What to Do With John Nogowski

8-1-21 – By Gary Morgan

Colin Moran and Erik Gonzalez are both on rehab assignments with the AAA Indianapolis Indians, and within a week or two the Pirates will be forced to face a tough question or two.

Erik Gonzalez to me isn’t a lock to come back, nor should he be. I don’t think I can justify his return causing ether Phillip Evans or Rodolfo Castro to be sent down, but I certainly can’t rule out that the Bucs will do just that.

Colin on the other hand will absolutely come back and this is really where most of the questions will be created.

Many of you have been asking me for weeks now, what do we do with John Nogowski when Colin Moran returns, and honestly, I kept kicking the can down the road in my answers. I’d simply tell you if Nogowski is still making you ask that when he returns, good.

Well, guess what, he is, and now I need to really answer.

First, he and Colin aren’t the same player. Colin has power that John simply doesn’t, or at least hasn’t shown, but John has been a consistent solid contact producer that keeps the order rolling and they both play defense at first fairly well.

Colin will likely be traded this off season or by the next deadline, and John is just about the same age with much more control. The point here is Neither are the future per se, but John can be a piece that helps for a bit longer.

All that being said, there is still the matter of how they both get playing time. Nogowski has been so consistent, it’s difficult to see taking him out. He can play right field, but he might just make Polanco look like Willie Mays out there.

They could platoon the two, but Colin was pretty vocal facing lefties was part of what helped him hone his new opposite field approach that made him the reliable hitter he had become.

I mean, what’s most important really is that they manage to not lose Nogowski in the course of getting through this last couple months. Even if he has to ride the pine, they need to keep an answer in place so they can comfortably move Moran.

Nogowski is not a typical Cherington pickup. He covets versatility and Nogowski has little. That’s part of what is making this a conversation. Colin doesn’t have much either, and don’t feed me that he’s played at 2nd or could play third, he could of course, but just as well as I see Nogowski handling Right Field.

Here is what’s important.

Showing Colin is healthy, and showcasing his abilities. I think you can understand why that supersedes the lineup right now.

Not losing John Nogowski who has one option in the process.

Bottom line, both will live on the roster, and likely John loses some at bats.

It’s not ideal, but it is reality. Kudos to Nogowski for making this a conversation worth having. Kudos to Cherington and his staff for identifying him in the first place.

It would be best if one of them could play elsewhere, but pardon the cliché here, it’s a good problem to have.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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