Pirates. I've mentioned it before but the Red Sox seem like they quite possibly may end up moving Mike Carp. Now the Carp of last year isn't what they are likely to get but the prevailing theory of the projection systems seem to be he'll be something close to .260/.330/.440. Those aren't great numbers but they are reasonable ones. The Red Sox are likely to command a good bit for him so to reduce the cost the Pirates could take on a big chunk of Dempster's final year. Dempster isn't likely to be great but he would probably be useful and though he doesn't fit the mold of the Pirates ground ball heavy pitcher he does have that ability as from 2004-2010 he produced at least a 47% GB% every season.

    Now what is fair value for a Carp/Dempster package? That gets a little trickier. Carp has three years of control remaining and is being paid 1.4 million this season. Unless he undergoes a major breakout I would say his 3 years of control would come at a cost of no more than a total of 10 million and probably closer to 9 million. Dempster is being paid 13.25 million in his final year. The Red Sox would have to chip in some cash but I'd say only about 4-5 million.

    Now the Pirates of course have nothing that the Red Sox need for immediate help (they really don't need a bullpen arm) and its going to take more than just a couple low level flyers like we gave the Yankees for Burnett. Perhaps a solid prospect with some big upside like a Clay Holmes would interest them (or if they want an OF instead maybe Barrett Barnes). Add in a lottery ticket and/or some depth options and I think we may be able to work out a deal.

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  10. #10
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    Spring Training Discussion

    Would Dempster take Volqy's spot?
    NL HR Leader & NL MVP

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNev View Post
    Would Dempster take Volqy's spot?
    Well yes and no. Personally I don't think Wandy starts the season healthy and in the rotation so I think he takes his spot. By some miracle he does then yes he would take Volquez's. I'd guess the rotation would be something like Liriano/Cole/Morton/Dempster/Volquez with Locke/Cumpton/Irwin/Taillion/Sadler backing them up in AAA and maybe Gomez and/or Pimentel getting a spot start out of the bullpen.

    Again all of that is just my speculation I've barely seen anything linking the Pirates to Carp let alone Dempster.

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  12. #12
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    For the Red Sox sake I hope the Pirates trade for Dempster. Obviously they'd/we'd (still have that urge) have to eat a decent amount of that salary, but he's a much better fit in the NL than the AL East, and he has little value to the Sox outside of depth, and I just don't enjoy watching him pitch in the AL.

    But for the Pirates, he'd be a more than adequate 5 starter.


    Though, I do think some of Dempster's bad 2013 was fluky. His home run rate soared for little apparent reason. His control regressed compared to recent years, but there's no reason to think his walk rate can't be corrected this year. If he can get back to being the ground ball pitcher he's long been, and stop dishing out free passes with such regularity, he could bounce back fine, especially in the NL. The velocity dip was well-noted last year, and that's the main concern with me.
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  13. #13
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    Yeah obviously Dempster isn't coming in and replacing the loss of AJ but I think 150+ innings and an ERA in the low 4s is a reasonable outcome. If he can do just that he'd be a solid #4 starter and would provide good insurance to Wandy. Steamer has his ERA in the high 3s that would of course even be better.

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  14. #14
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    Wandy says his first bullpen session today was pain free. That is obviously great news but relying on him still scares me.

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  15. #15
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    I'm still baffled by the whole tendinitis thing. I've always heard it's a lifelong ailment once you get it and for a guy that puts that much stress on the joint, I'd be amazed if he even lasts half the season
    Let's Go Pens! - 16 Games Left

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