If you have been paying any attention to the pirates this season I assume that you have heard the never-ending chatter about how we need to make a move to improve at the right field position. I’ll admit that I constantly check the trade rumors, and that I often get excited when I see big names such as Stanton or Rios being linked to the Pirates, but I don’t think that we need to make a large scale move like that.
Fans of the farm system go about half and half. A lot of people want to trade away our prospects for big name guys—these are the screw it, win now type. Then there are the other people who are in favor of keeping our top prospects such as Taillon and Polanco in hopes that they will produce for us in the future. I think there are some prospects in our system that aren’t talked about as often as Taillon or Polanco, and they are playing good baseball day-in and day-out in Triple-A Indianapolis.
I don’t think there is a need to make any move at this point. The non-waiver trade deadline is in 10 days (July 31st) and September call-ups are a little over a month away. It’s likely that if the front office decides to make any moves that it won’t be for any of the names that you may have heard thrown around (Stanton, Rios or Pence). Any of those guys would simply cost too much. I think we have a better, already paid for option in Andrew Lambo.
As of now, Tabata has been performing well in right field and at the plate (.277/.343/.408), but everyone knows by now that he can’t play every day without eventually ending up on the disabled list, so the only thing we really need is an upgrade over Snider to platoon with Tabata. Additionally, we need a better player than McKenry to spell Russell Martin every so often. For the answer to that need we have Tony Sanchez.
It’s likely that Lambo and Sanchez are going to be called up in September as it is, so why wait? If we need the help now, why not try them out? Lambo can play the corner outfield positions pretty well and is batting .282 with 9 homeruns and 28 RBIs in 37 games. Sanchez primarily plays catcher, and has been reported to be viable at first base, he is batting .281 with 9 homers and 40 RBIs. Those are both immediately better answers than Travis Snider and Michael McKenry. Both Snider and McKenry seem to have lost their ability to hit the baseball, and McKenry can’t throw out anyone.
Additionally, Inge needs to get the boot. He has been a terrible option. He does well in the field and can play virtually any position, but he can’t hit the ball to save his life. For a guy that is mainly used as a pinch-hitter that doesn’t translate well. The other common pinch-hitter is Gaby Sanchez who hasn’t really panned out either. So, if not for nothing Sanchez and Lambo would be better options as pinch-hitters than our current bench players when they aren’t spending time in the field. If these guys don’t perform well and people are still itching for a trade there will still be players available on waivers after July 31st.