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Ask Bucs Dugout: Should the Pirates trade for Paul Goldschmidt and Cole Hamels?

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the first round of answers to your questions. Feel free to keep them coming, and I'll do another post on the off day tomorrow.

McCutchenIsTheTruth: Explain to me why the following is a bad idea. Go all in at the trade deadline. Overpay and sell essentially the whole farm – Glasnow, Taillon, Hanson, Ramirez, Meadows, Bell, whatever it takes – for Paul Goldschmidt and Cole Hamels, with the Phillies eating, say, half of Hamels’s remaining contract, even if he is traded again. Go for it in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Then after that season, sell hard. Trade Cutch (controlled through 2018), Goldschmidt, Cole, and Hamels (each controlled through 2019). Potentially even trade Marte and Polanco. At that point, you can reload the farm system, stink for a few years for high draft picks, and start again.

I see what you're getting at, but increasingly, I think big all-ins like this aren't necessary and usually aren't productive. They didn't work for the 2012 Marlins, or the 2013 Blue Jays, or the 2013 Angels, and they aren't working for this year's Padres or Red Sox. (And speaking of the Red Sox, yes -- I wrote part of this while Sunday's game was going on.)

Trading the farm for Goldschmidt and Hamels sounds like a better idea than it probably actually is, even putting aside the potential difficulty of trading for Goldschmidt. (I'm not sure a GM who just sold Touki Toussaint to the Braves would be as enamored with the Pirates' prospects as we are, and there isn't much indication the D-backs would trade Goldschmidt anyway.) Goldschmidt and Hamels are great, but they're 27 and 31, respectively. They've probably already played their best seasons, and the Pirates would be up the creek without a paddle if they traded for those guys and then they declined or got hurt. Meanwhile, they've shown in recent years that they can get Russell Martin or A.J. Burnett or Francisco Liriano or Francisco Cervelli or Jung-Ho Kang for pennies on the dollar and have them make big impacts. I'm all for the Pirates being a bit more aggressive at the trade deadline, but I'm not sure these kinds of wild all-ins are good management. If your team needs to spend several years rebuilding, you (or your predecessor) probably did something wrong, or at least had some nasty luck.

On The Hill: Could Gift Ngoepe be the second coming of Rafael Belliard?

Definitely, although I'm not sure a hitter as bad as Belliard would be able to stick as a starting shortstop in today's game. With a few notable exceptions, like 2009-2011 era Brendan Ryan, the Mark Belanger shortstop model of good defense and no offense whatsoever seems to be dead. Belliard was a much worse hitter than, say, Andrelton Simmons is. The question isn't whether Ngoepe can be Belliard, it's whether he can hit enough to stick as a starter. I think he'll likely end up a pretty good utility infielder.

PedroPower: Who would you target as the right handed platoon mate for Pedro or would you consider a trade for a first baseman who could possibly handle both left and right handed pitching and offers decent defense?

Man, when someone named "PedroPower" asks a question like this, that can't be good for Alvarez, can it? With respect to the question, it will probably be more the former than the latter. Alvarez is an annoying player, but he projects as being good enough down the stretch that it would be hard to find someone to trade for who represents the right mix of cost and opportunity as a full-time player. So if the Bucs are looking for righty first basemen ... maybe Mark Canha of the Athletics? A run at Mike Napoli might make sense, although the Pirates weren't connected to him when he was a free agent, at least not that we knew of.

BenjaminPGlaser: When does Tony Sanchez get traded and for what? Almost feel sorry for the guy.

Sanchez is currently hitting .213/.337/.335 at Indianapolis. He isn't being wronged. He's 27. If the Pirates were to trade him, they wouldn't get much at all in return.

Big Poison: I can’t help but notice league-wide all the blowouts this year. Do you think we are seeing the end of the latest pitcher-dominated era, and moving toward another live-ball era?

I doubt it. Scoring is up slightly this year, from 4.02 runs per team per game in the NL in 2015 compared to 3.95 last season. Perhaps that gulf will widen a bit as we head further into the warm-weather portion of the season. In 2013, though, the average was 4.00, so it's hard to call this the start of a trend. And just anecdotally, pitching throughout the game looks better than it ever has before. Average fastball velocity continues to creep up (from 92.0 MPH in 2013 to 92.1 in 2014 to 92.2 this year, and that's up from 91.5 in 2010), and pitchers seem to keep getting better at throwing low strikes. Then there's the sudden appreciation for pitch-framing and shifting. Until those things change, or a bunch of top-quality hitting talent arrives in the big leagues, pitching and defense will probably still rule.