9 Innings of Quick Takes and Argument Starters


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9 Innings of Quick Takes and Argument Starters

Post by Dutton »

1. Either Henry Davis or Endy Rodriguez will start the 2024 season in AAA. My vote is Davis, because he is not yet a MLB caliber catcher or right fielder. He can learn his craft with regular play at Indy. Rodriguez is clearly the better defensive catcher. Jason Delay is, in many ways, an ideal backup catcher. And our RF situation, as you will read, is too crowded already.

2. Here's my 2024 opening day OF: LF, Bryan Reynolds; CF, Ji Hwan Bae; RF, Jack Suwinsky. If we're facing a lefty, I'll put Andrew McCutchen, Conner Joe, or Miguel Andujar in RF. Should Conner Joe start the 2024 season in AAA? Probably not, but he's the only 1B/OF with options. I want Josh Palacios as an extra outfielder. Hard to think of a better lefty PH, and he's versatile in the OF.

3. Which leads us to 1B. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a lefty-batting platoon 1st baseman. I'm trying to be realistic here and keep my powder dry for a starting pitcher. And that means I would like to re-sign Carlos Santana. Platoon him with Miguel Andujar or Conner Joe.

4. The rest of the infield is really quite simple. Liover Peguero should start at 2B. KeBryan Hays mans 3B, and Oneil Cruz, please Lord, returns to SS. The versatile, slick-fielding, almost .300 hitting Jared Triolo can keep all the starters well rested, and provide a good righty PH when he's not. That means that Nick Rodriguez will need to start the season at AAA, hopefully alongside Tucupita Marcano and maybe Alika Williams. Sorry Vinny Capra, there is no room on the 40-man for you. Notice that I'm keeping Bae in the outfield!

5. If you're keeping track, I have 4 or 5 position players on the 40-man thus far who will start the season at AAA: Henry Davis, C; Conner Joe, 1B/OF; Nick Rodriguez, 2B/SS/3B; Tucupita Marcano, SS/Util; Alika Williams, SS/2B. I'm guessing that Canaan Smith-Njigba will be the only AAA pure outfielder on the 40-man at AAA. My bold pick for the only position player who gets added to the 40-man deserves its own number.

6. Tsung-Che Cheng should be added to the 40-man. Per FanGraphs, he's eligible for the Rule 5 in December. A team like Oakland/Las Vegas would be crazy not to take him. Solid defense at SS/2B, good speed, decent hitter, and a little punch. If you don't know him, check him out. If it comes down to it, I keep him over Alika Williams.

7. If Bob Nutting does not approve the signing of a genuine MLB-quality starting pitcher, he will overtake Matt Canada as the most hated sports-related man in Pittsburgh. I prefer a lefty, and I dream of Jordan Montgomery. But I also wonder about a trade for Kyle Freeland, Rockies; Reid Detmars, Angels; Martin Perez, Rangers; and I swear I'm not crazy, Patrick Corbin, Nationals. For various reasons, these guys should be available for a reasonable price. We have the prospects other teams should want. Get 'er done!

8. I'll take a stab at a 2024 rotation. 1. Newly signed Ace, Mitch Keller; 2. MLB free agent or trade acquisition; 3. Underrated Cuban defector (which announcer always mentions this?) Johan Oviedo; 4. Hopefully improving Luis Ortiz; 5. And finally, "your guess is as good as mine".

Priester was not ready this year. Contreras looked hurt. Falter is a lefty and I want him to succeed, but he didn't. Can Andre Jackson make it to the 5th inning? Bido is better as a reliever and may not even stay on the 40-man. Brubaker and Burrows won't be an option for several months. Can Kranick make it back from surgery? Jared Jones, Paul Skenes and Jackson Wolf, a lefty, will all need seasoning. I believe that Braxton Ashcraft will be protected from the Rule 5, but he won't be ready for MLB either. I'm glad that Jones and Skenes don't require 40-man protection.

9. We are going to expose a lot of righty relief pitchers to the Rule 5 draft. I'll predict that we keep lefties Ryan Borucki, Angel Perdomo, and Jose Hernandez, with Hernandez starting the year at AAA. David Bednar, Colin Holderman, Carmen Mlodzinski, Dauri Moreta and Yerry De Los Santos are obvious choices as righties. That does not leave much room on the roster.

