Hump Day Pirates Q&A

4-19-23 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

When you do a feature like this every week, it’s inevitable the questions will start to overlap, or get repetitive. To your credit, it hasn’t happened a whole lot here. You keep challenging me with interesting topics, I’ll keep happily doing this piece. Deal?

Seriously though, thank you all for thinking beyond the owner to ask real questions with meat on the bone.

Lets Go…

Question 1

How long before our first Indy starter call up (even if it’s not a blue chip)? – 21inRight (@springportchoir)

I have to make an assumption here right off the top, I think you’re talking specifically to starting pitching. I’ll also toss out, they’ve now had 7 straight quality starts, which just doesn’t happen in MLB, anywhere.

So, safe to say, no time soon if you manage to hold off more injury right?

Realistically the Pirates have 2 guys they could call up in the near term here, Luis Ortiz and Osvaldo Bido. Ortiz has done well, but he’s had a few issues and still hasn’t really mastered that third pitch.

Bido, well, he’s an older prospect, but he’s also one of the very few who have already gone through an entire AAA season. He has good stuff, and has a good chance to be useful.

As to specifically WHEN, I’m not really sure how to answer that. Believe it or not, neither of these guys is in AAA to manipulate them, and currently, hard to pick someone in the rotation you’d replace. Let’s revisit this in June if we’re so fortunate to avoid injury that long.

Question 2

How big does the sample set have to get on Velasquez before he becomes Matt Morris? – Wilbert Matthews

Well Wilbert, at 30 years old I’m not sure there’s much more to learn about what Vinny is. He’s on a hot streak right now, but it’s assuredly not going to last. I don’t even mean that as a slap in his face, I just mean he doesn’t have a history of consistent 5-6 inning outings, let alone 5-6 inning efforts where he doesn’t give up a bunch of runs.

Honestly, as with question 1, maybe just enjoy what you’re getting a bit right now instead of worrying about when your assumptions will be fulfilled.

Question 3

Do the Pirates trade a MIF prospect for a established bullpen arm? – Mark (@fike_mark)

I mean, they could, but the fact they just acquired another right before the season started should probably inform your thinking here a bit. They don’t seem to feel the same pressure to make room for all these super great options that fans do.

Let’s go through the guys you could be talking to here. Rodolfo Castro, Ji Hwan Bae, Tucapita Marcano, Mark Mathias, Nick Gonzales, Liover Peguero, and I guess Jared Triolo. I could go further down to Alvarez but let’s just stick with the familiar.

For now, the Pirates have 4 of these guys on their 26 man, all getting playing time, all being productive, some making themselves hard to sit. So skip down to the others who could be “moveable”. Nick Gonzales isn’t going to get traded yet, he’s Ben’s first number 1 pick. Peguero is the system’s top SS prospect at the moment, and considering that Castro is holding it down at the moment, he isn’t likely to stick there, especially when Cruz returns. Triolo is on the IL.

Bottom line, I don’t think anyone you’d want to move is established enough to bring back much value.

I see a need for a veteran reliever though, I just don’t see this position group as the congested mess many seem to. Mostly because I assume 2-3 of them will wind up washing out and most of them aren’t tied to middle infield as a position anyway.

Question 4

With our early success and losing two starters to Tommy John is there anyone out there to sign or trade for another like #5 starter ?? Priester isn’t ready yet – Wilbert Matthews

Never say never, but hear me out.

There aren’t many teams in the league who have anything worth trading that would be willing to say they’re ready to trade off MLB assets at the moment. It’s just too early in the season. Keep in mind, even if a team like the Rockies were to look at their record, the division they’re in and say F it, lets move Freeland (every bit a 4th or 5th starter type mind you), well, the Rockies are no different than any other team, if they have some stud they could call up, they won’t want to do it before June ya know?

I’m not discounting there is probably a need there, but let’s be real honest, by the time teams are starting to consider trades, the Pirates might have one on the block themselves and be prepared to call up Ortiz.

As to the free agent market, I’ll make this real easy. It’s April 19th, if they aren’t signed after all the injuries you’ve seen around the league, all the NRIs this Spring, there’s a reason bro.

Question 5

Will concerns over future signability (ie his second contract) prevent the Buccos from picking Crews? – Jerry Wertz (@wertzjerry56)

As plainly as I can possibly state this, no. The Pirates don’t exactly have a long history of extending guys to begin with, there’d be no reason to expect that now they suddenly are so focused on getting one done with a draft pick who as good as he looks is no guarantee to be a successful MLB player.

There was a time when teams would avoid picking a guy based on signability, and it still happens to a degree but slotting has all but eliminated it from the thinking, most recently Kumar Rocker who plummeted down the board because of his murky health concerns and his team’s insistence that he get an above slot signing bonus, sticks out as a rarity.

A guy like Crews wasn’t available when the Pirates selected Henry Davis. Davis was in the conversation for top overall pick, but it was hardly consensus. He was chosen partially based on need, catcher was a mostly barren wasteland in the system, but he was also a guy who would sign for below slot allowing the Pirates to sway some other picks later on into signing above slot deals. This year, again, Crews is probably going to wind up being pretty clear cut the best available choice.

I expect them to make that choice.

Will they be able to extend him? Well, let me ask this, is it a guarantee they’ll want to? NEVER.

