First Pitch: Why I Don’t Think the Pirates Are Done After Marte Promotion

After it was announced that Starling Marte would be promoted tomorrow, I started getting the following question on Twitter: Do you think the Pirates will make any more moves now that Starling Marte is up?

My answer: yes. My reasoning: look at the pitching.

The pitching staff has been strong this year. Not only has it been strong, but it has depth. Jeff Locke, Justin Wilson, and previously Rudy Owens were tearing it up in Triple-A. Yet the Pirates didn’t seem comfortable going to them, other than as spot start or emergency options. They went out and acquired Wandy Rodriguez, trading three top prospects away. Rodriguez upgrades the rotation, but upgrading the rotation wasn’t a big need. The glaring weakness was Kevin Correia (who has been legitimately pitching well the last few starts since the All-Star break), and he could have been upgraded by one of the three Indianapolis left-handers.

To sum it up, pitching wasn’t a big need, and the Pirates had plenty of options in Triple-A, yet they traded for outside help.

Now let’s look at the offense. It’s almost the exact opposite of the pitching situation. The offense is a need. There aren’t plenty of options in Triple-A. Even when you bring Starling Marte up to cover one of the corner outfield spots, you’ve got a second spot that has been covered by guys like Drew Sutton and Josh Harrison, who are better suited for the bench. And there’s no one else to join Marte from Triple-A. So either Marte is the entire answer for the offense, or he’s just part of the solution.

I can’t see him being their answer. If they weren’t comfortable going with a rookie pitcher to solve their minor weakness in a good pitching staff, why would the Pirates be comfortable going with a rookie hitter to solve a much bigger hole: the offense?

I don’t think the Pirates are done at all. They wouldn’t have scouted every potentially available hitter on the market just to call up Starling Marte five days before the deadline, trade for a pitcher, and avoid adding a hitter. We know Neal Huntington has been one of the most active GMs on the trade market. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more deals in the next five days, with one more offensive piece coming in to join Marte in upgrading the roster.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates beat the Cubs 3-2 today.

**Pirates Notebook: Correia Could Be the Odd Man Out of the Rotation.

**Prospect Watch: Cole and Taillon Struggle, Holmes Continues to Dominate.

**Errors And Former Tribe Pitcher Defeat Indians.

**Starling Marte Will Join the Pirates in Houston Tomorrow, Meek Demoted.

**It’s Starling Marte Time: What to Love and What to Fear.

**Trade Rumors: Red Sox Outfielders, Chase Headley.

**Pirates Could Trade Karstens or Correia.

**Pirates Looking For a Bat, Bidding on Victorino.

**Justin Upton Unlikely to be Traded.

**Duke Welker Placed on Indianapolis DL.

**Minor League Schedule: 7/26/12.

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About Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He is a credentialed media member with every team in the Pirates’ system, including the Pirates themselves. He’s a regular guest on Extra Innings on 104.7, and makes regular appearances on ESPN 970, 93.7 The Fan, and TribLIVE Radio in Pittsburgh, as well as ESPN 1430 in Altoona and ESPN 1450 in State College.
  • burgh_fan

    I think you are wrong. I think there is one more guy from AAA who could join Marte and help fix this offense. Having a bat like Jeff Clement off the bench could be a big asset to the Pirates down the stretch.

    • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

      I do think the Pirates will make a move for a bat or at least continue to try. I don’t think that they will do it based on the trade for Wandy. There’s a big difference in adding a rookie hitter to your lineup versus adding a rookie pitcher to your starting rotation. If the pitcher fails, the negative impact on the team is far greater. it impacts the bullpen and more directly effects wins and losses. The Pirates were not willing to take that risk at this point in the season. Spot start? Yes. Replacing a current starter? That’s a whole different deal.

  • http://twitter.com/_steve13 Stephen Stasa

    The way I see this call-up is that Huntington wasn’t going to bring up Marte until he was sure he wasn’t going to get two OFs. Before getting Rodriguez, they probably felt like they had enough to work with to try for two of the OFs they’ve been scouting (Victorino, Pence, Headley, Willingham, Upton, etc.). As long as that was a possibility, he couldn’t promote Marte. It would either handcuff him or force Marte to go back down if multiple deals (or one deal for multiple players) were reached.

    I think they will add another everyday player as well as a veteran who can help off the bench (the latter possibly being next month), but Huntington is now sure the LF will be available for Marte the rest of the season.

  • salempirate

    This is not directly intended for you, Tim. I don’t get the media’s continual hate toward Corriea. He’s a #5 pitcher. How many #5s across MLB are better? Simply assuming a AAA pitcher would be an upgrade is IMO not a correct assumption. Locke may be improved over last year and maybe with more exposure at the ML level show he’s better than in ’11. Wilson is wild in AAA; why should anyone expect him to be a suitable upgrade? In time, maybe.
    As for an outfielder is Juan Pierre reasonable? Low cost in salary and likely low trade value. No power, weak arm. Leadoff hitter with decent skills. Threat to steal. He’s no Corey Hart but he’s also not Drew Sutton or Josh Harrison.

  • John DiVito

    Looking at what Marte is going to bring to the table, he is not going to be that middle of the order type bat that we need so desperately. We need a right fielder with power. McGehee and Jones can platoon at first and the rest of the crew can move back to the bench instead of wandering the outfield.

    If we are willing to pay up, that could be Willingham. If we want a cheaper option, maybe Ross from Boston. We do not need a light hitting leadoff type.

  • http://twitter.com/andrew_scott48 Andrew Scott

    Juan Pierre. Cringe.

  • Lee Young

    I think we still need a valid leadoff guy, like Victorino, Pierre or even David Dejesus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Dimmick/100000318490900 Steve Dimmick

    @ Lee, please edit your Dejesus remark, i have him in my fantasy baseball league and he’s by far the worst selection i made, very frustrating player, no power, little RBI and doesnt steal. I dont know if i could stand him with the Buccos, LOL

  • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

    I agree. Ideally, Presley or Tabata would be that lead off guy – hasn’t panned out.

  • Rick Peluso

    The Twins are balking at reasonable offers for Willingham and they seem bent on holding out to the deadline for a team to vastly overpay for him. I think Soriano would be a nice pickup, Pierre isn’t ideal but would be ok IMO, and I thought I’d throw out Bonifacio’s name as the Marlins are starting to realize that they need to sell. He’s a young guy, 27, with control through 2013, and will he doesn’t provide much pop he is extremely fast, bats for a decent average for a leadoff man, can steal a base, and has a 2:1 K/BB ratio leading to a serviceable OBP. It still would remain to be seen if the Marlins are going into a total sellers mode, but if Emilio can be had at a decent price, and he should be with 1.5 years of control and a 2.5~3 WAR at max, I think he would be an upgrade for the leadoff spot. He has played almost everywhere too so he could serve the role of a utility type too which could open up a spot on the roster to hold an extra pitcher or another depth piece at first/RF.