Which of the following RHRP's do you keep on the 40-man? Bido and Jackson have the best stats, though that doesn't say much. But I keep them. If you get to keep one of the following, who do you choose?
Thomas Hatch, Kyle Nicolas, Cody Bolton, Colin Selby, Hunter Stratton
And can you believe we started with Wil Crowe, Duane Underwood and Chase De Jong?

Thanks for reading this lengthy post. Hope to hear from you!
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2018 8:29 pm

Re: 9 Innings of Quick Takes and Argument Starters

Post by Doc »

This is a great idea for an offseason thread. Thanks for starting it. I hope others join in and it carries us through until March.

1. We as fans really don't know if Davis can or can't be a good major league catcher. He's had only one inning to show us. Maybe Endy is better. But in watching Davis play RF, I'd be willing to bet that Endy is already capable of playing better out there than Davis will ever be. If they switched positions, would the Pirates be a better team overall defensively?

2. The team has to do better than Bae in CF, both defensively and offensively. I like what he brings the team with his speed and versatility, but I don't believe the Pirates can win a title with him being a regular. To me, Joe has earned a place on the 26-man roster as a platoon player. He surprised me this year with his solid play. Palacios is a perfect guy to be the fourth outfielder and a veteran bat off the bench.

3. I could live with either Santana returning (but his age is a concern) or a Joe/Triolo platoon at 1B. My dream is to do everything possible to sign Cody Bellinger. I know that Nutting is the roadblock but no one can tell me it's not possible financially. This franchise is rife with money.

4. The infield has lots of possibilities. For me, ideally, I'd have Cruz (if Bellinger isn't in the cards), Gonzales, Peguero, and Hayes from first to third, with Triolo and Marcano in reserve. But I'd get Triolo as many at bats as possible as I think he could make for a terrific super utility guy. I don't think there's any room for either Williams or Smith-Njigba any longer.

5. I believe Davis, Joe, and Gonzales will begin the season in Pittsburgh because they're among the best 26 players. Marcano might remain in Indy just to get him reps as he missed a good portion of this season, but he'll be back by mid-May at the latest. There's no reason to have Williams in the organization any longer. He can't hit and he's average in the field. The team doesn't have enough fire power to carry a player with his limited abilities. And a word about Gonzales: I still think he's going to be a solid hitter, somewhere in the .285-.300 range. He looked bad a lot of the time this year and I think the lost time to injuries while in the minor leagues has hurt his development. But I think he's going to blossom next season.

6. I know nothing about Cheng but, if he's as you describe, I agree he's worth keeping. Your idea of replacing Williams with him on the 40-man is a good one.

7. I believe Bob Nutting has been, and will be, the most-hated sportsman in Pittsburgh as long as he continues to run the franchise the way he does. A good veteran starting pitcher would be a great addition, and is affordable even if they could sign Bellinger. If Bellinger can't be had then they need to go after one of the top free agents on the market, not a reclamation project as in the past. Like you, I'd like to have a lefty. Having opposing teams limiting lefthanded hitters in their line-ups at PNC Park should always be a strategy.

8. Ortiz, Contrares, Priester are keys to the rotation's success, especially if the club can't sign a legitimate starter. I'm already assuming that Skenes will be in the minor leagues until the Front Office thinks he's safe in regards to Super Two status but, unless he's getting pummeled down there, he needs to be in Pittsburgh as soon as possible. With Keller, Oviedo, and a possible free agent, this rotation has a chance to be really competitive if these guys pitch to their potential.

9. The Pirates have the makings of a solid bullpen with a choice of five reliable guys from the sixth inning on with Borucki, Moreta, Mlodzinski, Holderman, and Bednar. And some of the longer guys like Jackson and Falter showed some long inning ability. One thing though: Bednar was scary over the last two months. I don't know if he ran out of gas or opposing hitters were figuring him out. If it's because he was tired, then perhaps shedding some weight would solve that problem. If it was the hitters solving him, I'd like to see him develop a dependable change-up. It'd be a great weapon to work off his fastball.
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