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Pirates Trade Talk: Time To Go All In
Avid readers of this blog will know that I have an unusual affinity for advocating quirky and unorthodox player moves for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This may stem from that traditional American love of the underdog, as the Buccos haven’t had a winning season in my lifetime. I think its about time. Last year, they were on the cusp of the postseason before falling apart. This year, they’re better. A.J. Burnett and James McDonald are solid starters, the bullpen is strong, and the offense has scored 11 runs three times in the past week.
If the Pirates can put together a winning season, or perhaps claim a playoff berth, it will be enormous for the future of the franchise. They need to do whatever it takes to put themselves in a position to win. Luckily, that’s what I’m here for.
This off season the Pirates finally got rid of Ronnie “The Worst Player In Baseball” Cedeno in what can only be called an addition by subtraction move. Problem was, they replaced him with quite possible the only shortstop on Earth who isn’t a major upgrade: Clint Barmes. A stud his freshman season, Barmes was poised to make a play at Rookie of the Year honors until he fell and broke his collarbone carrying groceries into his apartment. Since then, calling him a shell of his former self would be an insult to shells everywhere.
Luckily, Jed Lowrie of the Houston Astros is available.
The former Red Sox has proven time and time again that when he’s healthy, he can hit. Jed has played so well this season that he’s earned the title of All-Star Snub. While batting a mundane .253, his OBP is a respectable .338 and the 14 homers and .809 OPS are tops among NL shortstops. And that’s after a weak June when he .218–13 points higher than Barmes’ mark for the season. Out of the shortstop position, he’d be a phenomenal compliment to Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, and Pedro Alvarez. He can be had for a relatively small haul of prospects and he can make an impact right away. According to Baseball Reference, Lowrie’s WAR is a very impressive 2.1.
Jed is making a manageable $1.1 million this season and is headed for his first arbitration eligible offseason. He’s by far the best option available to fill a position at which the Pirates desperately need to improve. They will not make the playoffs with Clint Barmes as the everyday shortstop. That they’ve gotten this far is a testament to the rest of the team, and if they have the ability to remedy that deficiency they shouldn’t push their luck by hanging on to Barmes and his -0.1 WAR. (Wow, that was kind of mean. Sorry Clint, no hard feelings?)
The Pirates need to pull the trigger on this. Lowrie is the kind of player who can be quietly invaluable. He can dramatically lengthen the lineup around the stars in the middle and make the team, which is already a legitimate contender, that much better. Like I said, the Pirates have been swinging the bats really well lately so this isn’t a case of needing a spark to get things going. Instead, Lowrie can be that extra log to help fuel a fire that’s already burning. After years of cold darkness, the Pirates brass owes it to the fans stoke that fire with vigor.
|162 Game Avg.||162||601||528||72||134||34||3||16||75||2||1||61||111||.254||.328||.424||.753||99||224|
|BOS (4 yrs)||256||920||808||110||204||55||7||19||117||3||2||89||173||.252||.324||.408||.732||92||330|
|HOU (1 yr)||73||301||264||36||68||15||0||14||35||2||0||34||52||.258||.342||.473||.816||120||125|
|AL (4 yrs)||256||920||808||110||204||55||7||19||117||3||2||89||173||.252||.324||.408||.732||92||330|
|NL (1 yr)||73||301||264||36||68||15||0||14||35||2||0||34||52||.258||.342||.473||.816||120||125|