Question 6

Your silence on Bae’s past is all I need to know about you. – Don986542

Umm, ok.

Here’s my stand on this. We (this site) and I (personally) have covered what he did as a teenager in Korea. It’s been in several write ups we did on him as he was coming through the system, it’s been randomly mentioned even in conjecture about why he didn’t get a call up earlier last year, point is, we’ve covered it.

Now, he’s here, and what I’m gonna guess Don here wants from me is to tweet something like “Ji Hwan Bae hits a 3 run home run to win the game, don’t get too happy because he did something really bad in the past!”

I’m not going to do it.

Martha from Bloomfield who just saw an exciting young player hit a homerun may not be aware of what he did, and bluntly, that’s not my problem.

And making sure everyone who isn’t aware is “educated” so they can be great people and take appropriate measures to ensure he only gets liked so much simply isn’t something I’m interested in doing. We’re talking about something that happened 5 years ago now. He was convicted, paid his penalty in the Korean system, served his suspension in MiLB and went through a treatment program before being reinstated, and by all accounts, been a model citizen since.

As he does better, the story will come up more and more because his visibility will increase. The stain will follow him, all on its own, and needs no help from me or anyone else to bubble back to the top of the news cycle.

From a societal standpoint, nobody should ever just shrug like what he did was fine, but I believe in the ability of humanity to turn ones life around. Does that mean I’d be excited he was dating my daughter, no, but it does mean that I’m going to tweet he stole a base without following it with a crack about his past.

You Sir, are free to do that all you like, and you may infer whatever you choose from what I say and don’t say about anything. That’s kinda part of the gig doing this stuff, but I’ll not be playing social engineering games with my coverage, and I’m certainly not going to scour the internet looking for anyone who may not know they’re rooting for someone who did something awful.

I don’t talk about it for the same reason I don’t tweet “Oneil Cruz, who didn’t actually get drunk and kill a family in the Dominican a couple years back, just set a Stat Cast record with that throw!” Again, it’s not my concern that the facts in that case have escaped you or anyone else, it’s been covered, and in the moment, the coverage is about the record, not the past.

Get it? Hope so, but honestly, if you truly formed an opinion about my moral compass based on something I didn’t say at a certain time, I couldn’t care less anyway.

Question 7

I have a question about the rule 5 draft. This year the Reds took Blake Sabel and traded him to the Giants. If the Giants wanted to offer him back do they offer him to the Pirates or the Reds? – Don Jacobson

Great question Don, one few have a good grasp on.

First, before a player is “offered back” to anyone, they must clear waivers, meaning every team in the league would have to pass on taking the player before he could be offered back to his original team.

So, if he were to be removed from the 26-man roster of the Giants, he’d go on waivers. Every team would have to pass including the Reds, then they could offer him back to the Pirates. Any team who selects someone in this draft pays 100K to the club they selected him from, when the player is offered back, the original club would have to pay 50K to take him back, and the 26-man requirement is voided.

Should the original club not want him the new club (Giants in this case) could assign him to AAA.

One wrinkle here that few exercise is the selecting team, again the Giants even though they traded for his rights are now by rule the selecting team, could trade the Pirates to acquire his full rights, which would allow them to option him like a normal player.

Bottom line, if the Reds want him back, all they have to do is claim him via waivers, much like the Pirates did with Dustin Fowler and Ka’ai Tom, not to give you nightmares. That said, the Reds would get no bite at the apple after the waiver process, that right only would extend to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

4 thoughts on “Hump Day Pirates Q&A

  1. I get Don’s concerns about Bae and have them myself. Having said that, your response was great. Don can choose to quit following the team based on Bae’s past behavior. I’ve considered it. I decided that it was 1 past bad act that we’re aware of. I made a decision about the Steelers years ago after Bens’ multiple accusations. I quit following the team and still don’t. There was additional smoke as far as I was concerned, including the off duty Coraopolis cops (acting as Ben’s security) preventing entry to the rest room where the last incident happened and some of the other acceptance of what I consider to be unacceptable behavior of other by the team. Those are all personal decisions that we must make as fans but it certainly isn’t a responsibility of writers to repeat it regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bang on, tv. I have had the same misgivings about all the Ben R. incidents. There was absolutely fire to the substantial degree of smoke. The NFL wouldn’t have suspended him if there wasn’t. I already didn’t really care about the NFL by and large, in part from being bullied for supporting the Pirates and Penguins, and that situation increased my desire to not support the Steelers. With the Ray Rice and Jameis Winston situations, I decided (later than I should have) I had no reason to continue watching football whatsoever. I still hope Pitt does well and won’t decline invitations to Super Bowl parties, but I probably couldn’t tell you the name of any player drafted in at least the last four years.

      I didn’t see more than one or two retrospectives on Ben R. upon his retirement, but it’s absolutely a journalist’s duty to include those events (as well as the reckless motorcycling, for that matter), not a choice. The collective shrug at all his misdeeds has deeply concerned me for 16, 17, however many years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great answers Gary, especially to #6. I think you handled that perfectly, I don’t like what he did, but as you said, he’s paid the price and still deserves another chance.
    I still think Bae should be the leadoff hitter, he seems to get on base more often than Ke’ and he’s definitely faster. ✌️

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: