It's becoming fairly evident that Walker will be recalled rather soon and will most likely be playing 2B. I can only hope that he'll be getting 4-5 starts per week. So what happens if and when Alvarez is called up in June and moves LaRoche from 3B? Despite everyone saying that his body will eventually force him to 1B, he has not, at least not to my knowledge, received any work at 1B. So when he comes up, it will be at 3B. What will happen to LaRoche? Despite being frustratingly streaky, he does have a good approach at the plate (by Pirates' standards) and is a very useful player. But where does he play if Walker is holding his own at 2B? Nobody will confuse the Pirates' infield options with the Cey-Russell-Lopes-Garvey Dodgers' infield of the 70s, but there is some interesting talent in the mix. Management will be doing Walker a disservice if they don't give him the job full-time and see what he can do. In order for this to happen, though, something has to give.
I think two things need to happen - Clement should get sent down to AAA to re-make his swing ala Tiger Woods and the Pirates should keep Alvarez in AAA until September and give him reps at 1B. I am by no means giving up on Clement, but he is clearly lost at the plate (watch his AB against Grabow today). That being said, he needs to be playing everyday but he needs to be doing it at AAA where he isn't totally killing the big league club with his unproductive ABs. Move Jones to 1B and give Pearce the starts in RF (or platoon him with Church). And regarding Alvarez, he obviously is heating up and looks like he'll be close to ready in June, but what's the rush? Assuming Walker fares well at 2B, a call-up of Alvarez would create a bit of a logjam. I see little downside in keeping him at Indy until September, splitting time between 3B and 1B to prepare for the increasingly good chance that Clement flames out. I have no problem if Alvarez is called-up based solely on his MLB-readiness and not simply to fire up a dwindling fanbase, but I also wouldn't mind seeing him stay at Indy for another couple of months at the very least.
As I write this I just checked the Indy boxscore and saw that Walker started at 1B tonight. So my post may or may not be irrelevant.
And here's yet another depressing article regarding the Pirates' lack of plate discipline - http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/05/14/bradley.pirates/index.html?eref=sihp