With this past weeks losing streak at Cleveland and the first game of the Orioles series, the Bucs have only lost 3 or more games 4 times so far this season. Take away playing the Brew Crew and the team's five losses to them with one rainout, they would be 5 games above .500 and in first place in the division.
The team has had some disappointing offensive numbers so far this year. The team has hit 58 homers in 74 games, 23rd in the Big Leagues and the Bucs are 1 of 3 teams .500 or better who have scored less runs they have scored. As a team they are hitting a whopping .240, 24th in the Bigs. They are 4th in the Big Leagues in whiffs with 570, an average of 7.7 per contest. That is AWFUL. Any reason why Gregg Ritchie is still the hitting coach? The only reason I ask is that the Rangers and Tribe both fired their hitting coaches in the past 7-10 days and they are in 1st Place.
Andrew McCutchen is having another fine season as he leads the team in average, hits, steals and homers. He is second on the team in RBI's behind Neil Walker's 50 which is 14th best in the Bigs, 7th in the NL and best of any 2B in all of baseball. I just do not like Walker's average down at .256 where it currently sits.
The pitching staff has been the best turnaround of the season. Joel Hanrahan has to be the team's All-Star representative with his 20 Saves so far in 20 oppurtunities. He has been phenomenal and Neil Huntington's best acquistion to date.
Kevin Correia picked up his 9th W of the season and has been pretty good. He has been hit hard lately just like McDonald and Charlie Morton, but not sure if that is because teams are seeing them a 2nd/3rd time or they are getting worn out due to the innings piling up. Correia pitched a career high in innings back in 2009 with SD with 198. He has pitched 95 innings so far, and the big stat that bothers me with him is he only has 43 K's. The last 2 years with the Padres, he had 115 in 145 innings and 142 in 198 innings.
James McDonald has pitched 79.2 innings this year and has the highest ERA ever in his short career with it sitting at 4.86. His current innings are the highest of his career. He does have 62 K's in those 79.2 innings, but 87 hits allowed to go along with 42 walks.
Charlie Morton has finally looked like the center piece of the Nate McClouth deal and has pitched well, but not of late. He has pitched 86 innings so far, a few short of his career high of 94 with the Bucs 2 years ago. He has only given up 2 homers, but his hits allowed of 96 in 86 innings to go with 35 walks is way to high with a 1.52 WHIP.
I am wondering what Hurdle will do once Ohlendorf gets back in the rotation once healthy. Will Karstens be sent back to the bullpen despite his 2.54 ERA or if they will go with a 6-man rotation to conserve some of these guys innings. Not a bad theory in my opinion.
The team has piled up 4 rainouts so far this short season and will be relying on a tired bunch of pitchers in the next few weeks as some of the rainouts will be added to the schedule as doubleheaders. I am wondering if Brad Lincoln will get a call up or the team will get Ohlendorf back sooner than later.
With the lack of offense, should Neil Huntington attempt to acquire some offense? And if so, who? And what to give up?
The team needs a RF, 1B and SS. There are big name guys on the market like Jose Reyes, Carlos Pena, BJ Upton to name a few who could come in and play at those positions and possibly be an upgrade for the offense. Jorge Cantu of the Padres just was released. Big names like 1B Albert Pujols, out for the next 4-6 weeks and Prince Fielder are both higher echelon players. Would the Bucs ever look to attain either as both are free agents after this season. Could the Bucs attempt to get any of these 3 or make an offer for a has been in Cantu or Pena from the Cubs?
Not too many options at SS on the FA market next season but Reyes. He is looking for a HUGE contract and not sure NH wants to even attempt to pursue him.
Outfielders who could help are Upton as mentioned above as his stock is falling as his average is below .220 this year. To have him play alongside Tabata and Cutch in the outfield, wow, could that threesome cover some ground at PNC Park.
I have seen in other Pirate blog posts about the Bucs acquiring Nick Swisher (NYY), Ryan Ludwick (SD), Jason Kubel (MIN), Michael Cuddyer (MIN) or Carlos Beltran (NYM). Most of these guys are older and will be possibilities for the Bucs to acquire for a reasonable prospect or two. Maybe? But I am not a fan of acquiring any of these guys except Cuddyer as he can play numerous positions as the outfield, 1B, 3B and 2B.
My thoughts are to go big and get a proven major leaguer who can help now and assist the team down the road. One option is go after Grady Sizemore. He has been hurt the last few years, but this guy is still young at 28 and has an option for 2012 and is only making 7.6 million this season. Sizemore has only played 180 games the last 3 seasons. But in 157 games in 2008, he hit .268 with 33 homers, 90 RBI's and 38 steals. He could be a key to the Bucs offense. He can play right field which would allow Clint Hurdle to move the Legend to 1B. You could insert Sizemore anywhere in the lineup from 1st thru 6th and is a lefty bat, something the Bucs do not have many good ones.
If the Bucs want to add a starting pitcher, the only good candidate I would look for them to acquire who is a free agent after the season is Edwin Jackson. He is 27 and is currently 4-6 with the ChiSox with a 4.47 ERA with 73 K's in 86 IP. He is a veteran pitcher who is young and has pitched over 200+ innings twice in his short career. He has not been overworked this season either as the ChiSox have used a 6-man rotation recently.
If they would attempt to get either of these two playes, I think that a offer of Brad Lincoln, Alex Presley and Karstens could possibly get Sizemore, maybe add Jeff Locke in the mix. To acquire Jackson, he might be had for Lincoln and Jordy Mercer.
These next 6 games will be a better barometer for the season as the Bucs play the Red Sox & Blue Jays. Then they have series' against the Nationals, Astros and Cubs before the break to see just where they sit before the trade deadline.