It was only a few weeks ago that people were calling for the Pirates to trade from their pitching depth and add a bat to the lineup. That was when Jeff Karstens would be back soon, Charlie Morton was healthy, Erik Bedard was pitching well, Brad Lincoln looked like a possibility from the bullpen, and there seemed to be no hope of getting a spot opened up for Rudy Owens and Jeff Locke.
Karstens suffered a set back in his rehab, Morton had Tommy John surgery, Lincoln and Kevin Correia are both struggling, and Erik Bedard hasn’t looked as sharp lately. What looked like a rotation with one hole (Correia) a few weeks ago, now looks like a rotation with just two starters (James McDonald and A.J. Burnett).
I’m sure some of this is just short term. I’m less concerned with Erik Bedard than I am with Kevin Correia or Brad Lincoln. But it does show how quickly that depth can disappear. One more struggle out of Lincoln and Correia, and the Pirates have to seriously consider bringing up Rudy Owens and Jeff Locke. Then your depth is limited to Justin Wilson — who is more of a wild card due to inconsistent control — and Jeff Karstens once he gets healthy.
It’s also something to consider when talking about trading from their depth. The ideal situation for the Pirates would be trading from the bullpen depth, rather than the rotation. The impact of losing Joel Hanrahan or Jason Grilli isn’t going to be as big as losing a starter. And the Pirates have far more relief depth than starting depth, especially with Daniel McCutchen and Chris Leroux currently on rehab assignments.
Links and Notes
**The Pirates lost 12-6 to the Orioles. Kristy Robinson’s notebook looks at how it was a bad week for the rotation.
**Prospect Watch: Gerrit Cole pitches a gem, while Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco both homer.
**A lot of movement in the minor league system today, highlighted by Drew Maggi and Evan Chambers being promoted to Altoona.
**I did a Q&A over at City of Champions.