If Steve Pearce is pinch hitting for starting 3B Chase d’Arnaud in the 9th inning because he represents the tying run, then that is all I need to know. Steve Pearce would have been the starting 3B tonight if he had not been called up just today, so he will be on Saturday. I can only guess that Ronny Cedeno, who has shown much greater patience at the plate over his last dozen games, will be moved to the number two hole in the batting order. The crazy thing is, I can see Steve Pearce being move to 5th spot. Fifth!
That is how sorry the Bucs lineup is right now. Nothing showed that more than seeing the Cards score five runs on three HRs. Four on two in the first inning alone. I suppose Pearce might be put in the 2nd spot, but the Buccos are desperate for power in RBI roles. Which is why it will be sooner rather than later that they call up Pedro Alvarez. But, it will be convenient for them to give Steve Pearce a shot to earn a starting role before Alvarez crowds the roster even more. By sticking Pearce at 3B, he has an opportunity to prove himself and earn a spot before Pedro comes back. I hope Pearce does. If so, then that will leave Pearce, Garrett Jones, & Lyle Overbay battling for 1B and the first runner-up battling with Jose Tabata and Alex Presley for the last OF spot.
The way Garrett Jones played tonight in RF showed how important defense can be. He could not corral a fly ball against the fence in the first inning that was quickly followed by a HR. Later, Jones could not chase down a ball in the gap that Presley would have come very close to. There are no assurances that Presley could have, but one wondered that very thing while watching the game. The fact that I am debating whether Presley or Tabata retain a starting spot in the lineup leads me to believe that the Buccos are more in the running for Carlos Beltran than I originally acknowledged. Beltran would provide more power than the team currently has and would (unfortunately) insert into the cleanup spot. I suggest “unfortunately” because he is not a cleanup hitter. He does currently hit third for the Mets.
One of the most glaring weaknesses of the Pirates is they have not had a legit cleanup hitter for as long as I can remember. If they traded for Beltran and inserted him in the cleanup spot, I’m not sure he would succeed. In fact, if they do trade for him, I’d prefer they insert him into the 6th spot, with Alvarez at 5th, and leave McCutchen at cleanup. If they should trade for Carlos Pena, I would suggest the same thing.
If they trade for both
Forget that, I do not know what I was
dreaming thinking. My point is, the Pirates are in desperate need for power. And desperate times call for desperate measures. Where I was hesitant for a trade a few days ago, I am now almost desperate for one. At the very least, putting Pearce and Alvarez in the lineup. The reason I suggest not placing Beltran or Pena in that role is because I am unsure they could handle the mental pressure of being “the guy”. If you wonder what I mean, read my previous thoughts about that concerning Pedro.
Haven’t been any big trades yet have there? Conventional wisdom is to wait until close to the deadline, hope the ‘sellers’ get desperate and lower their asking price. Problem is, in a week the Bucs could be in 3rd place, this division is so tight that a game or two makes a difference. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for a few more days, but I’ll be ticked if they don’t add a bat, besides Alvarez.
I agree Couchburner. The Bucs need to catch lightning in a bottle. I can’t imagine they’ll get starting pitching to this quality to this depth again next year. They need to be aggressive. I’m not suggesting they mortgage their future, but I’m pretty sure the Mets and Cubs will be willing to dump their high priced players, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Pena respectively, for money and a player to be named later or a low level prospect.